Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Around the Word

Top books on books: According to Stephen King, "If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot." It won't hurt to read a lot about the lessons others have learned from writing a lot, either. With that in mind, editor and writing guru Jon Winokur surveyed the writing canon and compiled a handy list of the ten best books for writers for the Huffington Post. From Strunk and White to Anne Lamott, these books have all the advice you need to brush up on your grammar, tweak your narrative and find your inspiration. 

I, Chatbot: For us solitary writer types, the Internet has become both a lifeline of connection and an infinite source of ways to waste time. Maybe the perfect embodiment of both of those facets is the rise of the chatbot -- artificial intelligence programs that simulate human conversation. The website Slackstory, which bills itself as the premier time-wasting place online, thought it would be fun to test how life-like these chatter bots are by giving the three most popular programs the famous Proust questionnaire (popularized by Vanity Fair) as a test of their worldview. Humorous, egotistical and sometimes very cryptic, these artificially intelligent chatters are certainly entertaining, if a little creepy (h/t GalleyCat).

Tax-free reading: Being an e-book buyer in the Empire State just got a little bit sweeter. Forbes took a look at the newest round of New York tax codes and found that e-books are exempt from sales tax. The logic behind the law is that e-books don't constitute "tangible personal property" and therefore can't be taxed. So when you buy your digital copy of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," you can take that extra 4 percent you saved all the way to the bank. 

Ear and Loathing in Las Vegas: #bookswithalettermissing is the newest Twitter trend for literary types, and we know our writers have the creativity to come up with some fantastic titles. Check out the trending stream and send us your ideas (@GothamGhosts) with the hashtag. We'll retweet our favorites.

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