Man Booker judge Colin Thubron expressed frustration with gushing book blurbs, which he says “almost blackmail” readers: “you’re either intellectually or morally incompetent if you don’t love this book or you’ve failed if you haven’t understood it.” Our own Bill Morris tackled the age old question—”To Blurb or not Blurb”—a few years ago.
The folks at Harper’s Bazaar (not Harper’s Magazine) are launching a new short story competition, and the grand prize is wild: an all-expenses-paid weeklong stay on a private Scottish island, publication in the May 2014 issue of the magazine and a first-edition book from the Asprey’s Fine and Rare Books Department, worth up to £3,000. (And yes, that’s pounds, not dollars.)
Keeping track of the art mentioned in Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch is almost as difficult as keeping track of Boris. Fortunately, Laura Petelle made a Pinterest board of all the art in the novel, complete with excerpts. Start reading from the bottom up, and beware of spoilers.
“The best thing I ever do for my writing is to take a walk alone in the woods behind our house. Nothing else gets my writing juices flowing so well. And yes, I think that I absolutely need more quiet in our current fractured world.” For Poets & Writers, novelist Leesa Cross-Smith interviewed fellow writer Silas House about quiet books and the importance of nature in the writing process. Pair with: our own Emily St. John Mandel on the pleasures of quiet books.
You might never be able to finish Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past, but you can stay in his hotel. France is marketing its literary heritage with hotels named after famous authors. At the aforementioned Marcel, guests can stay in rooms named after Proust characters. If you aren’t a fan of madeleines, you can check into the R Kipling or Le Pavillon des Lettres.