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James Patterson Inc.

James Patterson Inc.
posted by Joe Beese on Aug 22, 2010 - 157 comments

Franzen, Freedom, and video

Jonathan Franzen makes a video partially about why he doesn't like making videos.
posted by anothermug on Aug 16, 2010 - 11 comments

take this content and shove it, I ain't workin' here no more

"The mark of a real writer is that she cares deeply about literary joinery, about keeping the lines of her prose plumb. That’s what makes writers writers: to them, prose isn’t just some Platonic vessel for serving up content; they care about words. Any chief product officer who says “quality online does not equal craftsmanship” is channeling the utilitarian gospel of the managerial class, an instrumentalist vision of journalism that presumes writing, online, is just a turkey baster for injecting content into the user’s brain." Mark Dery, on writing for the web.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Aug 2, 2010 - 86 comments

Wild Turkey Music

In the late 90s EMI's Songbook Series released an album, "Where Were You When The Fun Stopped" with tracks chosen by author Hunter S. Thompson along with detailed liner notes. Since you can't get the cool notes or photos, why not enjoy Hunter's country and folk flavored taste at your July 4th revelry of choice? Ballad of Thunder Road - Robert Mitchum : I Smell A Rat - Howlin' Wolf Big Momma Thornton : Spirit In The Sky - Norman Greenbaum : The Hula-Hula Boys - Warren Zevon : Maggie May - Rod Stewart : The Wild Side of Life / It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels - Hank Thompson feat. Kitty Wells & Tanya Tucker : Will The Circle Be Unbroken - Nitty Gritty Dirt Band : Mr Tambourine Man - Bob Dylan : Walk On The Wild Side - Lou Reed : If I Had A Boat - Lyle Lovett : Stars On The Water - Rodney Crowell : Carmelita - Flaco Jiminez feat. Dwight Yoakam : Why Don't We Get Drunk - Jimmy Buffett : American Pie - Don McClean : White Rabbit - Jefferson Airplane : The Weight - The Band : Melissa - The Allman Brothers Band : Battle Hymn of the Republic - Herbie Mann (cover) [more inside]
posted by The Whelk on Jul 4, 2010 - 32 comments

Martin Gardner died

From James Randi, Martin Gardner died.
posted by hexatron on May 22, 2010 - 142 comments

I think it’s immoral, I know it’s illegal, and it makes me want to barf.

Fan Fiction and Moral Conundrums : Diana Gabaldon, author of the bestselling Outlander book series, takes on the legal and moral issues of fan fiction. She's got a lot of people to convince.
posted by desjardins on May 4, 2010 - 189 comments

Life without armour

Alan Sillitoe dies. The acclaimed English working class writer was perhaps best known for Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1958) and short story The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner (1959) (as both were later successfully adapted as films), but Sillitoe was also playwright, poet, travel writer and children's book author. D. J. Taylor does the man justice in an article for the TLS from 2008 when Sillitoe turned 80.
posted by Abiezer on Apr 25, 2010 - 16 comments

Yours, mine & ours—or—There’s no such thing as originality, just authenticity

Reading in the traditional open-ended sense is not what most of us, whatever our age and level of computer literacy, do on the Internet. Books cease to be individual works but are scanned and digitized into one great, big continuous text. The dynamics of the digital are encouraging authors, journalists, musicians and artists to treat the fruits of intellects and imaginations as fragments to be given without pay to the hive mind. But what becomes of originality and imagination in a world that prizes metaness and regards the mash-up as more important than the sources who were mashed? The very value of artistic imagination and originality, along with the primacy of the individual, is increasingly being questioned in our copy-mad, postmodern digital world. Remix is the very nature of the digital. But do we now face a situation in which culture is effectively eating its own seed stock?
posted by Toekneesan on Mar 20, 2010 - 47 comments

For JD - with Love and Squalor

Famously reclusive American author J.D. Salinger has died at 91. The author of The Catcher in the Rye, a novel alternatively banned and labeled the Great American Novel, Salinger was also among the last authors whose short stories were routinely published in magazines. Salinger's other published works include Franny and Zooey, Nine Stories & Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction. [more inside]
posted by l33tpolicywonk on Jan 28, 2010 - 263 comments

