Fifty-Shades-of-GreyWriting a successful bestseller is difficult, an all-consuming challenge. If you had a handy list of do’s and don’ts to ensure you wrote the next big hit, it would make things so much simpler. Researchers from Stony Brook University in New York claim to have found the key to a bestseller (with 84% accuracy). In identifying certain word types that attract and deter readers, the study has found the trends that work and those that won’t. See this Guardian article for more information: The Guardian

Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler’s political manifesto, has been listed in top ebook charts in recent years, thanks, it seems, to the success of Fifty Shades of Grey. This bizarre logic is a result of trending habits found on Amazon’s website’s recommendations. But whereas the fascist text has become a popular download in the history, philosophy and politics retail categories, Fifty Shades clearly remains firmly in the romance fiction section. So where’s the link between the two? Well, some have suggested the ebook format itself, which allows easy purchase away from the judgemental eyes of shop assistants, or the embarrassment of other people finding the titles on your bookshelf. It seems that buyers prefer the cheaper version of these books, which can be deleted effortlessly after reading.

Publishers Weekly produced a short list of fictional books referenced in literature that we wish were real. There must be more to fill this list than nine! Books that don’t exist

Fancy giving your online reading habits a more creative flair? Why not try these chosen literary blogs (some obvious, some less so) that every twenty-something should read. Actually, forget the haughty age restriction, any lovers of literature should find something worthwhile here: 10 Literary Blogs

Often overlooked by readers, especially in the UK, is the short story. Though not as bulky as an 800 page epic, the short story can still be, with far fewer words and in more concise a form, charming, dramatic, distressing and enlightening. If you need a bit of prompting or guidance for examples of what to read, try this list of 35 ‘perfect’ short stories: Art of the Short Story

A news piece that sparked interest earlier this week was the announcement that a set of letters had been discovered in an Essex archive by a University professor, addressed from nineteenth-century writer Mary Shelley. The letters are dated in the author’s later life, between 1831 and 1849, after the 1818 publication of her most famous work, Frankenstein. The correspondences were addressed to Horace and Eliza Smith, who had been close friends with Shelley’s husband, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.

American romance novelist Danielle Steel was awarded the Legion d’Honneur last week from the French government for her services to culture.

The crew over at The Millions have created their anticipation list of new books to be released from now until August 2014. It is well worth a read, but bear in mind this selection is for forthcoming publications in the U.S, so some novels listed, like Rachel Joyce’s Perfect and Marcel Theroux’s Strange Bodies, have already hit shelves in the UK. Largely though, it looks like many of the books will be published for the first time on these shores over the next few months too, such as Rabih Alameddine’s An Unnecessary Woman and Jesse Ball’s Silence Once Begun.

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