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.
NY TImes: ‘Childhood’s End,’ a Syfy Adaptation of Arthur C. Clarke’s Chillin
LRB: Michael Wood reviews ‘The Hunger Games’.
The Rumpus: Girl In The Woods By Aspen Matis.
On my burgeoning reading list.
Sefaria: a Living Library of Jewish Texts Online.
BookBub: Free Ebooks.
I seem to be the last person to have heard of this service. They inform you of deals from the major ebook retailers (free offers, reduced cost specials, etc.). Surprised at the bestsellers that get discounted occasionally. I haven’t joined yet (except with a fake email for a brief few minutes), but it looked useful. Anyone using them? I’m just concerned it’s an email-harvesting operation.
NY Times: Rare King James Bible First Edition Discovered at Drew University.
You can play Indiana Jones at your local library.
The Atlantic: The Irony of Writing About Digital Preservation.
Silly me. I thought we still relied on microfilm as a backup.
Paris Review: Kay Nielsen’s Stunning Illustrations for “East of the Sun…”
I might have to purchase one. My old man had an amazing old copy of this book - the binding had gorgeous illustration. As a young child, I remember holding to the top of my bed’s headboard (that was pushed up against a wall of books) and staring at that book’s binding illustrations. Sad to say, I never cracked it. As my age increased, my interest waned. Perhaps now I’ll read it, in addition to admiring the artwork.
Washington Post: Young fogies - Modern illiberalism is led by students.
Orwell, 1984: “There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live — did live, from habit that became instinct — in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.”
Do kids no longer read Orwell - or is this, in itself, requiring a ‘trigger warning’?
I’ve had a hell of a time on this blog, increasingly over the last half-dozen years, playing Devil’s Advocate. The younger generations just plain old don’t understand it.
History Today: The Lost World of Byzantium.
On the list. For a library loan.