“Our great poet forever has one foot on Mount Parnassus and the other in the rue Quincampoix,” the Wall Street of eighteenth-century Paris. On how Voltaire outsmarted one of the earliest lotteries and made a fortune. Also check out how Goethe became an amateur auction theorist.
Next Saturday I will be competing (fiercely, one hopes) in Scrabble For Cheaters, a charity tournament to benefit 826CHI, Chicago’s chapter of the national creative writing organization (founded by Dave Eggers) that provides free tutoring, field trips, writing workshops and the like to over 4,000 Chicago students a year. To support their work, and augment my ability to cheat during the tournament, click here and scroll down to my team – The Dillon Panthers. Thanks!
“You want to know who I am? If I wanted to have anything written on my tombstone, I would have, ‘Ask my children or ask my students.’ I actually never thought of it quite that way. That wouldn’t be a bad epitaph.” An excerpt from Studs Terkel‘s oral history of death, Will The Circle Be Unbroken?: Reflections on Death, Rebirth, and Hunger for a Faith, is now available online.
“It’s not clear whether he really went mad or not, but he was admitted to St. Luke’s Hospital for Lunatics—an admirably blunt name, no?”— Frank Key writes about Christopher Smart, “an intimate of Samuel Johnson, James Boswell, and Henry Fielding” and an excellent cat poet, for the Public Domain Review.
Is long form nonfiction returning to prominence and popularity? Folks at The LA Times‘ blog think so. Anna Clark has posted a list of recommended reading for aspiring nonfiction writers, too.
Last week, I wrote about Josh Weil and Mike Harvkey’s joint book tour, which sees the two driving a Prius across America to promote their latest novels. Now, in their latest dispatch, they reflect on the differences between writers like themselves and midcentury writers like Andre Dubus and Norman Mailer.
Courtesy of fake-news juggernaut The Onion, a new viral website honest about its purpose: “I think we see the ideal ClickHole reader as a hollow shell who exists purely to click on our content and then share that content with other hollow shells.” (Also: the same technique on headlines, applied to books.)