The widening gyre

Robert B. Parker, prolific crime-novel author, creator of Spenser, Sunny Randall, and Virgil Cole, among others, has died with his boots on.
posted by PsychoTherapist on Jan 19, 2010 - 44 comments

How To Write Badly Well

You have a great idea for a novel and it's almost November, so you think now is the time to get cracking. You've decided that hiring a ghostwriter is too easy, but you don't have 100 days to write your novel and the snowflake method seems too frilly. Snowflakes, those delicate little monsters that papered your car when you were stranded on the road in Minnesota. A single snowflake is beautiful, but millions make an avalanche. You were cold, so cold, yet you survived. You're not sure if you have time to read a book on what not to do (UK edition), and the search results are daunting. Forget all that, because you already know how to write, right? Embrace your awesome, magnificent, spellbinding abilities, go forward but never back, ever spinning, shake the rain off your bedspread, and now that you have brewed a delicious pot of steamy, hot, life-giving coffee, you can learn how to write badly well. [via mefi projects] [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Oct 22, 2009 - 35 comments

Dominick Dunne 1925-2009

Dominick Dunne died yesterday at the age of 83. was well known for his chronicling of the follies and crimes of the rich. You can read some of his pieces from Vanity Fair here.
posted by reenum on Aug 27, 2009 - 26 comments

Two baguettes, lettuce, teeny tiny man...

Christopher Moore has been to Paris lately, and has decided to share some of his vacation snaps, and, most amusingly, teach us a bit of French.
posted by markkraft on Aug 26, 2009 - 32 comments

Gone too soon.

Author and educator Frank McCourt, dead at 78.
posted by blaneyphoto on Jul 19, 2009 - 62 comments

...ink by the barrel...

Negative reviews prompt author meltdowns: Alice Hoffman. Lee Oi-soo. Alain de Botton. Ayelet Waldman. Previously on MeFi. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 1, 2009 - 30 comments

Djuna Barnes

Djuna Barnes (12 June, 1892 – 18 June, 1982) was an American writer who played an important part in the development of 20th century English language modernist writing and was one of the key figures in 1920s and 30s bohemian Paris after filling a similar role in the Greenwich Village of the teens. Her novel Nightwood became a cult work of modern fiction, helped by an introduction by T. S. Eliot. It stands out today for its portrayal of lesbian themes and its distinctive writing style. - Wikipedia [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese on Jun 10, 2009 - 18 comments

The Sinister End-of-the-World Homerun

"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved" .... and mad enough to play fantasy baseball. In the new book Kerouac at Bat: Fantasy Sports and the King of the Beats, a NY Public Library archivist considers documents revealing the author's detailed obsession with the imaginary exploits of players like Pictorial Review Jackson and teams like the "Pontiacs, Nashes, and cellar-dwelling LaSalles" in his finely grained, fictional Summer League.
posted by Miko on May 21, 2009 - 22 comments

"Greetings from Idiot America"

Charles Pierce, author of the 2005 essay "Greetings from Idiot America" decrying the rise of faith-based anti-intellectualism, has expanded his rant into a full length book: Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free. (via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 12, 2009 - 65 comments

Marilyn French has died.

Marilyn French, author of The Women's Room, among other works, has died.
posted by Morrigan on May 5, 2009 - 26 comments

What are you reading, charming writer?

What are writers reading? An eclectic mix of authors answer the perennial question. [more inside]
posted by mattbucher on Apr 21, 2009 - 10 comments

John Updike has died.

John Updike has died.
posted by OmieWise on Jan 27, 2009 - 150 comments

"Essentially, it is all about money and power."

