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.”
Dr. Seuss Went to War: A Catalog of Political Cartoons by Dr. SeussThe Philadelphia Inquirer profiles Joseph O’Neill (via).A primer from Bookride for using the web to check the values of old books. “The first thing to remember is that most books are of low value or no value. Some books are worth less than nothing.”The second issue of Wag’s Revue is out, featuring an interview with T.C. Boyle.For fans of The Wire, issue four of darkmatter Journal analyzes the series with essays like “The Politics of Brisket: Jews and The Wire” and “The Subversion of Heteronormative Assumptions in HBO’s The Wire“.The Rumpus gets listy with George Pelecanos’ favorite WesternsThe Second Pass follows up on our “Most Anticipated” list with a few more books to look forward to.
Last Friday marked the feast day of Francis de Sales, better known as the patron saint of writers and journalists. The saint, who lived in the late 14th and early 15th centuries, got his title thanks to his propensity for using flyers and pamphlets to convert people to Catholicism. At The Paris Review Daily, Dan Piepenbring reads the saint’s most famous work, Introduction to the Devout Life.
Tournament of Books fans: The official Tournament of Books bracket has been posted. Along with an introduction to this year’s literary throwdown, readers can get a gorgeous bracket poster, sure to become the decorative centerpiece of any library wall.