In theory: the unread and the unreadable
- "We measure our lives with unread books – and 'difficult' works can induce the most guilt. How should we view this challenge?"
The author Samuel Langhorne Clemens, a popular MetaFilter topic
, was born
177 years ago today (November 30th 1835) in Missouri
. The printer, riverboat pilot, game designer
, journalist, lecturer, technology investor
, gold miner, publisher and patent holder
wrote short stories, essays, novels and non-fiction
under the pen name Mark Twain
. This included The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
(recently adapted into a musical
), one of the top five challenged books of the 1990s
, published in 1884-85 to a mixed reception
and with an ending that still causes debate
. [more inside]
William Wallace Cook, seeking to help mechanize the art of novel writing, came up with the 1462 possible plots for all stories
. He then devised the Plotto system
, whereby an author need only consult the book of plots to construct the next best seller.
The Nation's William Deresiewicz looks at Ann Beattie's evolution as a writer.
Before Robert Jordan passed away, he dictated the ending of his Wheel of Time" series. This was just another bump in the rocky saga of the series
. [more inside]
"In the making of character, I feel completely happy. [...] I get two innocent people into a Hitchcockian muddle and make them fight their way out. But from scene to scene, they have to lead me. [...] To me, that is the whole of life. I can’t put it differently." Today's Democracy Now!
features an extended interview with John le Carré
on topics from Tony Blair, geopolitics, and money laundering to the novelist's life and work.