“In the supermarket of names, Gary is a box of day-old donuts on the grab bag table, sitting among the names favored by rising immigrants groups, fearless parents, and people who should be prosecuted for Naming Under the Influence. We are six behind Talon, which I don’t even think is a name. We are nine behind Issac, which I am certain is misspelled. We are forty-three behind Princeton, which won’t look good on your boy’s application to Dartmouth.” Gary Sernovitz writes about Google, “Nuthin’ But a ‘G’ Thang,” and the letter G at n+1.
“Jeopardy!” champion Ken Jennings charts “the wide, weird world of geography” in his latest book Maphead. NPR investigates his process in a “Fresh Air” interview. Scribner Books provides a small sample as well. While discussing the particulars of America’s “Road Geeks,” Jennings makes it clear to this listener that he’d probably be interested in Cynthia Enloe and Joni Seager’s The Real State of America Atlas, which was reviewed by our own Bill Morris last July.
There are plenty of reading apps out there, but a company called Rooster has released another, this one designed to “allow users to consume bite-sized pieces of highly curated fiction” whenever they have a few spare moments. In an interview with BookBusiness, Yael Goldstein Love, the editorial director of the project, described Rooster as aiming “to bring immersive reading, particularly fiction reading, back into busy peoples’ lives.” It’s difficult to know how to feel about this. Of course we think busy people should read good fiction, but is this just a precursor to the inevitable change of literature in the face of growing technology and shortened attention spans?
In her new book, Hard-Core Romance, Eva Illouz has published the first serious, book-length academic analysis of the Fifty Shades of Grey. The critically-panned Fifty Shades trilogy, originally a Twilight fan fiction, has sold 32 million copies in the US so far. At The New Republic, William Giraldi seizes the opportunity for a brutal send-up of author E. L. James and the “dreck” she represents. “At least people are reading,” he writes, “You’ve no doubt heard that before. But we don’t say of the diabetic obese, At least people are eating.” Pair with The Millions’ essay on literary predecessors in published fan fiction.
The Guardian has put together an extensive section called “How to Write” with tips from the pros like Robert Harris, Antonia Fraser, and Catherine Tate on writing fiction, poetry, comedy, screenplays, memoirs, journalism, and books for children.David Foster Wallace links: DFW’s Pomona syllabus (via) and “The last days of David Foster Wallace” in Salon (via). Very sad.Adjust your bookmarks. Pinky’s Paperhaus has moved (and gotten a new name).Former Millions blogger Patrick Brown got a mention in an LA Times piece about Herman Wouk a couple weeks back.