“I am so grateful for this tool in my writer’s toolkit. It has liberated both me and my texts from an overbearing approach to ‘getting it right.’” Cara Benson for the Amazon Author Insights blog (full disclosure: Amazon helps us pay the bills over here!) on the benefits of writing and revising by hand. And she’s not the only one who likes to go manual.
Interested in writing a bestseller? You may want to check out Jodie Archer and Matthew L. Jockers‘ newest book, The Bestseller Code. Or maybe not: “At times, it seems like Archer and Jockers are trying to retrofit a closed system. They found that best-sellers have lots of contractions—the better, they explain, to mimic contemporary speech—and exclamation points only rarely … They conclude that best-sellers consist of ‘shorter, cleaner sentences, without unneeded words,’ and that best-selling characters ‘make things happen.’ Active verbs predict best-sellers better than passive verbs. ‘Hesitation doesn’t keep pages turning,’ Archer and Jockers decide. After all that work, in other words, the algorithm ends up confirming the uncontested tenets of craft and style.”
Edward “The Godfather” Thorp has been widely recognized as the “father of card counting” since the publication of his bestselling book Beat the Dealer in 1962. Today, at 70 years old, the man’s impact on the card game is ubiquitous, but perhaps nowhere moreso than at Las Vegas’ annual Blackjack Ball.
Don’t expect to hear from Alan Moore anytime soon. He is withdrawing from public life after accusations that his comics include racist characters and too much sexual violence toward women according to an interview with Pádraig Ó Méalóid. He also took the opportunity to disparage society’s obsession with superheroes, which probably won’t win him any more fans. “To my mind, this embracing of what were unambiguously children’s characters at their mid-20th century inception seems to indicate a retreat from the admittedly overwhelming complexities of modern existence.”
Over the past week, the work of three Millions staffers has been shown off for other publications: Mark O’Connell talks Lethem, Dyer and Batuman for Slate; Emily St. John Mandel talks noir for Beyond the Margins; and Garth Risk Hallberg names his selection for this year’s Pulitzer-less Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
Bookish men of New York. Are you listening? Good. On February 13th, Housing Works is hosting a “Literary Speed Dating” event… except they currently have a slight problem. There are literally too many women signed up for the event. If this isn’t enticing enough for you to buy a ticket immediately, perhaps a $4 discount will be. Simply enter the event code “TOLSTOY” when you buy online – or visit this link directly. Now, hurry. Think of which book you’ll bring with you. You know, the one you’re “just kinda, like, reading for fun at the moment.”