“He is a man who has written a lot about politics and knows something about expectation-setting — set the bar low, and it’ll be easy to top it.” The Awl rounds up its review series of online Masterclasses with such esteemed personages as Aaron Sorkin, James Patterson, and Werner Herzog. See also: our own Sonya Chung‘s review of Sorkin’s film The Social Network.
Over at Full Stop, Sean Minogue argues that social media can have a positive influence on a writer’s creative development. He mentions Twitter extraordinaire Teju Cole, who thinks his involvement in online discussions "comes from the non-American part of me which is saying that novelists in every other country, with the exception of the American or the Anglo-American sphere, actually consider it part of their work to engage.” Pair with our piece on the best of literary Twitter.
None other than Randy Cohen, "The Ethicist" of the New York Times, has decided that illegally downloading an e-book version of a book for which you've already paid full price in hardcover is "not unethical... subsequent downloading is akin to buying a CD, then copying it to your iPod." He adds, "Sadly, the anachronistic conventions of bookselling and copyright law lag the technology."
Hannah Withers and Lauren Ross have written about today's state of publishing for McSweeney's. Their conclusion? Young people read more than you. According to Laura Goode, though, moms are reading more YA novels than their kids. Either way, everyone can start reading in the bathtub thanks to waterproof paperbacks.
Emily Harnett writes about Elena Ferrante’s bad book covers and how it embraces “women’s fiction” as a genre. As she puts it, “In a literary marketplace where the very image of a woman is seen as antithetical to literature, Ferrante’s covers take an important stand.” Pair with Cora Currier’s essay on reading Italy through Ferrante’s books.