Legend has it that Hemingway, after reading a review of his work that he didn’t like, strode into the reviewer’s office and slapped him across the face with a book. Upset over a line that questioned his bravado — the line compared his writing style to “wearing false hair on the chest” — Hemingway tore off his shirt to prove his chest hair was real. This week, The New Republic republished the article that started the fight. (For a lighter take on the author, you could read Stephanie Bernhard on cooking recipes in Hemingway’s fiction.)
Planning on writing a prison scene? Worried your characters might sound a bit unrealistic? Then see if you can get your hands on the Bonne Terre dictionary. Written by inmates at a prison in Louisiana, the dictionary includes such idiosyncratic terms as “boat,” meaning a plastic bed, and “pumpkin,” meaning a new inmate.
“Every evening we spent an hour and a half in the drawing-room, and, as far back as I can remember, he found some way of amusing us himself…many of the great English poems now seem to me inseparable from my father; I hear in them not only his voice, but in some sort his teaching and belief,” Virginia Woolf wrote of her father for his biographer, but who was Leslie Stephen, exactly?
Stephen King’s next book is a thriller set in a Midwestern town suffering from unemployment. Before this sounds a little too close to home, the synopsis reveals it’s about a retired cop trying to stop a mass murderer. Mr. Mercedes will be out June 3rd. Pair with: Our own Lydia Kiesling’s essay on her love of King novels.
“Being a judge for the Man Booker prize has at times felt like being part of a team of archaeologists excavating some vast buried city. Once the dust has settled – after nine months of reading – you stand back to survey your labours and realise all that’s left is a small pile of gleaming fragments. I hadn’t expected the process to be quite so emotionally exhausting. Nor had I thought it would be quite so exhilarating.” In case you’re curious, a Man Booker Prize arbiter offers up his reflections on the judging process. See also: the shortlist itself, which has surprised many readers!
“There’s something to be said for allusive titles: they can be intriguing and draw you in. And obscure titles at least make a change from the current trend for The Woman Who Climbed out of Her Car and Mowed the Lawn. (I made that one up, though it could be a bestseller). But when it comes to titles that are simply misleading, there are just far, far too many.” In a piece for the Guardian Moira Remond considers some of the most misleading and misunderstood book titles, such as John Williams‘s Stoner (which our own Claire Cameron wrote about here.)