You should check out George Saunders’s “Liner Notes” piece about “2776: A Musical Journey Through America’s Past, Present & Future,” which is set to accompany a forthcoming musical-comedy album from Patton Oswalt, Aubrey Plaza, Ira Glass, and Yo La Tengo, among others. If that hasn’t sold you, consider the fact that Saunders’s piece contains this line: “Truth be told, there were a number of regrettable omissions. Beyoncé and Jay Z’s piece ‘Bomber’ had to be left off the album. (‘Driver of this plane, this / B-52 on the way to Nagasaki / Stuff your ears with cotton and / Close those eyes / Me and my man are about to do it all over this / Here bomb’).”
You may not have known that Thomas Jefferson – author of the Declaration of Independence, U.S. President, founder of the University of Virginia – also found time to amass the largest contemporary collection of books in North America. For sixteen years, The Library of Congress has been trying to track down copies of the final 250 listed in Jefferson’s collection.
New this week: The Most of Nora Ephron; At Night We Walk in Circles by New Yorker 20 Under 40er Daniel Alarcón; S., a novel written by Doug Dorst in collaboration with J.J. Abrams (which naturally has a trailer); and The Gorgeous Nothings, a full-color facsimile of poems that Emily Dickinson drafted on the backs of envelopes. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great Second-Half 2013 Book Preview.
In a long tradition of online experimentation, Amazon has now started including something called “Shopping-enabled Wikipedia Pages” in its internal search results (see the second result here). Now you can view a copy of Wikipedia pages for authors like David Foster Wallace, J.K. Rowling, Jonathan Franzen, and probably thousands of others. How can Amazon do this? Wikipedia pages are free for anyone to reuse for almost any purpose, so long as the license info is displayed. Why is Amazon doing this? It wants free content that it can monetize.
Readers of Millions Originals ebook Epic Fail are deeply familiar with Tommy Wiseau’s heroically bad 2003 film, The Room. So, too, are people masochistic enough to sit through the actual movie. Together, they might be wondering how such a production came to be – and how it came to fail so horribly. Well, finally a new book co-authored by Greg Sestaro and Tom Bissell seeks to answer that question. You can check out an excerpt over here.
It’s been a good year for Alfred Hitchcock, what with Vertigo beating out Citizen Kane in the once-a-decade Greatest Movie of All Time poll conducted by Sight and Sound. At Full-Stop, Rachel Baron Singer takes a look at Hitchcock and The Girl, both of which examine “the dark side” of Hitchcock’s genius.
“You have a hard time imagining how the things you’ve experienced or discovered, which seem abjectly personal, could be of use to another writer. You’re aware that you can follow every single rule in the book, and still write a crappy story.” The Preservationist author Justin Kramon grapples with the idea of teaching writing to college students.