World-building is an essential part of any story, but what about map-making? At Book Riot, two cartographers explain how they create the maps we see inside books. One cartographer’s perspective: “I really wanted to make a map that could easily be an artifact from the world of the book…. I came up with the idea that the map could be a page ripped from an atlas, and someone had written notes on it.” See also: Rob Goodman’s essay for the reader on world-building and its relationship to reality.
The internet has allowed self-publishing to become tremendously popular, but writers have been limited in their ability to create custom designed books. A new site called Blurb is offering book creation software that allows you to build your own book. Then they print it for you. It's meant for creating a one off gift or keepsake, and the prices seem somewhat steep, but it's probably better than what you would get from a professional print shop.The Bookfinder.com Journal discusses the US Copyright Office's new report on orphan works ("Orphan works are copyrighted materials whose owners are difficult or impossible to locate, meaning they can no longer be purchased, reprinted, cited at length, or otherwise built upon. Books can get 'orphaned' for all sorts of reasons.") New rules will hopefully make it easier to republish out of print work that has disappeared because copyright holders cannot be found.The Baltimore Sun reports on a man who tried to build his book collection by checking out more than 402 books on as many as 10 different library cards. The fine? Three years in prison.
Laila Lalami recently wrote about "How History Becomes Story," but writing an interesting and compelling history book sans fiction has its own challenges. Thankfully S.C. Gwynne offers some tips in a piece for the History News Network, including the hard-hitting reminder that "it is your job to force your facts into narrative form."
In its treatment of the poor, Britain may be “going back to the Middle Ages,” says Booker repeat winner Hilary Mantel. Indeed, she explains, “In some respects … Cromwell lived in a more enlightened time.” And she’s not the only high profile UK author to come to the side of government welfare these days. In a two-part interview for The Daily Show, J.K. Rowling notes that she couldn’t have written her first books without government “benefits.”
"When I was younger, I finished everything. I was a total martyr. Now ... I’m getting older. We have a finite amount of time on this earth. If something really doesn’t speak to you, and there’s not a ride-or-die reason to read it all the way through, then it’s time to give up." Ten questions for Lisa Lucas, the new(ish) director of the National Book Foundation.
What is it like to work for a major book publisher? In an excerpt from the new reprint of her My Misspent Youth, Meghan Daum discusses the myth of the glamorous editorial job, one in which no time is wasted reading self-help books and unauthorized biographies of cable stars. As she explains it, “We’re secretaries fully versed in Derrida, receptionists who have read Proust in French.” Also check out our own Hannah Gersen's review of Daum’s latest essay collection The Unspeakable.