"It would be naïve to identify the Internet with the Enlightenment. It has the potential to diffuse knowledge beyond anything imagined by Jefferson; but while it was being constructed, link by hyperlink, commercial interests did not sit idly on the sidelines. They want to control the game, to take it over, to own it. They compete among themselves, of course, but so ferociously that they kill each other off. Their struggle for survival is leading toward an oligopoly; and whoever may win, the victory could mean a defeat for the public good. ...We could have created a National Digital Library—the twenty-first-century equivalent of the Library of Alexandria. It is too late now. Not only have we failed to realize that possibility, but, even worse, we are allowing a question of public policy—the control of access to information—to be determined by private lawsuit."—Robert Darnton on what the proposed Google Book Settlement could mean for the pursuit of knowledge—Google and the Future of Books
posted by Toekneesan on Jan 23, 2009 - 44 comments

RIP Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel has passed. Author, actor, oral historian, storyteller.
posted by me3dia on Oct 31, 2008 - 107 comments

Someone is peeling Kundera's onion for him.

The czech magazine Respekt, known for its investigative reporting, has published a story claiming prize winning author and anti-communist dissident Milan Kundera denounced a young exile who was back in Prague to the communist secret police. [more inside]
posted by lucia__is__dada on Oct 14, 2008 - 22 comments

H.H. Cool J

Helen (Hunt) Jackson was an author and an activist. Her mom died when Helen was 14, her dad 3 years later. Helen's first child died at 11 months, her second at 10 years old. In 1879 she was inspired after hearing Chief Standing Bear describe how the U.S. government took Native Americans' land. She began to publish in support of Native American rights. 1881 brought her book A Century of Dishonor [pdf], branded with the words "Look upon your hands! They are stained with the blood of your relations". In 1883, she published her most famous work, Ramona, a novel about racial discrimination set in California. If that's too much to take in, and now you need some kitties, she's still got you covered. Letters from a Cat (1879) is being featured at Archive.org today. [more inside]
posted by cashman on Aug 25, 2008 - 7 comments

Unusual Public Offering

When a young company is in need of some dough, they often will issue an IPO. But what if, instead of a company, an author decides to sell shares of his book royalties? Tao Lin is doing exactly that. [more inside]
posted by thatbrunette on Aug 2, 2008 - 45 comments

"The fact that I was a girl never damaged my ambitions to be a pope or an emperor..."

The Willa Cather Archive is an incredible resource provided by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, including biographies, letters, photos, and even full (often annotated) text of much of her writing, including scholarly editions of two of her greatest (and most famous) works, My Antonia and O Pioneers. About the archive.
posted by dersins on May 22, 2008 - 8 comments

Rapid Offensive Unit Xenophobe will no doubt be pleased

Edinburgh author Iain M. Banks, creator of the post capitalist space faring society The Culture and it's oddly named ships, has long been the UKs top science fiction writer, but has never had more than a toehold in the US (in part through lack of availability, in part due to lack of promotion and in part due to some pretty awful covers. That could change: Matter, his latest, has been heavily promoted in the US and sports a cover nearly identical to the UK edition. This week Orbit are releasing US editions of the two earliest Culture novels, with the third following in July, which could mean a complete release of all the novels in the US in order. [more inside]
posted by Artw on Mar 23, 2008 - 160 comments

Alain Robbe-Grillet, 1922 - 2008.

Alain Robbe-Grillet, French author, member of the Académie française and subject of this recent Mefi post, has passed away at age 85.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Feb 18, 2008 - 16 comments

Coelho gives out pirate copies of books... reaps benefits

Author Paulo Coelho talks about how creating The Pirate Coelho, a site with links to torrents of his own books, leads to a massive increase in sales.
posted by dobbs on Jan 25, 2008 - 9 comments

Sterling's World 2008

Bruce Sterling's State of the World: an interactive discussion on the Well with the noted sci-fi author and futurist. "The political and economic landscape in 2008 is full of spinning, tottering Chinese plates poised on tall pool-cues." [An MP3 of his State of the World 2006 from SXSW was previously linked here.]
posted by digaman on Jan 3, 2008 - 26 comments

Norman Mailer, Dead at 84

Norman Mailer Dies at 84
posted by muddylemon on Nov 10, 2007 - 105 comments

“Please do the necessary things to stop production of the book.”

