In a short biographical piece for Open Letters Monthly, Sam Sacks writes about the book reviewing career of Katherine Mansfield and the ways in which it “helped her build the writing muscles needed” to finish her masterful short stories. While some critics might take umbrage at the way Sacks characterizes Mansfield as “turning out deadline copy like an ink-stained Fleet Street hack,” his look into her reviews culminates in the realization that “the point [of reviewing books] is not to be constructive but to construct something of lasting value in the little space and little time you’re granted. Like all writing, it should be a passion, not a pastime. The point is to dazzle.”
Test your knowledge of famous settings and / or fantasize about living in a “secluded picturesque manor with history” or a “palatial long island home” perfect for parties: “Classic Houses in Literature Go on the Imaginary Real Estate Market – a Quiz.”
Tired of waiting for George R. R. Martin to finish his next Game of Thrones novel, a software engineer has developed a neural network to write the book instead (via The Digital Reader). Pair with this consideration of how the HBO series is going off-book and breaking all the rules.
An excerpt of the lost and recently found Alexandre Dumas novel The Last CavalierAn assessment of poetic cliches in VQR. The surprise: some actually improve your chance of getting published.Jennifer Gilmore interviews the criminally underrated Max Apple.That novelists’ strike not working out so well.Despite some withering condescension, Robert Gottlieb has interesting things to say about John Steinbeck.Penguin UK offers up some alternative storytelling techniques with its We Tell Stories site. The first is a tale by Charles Cumming told by messages inserted into Google Maps. (Thx, Mrs. Millions)Books cops like. (Thx, Laurie)The trend of the massive hyper-expensive book continues.Daniel Radosh points out that the New York Times has, yet again, published a trend piece on bloggers getting book deals.And finally… The Catalog of Unfit Toys: Finding Delight in the Defective