Last Friday was T.S. Eliot’s birthday, and to mark the occasion, Sadie Stein looked back on his 1965 Times obituary. As it turns out, it uses a phrase — now obscure — that was popularized by Nancy Mitford in the anthology Noblesse Oblige.
In the latest entry in By Heart, which I’ve written about before, Thirty Girls author Susan Minot explains why she prefers to read multiple books at once instead of reading through single books from start to finish. Her reasoning? Books are “worlds to dip in and out of, and my relationship to them is continually deepening and evolving.”
“The first sentence, itself described as a ‘decoy for attention’ in a 1930 story on the new art, is a lure within a lure, created in a new economy increasingly predicated on commercial diversification and instant appeal, in a book market that had never been so populated.” Electric Lit takes us through the history of the novel’s first sentence. Pair with our essay on the art of the opening sentence.
Riane Konc reviews the app Blinkist: “Blinkist is decidedly not a substitute for reading books. It may be a substitute for reading books that no one actually needs to read in the first place, books that only contained 15 minutes worth of an idea but had to be stretched out to 200 pages for the publishers.” The app summarizes over 2000 nonfiction books in 15 minutes: read Konc’s review and see if you should give it a shot.
As part of the ongoing Miami Book Fair International festivities, WLRN is giving readers a chance to co-author a story with Junot Díaz. Beginning at 5pm today, they will tweet out the first line to a story—provided by Díaz—from their Twitter account. Then readers will use the hashtag “#WLRNStory” to add onto Díaz’s line, and later each other’s lines, and ultimately the entire thing will unfurl before them.
“I try to edit my work in different states of mind. So I’ll go running on a really hot day and then read the 2,000 words I just wrote. Or if I’m upset, or really sleepy, or if I’m drunk, I’ll read this stuff. If you’re sleepy and you find yourself skipping over a paragraph because you’re bored by it and just want to get to the interesting part, it comes out. Those different states of mind are a really interesting filter.” Writing advice from Sebastian Junger.