This Week in Words – Sept 29

by Treehouse Editors

compiled by Rachel Bondurant

Tomorrow marks the beginning of Banned Books Week which celebrates (as you might have guessed) the “freedom to read.” In its honor, Guernica Magazine will be hosting a week-long series of author interviews and essays on fiction which have been challenged or banned from schools, libraries, and shops.

Penguin has filed suits against several of its contracted authors. The story goes that book advances were given to authors who in turn produced no books. Parallels are being drawn to an attempt at something similar by HarperCollins fifteen years ago. In that case, HarperCollins cancelled authors’ contracts and sued for book advances to be repaid if the authors sold their books elsewhere. It’s not quite the same thing as what Penguin’s doing: HarperCollins’ authors didn’t exactly get the chance to write their books. In any case, Penguin is taking some criticism for the move though I think it has some merit.

The Atlantic Wire has compiled a list of punctuation marks and their proponents. Authors, professors, a TV personality, and a lexicographer weighed in on which punctuation marks they favor and why. GQ’s Drew Magary, for example, takes Michael Chabon to task for a 14-page sentence in Telegraph Avenue. “Withholding that period is a real dick move,” he says. Only writers and readers can get so nasty over punctuation.

Antoine Wilson, author of Panorama City, names his ten favorite narrators for Publisher’s Weekly. Each one fits one of two types of narrators: the Unreliable Narrator and the World Swallower. Among those listed are Huck Finn, Holden Caulfield, Fuckhead, and Ishmael. Probably because there are so many great narrators for his list, Wilson throws in an honorable mention of sorts for each of the top ten narrators (Scout and Humbert Humbert made the list this way).