Sunday Links, May 12, 2013

Life after LifeThe shortlist for the 2013 Women’s Prize for Fiction (formerly known as the Orange Prize) has been announced. It is referred to as “staggeringly strong,” and on the sole basis of Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life, which I read and loved, I’d have to agree.

The Locus Award finalists have been announced.

The finalists for the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award have been announced.

The finalists for the John W. Campbell Memorial Award have been announced.

Dennis LehaneWho are the best contemporary writers of noir? Flavorwire names ten of them. I confess I haven’t even heard of more than half of them (those that don’t write horror fiction, to be precise, with the exception of Dennis Lehane), so it looks (as usual) like I have some catching up to do. So many books, so little time! It’s my constant refrain.

It must be tough to be Dan Brown — huge sales, more money than God, but absolutely no respect from the literary establishment. This piece from The Telegraph made me laugh until I cried. No wonder extraordinary measures are being taken to keep the book out of readers’ hands until the release date, making life difficult for everyone from bookstores to the secondary market — by which I mean those who write books “decoding” Brown’s work. The man’s an industry.

If you have trouble getting your writing done, perhaps you could benefit from these tips offered by David Farland. I was particularly taken with the advice to figure out what foods make you the most alert and ready to work. I usually eat only yogurt for breakfast, and I’m now rethinking that; perhaps an egg would help to battle the morning tiredness I usually battle. Or perhaps this is a biorhythm problem, another of Farland’s tips, and I should be reserving my most demanding work for the evening and even late at night, when I paradoxically feel the most awake. Certainly there’s much to explore here.

F. Scott FitzgeraldThese twenty-five photographs of authors help remind me that they’re as human as the rest of us — with, perhaps, a few exceptions! It’s an enjoyable gallery to scan through.

Book covers have a gender, which happens to be the same gender as the author and/or the perceived audience of the book. What this often means is that books written by women are disguised to be for women readers only, when in fact they could easily be enjoyed by men as well. There’s a challenge called “Cover Flip,” that asks readers to design a girly cover and a boyish cover for the same book, and a number of examples are available to leaf through at the linked site. It’s right on the nose. And it’s an interesting issue to ponder.

And while we’re considering feminism, consider how Deborah Copaken Kogan has found her career shaped by publishers and others looking to girlify her books. I hadn’t realized that authors had so little say in the titles of their books, though I knew that they don’t usually have much input on the covers (which has led to such things as a white girl being pictured on the cover even though the book was about a black girl — just ask Justine Larbelestier). I confess to feeling very discouraged about such things these days; it seems that everywhere you turn there’s another example of women being put down based on their genitals. You would think that fifty years after Betty Friedan, we’d have made more progress.

Peter Pan tattooI have never considered getting a tattoo, but these 50 tattoos inspired by books almost inspire me to get one.

I don’t usually recommend that people watch commercials, but hey, there are some great creative minds doing excellent work in that medium. This Audi commercial features Leonard Nimoy and Zachary Quinto doing an incredibly funny send-up of all things Spock, and is well worth your two-and-a-half minutes.

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