Monthly Archives:: April 2014

Reading: Still Probably a Good Idea

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We linked to an Atlantic article in January about the recent decline in readers in America. According to the article, 23 percent of Americans went without reading a single novel in 2013. Now, Time has a summary of a recent study of reading’s effects on the brain. As expected, the activity roughly a quarter of Americans forwent last year […]

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White People Everywhere

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White male editors still dominate publishing and white male authors still dominate bestseller lists. Writing over at Plougshares, literary agent Eric Nelson explores the problem: I have frequently presented books as an editor to a room full of only white people. And even from the sixteen books I’ve sold in the past twelve months, less than […]

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Boo Radley, Social Media Star

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Last Monday, Harper Lee brought an end to what CNN has called “a glaring holdout in the digital library of literary masterpieces,” and the news has social media buzzing with fans chomping at the bit. Lee has finally agreed to release an electronic copy of To Kill a Mockingbird.  “I’m still old-fashioned. I love dusty […]

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Police Called on Teens Giving Away Banned Book

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After Sherman Alexie’s novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian was banned by an Idaho school district, a crowdsourced funding effort bought a book for every kid in the local junior high school. Nearly all of the books were given away to students, reports Death and Taxes, but not before overly concerned parents […]

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Poetry Fight

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The 1968 Stony Brook World Poetry Conference brought together more than 100 poets of varying styles and personalities. After a boozy weekend, at the farewell party, emotions (and presumably alcohol) spilled over into a massive brawl. Writing for the New York Review of Books, Charles Simic describes the surreal scene: As soon as the fight […]

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Dan Weiss’s Morning Coffee

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Bilateral gyandromorphism is your genetic anomaly of the day. The world is filled with abandoned amusement parks. The trees that miss the mammoths. (Don’t we all though?) I don’t want to freak you out or anything but tornadoes are absolutely getting stronger. We all need Czech children’s illustration from time to time.

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The Beats and Their Women

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While their politics and art were radical and dangerous for their time, the Beat Generation’s views toward women were not that much different than those of the man in the grey flannel suit they rebelled against. Women played an important role in the Beat community, as girlfriends and lovers but also as vital supporters of […]

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Hair-Combing with Gabriel Garcia Marquez

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The Gabriel García Márquez accolades continue to roll in—over at The Paris Review, the complete text of Silvana Paternostro’s oral biography of Márquez is available. It’s full of enlightening tidbits from the author’s friends and family, like: GUILLERMO ANGULO: His greatest inspiration was his grandmother. One of his relatives was combing his hair, and his grandmother warned him not to comb his hair […]

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National Poetry Month Day 29: “City of Eternal Spring” by Afaa M. Weaver

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City of Eternal Spring My mind rises up as the silos of interchanges, streams, passages of myself in floating layers so nothing can connect, and I dream emptiness on ships sailing to new places for new names, this ship my hands cupped in front of me, a beggar’s bowl, a scooped out moon, a mouth […]

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Dan Weiss’s Morning Coffee

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Today seems like a good day to talk about that time a Pope’s corpse was put on trial. BibliOdyssey has some Thai fortune-telling manuscripts for you. Hello there, earliest known pterodactyl. My new band is called Black Hole Skin. And now the sandmen of 1900’s Atlantic City.

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The Many Faces of Librarians

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This past week was National Library Week! Still imagine all librarians as the curmudgeonly figures you encountered in elementary school? Think again. Slate has a photo project representing the diversity of librarians—showcasing their personalities, appearances, and many vast fields of study. It is a beautiful reminder to us to treat our libraries and librarians with the respect […]

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Can Beer Save Bookstores?

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Independent booksellers face plenty of competition from national chains and the Internet, but a new kind of hybrid store might offer a model that Amazon can never replicate: bookstore bars. Niamh Ni Mahoileoin writes over at ZY that successful bar-bookstores tap into their local communities, becoming partners in neighborhood life: Events are also essential to […]

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The Priestly Writer

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I write for many of the same reasons that I wanted to become a priest. I want to bear witness to a sacramental vision. I want to admit my life as a sinner. Rather than judge others, I want to use empathy to sketch their imperfect lives on the page, and find the God that […]

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