The History of American Reading Culture, Alan Moore Drafts Novel Over a Million Words Long, 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:

At the Atlantic, historian Yoni Appelbaum argues that the paperback industry and American reading culture were transformed during World War II when publishing houses gave away 122,951,031 books to soldiers. Publishing houses printed paperback editions of novels like F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn—books that had previously only been available in hardcover and affordable to wealthier Americans—and sold them for six cents a copy to the armed forces, creating a new market of readers.

On the subject of The Great Gatsby, Twitter user @ihatejoemarshal plans to tweet the entirety of Fitzgerald’s classic novel; the first tweet was posted on Tuesday. (GalleyCat)

Alan Moore, author of the graphic novels Watchmen and V for Vendetta, has completed the first draft of his epic novel Jerusalem, about Northampton, England, his hometown. The draft, which Moore started in 2008, is over one million words—almost twice as long as Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace.  (Guardian)

Over the next few months, the New York Times will launch new monthly best-seller lists in the following genres: politics, business, travel, science, sports, religion, humor, family, relationships, celebrities, spirituality and faith, food and fitness, and animals. (GalleyCat)

The Court Justice of the European Union, the EU’s top court, has ruled that European libraries may digitize books without first acquiring permission from the copyright holder. Library users can only access the digitized books, however, at dedicated terminals. (PCWorld)

The Blake Society will launch a fundraiser next week to buy William Blake’s cottage in Felpham, West Sussex, for £520,000. The society plans to convert the poet’s cottage into a museum. (Guardian)

At the New York Times Magazine, Meghan Daum profiles actress Lena Dunham whose book, Not That Kind of Girl, will be published later this month by Random House. Dunham modeled the book after Helen Gurley Brown’s 1982 advice guide for women, Having It All.

Writer B. J. Hollars reflects on his quest to find the original owner of his 1920s Woodstock typewriter. (Rumpus)