Jane Austen’s Word Choices, New Maurice Sendak Book Discovered, and More


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:

“By omitting the fantastical and dramatic elements that fuel the plots of more conventional novels both of her own time and ours, Austen keeps a laser focus.” An essay at the New York Times examines the word choices of Jane Austen that explain the endurance of her fiction.

Publishers Weekly announced the discovery of a new Maurice Sendak children’s book titled Presto and Zesto in Limboland, coauthored by Sendak and Arthur Yorinks. Michael di Capua Books plans to publish the book in Fall 2018, five years after Sendak’s death.

Despite the digitally saturated culture, the demand for print books persists. Architectural Digest looks at innovative library redesigns for the future that accommodate a multitude of uses, as well as keeping print demand alive.

The National Book Foundation announced that more than 270,000 books have been shipped to public housing authorities throughout the country as part of the organization’s Book Rich Environments Initiative, a program designed to combat “book deserts”—communities that lack access to libraries or bookstores—by providing residents with books and access to other literary resources.

What do Tim O’Brien’s story “The Things They Carried,” James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues,” and Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” have in common? They are among the most anthologized short stories of all time. (Literary Hub)

At the Rumpus, journalist and fiction writer Elif Batuman discusses her new novel, The Idiot, as well as the artifice of language and the human need for self-narrative. “You have a story about your life, but somehow the story stops. It’s the reason breakups are so painful, the feeling the other person is taking the story and had gone off and left you just falling through space, and I think there’s some cognitive thing about the need to make a story.”

Which book will win the U.K.’s Diagram prize for oddest book title of the year? With finalists including Nipples on My Knee, An Ape’s View of Evolution, and Love Your Lady Landscape, it’s anyone’s guess. (Guardian)