Do author photographs change the way we see them (or the way we read their works)? At Lit Hub, stare into the souls of a few iconic writers and read about how author photos impact us. You could also read our review of Street Seen, which maps out how photography and reality became intertwined.
Online used book marketplace AbeBooks rounded up the most expensive books sold via its site in October. At the top is a collection of Scottish music from 1782 that went for $8,500. Also on the list are some collectible Tolkien and Hemingway. (Thanks, Laurie)
"They might underline a page number, draw a little star on the last page, or write their first initial somewhere in the book." A librarian in Scotland discovered a secret code used by elderly patrons to track which books they already read. From our archives: an essay on the importance of libraries and how they can stay relevant.
"No one was more grimly adamant that the world was in mortal peril, or had more fun trying to save it from itself." Over at The New Yorker's Page Turner blog, Alexandra Schwartz considers the life and work of Grace Paley, noting that Paley's slim output "is a great shame, if not so surprising. Activism, like alcoholism, can distract a writer from the demands of her desk." Also of note: this tribute to Paley that our own Garth Risk Hallberg wrote upon her death in 2007.
“I was being paranoid, but those of us who write memoirs should never underestimate the damage they can cause. I’ve seen close relationships rocked by a memoir. I’ve seen parents stop speaking to their children for years. Memoirs pose a natural threat to the family mythology, those portraits framed on the mantel piece that say everyone is happy and nothing is wrong.” Sarah Hepola asks her mother and father what it felt like to be portrayed in her memoir, Blackout.