Friday High Five: Dead Commas, Worst Literary Couples and more

Worst couples in literature

Following J.K. Rowling’s announcement that Hermoine really should have ended up with Harry, the Guardian has made a top ten list of the worst couples in literature. Some will be controversial - Heathcliff and Cathy, Romeo and Juliet - if entirely understandable, if you use logic instead of romance and fond feelings. One couple no one will dispute were a bad match is Frank and April Wheeler, of Richard Yates' recently rediscovered classic Revolutionary Road.

Traditional book publishing in the internet age

The Australian Financial Review has published an interesting, and lengthy, article about the state of the Australian book industry, and how it has changed in recent years. Journalist Andrew Cornell has interviewed both publishers and successful local writers, such as Christos Tsiolkas and Hannah Kent.

‘When I started there were no creative writing courses; people just wrote and worked part-time,’ says Christos Tsiolkas. ‘Since The Slap I have been able to write full-time but before that I was always working part-time. But there is a sense of people today thinking they will be writers, because they’ve studied writing. They haven’t written a lot or been published but they are ‘writers’. You have to be conscious of nostalgia but I think that idea of a celebrity writer is new.’

Last Tales of the City: Armistead Maupin

Armistead Maupin, creator of one of the most beloved fictional universes ever in the form of his Tales of the City novels, has announced that his latest, The Days of Anna Madrigal, is really, definitely his last. In a deliciously gossipy and insightful interview with the Daily Beast, he talks researching the novel (finding obscure items on the menu of your typical 1930s whorehouse), his conversion to the Burning Man festival, being besties with Laura Linney and trading quips with Bette Midler.

Neil Gaiman novels to hit the screen

Neil Gaiman’s books American Gods and Anansi Boys will both be adapted for television. Fremantle Media’s North American arm will adapt American Gods (which was originally in the hands of HBO), while Anansi Boys will be made by UK production company Red, and will be screened as a BBC miniseries.

Death of the Comma?

Is the internet age killing the comma? Slate considers the notion that Twitter and text messaging are making commas old hat for the next generation … and wonders whether it may be on its way out. Linguist and Columbia University professor John McWhorter says we ‘could take [the commas out of] a great deal of modern American texts and you would probably suffer so little loss of clarity that there could even be a case made for not using commas at all.’ Hmmm.