Monday, July 21, 2008

Round-Up: Amazon Rankings, People Power, Toxic Book Club Members, and Gatsby's Unlikely Admirer

Here are some items of note after a hot, hot, HOT weekend here in Virginia…as Martha Stewart would say, “Air conditioning is a good thing.”

--Authors and readers can become obsessed with the numbers and how a book ranks; authors even try to manipulate their numbers thought tricks like begging everyone to buy a copy on the same day at the same time so that their book can be in the top ten sellers, even if just for an hour. Does that work? What DO those numbers mean? Read more here on The Rejector.

--Slate has an interesting article about the “crowd curated” photography exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum: instead of having “experts” select the art to display, the public was invited to rank their favorite photographs from an online selection while also noting their level of artistic knowledge. How did the crowd do? Read more here. And do be sure to check out this painting, done in the early 1990s, as part of a satire. Americans were polled on their favorite attributes in a work of art—i.e. the color blue, an animal, a historical figure—and this is the result. It’s hilarious.

--Do you have a toxic book club member who you’d love to kick out of the group but you don’t know how to go about doing so? Not to worry: Slate’s advice columnist “Dear Prudence” gives you suggestions here (scroll down).

--The Writer’s Almanac reports that after gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson was discharged from the Air Force, he “began writing for any small newspaper that would take him. In his spare time, he obsessively studied his favorite novel, The Great Gatsby, outlining it and rewriting passages. He said, ‘I wanted to teach my neurological system how it felt to write that kind of prose.’”


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.