Posts by: Jill Haberkern

Back on the Shelf

By

E-readers change how some people read, what they carry on planes, what they keep on bedside tables. And now many people are keeping just about everything on bookshelves, except, well, books. Art, collectibles, and digital picture frames abound, giving bookcases and interior design a markedly different look than was popular in the twentieth century, when […]

...more

Police Poetry

By

Police reports are supposed to be the dry recounting of facts, neutral, admissible as evidence. They are not often considered great literature. But Sergeant Martinez of the LAPD has captured at least one writer’s attention. “How can I identify Martinez from a single sentence?” writes Ellen Collett. “How does he use words on paper to […]

...more

1

Where are Your Footnotes, Minister?

By

Protesters in Germany are dominating the news and taking their outrage to Facebook. Unlike protesters in other parts of the world, these angry citizens aren’t hoping to overthrow their government — they are calling on it to exercise more intellectual honesty. The scandal: a cabinet minister has been accused of plagiarizing a few paragraphs of […]

...more

Amazon Sales Tax Battle Roundup

By

Amazon.com has been battling with states across the country over whether or not the company should collect sales taxes. The company’s practice of not collecting sales taxes in most states makes it difficult for brick-and-mortar stores to compete with their prices, and also keeps tax revenue out of states’ coffers in a time when many […]

...more

1

Life with Susan Sontag

By

In the 1970s, writer Sigrid Nunez moved in with her boyfriend and his mother. She hovered over the couple, critiqued their sex life, had an endless parade of house guests, and chided Nunez for not being more of a people-person. His mother was the already world-famous writer Susan Sontag. “When she came home, though it […]

...more

The Lost Books of the Science of Judaism

By

They’ve traveled the world for more than half a century, in the suitcases of antiques dealers and in the collections of academic institutes. Now important books from the Science of Judaism collection, curated by a Jewish librarian at the start of Hitler’s rise to power, have been located. “While the exact trails of many of […]

...more

Banned Books Welcomed Home

By

Controversial books once banned in Egypt and Tunisia are starting to appear again in stores. Cairo’s Tahrir Square, now famous as the site of tense political protests, will soon be the site of a large book fair. “Everyone around the globe now associates Tahrir Square with freedom and revolution,” said one bookstore owner. “We really […]

...more

Diagnosing Genius

By

Frederick Chopin wrote music in the grip of vivid hallucinations, possibly caused by temporal lobe epilepsy. Countless artists – Edgar Allan Poe, Sylvia Plath, William Blake, and Lewis Carroll, to name just a few – have also been diagnosed with neurological conditions in an attempt to explain, in part, their genius. The field of neurotheology […]

...more

Pick-Up Lines and Library Fines

By

Finally a social science experiment attempting to answer the age-old questions: “Can Atlas Shrugged find love with the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test? Is attraction possible between a Jonathan Franzen reader and a die-hard Elizabeth Gilbert fan?” Speed dating at the library might just work, giving people more to go on than astrology signs and bad pick-up lines.

...more

Skating with Beethoven

By

In 1927, the book The House Without Windows was called “almost unbearably beautiful.” The author, Barbara Follett, was only 13. When Barbara was lonely, the child prodigy would pretend that “that Beethoven, the two Strausses, Wagner, and the rest of the composers are still living, and they go skating with me.” Paul Collins reflects on […]

...more

The Writers of the Future

By

While many wonder about the future of printed books, author Lauren Groff imagines those books’ future writers. In one of her many visions, she tells us, “The writer of the future will crouch in wind-swept aeries miles above the electronic din of the modern world, crafting feathers out of the leaves of old books. Watch […]

...more

This is Solidarity

By

Author V.V. Ganeshananthan reflects on her choice to attend the 2009 Galle Literary Festival in Sri Lanka, just 500 kilometers from violent conflict. Ganeshananthan explains why she “refused to disappear” despite a boycott of the festival organized by Reporters Without Borders, protesting the suppression of free speech in that country. She asks, “If my brother […]

...more

Memory, Reason and Imagination

By

Books once belonging to Thomas Jefferson, our most bibliophilic president, have turned up at Washington University in St. Louis. The books were part of Jefferson’s retirement library, so-called because he started the collection after donating 6,700 books to the Library of Congress in 1815. By the time of his death in 1826, Jefferson had already […]

...more

Monstrous Poetry

By

Poets in Wisconsin are turning monstrous. The writer-artists behind the Monsters of Poetry reading series in Madison have been busy making self-portraits and collages that depict themselves — and the very idea of poetry — as the beastly, macabre stuff of nightmares. Click here to see more images and here to learn about their non-ghoulish […]

...more

1

Good News for Literary Journals

By

What’s the difference between a literary journal and a mayfly? The literary journal’s reputation for short lifespans might not be justified. According to Daniel Nester and Steve Black, authors of the article “Here Today, Here Tomorrow: On the Lifespan of the Literary Magazine,” literary journals are actually far more resilient than you may think. Using […]

...more

Brian Dettmer: Book Surgeon

By

Artist Brian Dettmer cuts into books with surgical tools, creating new pictures and interpretations from the preexisting pages. By highlighting the weight and depth of physical books, he draws attention to those aspects which can’t be replicated with e-readers. Without adding or moving anything, Dettmer finds “new relationships of the book’s internal elements exactly where they […]

...more