July 31, 2017

Choire Sicha

Choire Sicha—the onetime Gawker writer, cofounder and former editor of the Awl, and the author of Very Recent History: An Entirely Factual Account of a Year (c. 2009 A.D.) in a Large City—has been named the new editor of the New York Times’s Style section.

Alexandra Schwartz considers the career and legacy of Times book critic Michiko Kakutani: “A good review brought on elation,” Schwartz writes.  “A bad one incited rage, sometimes despair. Nicholson Baker compared getting a negative Kakutani review to undergoing surgery without anesthesia; Jonathan Franzen called her ‘the stupidest person in New York.’ (She had deemed his memoir ‘an odious self-portrait of the artist as a young jackass.’)”

Atlantic Media has announced that it will sell a majority stake in The Atlantic magazine to the Emerson Collective, an organization led by philanthropist and investor Laurene Powell Jobs, who is the widow of Steve Jobs.

Harper has announced that it will publish What Does This Button Do?—the memoir by Iron Maiden lead singer (and motivational speaker and novelist) Bruce Dickinson—this fall.

Dan Piepenbring looks at writing style through the lense of Ben Blatt’s new book Nabokov’s Favorite Word Is Mauve: What the Numbers Reveal About the Classics, Bestsellers, and Our Own Writing, which approaches canonical works through the use of statistics. “In ‘literary experiments’ on diction, punctuation, cliffhangers, clichés, and other aspects of style and usage, Blatt uses data to probe the body of conventional wisdom that surrounds creative writing. What if those who allegedly loathe adverbs are actually completely, totally addicted to them? What if it’s quite O.K. to use intensifiers very often, because Jane Austen is rather fond of them? What if I like exclamation points!”

Happy birthday, John Ashbery.

 

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