what is funny?

I loved Julie Schumacher's Dear Committee Members when it came out a few years ago, and her latest installment The Shakespeare Requirement was even funnier. Dear Committee Members won her the Thurber Prize for American Humor, making her the first woman to win. So of course, people came to her to find out the secrets of her comedy. Her secret? She doesn't think she's funny. 

Spoiler: I do. 

She wrote up her thoughts on being thought of as funny but not being funny here, thanks to LitHub. 

Oh, and read her books. Trust me on that. 

breaking all the rules

Readers know that there are rules. We've been told all our lives how to read and (maybe more importantly) how not to read. And some of them are important rules, for when we're in school and reading library books. But as adults, do we still need to follow the rules, or an we make up our own? Bustle has come out with a list of 11 book rules that maybe need to be broken and why. You can see the full list here, and make your own decisions on what to read and how to read it. 

reach for that tv remote

Great news! Lee Child is developing his Jack Reacher series for television. Movies have been made of some of the books, but readers have not been happy with Tom Cruise in the title role. If you've read any of the novels, then you understand why he may not have been the best choice for Reacher, as physically he is about as far away as the novels' descriptions of the iconic hero. They plan on keeping that in mind as they cast the television series. Child was also in the news for donating his archive of notes and correspondence to the University of East Anglia. Want all the details? Check out this article from the Guardian, which brings us all the good news about Lee Child and Jack Reacher. 

murder on ice

Iceland has gotten a reputation for good crime fiction, and its capital city Reykjavik is a big part of that. CrimeReads has put together a strong list of Icelandic crime books for readers who crave stories of murder from another country. You can check out the full list here, which includes my beloved Wallander, and see where you want to head next in reading Icelandic crime novels. 

falling for cookbooks

You know I love my cookbooks, so when Epicurious put out their list of the cookbooks coming out this fall, you know I'm going to be all over it, adding a bunch of those to my Amazon lists, just waiting for release dates. You can check out their list here, and add your favorites to your wish lists too! 

there are no grammar nazis

Lit Hub recently looked at the grammar penal code and realized that there are no absolutes in grammar. As they say, "Grammar purity is one big Ponzi scheme." And they're right. We know most grammar rules as well as their exceptions. An there are always exceptions. 

Grammar is a lie! 

Or at the very least, each person has their own grammar rules, and who's to say if they are right or wrong? Check out the full article here

the hardest working assistant in publishing

Hachette Book Group recently sat down with the assistant to writer Mary Simses, her cat Cinnamon. Cinnamon pulls no punches when talking about all the expectations of the writer's assistant/muse, and you can find out all the secrets of the job right here. Hint: napping may be involved. 

apple-cheeked killers

There are thousands of crime stories from the coasts of America, set in L.A. or New York or Florida. But what about the rest of us in the middle? Crimereads published this article recently about the crime writers of the Great Midwest. Written by author Lori Rader-Day, this is a sneak peek of the books you'll want to read from those of us stuck in the middle. And while we may seem nice at first in these here parts, as Rader-Day herself says at the end, "We’re apple-cheeked; we’re adorable. We’ll probably kill you in our next book."

it's not pronounced the way you think

I discovered Evelyn Waugh in college (English major nerd alert!) and immediately fell in love with his writing. He is witty and intelligent and mixes his Novels of Great Importance with novels that are laugh-out-loud funny, which is the fastest way to get me to fall in love with your book. Apparently I'm not the only fan of Waugh out there, although I don't take it as far as some fanatics do. The Week got the full story of the fanbois, and you can check out the tweediness of it all right here

writers solving crime

When Stephen King's son, Joe Hill (that's his writer name), recently rewatched Jaws, he saw something that he could barely believe, and that moment may have solved a crime from the 1970s. The extra he saw in the shot may have been a woman who was the murder victim The Lady of the Dunes, and his making that connection could offer more clues to her unsolved murder. Esquire got the whole story, and you can check out the full story here

cookbooks on tv

One of the hottest and most interesting cookbooks of the last couple years, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat is coming to Netflix as a series this fall. It's one of their interesting food shows, and I can't wait to see how they adapt it. If you want to know more about the book and its author, Samin Nosrat, you can learn more on Milk Street Radio's podcast featuring an interview with her (highly recommended!), link here, and get more information on her show and other shows coming to Netflix later this year in this short article from Eater. 

words on books and things

For when you need happy thoughts about reading, or just some inspiration to tackle that ever-growing pile of books To Be Read, Aim Happy has put together 40 quotes about reading to remind us all why we love all the books. You can see the full list here, and pick out your favorites to decorate your walls, your notebooks, or your social media! 

why why why do we take on huge projects?

Do you ever find yourself taking on huge, impossible reading projects? I know I do. Like: I'm going to read all of Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache novels before her new one comes out this fall. I have read three (the new one is number 14, out in late November. I may not make it). But why do we do this? Writer Jonathan Arlan wrote an essay about this for Lit Hub, which you can read here, explaining what keeps him coming back to the big reading ideas and what stops him from getting them done. Knowing won't make me stop, but it's fun to think about why we do the crazy things we do. 

what to do after summer reading is over

What to do? Read more books, of course. The Millions has put together their list of some of the most anticipated books coming out in the second half of 2018. You can check out their list here, and then update your tbr with upcoming titles. 

books win! books win all the things!

It turns out that movies based on books make more money than movies based on original screenplays. Bustle read the numbers and gave us the lowdown. And it's not that movies based on books make a few more dollars. They make over 50% more worldwide. You can read the whole article here, and then make a list of all the upcoming movies you want to see based on your favorite books. Let's keep this trend going! 

wait, i read this already! i think. didn't i?

Why, oh why, do we forget so many of the books we've read? And the movies we've seen? And the television shows? And if we brushed our teeth or where we put the keys or--um, I was going to say something else here, but I forgot what it was. Julie Beck of The Atlantic looked into that for us and can explain here why we forget books (and everything else) and if anything can be done about it, other than always putting your keys in the same place. 

a life of words

Edmund White, writer of many novels and reader of many, many more, talks about how he feels as a reader in his newest book, The Unpunished Vice: A Life of Reading. In this excerpt from The Paris Review, White talks about how reading makes him feel, how to read friends' books, and about being a judge in writing competitions. You can read the full excerpt here, and be sure to check out his book, which just came out last month. 

i know i studied am lit in school, but what is it exactly?

What is American literature? And what is it to the rest of the world? Lit Hub asked book professionals from around the world to choose 3 novels that epitomized American fiction, and some of the results are surprising. There is lots of Faulkner, lots of Fitzgerald, lots of Catcher in the Rye and On the Road. But also chosen were The Virgin Suicides, A Confederacy of Dunces, A Visit from the Good Squad, and (I was so delighted to see this one!) Postcards from the Edge. I was also thrilled to see among those who chose Fitzgerald that it wasn't just The Great Gatsby. Also picked were The Love of the Last Tycoon and (my personal favorite of his) The Pat Hobby Stories. Check out the full list here, and if you want to leave a comment on which 3 books you'd pick, I'd love to hear it! 

what winning does to you

2018 is the 50th aniversary of the Man Booker Prize, and The Guardian asked several authors what it meant to them to win this prestigious fiction award. Authors such as Julian Barnes, Margaret Atwood, and Hilary Mantel talk about how it felt to win and how it changed their lives. And you can read the full article here

By the way: Just in case, don't go to the bathroom right before they're about to announce the winner. Just in case.