FFFFOUND!: Spoof of classic O’Reilly geek book cover.
Hilarious. Warning: some may find it offensive.
Macworld: Leafnote review - Focus on writing, not on how to use the app.
Smells like Scrivener ‘lite.’
Retronaut: Posters from the Spanish Civil War.
Get yer Robert Jordan on.
OpenCulture: The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Most Popular Physics Book Ever Written, Now Completely
Paris Review: What Makes a Classic Endure?
“Manzoni famously announced that The Betrothed would reach only “twenty-five readers,” yet his book became a national treasure. Its inability to attract a non-Italian audience isn’t the result of its artistic shortcomings, but of the nature of its questions and themes, which simply don’t appeal to a contemporary audience.” Cross-culture is why our movies are getting dumbed-down into action flicks, with no emotional nuance.
Vulture: Is It Possible to Even Imagine Utopia Anymore?
Calibre 2.0 is available.
Paris Review: What We See When We Read.
Really interesting thought experiment.
The Millions: Practical Art - On Teaching the Business of Creative Writing.
Harrumph. Go, have remarkable experiences. That’s most important. After your experiences, take a break, pull out daybook, write. Get home, see what sticks in your memory, start writing in earnest. Enthusiasm greases the pencil better than anything else. Creative writing is fun, don’t let anyone or any curriculum ruin it for you.
Please note my use of ‘remarkable.’ Some days, just putting a foot out of bed can be an adventure worth relating.
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.”