Words

Taking The Kafkaesque Out Of Kafka

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Whoever utters “Kafkaesque” has neither fathomed nor intuited nor felt the impress of Kafka’s devisings. If there is one imperative that ought to accompany any biographical or critical approach, it is that Kafka is not to be mistaken for the Kafkaesque.

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We Found Shakespeare’s Personal Dictionary on eBay!, Say Book Dealers

shakespeares dictionary

“For more than half a century, many scholars have believed that Shakespeare consulted a 1580 dictionary published in London called An Alvearie, or Quadruple Dictionarie.” Now a pair of antiquarians claim they’ve found that very volume, complete with Shakespeare’s own handwritten notes. Naturally, some scholars disagree. Robinson Meyer runs down the arguments for and against.

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The Difference Between Literary Fiction And Genre Fiction

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“A genre novel is governed by limitations, and the whole of the writer’s skill is directed towards creating the best possible novel within those limitations. A literary novel is governed by nothing – nothing I can think of, not even the requirement to be comprehensible – and the whole of the writer’s skill is directed […]

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In The Internet Age Do We Still Need Editors Of Vision?

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“The role of editor emerged in an era of constraint: there are only so many words and pictures you can fit into fifty pages of newsprint. We now live in the age of abundance, in which anything and everything can be published. There is, in theory, less need for an editor to say what works […]

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John Updike, Living His Entire Life As Literary Fodder

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Louis Menand: “People who imagine Updike as serenely aloof from the world of his contemporaries, afloat in a bubble of New Yorker fame and public adulation, are missing the point of much of what he wrote. You might think that the Cheevers and the Pynchons had the better side of the argument about postwar American […]

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Guerilla Comeback: The Odd Case Of The Writer Reclaiming Her Work

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“Now, in one of the stranger comebacks in literary history, LJ Smith is independently resurrecting her stories about the adolescent undead. She’s publishing her own version of “The Vampire Diaries” digitally on Amazon, as fan fiction, creating a parallel fictional universe that many hard-core fans regard as more legitimate than the official canon.”

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Poetry, Sex, And Agatha Christie

Sophie Hannah

“All through childhood I wrote verses and mysteries. There is, for me, one connection: structure. My poetry is metrical, rhyming. My crime novels are highly structured. I never start out with a dead body. I start with an impossible scenario. Opening questions should be mysterious, weird, intriguing and contain the seeds of the solution.”

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The Fired Creator of ‘Vampire Diaries’ Bites Back With Fan Fiction

Vampire Diaries

“In one of the stranger comebacks in literary history, Ms. Smith is independently resurrecting her stories about the adolescent undead. She’s publishing her own version of ‘The Vampire Diaries’ digitally on Amazon, as fan fiction, creating a parallel fictional universe that many hard-core fans regard as more legitimate than the official canon.”

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Falling In Love Over And Over, With Bookstores

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“My favorite day at that store was when the power went out for a few hours but we didn’t close. We experienced booksellers manned the computer-less information desk, answering questions using only our amassed knowledge of books in print. It was like bookseller thunderdome, and I have to say that I killed it.”

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Random House Wins Bidding To Publish New Shirley Jackson Collection

Shirley Jackson

“The new collection, called Garlic in Fiction, is edited by two of Ms. Jackson’s children … and includes her fiction (like the short story ‘Paranoia,’ which was published for the first time in The New Yorker last summer), as well as drawings, lectures and works of nonfiction that previously appeared in women’s magazines of the […]

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Two-On-One: A Novelist And Her Editors

Two-On-One A Novelist And Her Editors

“As is the case with many novelists with an international profile, Emma Donoghue has more than one editor. … The Canadian novelist and her two editors [form Canada and the U.S.] talk about sharing responsibilities, resolving disputes, and the long list of ideas Donoghue has waiting for the novels to express them.”

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What Do You Do When The Story You Have To Write Has No Real Plot?

Akhil Sharma New Yorker

“A truly traumatic thing occurs to the family and then the family begins to unravel. The misery of this family’s daily life takes a slow toll. Real life is plotless, but the experience of reading books that replicate this can be irritating.” Akhil Sharma explains how he approached this “technical problem” of writing his autobiographical […]

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Putting The F Back In Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

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“There was the shy bookworm my mother described, and the charismatic young literary star who drank with F. Scott Fitzgerald my uncle remembered being told stories about. The Skull and Bones member. The World War II spy. The man who took Carl Jung’s hand at an open window in his study and astral projected over […]

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