The Bookseller: Amazon to pay KDP authors ‘per page’.
History Today/Book Review: The Hundred Years War - A People’s History.
Added to my list. The question in my mind ... will 9/11 be seen as the start of our own modern Hundred Years war?
I’ve been hitting some new works at the Library, recently. And I think I’m finding a downside to authors who write on a computer. I’m seeing a ... well, there’s no nice way to say it. Cut-and-paste repetition. Someone says something, then a few paragraphs later, says exactly the same thing slightly paraphrased. I’ve found it in two recent books now. One does it continually in every chapter of the tome. Normally I’d blame bad editing ... and it *is* poor editing. But with the lowered margins in publishing these days, authors are having to wear many hats. Get someone else to read your stuff before it goes to press. Preferably a friend who isn’t a ‘yes person.’
Perhaps a renaissance of typewriters should be seriously considered; and as more than just a hipster ‘thing.’
Poetry Foundation: “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” Turns 100.
This still represents sophomore year high school english class torture [15 years of age]; content for which we had absolutely no context. What did we know of ‘one-night cheap hotels’, ‘yellow fog’, ‘marmalade and tea’, ‘magic lanterns’? We had a grad student even play a vinyl record of Eliot reading it, in what seemed to be his asthmatic dotage. In our terms, “I grow old ... I grow old ... I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled” became “I grow mold ... I grow mold ... I shall wear my fungus rolled.” I can still perform the imitation. The only experience worse than that, was the month spent having a monotone instructor insist on reading most of The Odyssey out loud. Sheer torture.
Some poetry should only be introduced when experience has had a chance to illuminate the subject matter.
In my 20’s, a proofreader on Wall Street reintroduced me to Eliot through Four Quartets, salvaging my ‘intellectual Troglodyte’ state.
Lapham’s Quarterly: Body Talk.
“The first uses of the filthiest words in the English language.” By first-used date. NSFW? Maybe. Make sure noone’s looking over your shoulder.
The New Yorker: Why Jihadists Write Poetry.
“It may seem curious that some of the most wanted men in the world should take the time to fashion poems in classical metres and monorhyme — far easier to do in Arabic than in English, but something that still requires practice. And these are only the most obvious signs of the jihadis’ dedication to form.” Twisting this a bit (my nature), I wondered. And looked. Our Founding Fathers weren’t much for poetry. GW left two. TJ left two. Jemmy Madison [A good Princetonian student] showed a bit more spirit.
DSLR Video Shooter: The GH4 Guide is Now Available!
This may seem expensive, but when you realize how much time and effort it saves you, it becomes a bargain. Bookmarked.
Globe and Mail.CA: Despite an explosion of e-publishing, Writers’ Union survey finds incomes h
That title. “Despite”? E-publishing by nature drops writer incomes.
Co.Design: The Kindle Finally Gets Typography That Doesn’t Suck.
Nice step. Now, how about cleaning up the skanky formatting on some books that break sentences?
The Atlantic: The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and the Secret Ghostwriters of Children’s Fiction.
1905? Bah. Atlantic, vet your articles better. Mid-1800’s. Dumas was the first to turn ghostwriting into a cottage industry; small-scale, sure, but his remains the dominant archetype.
Farnam Street Blog: How to Read A Book
Would that school effectively taught switching between the levels. Most would just chuck a book at you.
Telegraph.UK: Mary Renault’s hardcore classicism.
In These Times: Inside the Happiness Racket.
“The happiness industry exonerates capitalism. It’s not that the job is underpaid, the hours unreasonable or the product pointless. It’s that the employee is just unhappy. She should be encouraged to eat better, exercise and practice mindfulness. Or, if those things fail, seek a pharmaceutical remedy.” It’s enjoyable to be happy. Melancholy in solitude (*not* depression or sadness) tends to make me superhumanly creative. And I’m not the only one.
BBC: ‘True face of Shakespeare’ appears in botany book.
Bigger questions: Why put Shakespeare on a book of herbals ... furthermore, his popularity and influence during his lifetime are still up for debate.
NPR: Cherokee Chief John Ross Is The Unsung Hero Of ‘Jacksonland’.
Which is why you never give a $20 bill in change to a Cherokee (Jackson is on the bill). The Cherokee went as far as anyone could to assimilate into white society, and were treated as chattel. A powerful lesson there. If you ever get the chance, visit New Echota in Georgia. Watch the video, when you have an opportunity.
The Rumpus: The Well Speaks Of Its Own Poison, By Maggie Smith.
Columbia.EDU: The Penguin Atlas of Medieval History.
Scans from the 1961 edition. Random find.
NY Review of Books: The Robots Are Winning!
“In Book 5 of the Iliad we hear that the gates of Olympus swivel on their hinges of their own accord, automatai, to let gods in their chariots in or out, thus anticipating by nearly thirty centuries the automatic garage door.”
Dissent: The Long Shadow of Neoconservatism.
“... American inattention to or incomprehension of the likely consequences of ‘decapitating’ the old regime stemmed directly from the fateful mindset that had guided war thinking from the start. American violence, in this view, simply offered a means to universally held, life-giving values that Iraqis, given the chance, would immediately embrace. Confronted with a reality that everywhere flew in the face of that assumption, proponents of the invasion took increasingly outlandish positions as to what was necessary to realize the promises of regime change.”
Locus Online Perspectives: Cory Doctorow, ‘Shorter’.
“Talent is a destructive myth. To call someone talented is to imply that their abilities are intrinsic. Having written and taught for decades now, I’ve satisfied myself that the improvement of a person’s art isn’t drawn from the mystical well of their soul: it’s generated by practice.”
BBC: When did curators become cool?
“Motley backgrounds!” I need to work that into my CV at some point. Note that, he tips into involuntary psychoanalysis here ... which is generally a fragrant load of ruminant animal ejecta.
The Smart Set: The Art of the Paragraph.
“There are pretty much only two ways to vary your paragraphs. The first is length. [snip] The second – and in my view the far more interesting lever – is to change the way you build sentences into paragraphs, and the way you move from paragraph to paragraph. How many sentences are there per paragraph, and what links the sentences?” Would that mastering the paragraph could prove the difference between popularity and obscurity ...
BBC: The subtle science of selling – a six-step guide.
These techniques are actually much more effective and widespread than this article would have you believe. I’m reading a book right now that’s peeling my eyelids off with revelations about how I’ve been played over the years. I’m only partway into the book now, but I already think it should be on every high school reading list. We have automatic reactions to stimuli that salespeople know, and we don’t. I don’t want to spoil it now; I’ll do a longer post when I’m finished with the tome.
Open Culture: 110 Drawings and Paintings by J.R.R. Tolkien: Of Middle-Earth and Beyond.
Smaug was more of the classic fashion than Glaurung. Goggles are so out, dude.
NY Times: What’s So Great About Young Writers?
“Perhaps I’ll be accused of sour grapes, but thankfully I have reached a point at which I care less about what people think. Partly, that is one of the true joys of middle age, and partly the Internet has taught us, if nothing else beyond the infinite appeal of cats, that someone will always think you’re being a jerk, so you may as well say what’s on your mind. Here’s what’s on my mind: Age-based awards are outdated and discriminatory, even if unintentionally so. Emerging writers are emerging writers.” Among younger writers, I find more of the particular malady, “we don’t know what we don’t know.” Likely because I am no longer a younger writer.