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Posts by: Graham Todd

Secret Cinema in Saudi Arabia

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Though cinemas and movie-making were made illegal in the 1970s after religious conservatives declared many cultural activities sinful, it has not stopped Saudi Arabians from making and showing films that undermine SA’s puritanism today.

A few renegade film makers in Saudi Arabia called Red Wax have created an underground movie group that shows films on taboo political and social issues, like women’s rights and migrant workers.

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Sympathy for Sale

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The Germans have developed a suit that helps medical students understand what it’s like to be old that doesn’t require walking in the snow with only burlap shoes and up hills to and from everywhere.

The suit throws off the user’s balance by placing a large amount of weight in the head, so that simple tasks for young whipper snappers, like bending over to tie a shoe, becomes just one more mountain to climb in the scintillating action-adventure movie that is surviving the rest of the day.

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Guthrie Still Elusive at 100

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Leonard Cassuto of the Chronicle of Higher Education discusses the absence of Woody Guthrie in the university because of his political stance, his views on copyright and shying from the spotlight, and the “aw shucks” Oklahoman personality he cultivated.

Cassuto outlines Guthrie’s life in reference to his works, which include over 3,000 poems and songs, at least 3 novels, dozens of essays, 1,000s of personal letters, and over 500 illustrations, paintings, and photographs.

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No Dinos!?

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In really disappointing dinosaur news today, an Australian university found that DNA cannot survive more than 6.8 million years and so dashed the dreams of many a 90′s kid.

Sadly, Jurassic Park will never happen. After Michael Crichton’s bestseller and Spieldberg’s film, the world of DNA science was forever changed according to Mike Dunce, the lead researcher on the Aussie team, who told the Sydney Morning Herald, “We’ve been permanently plagued by this Jurassic Park myth that’s been kicking around since the early nineties.” Poor, poor DNA scientists.

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BookCrossing

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If you’re into the extremely rad tradition of sharing books, which we know you are, you’ll probably be thrilled by BookCrossing

BookCrossing is a social media network that facilitates the sharing of books and the establishment of connections between fellow readers.

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How Books Clubs Went Indie

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“Forty-something Betsy Birdsall jokes that she likes the Rumpus group because it enables her to hang out in her bathrobe and slippers while pretending she has friends. She says Elliot encouraged her to get active with the club’s discussion group. ‘This is the first online community I’ve been a part of,’ Birdsall, a paralegal from Agoura, California, said.

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The (Imagined) Woman Reader and Male Anxiety

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“The Contemporary Male Novelists fear the Female Reader is no longer willing to interpret rampant misogyny as searing self-portraits of mangled masculinity, but rather as just more misogyny and who needs it? Their livelihoods threatened, the CMNs are doing the utmost in their narratives to tell the imagined female reader that they are at least hyperaware of their own utter self-absorption.

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Abrams At The Millions

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The Millions featured David Abrams in their Post-40 Bloomer column and chronicle the 49-year-olds long road to literary success.

Fobbit, Abrams’s first novel, came out from Grove/Atlantic on Sept. 4 and is “is a tale of the Iraq war that manages to be as dark as it is funny, which is to say considerably.” Abrams spent 20 years as a active duty Army journalist recounts his time in Irag as a fobbit, army speak for desk jockeys who stick close to the relative safe haven of a Forward Operating Base.

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100 Years of Bookmobiles

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Here’s an LA Times slideshow of bookmobiles of past and present, starting with Germany’s ultra-mod ROBI bookmobile, which was created to serve the library-less towns in the Heilbronn area.

According to Frameweb.com, ROBI is an eco-friendly update to the area’s former mobile library, which lent 3.5 million books over the past 30 years.

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Brown’s Modernist Journals Project

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Greer Mansfield of Bookslut checks out the Modernist Journals Project, a literary site launched in 1995 by Brown University that acts as a digital library of magazines associated with Modernism.

The Modernist Journal Project contains a wide variety of oft-written about Modernist periodicals like The Egoist and The English Review amongst others that were associated with a particular movement; all of which are brimming with literary celebrity.

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China Miéville: the future of the novel

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Last week, in the keynote speech at the 2012 Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference, China Miéville spoke about the novel’s many possible futures in cultural, political and digital terms – and concluded with a demand for state-supported salaries for writers:

“So an unresentful sense of writers as people among people, and a fidelity to literature, require political and economic transformation.

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The Unified Field

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The new Fleet Foxes backed arts and lit magazine, The Unified Field, launches on September 18th and proceeds go to 826 National.

The new lit mag will come with an 10″ vinyl pressing of unreleased, raw tracks from the likes of Bonnie “Prince” Billy and the Grizzly Bear-related Department of Eagles among others, while the 60 pages of writing focuses on “transition”, the theme of the first issue.

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Albert Camus: Solitude and Solidarity

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LA Review of Books’ Robert Zaretsky reviews Albert Camus: Solitude and Solidarity:  “…the book is a remarkable effort at recapturing — or, for many readers, simply capturing for the first time — a man whose life and work matter as greatly today as they did in his own era.”

This new biography of Camus, published in France last year and now available in English translation, is an attempt to tell Camus’ story in photographs and documents.

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