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Posts from the ‘News and Notes’ Category

How Do You Get On The New York Times Best-Seller List?

Short answer: Who the [bleep] knows.

Long answer: It seems obvious, right? The book was a best-seller, meaning it sold more than all the other books that weren’t on said best-seller list, correct?

Well, maybe.

Publishing insider Tim Grahl recently posted an article that outlines the eternal mystery of landing a book on a best-seller list, specifically The New York Times and Wall Street Journal. The New York Times is notoriously secretive about how books land on their list, but we do know they factor in a lot more than just sales. According to Grahl: Read more

Joan Didion Talks About Female Writers


I’ve said this many times, but I love The Paris Review “Art of Fiction” interviews. They really are a fascinating look at famous authors.

The interviewer always manages to get these writers to open up about their craft, and even their personal life to some extent.

Joan Didion’s feature on The Paris Review was no exception. She talked about a variety of subjects, including female writers.  Read more

Louis CK On “The Grapes of Wrath” Ending

I’ve pontificated on the ending of The Grapes of Wrath in the past. I’ve even been criticized for calling it “creepy” because art and all that.

If you haven’t read the novel, well, (SPOILER ALERT) it ends with a grown man breastfeeding from a woman he just met. He’s literally about to starve to death. So, yeah, quite an ending.

It’s good to know that I have company in being perplexed at The Grapes of Wrath‘s ending. In fact, comedian Louis CK had a few things to say about it in one of his standup routines. I watched this on HBO last week and couldn’t help but share with you guys.

Fair warning–this short clip is definitely NSFW. That’s “not safe for work” for the less than hip.

Enjoy. Read more

“That’s not writing. That’s typing.”

Of Jack Kerouac, Truman Capote famously said, “That’s not writing. That’s typing.”

While I’ll agree that Kerouac is no Fitzgerald, he does have his moments.

This passage, for example, which is one of my favorites in the novel: Read more

The Pale Blue Dot

This is possibly my favorite quote from any book–fiction or otherwise.

Let me give a little context if you’re not familiar with it, though. On February 4, 1990, when Voyager 1 was exiting the Solar System and entering interstellar space, NASA commanded Voyager to turn its camera around and take one last photo of Earth. The photo was taken from 3. 7 billion miles away. Earth, about the size of a pixel, appears as a “pale blue dot.”

Four years later, Carl Sagan wrote about that pale blue dot in his book Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space. In light of everything going on in the world today, I believe this quote is as relevant as ever. So I’ll stop writing now and let Carl Sagan take it from here. Read more

The Presidential Grammar Rankings

Well, I don’t know about you, but I relish every opportunity to make fun of a politician.

And this recent infographic from Grammarly gives me a good bit of ammunition to do just that.

Which presidential candidate’s followers have the best grammar? Well, Democratic candidate Lincoln Chafee, of course!

Who? Yeah, I don’t know him either. But his followers made only 3 grammar mistakes per 100 words, according to Grammarly. To conduct the test, they visited the official Facebook pages of all 19 presidential candidates (I believe one or two might have dropped out since the study) and pulled comments from those pages.

So whose followers hadded the worst of the grammars?

No surprise here: Donald Trump.

Trumpites made nearly 13 grammar mistakes per 100 words. Funny, with Trump bloviating so much about the immigration laws and how he’s going to make America more American, or something like that, it seems his followers have a hard time speaking English.

Overall, Democrats are much more well spoken (or well written) than Republicans–for what that’s worth. I blame the liberal media.

Anyway, here’s the full infographic. I’m sure, no matter who you support in the 2016 election, you’ll represent said candidate with exceptionally exceptional grammar.  Read more

Salman Rushdie “Raps” To Drake’s Lyrics

Let me be honest: I think Drake’s music sucks.

He raps like he just woke up from a four-hour nap.

But when I saw that 68-year-old author Salman Rushdie recited some of Drake’s lyrics, well, I had to click and watch.

What is so funny about old white dudes quoting rap lyrics?  Read more


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