It looks like it’s a poetry kind of morning. Spring is on its way, and what better way to celebrate than with Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s “The Sun’s Shame,” a poem of death and desire … and also sunshine: “All soulless now, yet merry with the Spring!”
Slate books and culture columnist Laura Miller looks at what this year’s bestseller list tells us about 2017. One of her conclusions, “2017 was the year that the very concept of a best-seller became even more dubious.” After reading her analysis, check out our Year in Reading lists, whose authors found joy in reading and viewed it as one of the few good things of this year, even if the bestsellers of the year didn’t reflect those feelings.
The unwritten rules of steampunk declare that in every steampunk story, the Hindenburg never caught fire, the world never lost its desire for blimp travel and the skies are dotted with hot air balloons and zeppelins. As it happens, this element of the genre stems from old utopian narratives, many of which depicted a future of widespread balloon travel. At Salon, Kyle Minor reviews the audiobook of a new history of the hot air balloon, written by Richard Holmes, that shows how the rise of air travel changed the world’s imaginative territory.
Over at the Observer, Brent Underwood writes on how he self-published a fake book on Amazon. He sold a total of three copies, enough for him to earn the #1 Best Seller badge in several categories. Now his fake book has landed an actual book deal and is available in paperback.
“But now that my first book of poems has come out, I’ve become increasingly aware of the challenge of writing a good inscription to a reader. As soon as I’ve got the pen in my hand, I become the most unoriginal message-writer on the planet.” On a little-known gripe about book signings.