“I think that every novelist of the kind of novels that I write has in them maybe one really good book, but the trouble with so many novelists is that they keep on writing novels even when they run out of ideas.” Forrest Gump author Winston Groom on why it’s taken him 20 years to write his new novel. Pair with our recent three-way interview with writers Emily Barton, Alexander Chee, and Whitney Terrell, all of whom needed a decade for their most recent books.
Last April, our own Bill Morris bemoaned the current state of America’s higher education system. At the same time, Malcolm Harris derided the unreasonable cost of that same system. Now Benjamin Ginsberg, author of The Fall of the Faculty, places blame for both criticisms on the shoulders of universities’ expanding administrative staff.
“Bestselling self-published authors attract producers because they have a proven track record if they stay on Amazon sales charts over time.” The Guardian considers the Hollywood success of writers such as Andy Weir, E. L. James, and Mark Dawson. And just last year our own Bill Morris wondered why literature was enjoying such a good run out in LaLa Land: “Four novels as source material for Oscar-nominated screenplays? What happened? Did some pixie slip a vial of smart powder into the L.A. drinking water?”
There was an article in the New York Times on cook book ghostwriters, and it called Gwyneth Paltrow out for not writing My Father’s Daughter. Then the actress cum gourmand denied having worked with a ghostwriter in a tweet. Now Sari Botton, a frequent ghostwriter, has tried to clear the whole thing up in an essay on The Rumpus on why ghostwriting is such a fickle business, and a tricky term.
Reflecting on the sales figures of Lean In and How to Win Friends and Influence People, Sarah L. Corteau wonders: could it be that self-help is America’s quintessential genre? (You could also read Alan Levinowitz on the paradox of Christian self-help books.)