A startling conclusion from this data visualization of where in words each letter of the alphabet tends to fall: “the most common word may be ‘the, but the most representative word is ‘toe.’ ” (Also available: detailed methodology and algorithms for the data geeks; an explanation of data-viz as a narrative form for everyone else.)
Obama brings hope, change to the publishing industry.I hope that I shall never see / A book of Palin’s poetry.The Nation talks with the journalist who helped research 2666.Chuck Klosterman gets in the ring with Axl, Bucket and, uh…hey, man, remind me who else is in this band?How is a Snopes like a Lebowski? More Intelligent Life counts the ways.The new online magazine Flyp offers a “truly interactive” look at Jeffrey Eugenides.Ed and his doppelganger Bat have put together a three DVD set of the complete interviews of Bat Segundo, for sale now on the sidebar of the Bat site.The Quarterly Conversation issue 14 is now out, featuring considerations of Gaddis and Bukowski and an opportunity to win every single one of Roberto Bolaño’s works available in English.We were lucky enough to join some accomplished company in Blogs.com’s list of the 10 Best Literature Blogs, curated by Largehearted Boy.Speaking of Largehearted Boy, he has posted his top albums of 2008 list.The Bad Sex in Fiction Award announces its distinguished list of finalists. And the winner is Shire Hell by Rachel Johnson, with a Lifetime Achievement Award going to John Updike.The Washington Post profiles M.T. Anderson, the D.F. Wallace of Young Adult literature.And, following up on our Wallace Shawn posts, here’s audio of the man himself, reading James Comey’s testimony before Congress.
It’s rare that you find someone as eclectic as William Boyd. Not only did the British writer’s new play (based on two of Chekhov’s short stories) debut in London this week, his upcoming novel will star none other than James Bond. (If you’re wondering, his friend Daniel Craig is not how he pictures the superspy.)
“Ms. Gitelman’s argument may seem like an odd lens on familiar history. But it’s representative of an emerging body of work that might be called ‘paperwork studies.’ True, there are not yet any dedicated journals or conferences. But in history, anthropology, literature and media studies departments and beyond, a group of loosely connected scholars are taking a fresh look at office memos, government documents and corporate records, not just for what they say but also for how they circulate and the sometimes unpredictable things they do.”
An illustration of why Cliffs Notes are never a substitute for the real thing.The Britannica Blog looks at “fun facts” about the 1,000 most popularly held books in libraries around the world, including this item: “Which author has the most works on the OCLC Top 1000 list? William Shakespeare (with 37 works). He is followed by Charles Dickens (16 works) and John Grisham (13 works).” Here’s the full list where The Bible comes in at #1, the Census at #2, and Mother Goose at #3 (in 2,036 different versions and editions.) (via)Powell’s is making a series of short documentaries about writers that will supplement and stand in for book tours. From the New York Times: “The British author Ian McEwan is the star of the first film, which is planned to run 23 minutes and will feature snippets from an on-camera interview with Mr. McEwan, as well as commentary from peers, fans and critics.” The film is being put out to coincide with the release of his new novel, On Chesil Beach. (via)