If your characters go on a road trip, do you have to take one, too? When Mary Miller wrote The Last Days of California about a family driving from Alabama to California to meet the rapture, she hadn’t even been to the desert herself. To ensure it was accurate, though, she mapped important destinations on the route. “For Western Louisiana, I thought, ‘Is there actually a Waffle House within forty miles of this border?’ because I wanted it to be accurate. So I had maps, and I was tracking mileage,” she told Down & Out.
Over the past few years, the Movoto Real Estate blog has become the internet’s number one destination for appraising the real estate in the Harry Potter universe. First they estimated the value of Hogwart’s Castle to be around $204 million, and now they’ve turned in an estimate of the Weasley family’s Burrow near Ottery St. Catchpole.
In her scathing, yet utterly necessary, review of Steve Jobs and its subject, Maureen Tkacik writes that “with any luck future generations will saddle Steve Jobs, the brand, with the blemish of all the jobs (small ‘j’) a once-great nation relinquished because of brand-name billionaires like Jobs.”
Who’s ready for a trip to Tokyo? Sadie Stein at The Paris Review breaks the lid on a veritable Shangri-La for book lovers, a quasi-bunkhouse known as Book and Bed. Book and Bed is a bunkhouse-slash-bookstore that doesn’t actually sell books. Instead, they have a number of rather spartan beds built inside row after row of bookshelves. Their noble goal is also a simple one; to offer “an experience shared by everyone at least once: the blissful instant of falling asleep while reading.”
Pulitzer winner Tony Horwitz describes – in incredibly depressing fashion – his experience publishing Boom, a digital short representing his first foray into “the brave new world” of digital publishing. Two takeaways for aspiring writers that are not explicitly mentioned, however: don’t write without a contract, and be sure to use an agent from the get-go.
The F.B.I. had a massive file on James Baldwin in the fifties and sixties. Among other things, their notes featured passages of surprisingly adept criticism, including an oddly in-depth look at sexuality in his work. You could also read Justin Campbell on race, fatherhood and Baldwin’s fiction.