Paris Review: Speaking American.
“An English writer’s relation to the geography of Britain feels familiar. It’s not exotic or particularly dangerous, unless you’re talking Heathcliff and the North Yorkshire Moors; there’s always the reassurance of a church, or a pub, or a field of daffodils just around the bend. But the vastness of the American landscape opens up possibilities, thrilling and threatening, for a writer.” The landscape defines us, in so many ways.
Irish Times: Word for Word — is the end nigh for the e-book?
“What irks the ‘digerati’ is the failure of ebooks to dent the affection heavy book-buyers retain for the thing-ness of the original Gutenbergian model. Bibliophiles abhor the impermanence of ebooks because downloads confer no sense of ownership or collectability.”
The Independent.UK: Winds of Winter release date - George RR Martin’s next book set for 2017 release
New Yorker: Héctor Tobar - How the Chilean Miners Survived.
Long and harrowing. Worthy read.
NY Mag: Here’s What the Future of Reading Looks Like.
“‘E-readers are looking like the next iPod,’ Mashable writes today, noting that smartphones and tablets with e-reader apps are poised to cannibalize sales of dedicated e-readers in the same way that the iPhone – which had all the capabilities of an iPod, plus calling and texting and tons of other apps – killed its single-feature predecessor.” Told you so.
Harper’s: What Is Literature?
“In effect, the canon formalized modern literature as a select body of imaginative writings that could stand up to the Greek and Latin texts. Although exclusionary by nature, it was originally intended to impart a sense of unity; critics hoped that a tradition of great writers would help create a national literature. What was the apotheosis of Shakespeare and Milton if not an attempt to show the world that England and not France — especially not France — had produced such geniuses? ”
The New Yorker: A Brief History of Oaths and Books.
“But the use of any text during a swearing-in ceremony is, if not exactly a gimmick, at least more style than substance. There is no constitutional requirement for any federal official—firefighter, ambassador, or President—to take the oath of office over a particular text or, in fact, over any text at all.” Using an e-text? Death of the practice within a decade.
LA Review of Books: The 100-Year-Old Who Taught Garbo to Waltz.
“During a career that stretched from Josef von Sternberg silents to Streisand musicals, Houghton was propositioned by a Munchkin, blew off Lucille Ball, and taught Greta Garbo to waltz for the 1937 costume drama Conquest.”
AP: Court - Searchable Books Database is ‘Fair Use.’
“The library lets the general public search for particular terms but shows only page numbers where the term is found, unless the copyright owner has authorized more extensive information.” Given the last manuscript I had read by commercial OCR provider, I think it will be in authors’ best interest to personally verify that any scans are accurate and correct … and that could end up an onerous and costly-in-time task.
Lost Type Blog: Diagrams – John Philipps Emslie.
“John Philipps Emslie illustrated a large number of maps and contributed to the British topographical archive in the mid to late 1800s. These astronomical and geographical illustrations from his body of work are insane.”
Compound Interest: The Aroma of Books.
Infographic. I think I would have preferred some beautifully-formatted text to explain the situation.
NY Times: What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades.
“When children had drawn a letter freehand, they exhibited increased activity in three areas of the brain that are activated in adults when they read and write: the left fusiform gyrus, the inferior frontal gyrus and the posterior parietal cortex. By contrast, children who typed or traced the letter or shape showed no such effect. The activation was significantly weaker.”
PS Mag: Seduced by Gore Vidal.
“Whereas Buckley produces one of Evelyn Waugh’s anti-socialist epigrams idly, like removing a kerchief from the pocket of his blazer, Vidal’s points of reference in these televised sparring matches are precise, sedulously selected from his self-compiled encyclopedia of a brain.”
New Yorker: Reading in an Emergency.
“I’m not even entirely opposed, as I know some authors and critics are, to the notion that reading can be ‘good for you.’ But by literalizing this fact—by making print books the antidote for an actual disease — ‘The Word Exchange’ comes dangerously close to arguing for literature as medicine. An emergency gives reading a practical urgency, but practical urgency and literature have little business mixing.” A loved one is raped or murdered; would a quick read of The Count of Monte Cristo bring anything to the experience? I don’t know, but it might serve as a better deterrent than the death penalty.
The Rumpus: Check Out These Girls ‘Write’ Now.
Title improved. “And don’t miss this year’s Girls Write Now anthology, Breaking Through, with a Foreword from NYC’s First Lady Chirlane McCray, out on June 3.”
Guardian.UK: Self-publishing is not revolutionary - it’s reactionary.
“Self-publishing is supposed to democratise publishing. For Nicholas Lovell, writing in the Bookseller, ‘publishers no longer have an ability to determine which books get published and which books don’t.’ In other words, democratisation is nothing more than the expansion of the publishing process from the few to the many.” There’s more, but there’s not necessarily better. Self-publishers need exemplary editors, and really good ones are thin on the ground.
KickStarter: Bring Reading Rainbow Back for Every Child, Everywhere.
Linked all over, but you’d have to be heartless not to give it just a little more promotion.
The Rumpus: Litany For My Mother’s Body.
What an exquisitely painful, heartfelt piece of writing. Don’t miss it. I’d call this the link of the week.
New Republic: Novels About Famous Writers’ Wives & Susan Scarf Merrell’s Shirley.
“What explains the proliferation of these novels? Part of the appeal lies in the fantasy of glamour behind the drudgery of writing. Told from the perspectives of wives and lovers, and freed from the need to adhere strictly to biographical specifics, these novels have the liberty to linger on the sexier aspects of their subjects’ lives. Less study, more bedroom.”
Italian Ways: Plants of life and death at the Aboca Museum.
[Note to photographers using HDR - your unskilled use of HDR is patently obvious with colorcast oversaturation of highlights and shadows (the blues here, esp.). There is a certain tonal contrast ‘mushiness’ and strange highlight colorcast that immediately tells everyone “I used Photomatix!”. Spend more time to learn your HDR program, or simply use shadow/highlight in LR.]
The Awl: Maya Angelou, 1928-2014.
RIP, good lady.
The Atlantic: World War I in Photos - Aerial Warfare.
Want some context? Read Falcons of France, by Nordhoff and Hall (the guys who wrote Mutiny on the Bounty). They both served with the Lafayette Escadrille. The book will rivet you all the way through, and now you have actual photos to fill it out visually.
Scrivere - A simplistic text editor.
Oooh, the name’s a bit too close to Scrivener, don’t you think?