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.
“What does each president’s fitness for parenthood reveal about his fitness to run our country?” Daniel Jones reviews First Dads by Joshua Kendall, which takes an inside look at the fathers of our nation. You could also check out our own Janet Potter’s project to read a biography of every sitting president.
In case you missed it: Google bought Frommer’s last August. Then in April, Google announced that it would stop printing hard-copy guidebooks, so founder Arthur Frommer bought his company back. All of this has led Doug Mack to argue that not only do we need guidebooks, but they should be part of the literary canon. “They also stand out for shaping history, if not always intentionally, because of their authoritative reputation—they have long been the best insight into that which would be otherwise unknown.”
This week in book-related infographics: Waterstones has put together an illustrated formula for the ultimate bestseller, “a thriller tale of crime, bondage and wizardry.”
Want to make your writing more dramatic? Try using a typewriter. Tom Hanks professes his love for typewriters in The New York Times. “Everything you type on a typewriter sounds grand, the words forming in mini-explosions of SHOOK SHOOK SHOOK. A thank-you note resonates with the same heft as a literary masterpiece,” he writes. Pair with: A St. Louis man placed typewriters around the city in hopes that residents will share their stories.
Does being a writer make you a bad father? Matthew Norman ponders his fear at Salon. “As a fiction writer, I’m perpetually in some state of preoccupation. At any given moment, I’m suffering over people who don’t exist—who will never exist.” Maybe he should try Polly Rosenwaike’s tactic and read fiction about the opposite parent.