Internet Literary News, March 2014

Please enjoy a few of the writing-related topics that caught my attention and tickled my funny bone in March.

– Martin Ott

Harvard Discovers Books Bound in Skin

The Real Skinny on the Harvard University Library

This story brought a horrific practice to light that I didn’t know existed. Harvard University Library recently discovered that three of its library books were bound in human flesh, including one from a man who was flayed alive. What were the books about? In this case: Roman poetry, French philosophy,  and a treatise on medieval Spanish law. Some of our oldest libraries convey the spooky feeling that unspoken stories exist within (and outside) the books they contain. 

Are We Crazy to Be Writers or Just Crazy?

Writer and blogger Cody Delistraty shares the results of a study comparing the neurological similarities between successful writers and the mentally ill. Apparently, psychotic/schizophrenic-like thoughts and creative ideation trigger similar functional brain activities. This probably isn’t much a surprise for anyone who’s dated an author.

Drama in the Tournament of Books

In the first few rounds of The Morning News Tournament of Books, there was some controversy this year when Hill William author Scott McClanahan tried but failed to withdraw from the competition. Miles Klee from the Daily Dot wrote a scathing opinion piece that McClanahan was simply trying to manipulate the competition and used it to his advantage in a first round upset of the novel The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton.

A Devil’s Dictionary of the American PoBiz

Here’s an example of one of the entries to the humor piece A Devil’s Dictionary of the American PoBiz by critic, poet and blogger Archambeau:

AWP Block: (Pronounce the “AWP” to rhyme with “yawp”): An occurrence in which your attempt to schmooze with the editor of an important journal is cut off by another desperate poet who sights the editor’s name tag and swoops in between the two of you, giving the editor a big air kiss and clocking you with a tote bag.

With AWP in the rearview and National Poetry Month yawning in front of us with a combination of ardent sincerity and exhibitionism sometimes it’s OK to make fun of ourselves as poets.

Street Fighter the Movie: What Went Wrong

At one time Stephen de Souza was one of Hollywood’s best known screenwriters with box office smashes CommandoThe Running Man48 Hours, and Die Hard to his name. Then he decided to take an ill-advised foray into directing a movie based on a video game. Chris Plante shares the mind-blowing saga of what went wrong on the movie set of Street Fighter, a real-life on-set nightmare on a scale with Tropic Thunder

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