Have you heard of Genius? It’s a cool website with the tagline “Annotate the world”—where users can annotate rap lyrics, videos, and (of course) novels. Consider it an even more hyper-focused version of Wikipedia, where you’re getting down to the granular level in discussing the inspirations and meanings behind all manner of text.
Where Genius differs from Wikipedia is in how a given excerpt—like, say, Lev Grossman’s novel The Magician King—can include notes and asides from readers and published authors. Like, say, Grossman himself.
Though this Magician King excerpt counts four contributors, the majority of the annotations come from Grossman. What’s great is how he doesn’t take his work super-seriously? He’s very candid about lines that he either loved or hated—we’re guessing the latter on this one:
(Click on any of the annotations to enlarge them.) He lets readers get into his head as he shares what it was like to get out of protagonist Quentin’s head:
And he provides insight into inspirations. We already knew that The Magicians owes some of its creation to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, but we didn’t know how deeply Grossman thought about it until he shared this:
Very cool. We would love to see more authors looking back on their work like this! And speaking of looking forward: The Magician’s Land, the conclusion to Grossman’s Magicians trilogy, comes out August 5.