Carolyn Keene, a name recognizable to most as the author of the Nancy Drew series, has never existed. By now, it’s a well-known secret that the popular mystery series was penned by an ever-changing cast of ghostwriters, ever since Nancy’s creation in 1930 by publisher Edward Stratemeyer. For CrimeReads, Radha Vatsal takes a look at Carolyn Keene’s many identities and how, in the end, it doesn’t matter who wrote the books. “Having a single name like Carolyn Keene attached to the Nancy Drew books helps reinforce a sense of consistency,” Vatsal explains, “and smooths over the reality that each volume had been worked over by many hands before it appeared in print.”
The brand new Library of Birmingham opens next week, and the gigantic structure is said to be “Europe’s largest public library.” In addition to its modern architecture, the facility also offers “a room from the 19th Century … to house one of the UK’s most important Shakespeare collections.”
This month, a Brentwood School archivist unearthed a two-page poem entitled “A Dissertation on the task of writing a poem on a candle and an account of some of the difficulties thereto pertaining.” The kicker? It was written by a 17-year-old Douglas Adams, nine years before he published The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
Out this week: Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan; Fresh Complaint by Jeffrey Eugenides; Dogs at the Perimeter by Madeleine Thien; A Moonless, Starless Sky by Alexis Okeowo; An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon; Dunbar by Edward St. Aubyn; Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado (whom we interviewed recently); and We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.
The latest installment of #LitBeat involves musings on puritanical projection, the phrases “ass-banging” and “mucus flaps” and a least one instance of the word “boner.” Our correspondent was there for The New Inquiry read along of Millions contributor Mike Thomsen’s new book, Levitate the Primate: Handjobs, Internet Dating, and Other Issues for Men.