ABC News: Laura Ingalls Wilder Memoir to Give Gritty View of Prairie Life.
Bookanista: Here be sea monsters.
The Airship: Simple Reasons Why You Should Read Physical Books.
What’s happening with me is, I’ll take a chance on an ebook based on price (not that much of a savings, really). I hit upon a book I really, really like - it gets purchased as a physical volume. Not only for sole ownership, but also for the ability to share it easily. I hate holding up a Kindle to someone and saying, “here’s the passage I was talking about” and then have them grab the touchscreen by mistake, sending me into the ebook ozone. I do note, however, the double-profit to the publisher with this method. I wish I could predict whether I’d like a book or not from the cover ... but you know that old saw.
Flavorwire: Stunning Writing Studios.
Chock full of clichés. Writing comes best for me in places and times where I’m at least slightly uncomfortable. I need something to drag me to the pen or keyboard. Give me a comfy chair, a nice view ... forget about it. The muse goes on vacation.
The Airship: Why Writers Should Read the Classics.
“The classics are able to achieve this timeless quality because they are not descriptive; they are introspective. They are not focused on the world in which human emotions exist, but on human emotions themselves.” Yes, yes, YES.
I recently viewed the movie Renoir. European pacing, slice-of-life, no real conclusion. I admired the film for what it was ... they gave me room to imagine the character’s inner lives, without specifically depicting it. It’s all the things the actresses/actors don’t say. The negative space gives your mind room to fill in the blanks, instead of having CGI and sound effects limit your imagination’s range.
Too many modern novels overdescribe [just for the sake of describing] to the extent of dust textures in a bedroom [snore]. Is the texture of dust important? Rarely. A good lesson is Dickens’ description of Miss Havisham’s cake-room in Great Expectations. Just about everything has symbolic meaning. An adjective applied to one aspect, overshadows every other. Tableaus beautifully, succinctly, vividly created in one’s mind. When students read this, ask them to describe the room (without the book). You’ll be astonished at how similar the descriptions are. Dickens knew his business.
My personal fear has been to study and analyze classics I love too closely. It would be like putting your life partner under a magnifying glass, purposely looking for hidden springs and levers, putting a Post-It on every tiny flaw. It might affect the character of my love. So I tend to analyze books in in my B-list.
The Airship: Behind the Lit - All of Europe Initially Loathes Paradise Lost.
Interesting. It remained popular enough, that when Princeton University built their Chapel in the early part of the 20th Century, many stained glass windows depict scenes from the text. ‘Course, all I knew is that it was a cool, big dark place to adventure in as a child. The brightly lit stained glass just gave it a LoTR feel (long before I knew what LoTR even was). Numinous, even for a child with no religious upbringing.
Paris Review: The Professor and the Siren.
“... Lampedusa gives his immortal heroine the body of a fish from the waist down; in this he is following the more familiar northern folklore tradition of fish-tailed mermaids; of Mélusine, seal women or selkies; and of water spirits, called undines by the alchemist and philosopher Paracelsus. But both species share the special charm of an irresistible voice.” Reminds me, if you’ve not seen Ondine (with Colin Farrell et al), you should.
Slate: 250 years of English grammar usage advice.
“For the past two and a half years, I’ve been working on a database of more than 75 usage guides and 123 usage problems in the English language, spanning a period of nearly 250 years. My two assistants and I call this project the Hyper Usage Guide of English or HUGE database and it’s based out of Leiden University in the Netherlands.” Aw, fantastic.
The Airship: A Graveyard Tour of Literature.
Graveyard visits render a surprising amount of information about a person.
Guardian.UK: The five worst book covers ever.
I remember that ‘Princess Bride’ cover; right when Boris Vallejo art was the ‘thing’ for fantasy books.
The Airship: Roald Dahl - Certified Bad Ass.
“It’s usually macho men like Ernest Hemingway or Jack London whom people think of when someone mentions intrepid 20th century writers, but Roald Dahl proves that one can entertain generations of children and still go down in history as a certifiable bad ass.”
PS Mag: Fictional Stories Are More Moving Than We Predict.
“New research finds people mistakenly believe real-life stories will be more emotionally gripping than those that are the products of an author’s imagination.” There are some who eschew all fiction, because biographies ‘tell how real people solved real issues.’ Then they find out how biographers and autobiographers engage fictional thinking and revisionism ...
The Millions: The Art of Close Writing
“So-called omniscience is almost impossible. As soon as someone tells a story about a character, narrative seems to want to bend itself around that character, to take on his or her way of thinking and speaking. A novelist’s omniscience soon enough becomes a kind of secret sharing.” Fun read.
NPR: The ‘Bridge’ From Watergate To Reagan, Masterfully Drawn.
“Perlstein does an admirable job recounting the political stories of the era, but it’s his keen understanding of larger social and cultural trends that make the books in his series so essential.” On my reading list! Sometimes, one needs to verify one’s memory.
The Rumpus: Murder By Danielle Collobert.
“Collobert left behind a handful of books, all produced in only twenty years. Like many writers who have chosen to end their own lives, her voice occasionally takes on a gravity that is, if nothing else, alarming, urgent.”
WaPo: Crimes of Passion.
“Writing an opera about adultery, in this context, involves a great bait-and-switch, because while adultery was once a crime, love is not. Love, in fact, is supreme in Western culture: we are told that it is synonymous with God, that it conquers all, that it has its own laws, and that in its pure form it is one of the greatest things to which man can aspire. So a story about two adulterers can at once titillate and uplift: the passion outweighs the crime.”
The Bookseller: Sony to cease production of e-reader devices.
“Analysts have previously indicated that e-readers have a short shelf life in the market now the versatile and popular tablet computer is more affordable.” Surprised it took this long. I predicted the dedicated e-reader was an interstitial form-factor; tablets, in various sizes, would win the long game.
Writer’s Digest: List of 50 Poetic Forms for Poets.
They’re all fun. My advice ... try something new when you’re really creatively stuck. And be sure to write ‘em down and save ‘em. What you hate today, you may find you love tomorrow. They’re all worthy.
Longform: The Longform Guide to Miraculous Survivals.
Marked for later reading.
The Hairpin: Go Read Alice - The History of the Diary Novel.
“The diary novel canon is composed first of diary novels which have received significant (male) literary praise. But within this genre, the diary novel for women is an important and under-recognized sub-genre. These novels are usually evaluated on their historical merits because aesthetically, they are terrible: written by religious conservatives and/or befuddled men, often intended (in the Victorian era) to instruct.” Ugh.
Consulting Collections of Medieval Manuscripts Online.
The Airship: I Read All of the Harry Potter Books for the First Time Over the Last Month.
Someone had to say it.
Paris Review: Emily Brontë’s Boring Birthday.
“I’m afraid it’s true. Emily Brontë’s birthday letters are totally dull.” Doesn’t that give more evidence to a fertile imagination?
MeFi: DIY Law School - Learn the Law Without Law School.
The Airship: Happy Birthday, Penguin, and Thanks for Inventing the Modern Paperback Book.
“July 30 marks the 79th anniversary of a mass-market paperback revolution. On this date in 1934, publisher Allen Lane was supposedly struck by a fantastic epiphany while suffering from boredom at a British train station. The idea? To make good literature accessible to everyone.”