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What does it take to win a National Magazine Award?

Tense usage in Ellie award winners, Burt Helm and Max Chafkin

Few things are more pleasing than when the news delivers the kind of twist we expect from a best seller: Congratulations to Planned Parenthood, after a grand jury declined to indict anyone from the organization, choosing instead to bring charges against the members of an anti-abortion group who had attempted to entrap them.

The group that owns The Guardian, whose financial position turns out to be much weaker than it previously appeared, has announced that it will slash its budget by 20 percent in order to stop losing money within the next three years. It will also, apparently, “align editorial and commercial operations to harness higher-growth membership and digital opportunities.”

Burt Helm and Max Chafkin of the Rewrite podcast have made an only glancingly scientific but still delightful study of what it takes to win a National Magazine Award, complete with a data-driven prediction for next week’s winner. Too late, this time around, for aspirants to make use of their analysis of the ideal length, tense (they demonstrate, with the help of a handsome pie-chart, that “the present tense appears to be going out of style”), month of publication, or number and type of swear words. But there’s always next year.

There have been continued attempts to cut down this year’s to-read list into something a little more manageable: Bomb asked a few writers (including John Keene, Justin Taylor and Dawn Lundy Martin) which books they’re most looking forward to, and Wiredexpressed excitement about just ten forthcoming titles, including novels by Don DeLillo, Dana Spiotta, and Alexander Chee, as well as nonfiction by Roxane Gay and Bookforum co-editor Chris Lehmann

The Torist, the dark web’s first literary magazine, launched this past weekend, and its editors hope among other things “to swim against the current popular conceptions of anonymity and encryption.”

Tomorrow evening you may want to head to BookCourt and hear GarthGreenwell in conversation with Hilton Als. If, that is, you’re not committed to being named the Ultimate Bibliophile at the Strand’s “uniquely competitive” literary trivia night.