Len Downie was executive editor of the Washington Post for years and years and years. Now he is the Vice President At Large. We don't know what that means except that it maybe gave him time to finish his novel, The Rules of the Game, which is a story of political intrigue, of fucking course. Also of fucking course: there is a newspaper editor in it! Uh oh! Time to name the thinly veiled real-life Post figures involved! The problem is there is like one easy-to-identify thinly veiled real person, and it's former Post editor Ben Bradlee, and the Bradlee character is a big brave hero, which is how everyone already publicly idolizes him. Actually it looks like all the journalists involved are big heroic hero types!
Before inviting the web to create a collaborative novel using a wiki in 2007, Jeremy Ettinghausen asked, "Can a community write a novel?" The answer is yes but a terrible one! A year later the Penguin publisher told researchers at De Montfort University (Penguin's partner in the project), "It's the best thing I've ever done...but I would never do it again." Which means "The book was awful but I'm not going to insult the 1500 people who wrote it for me." Of course no one expected the novel to be any good — the excerpt below is about as terrible as one would guess. That's why this was a great project for Penguin.
Stephanie Posavec's infographic literary maps have been catching a lot of attention, but let's take a closer look. As NotCot explains, the map represents Jack Kerouac's classic beat novel On the Road, "exhibit[ing] scientific rigor and precision in their formulation: meticulous scouring the surface of the text, highlighing and noting sentence length, prosody, and themes..." But... why?! They look pretty, yet are completely useless, and only notable as an exercise in obsession. Without the explanation, the abstract images might be artistic ad graphics. We're reminded of a word coined by infographics master Edward Tufte: "chartjunk: useless, non-informative, or information-obscuring elements of quantitative information displays." The artist's explanation of how the map was compiled follows.