It’s high time we acknowledge the mastery of the short story by some really fantastic American women. At LitHub, Bridget Read makes a compelling case for such writers as Lucia Berlin and Jamaica Kincaid as veritable dons of the genre. This piece pairs nicely with a recent Millions essay by Adam Boffa on terseness, Twitter, and Lydia Davis.
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.
Some criminals in my home town of Calgary, Alberta, were recently picked up in a drug bust. Their drugs, weapons, and cash were all confiscated. But did the cops take away their autographed copy of Crime School: Money Laundering? Full credit: Moby Lives totally scooped us on this thrilling story of criminal readers.
Anyone who cares about the financial viability of the book business should read Author’s Guild President Scott Turow’s open letter on the implications of the government’s threatened anti-trust suit against major publishers and Apple over alleged collusion in e-book pricing.
“The literary type of burlesque also peels off layers … They are bolder and more coarsely humorous pieces that go beyond silly copies, like turbo-charged parodies. Jane Austen’s burlesques were full-on irreverent, turning a thing on its head, forcing us to peek underneath to see its naked absurdities.” On the proto-feminist snark of a young Jane Austen.
Just because Beowulf‘s influence on Tolkien isn’t news doesn’t mean the publication of J.R.R. Tolkien‘s translation of the epic poem this week isn’t exciting. But while Tolkien’s name alone may be enough for the serious fan, Ethan Gilsdorf at the New York Times has given general readers an introduction to the history of the new translation complete with some insight into Tolkien’s love of the epic poem.