Those of you who remember the days before the advent of the word processor likely have some fond memories of using (or seeing other people using) a typewriter. At The Guardian, the Books Blog collects typewriter stories from readers. You could also read our own Bill Morris on keeping a pen pal and using a typewriter.
The world isn’t exactly wanting for character studies of Captain Ahab, but Chris Power manages to come up with a novel analysis of the character in this essay about the Moby-Dick antagonist. In Power’s telling, Ahab was valuable in part for what he told us about the 20th century — namely, he foreshadowed the dictators and despots to come. You could also read Hester Blum’s contribution to this essay about the best American novels.
Ordinarily I would caution against reading a novel’s first draft, however in the case of Finnegans Wake, perhaps all rules should be tossed out the window. With this one, it seems as though any and all supplemental material might help unlock the finished product’s mysteries. Case in point: the entire first draft of Joyce’s most perplexing novel. (Of course, when all else fails, there’s always Michael Chabon to save the day.)
Sometimes, in a narrative, it’s necessary to focus on one scene, in one place, for as long as one possibly can. In his new graphic novel, Here, Richard McGuire takes this to an extreme, setting the entirety of the story in one corner of a character’s living room. In the Times, Dwight Garner reviews the new book.