Fans of Moby-Dick should read Nathaniel Philbrick’s outstanding historical account In the Heart of the Sea. The book, which tracks the fate of The Essex, a New England whaling vessel sunk by a humongous sperm whale in the South Pacific, is vivid and harrowing. It’s also, as it turns out, only one of the naval catastrophes to befall George Pollard, Jr., The Essex‘s captain: a second wreck of his was recently located off the coast of Hawaii.
Does getting up early make you a better writer? Not necessarily according to Maria Popova’s infographic of authors’ wake up times paired with their overall productivity (books published and awards won). The findings: Writers who sleep in write more but win fewer awards than early birds. Our conclusion: Just get up whenever you want.
If you were never satisfied with Hamlet’s answer to the famous “to be or not to be?” question, now is your chance to change it. Ryan North rewrote Hamlet as a choose-your-own-adventure book, To Be or Not To Be. You can play as Ophelia, Hamlet, or King Hamlet and choose from more than 110 alternate deaths. Brain Pickings got a first look at some of the book’s excellent illustrations.
Obama brings hope, change to the publishing industry.I hope that I shall never see / A book of Palin’s poetry.The Nation talks with the journalist who helped research 2666.Chuck Klosterman gets in the ring with Axl, Bucket and, uh…hey, man, remind me who else is in this band?How is a Snopes like a Lebowski? More Intelligent Life counts the ways.The new online magazine Flyp offers a “truly interactive” look at Jeffrey Eugenides.Ed and his doppelganger Bat have put together a three DVD set of the complete interviews of Bat Segundo, for sale now on the sidebar of the Bat site.The Quarterly Conversation issue 14 is now out, featuring considerations of Gaddis and Bukowski and an opportunity to win every single one of Roberto Bolaño’s works available in English.We were lucky enough to join some accomplished company in Blogs.com’s list of the 10 Best Literature Blogs, curated by Largehearted Boy.Speaking of Largehearted Boy, he has posted his top albums of 2008 list.The Bad Sex in Fiction Award announces its distinguished list of finalists. And the winner is Shire Hell by Rachel Johnson, with a Lifetime Achievement Award going to John Updike.The Washington Post profiles M.T. Anderson, the D.F. Wallace of Young Adult literature.And, following up on our Wallace Shawn posts, here’s audio of the man himself, reading James Comey’s testimony before Congress.
Lots of writers have stories about creative writing classes that changed their lives. The remembrance of the pivotal class is a mini-genre in itself. At The Rumpus, Warren Adler writes about his own life-changing experience, looking back on a class he took at the New School all the way back in 1949.