Say you’re the kind of person who never ends a sentence with a preposition. You’re studious about distinguishing between “its” and “it’s,” and you’re likely to judge a person who says “nauseous” when they should have said “nauseated.” But occasionally, if you’re being honest with yourself, you suspect that a lot of the grammar rules you follow are conditional or even arbitrary. Herewith, Steven Pinker offers ten rules you should break from time to time. (Related: Fiona Maazel wrote an essay for The Millions on good grammar.)
Literary Disco, a podcast hosted by Julia Pistell, Tod Goldberg, and Rider Strong (yeah! Sean from Boy Meets World!) is just great. In the most recent installment the hosts revisit their bookshelves and describe their new findings from rereading some faves, including Strong’s overwhelming reaction to T.C. Boyle‘s author photo.
In November, Matt Kish will write a series of guest posts for Tin House’s Open Bar Blog. He’ll be “exploring some of the ideas and processes behind five of [his] Heart of Darkness illustrations.” Over on his personal blog, however, he’s asking for readers to help him select which five pieces he should discuss. Kish, who has previously illustrated the pages of Moby Dick, was recently mentioned in our Great Second-Half 2013 Book Preview.
For years, one of the best ways to make a living as a writer (if you didn’t want to go into academia) was to become an ad copywriter. They heyday of print was flush with opportunities to make bank off billboards and publications. At The Paris Review Daily, Dan Piepenbring looks back on the ad copy of Fay Weldon, who gave the UK, among other things, the slogan “Vodka makes you drunker quicker.” (Related: Hope Mills on working for a creative agency.)
Oh, ghostwriter: that poorly-paid name snuck into the “Acknowledgements” section somewhere after agent’s agent and ex-wife’s third cousin. In the middle ground between Michael D’Orso, who spoke to The Millions of job satisfaction as a hired pen, and Sari Botton, whose reminisces are full of horror stories, Andrew Croft, author of 80 books that sold 10M copies under other people’s names, offers a circumspect take in his Guardian profile. “The ghost is advised never to forget that, at the end of the day, he or she ranks somewhere between a valet and a cleaner.”
Readers and writers and professors tend to read and talk about the same books over and over again. Moby-Dick? Check. Anna Karenina? Of course. But what about the books that deserve the same attention and love but don’t seem to get it? There are too many to name, of course, but The American Scholar has put together a list of 10 such “neglected classics.”