This week! Books!
George Orwell’s 1984 turned seventy years old this past week, and, well, everyone’s kinda wishing it weren’t quite so prescient. Two insightful reflections on Orwell’s classic dystopian masterpiece caught my eye this week: Louis Menand in The New Yorker and George Packer in The Atlantic.
For me, no one can dispute Orwell’s utterly devastating insight into how language can be twisted by the powerful, but for my money it’s still Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451 that best capture the essence our current dystopia.
On the other side of the spectrum, Masha Gessen reflects on the remarkable staying power of Ayn Rand.
My incredibly talented friend Celeste Noche wrote and photographed a beautiful article for NPR on the mobile libraries of the Outer Hebrides in Scotland and their remarkable role in those remote communities. You gotta check out this article.
It’s the end of an era as Tin House is going to cease publication of its quarterly literary magazine, having discovered countless voices over the past 20 years. Fortunately, the book publishing arm will continue.
And B.K. Bass wrote a good and detailed writing advice post on some frameworks for constructing a romance in a novel.
This week’s blog posts, in case you missed them:
- The most common mistakes writers make
- How did you choose your novel’s structure?
- How to write a good climax in a novel
- What are your favorite newsletters?
Many thanks, Nathan, for this great video about a great writer who was not always so great otherwise. Dahl was notoriously anti-Semitic, bullied ordinary workers in publishing, among others, cheated on his wife, evaded tax, and generally seems more like his villains than his protagonists. He wouldn’t have lasted long in today’s Cancel Culture.
And finally, I have a soft spot for the utterly bizarre questions and answers on Quora, and this one did not disappoint: What do you do if you are accidentally swallowed by a whale? You’re welcome.
Have a great weekend!
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For my best advice, check out my guide to writing a novel (now available in audio) and my guide to publishing a book.
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