In 2011, Phyllis Rose read every book on the LEQ-LES shelf in the New York Public Library and wrote about the experience in an essay collection called The Shelf. In doing so, Rose joined the long tradition of “bibliomemoirs”—a blend of autobiography and literary criticism....more
Posts Tagged: Guardian
The Hawking Index was created by mathematician Jordan Ellenberg to measure how much of a book readers were actually reading, by analyzing Amazon’s “Popular Highlights” feature on Kindle devices.
Over at the Guardian, writer and literary critic Alex Clark and columnist Tom Lamont debate whether it is truly important and necessary to get through a books in its entirety....more
Writers have been getting poorer, and it turns out publishers are partly to blame. The Guardian reports that while authors are expected to do more when it comes to marketing and promotion, and though electronic books have lowered costs for publishers, the beneficiaries of these savings tend to be the publishers rather than the authors:
Nicola Solomon, who heads the 9,000-member strong Society of Authors, said that publishers, retailers and agents are all now taking a larger slice of the profit when a book is sold, and that while “authors’ earnings are going down generally, those of publishers are increasing”
It turns out that French poet Charles Baudelaire wasn’t very fond of his compatriot Victor Hugo. Despite having the novelist’s support when prosecuted after publishing Les Fleurs du Mal, the poet may have secretly despised (or perhaps just envied) Hugo—in a newly discovered letter from Baudelaire to an unknown correspondent, he calls the writer “stupid” and an “idiot.”...more
Whether glamorized or pitied, the figure of the alcoholic writer has long been a subject of cultural fascination. Having written a book on the usual suspects—Hemingway, Fitzgerald, et al.—Olivia Laing asks the unfortunately necessary follow-up question: okay, but what about the women?...more
Psychologists believe that the brain has two complementary modes of thought. If you’re curious about the difference between system 1 (fast mode) and system 2 (slow mode), check out this Guardian review of Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. Because it’s never too late in the week to be reminded of our self-delusions....more
“But if we are going to manufacture our reality, couldn’t we make it a bit better? The thing we seem to like manufacturing the best are enemies, and here we are all guilty. Al-Qaida manufactured a vision of the west dominated by Satan, and the west has manufactured a simplistic vision of the Islamic world to direct its anger at in response.”
Applauding science fiction’s ability to remind us of the constructed nature of reality, this Guardian article references Lavie Tidhar’s new novel, Osama, as a key example of the genre’s political possibilities....more
Two young adult males–Jordan Blackshaw, 20, and Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan, 22–both just received four-year sentences for using Facebook to incite a riot in their Cheshire hometown that never happened. Despite the announcement over Facebook concerning the riots that were purportedly going to occur, no one showed up to these locations apart from the police....more
Perhaps the most surprising thing about the British phone hacking scandal is the lack of coverage in the US press.
Among the US newspapers, the NY Times is the only one I can find which has done significant reporting on the story, though the best work on the story comes from (no surprise) the Guardian....more
For the most part, a quick glance at the cover of any romance novel is all it takes to reveal the formula that’s inside. For better or worse, it’s a genre of fantasied gender stereotypes and it has long had its place....more
As of yesterday, the Oxford Comma was seen reenacting moments from Monty Python’s Quest for the Holy Grail and generally acting like a spastic teenager. It is quoted as saying “I’m not dead yet,” “I feel happy,” and “I think I’ll go for a walk.” Haters of the Oxford Comma were overheard muttering to themselves about a desire for a large stick, club, or medieval weapon with which to bash it....more
The Guardian researches why the female presence seems to be diminishing in science fiction writing. Though there isn’t necessarily a shortage of female authors (or women publishers), there is a serious lack of female presence in the Guardian’s list of favorite science fiction writing books, chosen by readers....more
Is the Bible too liberal for you? Too much of that “help the poor” and not enough sinner-smiting? Do you have no knowledge of ancient Greek and no experience in translation? Then you’re perfect for this project.
Shirley Dent talks about the difference between idiom and slang, especially as it relates to culture....more
A confluence of politics and poetry: Senate Sotomayor votes explained in haiku.
No great surprise, but poetry is disappearing from B&N bookshelves in Chico, CA. And pretty much every B&N, for that matter.
Sometimes I feel like I should just put a link to Mike Chasar’s blog in every one of these posts....more
Novelist Orhan Pamuk asks in The Guardian “why do beautiful scenes inspire us to kiss?”
Millions of people who live outside the west – and especially those who, like me, live in Muslim countries – never get to see two lovers kissing on the lips in everyday life (of course, you do not necessarily have to be lovers to kiss on the lips)
I hadn’t considered before how western an act a public kiss can be....more