paper trail

Facebook's newsfeed mastermind Greg Marra

Greg Marra

At the Times, Ravi Somaiya reports on Facebook engineer Greg Marra, who helps determine what Facebook users see in the site’s news feed, and who is “fast becoming one of the most influential people in the news business.” The homepages of news sites are becoming less and less of a reader destination; social-media sites, meanwhile, are sending people to actual stories. “The shift raises questions about the ability of computers to curate news, a role traditionally played by editors,” Somaiya writes. “It also has broader implications for the way people consume information, and thus how they see the world.”

Lili King’s Euphoria, a historical novel that draws on the biography of Margaret Mead, and Roz Chast’s memoir Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? have won the first-ever Kirkus prize.

The website HTMLGIANT, which announced its plans to call it quits earlier this month, published its final posts on Friday, including one from longtime contributor Roxane Gay. “I learned so much about how to argue, being criticized, developing a thicker skin, becoming a stronger writer, being more open minded, standing my ground,” Gay wrote. “HTMLGIANT has its issues and they have been well-documented, particularly when it comes to sexism and racism. But the world is a difficult place. It would be strange to expect that this community, and it is, a community, would somehow rise above the world’s imperfections as a utopia.”

At Salon, Emily Gould analyzes two cases of “authors behaving badly”: memoirist Margo Howard’s online complaints about Amazon critics who gave her bad reviews (and who she calls “dim bulbs”), and novelist William Giraldi, who has complained at the Daily Beast that too many people at Goodreads and Amazon are comparing him to Cormac McCarthy. Gould calls both of these pieces “tall glasses of white whine" that shouldn't have been published, but she does have empathy: “The problem is that authors with a new book out are usually suffering from a mental disorder that should probably be in the DSMIV.”

Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk, a cult novelist who once reportedly caused audience members at his readings to pass out, is hosting a reading and party at Powerhouse Books this Friday to celebrate his new book, Beautiful You. And Halloween, of course.