Riverhead Books makes an amusing pun in a new fundraiser in which individuals can purchase 3D heads of Riverhead authors — Marlon James, Khaled Hosseini, Elizabeth Gilbert, Lauren Groff, Nick Hornby and more. Proceeds will go to the nonprofit Libraries Without Borders, which supports migrant and refugee populations in Europe by making books and learning materials accessible in multiple languages.
Slate has translated famous first lines of literature into emojis, and they’re surprisingly coherent. Pair with Jonathan Russell Clark‘s essay on opening sentences.
As if demonstrating exemplary literary skill weren’t enough, some overachieving authors were accomplished visual artists as well, notes AbeBooks in a roundup of talent that includes e e cummings, Günter Grass, Herman Hesse, and Jack Kerouac. Consider also our own Bill Morris on artists who channel writers in their own aesthetics.
“People are deeply uncomfortable with the idea that the characters they love and regard as people, real people, were made up by someone, especially if that someone is a woman.” Cassandra Clare, the author who began by writing fanfiction and went on to pen the wildly successful The Mortal Instruments series, talks about her work with Penelope Green.
There are all kinds of arguments for reading the canon (Italo Calvino‘s come to mind) but why should we spend time reading untested contemporary authors? Tim Parks tackles this question, with a little help from Virginia Woolf, for The New York Review of Book‘s blog, and his argument pairs well with Guy Patrick Cunningham‘s Millions essay on reading the classics.
China Miéville on apocalyptic London for The New York Times Magazine: “Standing so straight on a raised dais, in so immaculate a uniform that he looks like a ventriloquist’s dummy, the Metropolitan Police Service’s new commissioner, Bernard Hogan-Howe, tells the conference in an avuncular voice about his plan for ‘total policing. ‘ He is enthusiastic but nebulous. Details are vague.”
Thanks to Jane Friedman, the Virginia Quarterly Review is really blossoming of late when it comes to social media and increased web presence. Case in point: these once-a-week poem posters on their Facebook page. Extra case in point: the sort-of-not-so-secret Tumblr they’re working on!