The strange case of the “Literature Litterbug”—a mystery perp who’s been dumping used books along a Colorado highway for a year or more—has come to a close, bringing with it a pun-filled police report and plenty of finger-pointing. Glenn Plasden admits that the littering citation was “by the book,” and explains that he simply couldn’t figure out how to get rid of the huge stock he acquired when a Boulder bookstore went out of business eight years ago; he’d been dumping them a few at a time from his moving car, figuring nobody would notice....more
Posts Tagged: melville house
If you’re old enough to remember VHS cassettes, its likely you also remember the revolutionary straight-to-video category of movies. Now, Audible wants to do the same for literature with straight-to-audiobooks. Audible, an Amazon subsidiary, is a key player in the billion-dollar audiobook industry and currently has 30 books in the works as audiobook originals....more
To help us cope with the passing of Leonard Nimoy, Melville House shared audio recordings of the baritone-voiced Vulcan reading excerpts from Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man. The find is definitely worth a listen, and in this newly revived age of plans for Mars missions, the excerpts of this creative duo serve as an elegant reminder of the Martian imaginings of years past....more
We are quite happy to view images of writers’ desks and read features on ‘Where I Write’. Very different would be to see ‘Where I Sleep’ or ‘Where I Park the Car’; ‘Where I store the extra loo roll’. Of course, it’s not as interesting .
Television is a great way to sell books. Oprah’s Book Club is the best known example, but Edan Lepucki‘s bestselling debut California certainly owed some of its success to the Colbert Bump. But The Colbert Report has ended, and Jon Stewart, another populist book advocate, is leaving The Daily Show....more
You know all those movies in which a character is shot in the chest, only to be miraculously saved by a pocket Bible, and everyone in the audience rolls their eyes? Well, it turns out that books actually are bulletproof—to a certain extent....more
The first meeting of the Facebook book club was a little like Fight Club: nobody talked about it. Perhaps it was Zuckerberg’s choice of book—The End of Power by Moisés Naím—or maybe he simply doesn’t have the cultural cachet of Oprah, but Zuckerberg’s post only garnered 240 questions and 137 comments....more
Dissatisfaction among the modern white-collar working class might stem from the fact that many jobs simply don’t feel necessary. Strike! Magazine has been advertising on the London Underground with quotes from David Graeber’s 2013 essay, “On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs,” in which he claims many jobs feel like they’ve been created simply to keep people working....more
Sometime between Christmas and New Year’s, a dastardly criminal (or Mark Twain superfan) stole a bronze plaque of Twain’s profile from his gravestone in Elmira, N.Y. At Melville House, former Elmira resident Alex Shephard examines the city’s complicated relationship with its literary past—and swears that, although he was home for Christmas, he didn’t do it....more
Melville House will publish the Senate Torture Report in paperback and e-book on December 30th. The report, released Tuesday, is currently available to read online, but Melville House hopes that publishing it in print form will reach a wider audience. “It’s probably the most important government document of our generation,” says co-publisher Dennis Johnson, “even one of the most significant in the history of our democracy.”...more
Art has to be a confession. I don’t mean a true confession in the sense of that dreary magazine. The effort, it seems to me, is: if you can examine and face your life, you can discover the terms with which you are connected to other lives, and they can discover, too, the terms with which they are connected to other people.
The mismatch between quality and recognition in the world of translated fiction and nonfiction is surely more extreme than in any category of literature, and while this category has a growing number of great advocates, it deserves to have them at the highest level.
Amazon and Hachette appear to have entered into a war of attrition, a battle that Hachette, with a more limited budget, is surely going to lose. Alone, Hachette will fall. News that Simon & Schuster easily signed a deal with Amazon was a major blow—and that might just be exactly what Amazon is counting on, proposes Josh Cook over at Melville House....more
At Melville House, Liam O’Brien delves into the fictional and factual history of book-writing computers, from Roald Dahl’s “The Great Automatic Grammatizator” to the Russian computer that rewrote Anna Karenina in the style of Murakami. With some media outlets already using bots to pen articles, he wonders if the robots will be coming for literature next....more
Watch yourself. The intrepid investigators at Melville House discovered secret Satanic messages in John Darnielle’s Wolf in White Van:
It may seem farfetched to imagine a book which actually uses backmasked Satanist messages as a plot point would have the audacity to perpetrate these selfsame acts upon the reader, but we assure you this is no fiction.
Traditional publishers can’t do what Amazon does; Amazon can’t do what traditional publishers do (and no, the fact that bookstores don’t carry books published by Amazon is not the only reason why this is true, though that’s a subject for another post).
Shakespeare is invading China. The first complete Chinese translation of the works of Shakespeare wasn’t released until 1967, but Britain’s number one dramatist is now starting to catch the attention of Chinese audiences, reports Melville House’s Moby Lives, saying Shakespeare is “having a cultural moment.”...more
Writing over at Brooklyn Quarterly, Will Evans discusses why he founded a publishing house dedicated to translation:
In addition to being a philosophical problem, literary translation is also a contentious business matter. There are thousands of good to all-time-great books published in the world every year in every language imaginable, but only a couple hundred of those ever get published in English, and that’s in a good year.
The poems, like Stein’s debut novel, The Fallback Plan—a depiction of after-college limbo—strike a powerful balance between humor and melancholy, reference and storytelling....more
“M.M.: What do you wish to do before dying?
R.B.: Nothing special. Well, clearly I’d prefer not to die. But sooner or later the distinguished lady arrives. The problem is that sometimes she’s neither a lady nor very distinguished, but, as Nicanor Parra says in a poem, she’s a hot wench who will make your teeth chatter no matter how fancy you think you are.”
I had totally forgotten about Bolaño’s last interview, which the NY Times Paper Cuts has just now made me remember....more
This week, Chinua Achebe speaks, n+1 in conversation with Reihan Salam and Ross Douthat, Jonathan Lethem reads, composer/drummer Bobby Previte with Psychedelic Furs’ Knox Chandler, photographer Jeff Wall presents more urban decay, “junkyard bohos” Huggabroomstik play, CMJ Music Marathon begins and Renée Fleming sings at the Met....more