J.D. Salinger‘s house is on the market and generating plenty of buzz, but before you make an offer consider “what does it mean to want to live in a dead writer’s house? When does fandom devolve into idolatry?”
New Yorkers! Come out tonight and celebrate Kingsley Amis alongside the Volume 1 Brooklyn crew, the New York Review of Books Classics publishers, and also such guests as Parul Sehgal, Rosie Schaap, and Maud Newton. There will be free gin! However if you can’t make it, you can treat yourself to the Kingsley Amis Desert Island Discs from the comfort of your own home. The discs, recorded around the time The Old Devils was published, reveal the author’s views on “novel mechanics,” the “Welsh temperament,” and his affinity for jazz.
In the Chicago Tribune, Julia Keller explains why all the year-end lists are a tiresome exercise: "What annoys and disappoints me, though, is the chilly retrospective nature of such lists. They drain all of the blood from the critic's job. They require a cold, methodical calculation of passions long past. They're about yesterday's yearning. Compiling them is a bit like trying to remember why you used to be in love with so-and-so." (Thanks, Laurie)
A new study out of Stony Brook University employs a complex statistical model to figure out what makes a book successful. Judging books on the basis of Amazon sales, awards won and Project Gutenberg downloads, the scientists determined that successful books have a higher-than-average ratio of self-references, prepositions and coordinating conjunctions. Unsuccessful books, on the other hand? A high ratio of adverbs and location markers.
Joseph P. Kahn writes for The Boston Globe that books published posthumously are among the most profitable, from Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy to David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King. Pair with the opening lines of The Pale King, and a previously unpublished scene.
At Guernica Magazine, John Sevigny on Francisco Goya and the invention of modern art.
"Recent research has shown that messy, dark, noisy, booze-filled environments like the one Fitzgerald cultivated at La Paix can, in fact, help stimulate creativity." The Atlantic reports on the importance of environment for creativite work and / or gives you an excuse to live like Fitzgerald.