Tom Hanks to Publish Short Story Collection, David Foster Wallace’s Fiction Syllabus, 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:

Actor Tom Hanks will publish a short story collection with Alfred A. Knopf. The stories will be loosely connected to Hanks’s personal photographs of typewriters: “I’ve been collecting typewriters for no particular reason since 1978—both manual and portable machines dating from the thirties to the nineties. The stories are not about the typewriters themselves, but rather, the stories are something that might have been written on one of them.” News of the publishing deal follows Hanks’s recent publication of his story “Alan Bean Plus Four” in the New Yorker. The publication date and title of the collection have yet to be determined.

Digital libraries continue to pop up internationally in transportation hubs. The latest library, in Russia, allows you to check out Pushkin, Chekov, and Tolstoy underground. The metro system in Moscow has opened a virtual library of more than one hundred classical Russian books. Now commuters can download books for free by scanning a code with a smartphone or tablet. The Moscow Metro digital library is in the process of adding more books to the collection, and is asking for suggestions from passengers. (Guardian)

At Farrar, Straus, and Giroux’s Work in Progress blog, Jonathon Galassi lyrically reminisces about his time in Connecticut with the late James Laughlin. Laughlin, who founded New Directions Books in 1936, would have turned one hundred on October 30.

“We are going to read and converse about nine novels (some of which are kind of long) dating from the 1930s–1970s. They’re books that are arguably good and/or important but are not, in the main, read or talked about that much as of 2003.” Joan Didion, Djuna Barnes, and Richard Brautigan are among the authors of required texts for David Foster Wallace’s 2003 “Selected Obscure/Eclectic Fictions” course syllabus. (Salon)

Despite speculations that the rise of e-books will soon cause print books to become irrelevant, this infographic displays the current stagnancy of e-book sales. (Electric Literature)

This is your brain on well-constructed stories: At the Harvard Business Review, Paul J. Zak discusses his research on the neurobiological impacts of storytelling. Zak has found that character-driven stories consistently cause the neurochemical oxytocin to synthesize in the brain, which assists in people’s willingness to cooperate with and help others.

There is no dearth of independent bookstores in the San Francisco Bay Area. Browse this list of the SF Gate top twenty, and don’t forget to register for the next Poets & Writers Live event, coming to San Francisco in January!