New this week: Bright, Precious Days by Jay McInerney; Carousel Court by Joe McGinniss, Jr.; How I Became a North Korean by Krys Lee; Moonstone by Sjón; and Still Here by Lara Vapnyar. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great Second-Half 2016 Book Preview.
Chances are you know (and chances are you wonder why you know) that 50 Shades of Grey started out as a work of Twilight fanfiction. You probably harbor some deep suspicions about the value of fanfiction as a genre. But what if I were to tell you that the prototypical work of fanfiction is… The Gospels?
Every year, for six months, a mysterious Twitter account tweets the Walt Whitman book Leaves of Grass in its entirety one line at a time. At The Atlantic, Rebecca J. Rosen profiles the account, which (to the owner’s bemusement) is popular among Lana Del Rey fans.
Can you hear me, Major Tom? The world lost one of the good ones today in David Bowie; celebrate his enormous contributions to art as we know it and take a look at this list of Bowie’s 100 essential books which includes everyone from Camille Paglia to Anthony Burgess. Bonus: here’s a link to Bowie singing “Changes” in what became his final live performance.
Maybe the real reason I like Jennifer Egan is that there are so many freckled protagonists in her books. Patricia Zohn at the Huffington Post asks the author about her family, parenting, and her writing obsessions (like freckled faces). She even gets a photo of Egan as a teenager!
The Great Gatsby debuted in 1925 to poor sales and mediocre reviews. So how did it become one of the most famous novels in America? At Slate, Cristina Hartmann explains how Fitzgerald’s opus, which netted the author royalties worth a grand total of $13 in his lifetime, went on to become a classic. Related: our own Bill Morris on a book about the novel by Sarah Churchwell. (h/t The Paris Review Daily)
A new Hemingway App promises to trim the fat from your writing in a way that the Great Bearded One would’ve approved. The app uses various color codes to highlight writing written in the passive voice, writing that’s too hard to read, and also unnecessary adverbs or complex phrases. Sounds interesting enough, no? Well, the problem is that someone ran the Hemingway App on some actual Ernest Hemingway writing, and it turns out that Papa himself didn’t even write to the app’s standard.