"“If the book were to be published as it is in its present edited form, I may never write another story, that’s how closely, God Forbid, some of those stories are to my sense of regaining my health and mental well-being.” The New York Times reported today that Raymond Carver's widow, Tess Gallagher, is pushing to republish the stories in Carver's acclaimed 1981 breakout collection, "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love," in their original, unedited form. [more inside]
posted by sock it to me monkey on Oct 17, 2007 - 25 comments

The nastiest divorce/custody/dead baby stories you're ever likely to run across

Here's the background of one of the nastiest divorce/custody/dead baby stories you're ever likely to run across. Alan Rodgers is a horror writer. This is his wikipedia entry, and this is his blog/forum at sff.net. He was originally married to Amy Stout, and together they had three children, two girls and a boy. After he tried to kill Amy Stout, she left him and married -- Me, Dan Moran. I'm the handsome dude in the eyepatch, if you click through to my profile. Together Alan and Amy #2 had a baby: Anthony Rodgers. Who died under interesting circumstances. A tragedy, I believe Alan Rodgers has called it, and by "tragedy" I suspect he means, "Thank God I wasn't prosecuted for negligent homicide." Or worse.
posted by thanotopsis on Jun 14, 2007 - 44 comments

"I have finished my life work."

NewsFilter: Lloyd Alexander (2) has died two weeks after his wife. Don't take his children's fantasy books seriously? Does it help that the American author introduced thousands of kids to Welsh mythology through The Chronicles of Prydain (Including The Black Cauldron [movie]), wrote over 40 novels (many of which are not fantasy nor children's books, such as his first book, "Let the Credit Go"), joined the army in WWII to become a better writer, and translated Nausea? His last book, The Golden Dream of Carlo Chuchio, will be released in August.
posted by OrangeDrink on May 19, 2007 - 56 comments

If You Are A Dreamer, Come In...

"If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer..." ShelSilverstein.com bills itself as "the Official Site for Kids" but, if you're familiar with Sheldon Allan Silverstein's ecclectic career, you don't have to be a kid to enjoy it. Shel was best known for his books and poetry, but he was also a prolific songwriter, working extensively with Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show [sorry, Tripod link]. He also wrote Johnny Cash's hit "A Boy Named Sue" and was posthumously inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall Of Fame in 2002. More songs and stories here. And his amazingly extensive Wikipedia page is here.
posted by amyms on May 1, 2007 - 13 comments

Stephen J. Cannell: Dyslexia

Stephen J. Cannell has created/co-created over 40 TV shows, written over 450 TV scripts for shows like The Rockford Files and The A Team , and 12 mystery novels. What's the catch? He is dyslexic..
posted by CameraObscura on Jan 17, 2007 - 40 comments

A day to be thankful for resublimated thiotimoline.

Think you get a lot done? Isaac Asimov (pronounced like "has, him, of" without the h's) , who would have turned 87 today, wrote or edited over 500 books, including science-fiction novels, introductions to organic chemistry (a field in which he held a professorship at B.U.) , indispensable anthologies of early science fiction, jokebooks, guides to Shakespeare, and collections of lively essays on science that have introduced thousands of people to the pleasures of thinking hard about the universe. He also found the time to write a few essays and write postcards to his fans. His story "Runaround" , from his 1950 collection I, Robot, is the only piece of fiction I know centered on the properties of a differential equation. His Foundation Trilogy was given a special Hugo award in 1966 as the best science fiction series of all time; a movie version, to be written by Jeff Vintar and directed by Shekhar Kapur, is currently in development. Previous AsimovFilter: here, here, here. Feel like a slacker yet? Stop reading MetaFilter and get to work!
posted by escabeche on Jan 2, 2007 - 95 comments

once described himself as 'a fourth- or fifth-rate writer,'

"Life is wise to deceive us," he once wrote, "for had it told us from the start what it had in store for us, we would refuse to be born." --Naguib Mahfouz, RIP --and more from when he won the Nobel in 1988
posted by amberglow on Aug 30, 2006 - 20 comments

the diamonds in the self-published rough

POD-dy Mouth - a blog reviewing the best of print-on-demand (self-published) books: "finding needles, discarding hay". Also with commentary on the industry itself, and great snark (1, 2). Take her quiz: can you spot the POD excerpts from the traditionally published? (Answers here.)
posted by Melinika on Aug 12, 2006 - 9 comments

America's teaching zoo.

