Richard Cohen writes about plagiarizing real people’s identities and the dirty side of writing. As Milan Kundera writes in The Art of the Novel, “The novelist destroys the house of his life and uses its stones to build the house of his novel.”
“You don’t have to immediately quit your job to become a writer. You need only to start writing.” The New York Times transcribes an excerpt from the “Dear Sugars” podcast with Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond. For more writerly advice, see our own columnists Swarm & Spark on whether writing a novel will jeopardize your mental health.
A July 2009 interview at bookish us with National Book Award nominee Bonnie Jo Campbell. Interesting especially is the question (and answer) about how/why American Salvage, the only book from a small press among this year’s NBA finalists, ended up with Wayne State University Press (with an initial print run of 1,500).
All of us have particular words that we use a little too often. Writers tend to be embarrassed about their predilections for certain turns of phrase. At Slate, Matthew J.X. Malady reacts to the news that he uses iteration too much, and delves into the ways our verbal habits spread to others.
The internet has allowed self-publishing to become tremendously popular, but writers have been limited in their ability to create custom designed books. A new site called Blurb is offering book creation software that allows you to build your own book. Then they print it for you. It’s meant for creating a one off gift or keepsake, and the prices seem somewhat steep, but it’s probably better than what you would get from a professional print shop.The Bookfinder.com Journal discusses the US Copyright Office’s new report on orphan works (“Orphan works are copyrighted materials whose owners are difficult or impossible to locate, meaning they can no longer be purchased, reprinted, cited at length, or otherwise built upon. Books can get ‘orphaned’ for all sorts of reasons.”) New rules will hopefully make it easier to republish out of print work that has disappeared because copyright holders cannot be found.The Baltimore Sun reports on a man who tried to build his book collection by checking out more than 402 books on as many as 10 different library cards. The fine? Three years in prison.
It’s easy to forget that traders and travelers a millennium ago were as tongue-tied in foreign countries as college backpackers are today. How convenient for Silk Road travels, then, to have had a phrasebook translating between languages like Sanskrit, Tibetan, and Mandarin Chinese.