Fake Reviews, Obama's Vacation Reading, and More

Evan Smith Rakoff

Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—from publishing reports to academic announcements to literary dispatches—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today's stories:

Publishers Weekly has the latest consumer spending numbers on e-books. Spending is increasing, and consumers polled report that the offer of a free chapter is the best motivator to purchase a book.

The New York Times reports on Internet-review mills, where writers are paid to post reviews on Amazon and elsewhere—for gadgets, hotels, and yes, books.

The latest recommendation from Tumblr blog Writers No One Reads, launched last year—which introduces book lovers to writers who've either fallen out of fashion or never gained huge notoriety—is Rudolph Wurlitzer, whose 1969 novel, Nog, was a favorite of Donald Barthelme and Thomas Pynchon.

Today is science fiction author Ray Bradbury's birthday. The prolific writer is ninety-one, and not everything he penned involved Mars or dinosaurs—his 1957 semi-autobiographical novel, Dandelion Wine, is set to be made into a movie by Black Swan producer Mike Medavoy, with Bradbury slated to cowrite the screenplay. (Total Film)

In other book-to-film news, the much-anticipated adaptation of David Mitchell's masterpiece novel, Cloud Atlas, will begin shooting in mid-September. (Hollywood Reporter)

The Obama family made headlines this weekend as they purchased novels to read while on vacation in Martha's Vineyard, including Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. (Washington Post)

The upcoming 2012 Association of Writers & Writing Programs conference and bookfair in Chicago has been announced, with Margaret Atwood set to deliver the keynote address. 

Long-time book blogger Maud Newton examines the influence of late novelist David Foster Wallace—his rhetorical devices, stylistic force, and verbal tics—on his lesser imitators, including the author herself.  (New York Times)