I tend to hardcore eye-roll when a novel is about a novelist and a screenplay features a screenwriter as a protagonist. I just think, “Oh, you’re a novelist and you have no other life experience, so that’s all you know how to write about.” I know this is judge-y and probably not fair, but I don’t know what to tell you guys, my brain is judge-y and definitely not fair.
Of course there are exceptions to the rule: Adaptation is a brilliant film about a screenwriter, Wonder Boys is a first-rate novel about a novelist. The exceptions are few and far between for me. That said, when a novel is about ANOTHER kind of artist, I’m in it to win it. I love exploring different artistic mediums through fiction. And if the artist in question is a TORTURED artist? I’m going to eat that book up with a spoon and a fork.
There are few Internet-based joys like the joy of finding a well-executed fictional Twitter account. But there are some obvious gaps in the Twittersphere–gaps that could be filled by a few fictional characters from some of our favorite books. We’ve already talked about the ladies who are missing from our Twitter feed. Now it’s time for the guys.
1. Rhett Butler from Gone With the Wind. Gone With the Wind is full of Rhett’s smart-assy-but-totally-poignant observations on Southern culture, capitalism, racism, fatherhood, and love. He’s quippy. Twitter would be his happy place.
2. Alex Perchov from Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer. His charming and hilarious butchering of English combined with his obsession with American pop culture would make for an excellent Twitter feed. I need to know his thoughts on the Kardashians. Plus, he’s already got a bio: “But all of my many friends dub me Alex, because that is a more flaccid-to-utter version of my legal name.”
3. Hamlet. A moody young royal with a controversial romantic life, living amidst a criminal conspiracy? MADE for Twitter. He might have trouble with the 140 character limit, but wouldn’t it be excellent to watch? I would really love if someone did a @KimKierkegaard-style mashup of Hamlet with someone ridiculous. Like, say, @justinbieber?
4. Leopold Bloom from Ulysses. His thoughts are random, sometimes inappropriate, often mundane. So basically, he’ll fit right in with the rest of us.
5. Jake from The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan. A hard-drinking, overly-sexual shape-shifter with a tendency to quote excellent literature while going through various existential crises. He might be my dream-tweeter.
An app called Whims is trying something completely different, but extremely familiar. The social network iOS app lets you express yourself with words, colors and fonts only. There are no pictures. There are no videos — just you and your thoughts.
I bet this would be a fun tool to turn your favorite book quotations into images. Will be trying it out myself.
Yesterday morning I’m lying in bed and the phone rings. It’s way too early. I’m thinking — “Wow, bill collectors are calling earlier and earlier.” Except it wasn’t a bill collector. It was Alice Martell, my agent. She was calling to tell me that I’d been nominated for the National Book Award.
Gotta love stories like this.
It’s common knowledge that alcoholics make the best writers. Serving beer, liquor and wine would allow readers to experience firsthand the scourge of blithering inebriation and nominal self-worth that has produced most of the world’s literature.
You must, however, suppress that urge at all costs. No, really, I mean it: your customers and followers must never know how much you revile e-readers.
Here’s the thing: that something is bad for your business doesn’t it make it bad. In fact, it might, overall, be really good. Or might not. But, the point is, belly-aching about ebooks is now officially uncool. I have decreed it so.
1. J.K. Rowling is damn brave. The climax of the novel is one of those Things That Rarely Happen In Books because those things really upset people. But it does happen here. I know of few other authors who have stepped over the line Rowling does in this book’s ending.
2. Most of the reviews went on and on about how everyone in the novel is hateful, and how it’s so depressing. This is not true. They’re all just people—some of them are priggish and truly horrible, but most of them are regular old humans. They’re relatable. They’re realistic. It’s refreshing.
3. If this were what all “small town life” books were like (dark, honest, and stark), I would read them more often. It reminded me a bit of Sinclair Lewis, but less funny and more horrifying. If you’re not into the tiny details, slow pace, and small-minded intrigue of small town life, this will probably drive you crazy.
4. The book would probably be in the running for awards if it weren’t for the name on the front cover. I agree with what Ann Patchett said— the reviews have been more about taking a wildly successful commercial author down a peg, and less about the actual book. How dare a rich children’s author try to write Literary Fiction! Blergh. Ignore the reviewers.
5. It’s a thinly veiled political statement that might irritate those of us who are tired of even a hint of political conversation right now. If this is you, you might save the book for the middle of November. However, if you’re left-leaning and like having that part of your brain stroked, go for it.
6. While it is an “adult” book (lots of sex, drugs, cursing, and crime), the most fascinating characters here are the teenagers. J.K. Rowling just can’t hide it—she’s great at writing kids.
7. The writing isn’t anything breathtaking or experimental, but she also doesn’t write page-long paragraphs or bury her story in bloated prose. This is a plus in my book.
Want to read more self-published ebooks, but not sure how to find the good ones? The creators of a new service called StoryBundle hope to help by offering specially-selected collections of DRM-free ebooks in specific genres at a “pay-what-you-want” price.
Why have a reading nook with shelves when you could have a reading nook IN shelves?
More photos of the bookshelf with built-in reading nook here.
Our weekly round-up of the best bookish lists floating around the internet.
at LitStack, Six Writers Who Loved Weed
at Rachelle Gardner’s Blog, 4 Tips for Writing a Quick First Draft
at Flavorwire, 10 of the Most Literature-Obsessed Songwriters
at Writer Unboxed, NaNoWriMo Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them
at Huffington Post Books, 13 Life Lessons from The Hobbit
at Flavorwire, 10 Essential Books for Book Nerds
at The Daily Beast, The Highest Advances Paid to Celebrity Authors
at Writer Unboxed, How-To Writing Books
at NPR Books, Disaster Strikes! Three Books Where Things Go Awry
at Brain Pickings, Margaret Atwood’s 10 Rules of Writing
at Stacked, Books (and Films) That Feature Haunted Houses
at The Guardian, Anthony Horowitz’s Top 10 Apocalypse Books
at Flavorwire, The Pop Cultural Landscape (According to Books)
at The Telegraph, Michael Chabon Recommends 5 Books About Racial Harmony
at Flavorwire, 15 Scathing Early Reviews of Classic Novels
at Mental Floss, 13 Little-Known Punctuation Marks We Should Be Using
at The Hairpin, Things to Ban Instead of Commonly Banned Books
at Flavorwire, Ten YA Novel to Film Adaptations That Kept Their Edge
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee.
There’s room for another category between individuals and major publishers, and that’s where The Magazine sits. It’s a multi-author, truly modern digital magazine that can appeal to an audience bigger than a niche but smaller than the readership of The New York Times. This is what a modern magazine can be, not a 300 MB stack of static page images laid out manually by 100 people.
From the guy who made Instapaper. Very interesting.
In any case it’s evident that infinitives are now split so often and so freely that objection to the practice is futile.
If one infinitive is saved because of my full-throated objection, then I will have not objected in vain.
Hilary Mantel is a strong presence among past Booker winners too – Wolf Hall, which won in 2009, comes second with takings of £5.4m and almost 631,000 copies sold. That’s only half the sales of Yann Martel’s novel, but Wolf Hall has sold more over the past year and may continue to gain.
Life of Pi is the most commercially successful Booker winner of all time. (I still can’t believe it won.)
The company is preparing a mobile app that will allow users to get unlimited access to a library of books for one monthly price. The app will combine discovery with access and reading, so users will be able to get recommendations and immediately begin reading. The app was designed from the ground up to optimize the reading experience on mobile devices.
We’ve long wondered about a Netflix/Spotify for books. Good luck, fellas.