Observer: What Does It Take To Be A “Bestselling Author”? $3 and 5 Minutes.
Umberto Eco: “How to Travel with a Salmon”
One of my many favorite bits of his writing.
The Bookseller: Tributes paid to ‘extraordinary’ Umberto Eco.
“A final novel will be released posthumously later this year.” Bittersweet news.
BBC: Italian writer Umberto Eco dies at 84.
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. This one really hurts.
The Millions: RIP Harper Lee.
Sleep well, good lady. I could wish you’d left it at Mockingbird.
Italian Ways: The Ara Pacis - Roma sub specie aeternitatis.
Ye gods. My old Latin books must have been illustrated at this one site. I remember too many of these, for no good reason. Sweat over declensions.
Vox: Game theory shows how Justice Scalia improved liberal legal thinking.
“A forceful judge who disagrees with another judge’s views incentivizes that second judge to clarify and hone her argument, especially if she is trying to win him over.” Vox once again attempts to wrap what is patently obvious in pseudointellectualism.
If you want a real overview of Von Neumann’s game theory, sample “Strategy in Poker, Business & War.” Older book, it has not taken into account any of John Nash’s modifications. Invaluable in an election year.
ArtDaily: New Mexico Museum of Art opens “First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare”.
Arcade/Stanford: How Cervantes Made His Characters Seem Real.
“Cervantes’ success in creating characters that feel like “real people” depended in part on his rich descriptions and his attentiveness to their voices; but underlying all his characters was his fascination with how different people might experience differently the same situation.”
Globe and Mail.CA: Can computers teach you to write a bestseller?
“Common features of American bestsellers, according to .txtLAB director Andrew Piper, are short sentences (11 words on average), simple actions relayed with active verbs, frequent descriptions of facial expressions and characters who are into technology and have a mystery or violent crime to solve. These books avoid complex emotions, uncertainty and nature description, he says, as well as tea, rats, giants and bears.” “He grimaces holding his smartphone, when it suddenly explodes in flames.” There. I can make millions!
Robert Burns, Happy B-day!
In our current political climate, I thought this a bit of fun:
“I would not die like Socrates,
For all the fuss of Plato;
Nor would I with Leonidas,
Nor yet would I with Cato:
The zealots of the Church and State
Shall ne’er my mortal foes be;
But let me have bold Zimri’s fate,
Within the arms of Cozbi!”
Open Culture: Ursula Le Guin Gives Insightful Writing Advice in Her Free Online Workshop.
A healthy dose of common sense, seems like.
OpenCulture: The 20 Most Influential Academic Books of All Time: No Spoilers.
New Republic: The Public Domain Still Needs Idealism.
“The Idealist does not shed new light on Swartz’s life or death; what it does—and does very well—is put Swartz’s work in context. The book gives an engaging, if knowingly incomplete, account of the history of intellectual property and copyright law, the archaic roots (and current implications) of cyberlaw, and some key players in the ongoing fight between open-data philosophy and the federal government.” Oh, on my reading list for sure.
The Millions: Worlds Upon Worlds - On Growing Up Book-Rich.
Lovely opening: “I grew up in a middle-class family in rural upstate New York. We had a mortgage and a car loan, and my brother and I wore hand-me-downs. It was a nice, ordinary American upbringing: quietly blessed, reassuringly average, except for one thing: in books, I have always been rich.”
BBC: When mistakes make the art
Julia Margaret Cameron. If you photograph, even as a hobby, you should know who she is. I repeatedly recommend Beaumont Newhall’s “History of Photography.” Yes, she’s in it. I reread this book at least once a year.
Catapult: The Art of the Perfect Book Cover.
“A book’s cover is the pictorial gateway into the world you’ve been crafting for years.” That’s why you hire an artist, and don’t try to handle it yourself. But do stick up for your vision, and work hard to articulate your desires to the artist. You’re often at loggerheads of understanding. Takes time to clear the decks of preconceived notions and find common ground from which to define the points you want graphically represented. You’re hiring someone for their design expertise - don’t hamper them, but also don’t let them run off and misrepresent your hard work. You’re a partnership working towards a goal.
Paris Review: The Nineteenth Century Obsession with Premature Burial.
We’re always so fascinated by death.
The Atlantic: From ‘Avatar’ to ‘Jurassic Park,’ ‘Beowulf’ to ‘Jaws,’ All Stories Are the Same.
Good read, but tap world myths. Plenty of variety there; common themes if you want them, but some decidedly surprising storylines.
Literary Hub: Men Explain Lolita to Me.
You ask me, Humbert Humbert was one creepy, predaceous son-of-a-bitch. Nabokov’s writing is much-touted, but I can’t help wanting to read the novel Lolita would have written about the same experiences.
Getting about time (politically) ...
... to reread Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. I do it every election season.
Later: “I am of opinion, upon the whole, that the manufacturing aristocracy which is growing up under our eyes is one of the harshest which ever existed in the world; but at the same time it is one of the most confined and least dangerous. Nevertheless the friends of democracy should keep their eyes anxiously fixed in this direction; for if ever a permanent inequality of conditions and aristocracy again penetrate into the world, it may be predicted that this is the channel by which they will enter.”
Autoweek: Car books for holiday shopping.
WaPo: The Post drops the ‘mike’ — and the hyphen in ‘e-mail’.
Of note. Wonderful that we have humans who obsess over this kind of thing.