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.”
Here’s a treat for all you literary legal buffs. A judge in the Middle District of Florida denied a request for a continuance in a murder-for-hire trial. But wait, it gets better. The defense attorney, Frank Louderback, is a perennial contestant in Hemingway Look-alike Society’s annual Ernest Hemingway Look-alike Contest, held in Key West each year, and the purpose of Louderback’s continuance was so he could travel to the Conch Republic for the competition. The judge denied the order by citing Big Papa himself. (via Nate Harris)
Out this week: The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman; The Kills by Richard House; When the World Was Young by Elizabeth Gaffney; Secrets of the Lighthouse by Santa Montefiore; The Scatter Here is Too Great by Bilal Tanweer; Ride Around Shining by Chris Leslie-Hynan; Painted Horses by Malcolm Brooks; The Liar’s Wife by Mary Gordon; The Dog by Jack Livings; Bluff City Pawn by Stephen Schottenfeld; Beneath the Neon Egg by Thomas E. Kennedy; 2 A.M. at The Cat’s Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino; and Bad Feminist by Year in Reading alum Roxane Gay, who also came out with a novel a few months ago.
Dispatch From the Future and The Fallback Plan author Leigh Stein explains that she is writing her forthcoming memoir, Land of Enchantment, for “everyone who’s been to more funerals than weddings, everyone who lurks on the Internet late at night looking at pictures of their lost loves, everyone who cries when a certain song comes on the radio because they think it must be a sign.”