Despite concerns that upheavals in the Arab world would interfere with Abu Dhabi’s International Book Fair, the fair so far has been successful and relatively problem-free. In fact, more books and more publishers from Egypt are participating in the fair than ever before....more
Posts by: Jill Haberkern
We mentioned the new site Tits and Sass earlier today, and already they are posting great articles, like this conversation between Bettie, a dominatrix, and her mother, a preacher.
Bettie’s mother says, “I understand that on some levels I am very prudish when it comes to relationships....more
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 a well-curated bookcase was the ultimate status symbol....more
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....more
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....more
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 are struggling with budget deficits....more
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....more
“We went to our writers before beginning to post last year and the response was overwhelming. Go ahead and post. Yet, less than one year later, the reaction to our possible withdrawal was just as decisive in the opposite direction. As publisher, I fully endorse that decision.”
Bill Lasarow, publisher and co-editor of ArtScene, explains his motivation for starting a writers’ strike against the Huffington Post (which we reported on last week)....more
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....more
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....more
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....more
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
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 Barbara’s career and mysterious disappearance, as well as the elusive nature of precocious genius, in his essay “Vanishing Act.”
(via Arts & Letters Daily)...more
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....more
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....more
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....more
The shortlist for the Man Asian Literary Prize has been announced, but the bigger news is a change to prize’s eligibility requirements.
For the first time, books must have been written or translated into English. This is a complete reversal of the prize’s rule in years past that books must not have been published in English....more
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....more
Nevertheless, he’s currently at work on a novel set back in Queens. Lethem, who describes one of his past books as “an all-out Valentine” to New York, is no stranger to writing about that city from a distance....more
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 have been since their original conception.”...more