If you can’t sit through a 20-minute reading, this one’s for you. Even Dostoevsky hated literary readings. As his narrator puts it, “Generally I have observed that at a light, public literary reading, even the biggest genius cannot occupy the public with himself for more than 20 minutes with impunity.” Pair with this Millions essay on the lively and maybe lost art of the literary reading.
“Your opponents would love you to believe that it’s hopeless, that you have no power, that there’s no reason to act, that you can’t win. Hope is a gift you don’t have to surrender, a power you don’t have to throw away.” This seems a better time than most to revisit Rebecca Solnit‘s Hope in the Dark, an excerpt of which ran in The Guardian earlier this year. You can also read our review of Solnit’s The Faraway Nearby here.
Aspiring authors, take note. If you want to sell your latest book, grow another set of legs, some fur, and bark adorably. That’s what earned Uggie, the dog from The Artist, his forthcoming memoir, Uggie: My Story. Suddenly, our dog-book pun-a-thon from a while back seems prescient.
Do “algorithms and online recommendations threaten to replace [publishers] as arbiters of quality”? This Economist riff on e-book publishing says so. Elsewhere, at least 20 companies are using computer software instead of human beings to write their articles.
In the latest issue of the LRB, Jenny Diski comes to the defense of Liz Jones, a Daily Mail columnist and spiritual sibling to the far-too-beautiful-to-live Samantha Brick. Her takeaway after reading a column that got Jones into hot water? Diski “couldn’t see” what the pilloried writer had done wrong.