Intentionally Incoherent Erotica is Best-Seller, Stephen Burt on Women's Basketball, 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:

Carolyn Kellogg reports on how the success of Fifty Shades… is influencing book acquisitions. Penguin's Berkely Books recently snapped up Sylvain Reynard's Gabriel's Inferno and Gabriel's Rapture, for seven figures. The central character of the series is described as: "Enigmatic and sexy, Professor Gabriel Emerson is a well respected Dante specialist by day, but by night he devotes himself to an uninhibited life of pleasure." (Los Angeles Times)

Meanwhile, an intentionally incoherent book of erotica created by an online comedy show via crowdsourcing is climbing the iBookstore best-seller list. (Book Riot)

Author and scientist Jared Diamond disputes presidential candidate Mitt Romney's take on Diamond's 1997 best-selling book, Guns, Germs, and Steel. (New York Times)

With a new version of Total Recall in theaters, the Atlantic looks at the film legacy of author Philip K. Dick.

Julian Tepper describes the strange case of asking a urologist for assistance confirming the science Tepper had included in his novel, Balls, in which a character suffers from testicular cancer. (Paris Review Daily)

If you are near New York City in late August, That Dorothy Parker, a one-person drama, will be performed as part of the annual celebration, Parkerfest. The performance is scheduled for August 23 at the Arclight Theatre. (Broadway World)

In an essay for the Boston Review, Harvard English professor Elaine Scarry examines literature's potential effect on human behavior: "Literature may be able to diminish real-world injury, and the three attributes of literature—empathy, dispute, beauty—can, perhaps, be credited with that outcome."

Continuing the Olympics coverage at the Los Angeles Review of Books—We Can Be Heroes: Poetry at the Summer Games—poet Stephen Burt tackles women's basketball.

The New York Daily News speaks with Brad Listi, host of the literary podcast, Other People, which will broadcast its one hundredth episode August 29th.