Words

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

bookstores

“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

JohnFarrar-TheBookman_1

“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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Ban Internet Slang? For Realz?

LOL-face-011

It’s an interesting cultural moment: on the one hand, the self-appointed cyberhustler experts in the “future of news” spend their time mocking the fustiness of old media; on the other hand, a star online destination wants to sound more like one of its paper-based predecessors.

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Can Books Keep Young Baghdadis From Leaving The City?

books baghdad

“Bathed in the rainbow-colored light of an old Baghdadi window, Ali al-Makhzomy explained his plan to get technology-obsessed young Iraqis to read books – old-fashioned books, with pages.” He says, “We really want Baghdad in the 1930s or ’40s or ’50s to return. It was more civilized. How do we know? We read about it.”

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The Electrifying Muriel Spark

muriel spark

“She loved lightning. It wasn’t her favorite weapon – fire was, or knives. But lightning has a brutal, beautiful efficiency, and she used it to good effect, once frying alive a pair of lovers. Lightning seemed to seek her out, too. It struck her houses repeatedly, and on one occasion caused a nearby bell tower […]

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Revealed: CIA Used Dr. Zhivago As Weapon During The Cold War

Omar Sharif and Julie Christie in the film Doctor Zhivago

“This book has great propaganda value, not only for its intrinsic message and thought-provoking nature, but also for the circumstances of its publication: we have the opportunity to make Soviet citizens wonder what is wrong with their government, when a fine literary work by the man acknowledged to be the greatest living Russian writer is […]

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All Writers Pine For A Vera Nabokov

Vera

“Twenty-three years after her death, Vera Nabokov remains a revered figure in capital ‘L’ Literature … Vera not only performed all the duties expected of a wife of her era … but also acted as her husband’s round-the-clock editor, assistant, and secretary. … So it seems likely that having, or not having, a Vera could […]

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Shakespeare As Literature (It’s Better As Theatre)

The Tempest at Shakespeare's Globe theatre

“Shakespeare’s plays are for seeing in performance. Reading them, even for an experienced performer, is heavy going. To read any play with a large cast, it’s hard to keep track of who is who and their relationships with each other. Harder still to remember who is in the scene and not saying much.”

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