paper trail

NYPL acquires Tom Wolfe's archives; How to buy your way on to the NYT bestseller list

The dapper Tom Wolfe

The creative team behind the theatrical adaptation of Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir Fun Home talks to the Times about the process of turning a cartoon into a musical, and the difficulties of presenting themes like suicide and coming out of the closet.

The New York Public Library has bought 83-year-old writer Tom Wolfe’s archives for $2.15 million. The archive contains 190 boxes of Wolfe’s writing, including his research, drafts, outlines of novels, unpublished work, and more than 10,000 letters to literary friends such as Gay Talese, Hunter S. Thompson, and William F. Buckley. There are also, the New York Times notes, “letters from Mr. Wolfe’s tailor, complete with fabric swatches.”

Here’s good news for wealthy and unsuccessful writers: It is possible to buy your way on to the New York Times bestseller list. For tens of thousands of dollars, Forbes reports that authors can hire ResultSource, a San Diego-based marketing company, to break up bulk sales “into more organic-looking individual purchases, defeating safeguards that are supposed to make it impossible to ‘buy’ bestseller status.”

Twenty-one authors—including Heidi Julavits, Chuck Klosterman, Junot Diaz, George Saunders, Rachel Kushner, and Meg Wolitzer—talk to Buzzfeed about how they got over their respective hang-ups and problems and published their first books.

At The Nation, Miriam Markowitz examines the skewed gender ratios of magazine and book publishing, and turns to the publishing industry to tease out some explanations for the state of affairs.

In an auction in London this week, the private art collection of T.S. Eliot’s widow Valerie Eliot sold for more than seven million pounds—money that will go toward supporting the work of young writers and artists. The most highly priced item in the collection was a pencil and water color sketch by John Constable, which went for £662,500, nearly twice the expected amount. Valerie, who died in 2012, built her art collection through royalties from the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Cats, which was based off her husband’s Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats.