Those of you out there who grew up in the 90s will remember that every disaster movie brought a slew of novelizations into bookstores. Even if the movie in question did badly, you knew that at least two adaptations of the script would pop up on shelves. At Hazlitt, Will Sloan wonders if the age of the novelization is over.
A couple weeks ago, our own Janet Potter reviewed Jon Ronson’s So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, a new book which examines the rise of public shaming on social media. In the Times, Ronson takes part in the paper’s By the Book series, several entries of which we’ve written about before. Among other things, he recommends The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins and Violence by James Gilligan.
Is all publicity good publicity? Are all reviews—even bad ones—good for books? The answer, according to a new study [pdf] by the journal Marketing Science, depends on whether the writer is well known or unknown. The study examined the impact of a New York Times review on the sales of more than 200 hardcover titles. For books by established writers, a negative review led to a 15% decrease in sales. For unknown authors, a negative review increased sales by a healthy 45%.
“We all use a ‘persona’ or mask, to some degree, all the time,” writes poet Robert Pinsky as he challenges the notion—widely held in English classes throughout the world—that a poem’s “speaker” is necessarily separate from a poem’s author. The latest release from Pinsky, the former Poet Laureate of the United States, is Selected Poems, and you can hear him read some excerpts in this video.
Recommended Reading: This excerpt from The Work of the Dead: A Cultural History of Mortal Remains by Thomas Laqueur. In it, Laqueur explores the cultural peculiarities of mourning and the necrobotany of the yew tree, or “tree of the dead.”
Have you ever traveled halfway around the world to the once picturesque town of Ubud in Bali hoping to experience a psychological transformation á la Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love? Unfortunately, you’re not alone. Here’s a look at how great books have ruined some really great places. Our own Nick Moran has written about some good places gone bad, as well.