Mary Karr’s The Art of Memoir was published a few weeks ago to great critical acclaim, and this excerpt from the book on carnal writing and sensual data is evidence of why. If Karr’s your thing, we’ve mentioned her in a couple of previous Curiosities over at The Millions.
As an Editor-at-Large at Interview Magazine, Christopher Bollen has talked with everyone from Joan Didion to Renata Adler to Michael Stipe. Last Friday, he became an interview subject himself, sitting down with Tom Barbash at Salon to talk about his new novel, Orient. Sample quote: “I know I’m supposed to have the young characters constantly on Snapchat and Instagram and every adult is falling asleep at night to a Netflix marathon.”
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.
“Sandberg does not mention pleasure. Sandberg assumes instead that the feminist question is simply, how can I be a more successful worker?…Sandberg has penned not so much a new Feminine Mystique as an updated Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.” At Dissent, Kate Losse, herself a former Facebook employee, critiques Sheryl Sandberg’s new and controversial Lean In.
Millions staffer Mark O’Connell immersed himself in the “transhumanist” movement for more than a year, checking in on such characters as Zoltan Istvan, the quixotic U.S. presidential candidate perhaps best-known for driving a coffin across the country. O’Connell’s book, To Be a Machine, which details dreamers like Istvan envisioning human existence liberated from the outmoded confines of the human body, publishes this month.