He describes how the birds’ wings flutter, the small black eyes blink, and the head pops off in your palm... A riveting inside look at the Exotic Animal Training program at Moorpark College, which offers America's only college degree in animal training.
posted by By The Grace of God on Aug 12, 2006 - 15 comments

Reader Meet Author

Author Interviews from the Center for Book Culture. I particularly liked the interview/bout with David Foster Wallace. Also the only interview Gaddis has ever done stateside is here. Good times.
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket on May 15, 2006 - 9 comments

Stanislaw Lem: 1921-2006

Stanislaw Lem: 1921-2006. Polish science-fiction giant Stanislaw Lem died this morning. He was 84. Though Lem was not as well known as Asimov or Heinlein or the other "Masters", he was just as important to the genre. Lem was not a fan of traditonal science-fiction, and in his work tried to approach futuristic themes from a more humanistic, almost psychological, perspective. (And his books are funny!) His best-known work, Solaris, was twice made into a film, most recently in 2002. [Woefully out-of-date official site.]
posted by jdroth on Mar 27, 2006 - 87 comments

A laugh before he goes

Columnist and Pulitzer Prize winning author Art Buchwald is dying. On today's The Diane Rehm Show on NPR, he was interviewed in the Washington hospice he has moved to, about many topics, including his decision to suspend treatment for his advanced kidney disease, and live out his life in hospice.[more inside]
posted by paulsc on Feb 24, 2006 - 18 comments

The Screw Takes a Bad Turn

The Mystery of Henry James's Testicular Injury
posted by grumblebee on Feb 22, 2006 - 32 comments

By the book

HarperCollins is the first major publisher to give away an entire version of a new book online, revenue being raised through Yahoo! ads. But they don't seem to be 100% committed - if you go to their website you can pay $18.26 for the e-book and no mention is made of it being available free at the author's own website. [Appropriately the book, "Go it Alone" by Bruce Judson is about entrepreneurial ideas]
posted by meech on Feb 15, 2006 - 6 comments

Rodney Whitaker Is Dead

The author Rodney Whitaker is dead, taking along with him Trevanian, Nicholas Seare, Benat Le Cagot, and several of his other pen names. Under the name Trevanian he wrote The Eiger Sanction (1972) (which became a Clint Eastwood movie of the same name), Shibumi (1979), The Loo Sanction (1973), The Summer of Katya (1983), The Main (1976), Incident at Twenty-Mile (1998), and others. In real life, Whitaker was the Chairman of the Radio, Television, and Film Department at the University of Texas. He was believe to be 74 years old, and died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow on Dec 17, 2005 - 14 comments

God's Debris by Scott Adams for free

God's Debris by Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame) is now available for free in PDF form. It's a controversial book that presents a philosophically strange view of the universe. According to Adams, it splits readers between "the best book they've ever read" and "an insult to literature and a disservice to humanity".
posted by Plutor on Nov 18, 2005 - 44 comments

Author John Fowles, 79, died at home this weekend, after a lengthy illness.

Author John Fowles, 79, died at home this weekend, after a lengthy illness. "I know I have a reputation as a cantankerous man of letters and I don't try and play it down" - John Fowles in 2003. One of the contemporary greats, author of The French Lieutenant's Woman, The Collector, The Magus... there seems like there should be more articles on this, but alas.
posted by eatdonuts on Nov 7, 2005 - 19 comments

M. Scott Peck: I'm a prophet, not a saint

M. Scott Peck: I'm a prophet, not a saint M. Scott Peck, author of the ultimate self-help manual, has Parkinson’s and his wife of 43 years has walked out. Interesting profile of M. Scott Peck, the best-selling self-help author who preached self-discipline and delayed gratification despite being a smoker, a drinker, and an adulterer. Via Bookslut. (Possibly nsfw drawing of nude woman.)
posted by callmejay on May 11, 2005 - 18 comments

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