Words

The 1906 Novel That Imagined New York In 2015

1906 Novel That Imagined Present-Day New York

“Set ninety years after the cataclysmic Terror of 1925, Sutphen’s book imagines that the world of 2015 has devolved into three tribes: the Painted People, the House People, and the marauding Doomsmen. Keeps, drawbridges, archery, and Sirs and Ladies have grown back as thickly as vines over the ruins of American civilization. At the center of it all is the city of Doom, ‘gigantic, threatening, omnipotent,’ and ruled by the post-apocalyptic godfather Dom Gillian.”

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Wordnesia: When You Forget How To Spell Or Pronounce The Simplest Of Werds

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In the 1996 movie Black Sheep David Spade, “glances at a fold-up map and realizes he somehow has become unfamiliar with the name for paved driving surfaces. ‘Robes? Rouges? Rudes?‘ Nothing seems right. … ‘Rowds. Row-ads.‘ … Row-ad-type word wig outs similar to the one portrayed in that movie are things that actually happen, in real life, to people with full and total control over their mental capacities.”

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Workers Of The Word Unite! – Language And Class At The Copy Desk

copy editors

“The truth is that the work of the copy editor is largely disdained. And because their work is so undervalued, copy editors (and fact checkers) routinely work significantly longer hours for much less money … The popular image of the copy editor as a usefully malfunctioning person justifies the natural order of things: In the Calvinistic world of magazines, maladjusted grammar weirdos simply fall to their natural station.”

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Survey: What Men Are Reading (And Why)

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The “survey showed that 39 per cent of adult fiction works and 56 per cent of non-fiction were for males, suggesting men are not so keen on keeping up-to-date with storytelling, but slightly ahead of women when it comes to reading history, politics and biography.”

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Are These The Five Best Bookstores In America?

powells amazon

“Before the winner is announced in early April, each of the five finalists will submit a portfolio to impress the judges. The reward — publicity in Publishers Weekly and at the Book Expo convention in May — is certainly valuable, but this is a distinctly cordial competition.”

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Turns Out Fiction Is (Just) Slightly More Complicated Than ‘A Stranger Comes To Town; Someone Leaves Town’

wuthering-heights

“To the aficionado, Jockers’s sheep/goats, wheat/chaff division of imaginative fiction sounds about as sophisticated as dividing the world of music into the up-chord and the down-chord. It sounds, indeed, like the lady in the Monty Python sketch explaining her theory about the brontosaurus (it starts off thin, becomes very thick, then thin again).”

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The Essay About Teaching In MFA Programs That Has Writers Freaking Out Across The Internet

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“Anyone who claims to have useful information about the publishing industry is lying to you, because nobody knows what the hell is happening. My advice is for writers to reject the old models and take over the production of their own and each other’s work as much as possible.” (Now, search Twitter for “MFA” or “MFA essay” and see what writers are saying about this piece.)

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How Alice Munro Learned About Stories – And Books

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“If I wanted a story, the thing to do was to get my grandmother to read it to me. Then listening to her voice, her story-reading voice which always sounded a little incredulous, marvelling, yet full of faith, bravely insistent, and watching her face, its meaningful and utterly familiar expressions — lifted eyebrows, ominously sinking chin, brisk little nods of agreement when, as sometimes happened, a character said something sensible — then I would feel the story grow into life and exist by itself.”

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Children Are Reading ‘Diary Of A Wimpy Kid’ Instead Of Tolkien – Is That Supposed To Be A Bad Thing?

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“Every generation thinks that standards are slipping – in my childhood it was Enid Blyton in the line of fire, for my sister it was the Sweet Valley High series, and today it’s The Hunger Games. All have been roundly condemned for stopping children reading good books. And yet children keep reading. “

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The Immortality Of The Written Word (Yeah, All That Is Changing…)

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“In making the transition from an age of scarcity to an age of glut, the nature of fame itself undergoes a change. One sign of the difference is that it would be hard to find a poet, in the 21st century, who openly claims to write for glory, fame, or immortality. Yet the idea that great poetry was the surest way to achieve fame and outwit death has been very long-lived.”

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Writing On The Web, A Deeply Cynical Take

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“Remember that first question: What is web writing in 2015? Is it still based on the author model? If you enjoy watching a writer’s mind work over time (or you enjoy having that freedom as a writer), is there still a way to do that? Or is the writer’s-voice-driven Internet over, forever, everything’s atomistic now and it’s no longer possible to scrape an audience together that way even if you want to?”

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How A Book Club Is Helping To Keep Ex-Offenders From Going Back To Jail

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“They were all teenagers then, charged as adults for their violent crimes. At the D.C. jail, they found solace in a book club, reading memoirs and reciting poems they had written. Over the past year, they finally came home. They see themselves as reformed men who did dumb things as kids but who know that others may have trouble forgiving.”

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“The Little Prince” Goes Out Of Copyright, And Turkish Publishers Go Nuts

turkish-astronomer

“In the first two weeks of January, more than thirty Turkish publishers released translations of the 1943 novella. … In a newspaper books supplement the other week, almost half the adverts were for The Little Prince. One publisher put out a mandarine-flavoured edition. Another released three different versions, to show the differences in translation trends. There is a 3D pop-up edition.”

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Here’s Why Classifying Writers Is A Bad Idea

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“Given the chance, we would resist classification. I have never met a writer who wishes to be described as a female writer, gay writer, black writer, Asian writer or African writer. We hyphenated writers complain about the privilege accorded to the white male writer, he who dominates the western canon and is the only one called simply ‘writer’.”

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ISIS Burns 8,000 Rare Books and Manuscripts in Mosul’s Library

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“Among its lost collections were manuscripts from the eighteenth century, Syriac books printed in Iraq’s first printing house in the nineteenth century, books from the Ottoman era, Iraqi newspapers from the early twentieth century and some old antiques like an astrolabe and sand glass used by ancient Arabs. The library had hosted the personal libraries of more than 100 notable families from Mosul over the last century.”

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The Genius And Excess Of John Berryman

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“Centennial celebrations, meant to re¬suscitate a reputation, run the risk of burying it instead. Consider the case of John Berryman … Not so long ago he was a commanding figure in what had come to be known as confessional poetry, for its seemingly raw autobiographical excavation of alcohol and drugs, adultery and divorce, madness and hospitalization.”

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Writing As A Lonely Tortured Struggle? Not So Much

authors Lydia Syson and Helen Grant

“Take those demons, for example. For some of us, writing is not a matter of being driven by them, but casting them out. Difficult family relationships? Sort them out on the page. Horrible love life? Write it again with a better ending. Feeling your age? Slip into the skin of a 20 year old and go off and have some fictional adventures. It’s not a horrible, exhausting struggle; it’s therapeutic.”

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Turnip Princesses And Boy Cinderellas: A Rediscovered Collection Of Fairy Tales Is Even More Different From The Grimms Than You’d Think

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“Working just a few decades after the Brothers Grimm, Schönwerth considered scholars his natural audience, and as a result the tales he recorded are bawdier, racier and significantly more scatological than the collection the Grimms published under the title Children’s and Household Tales.” The English translator of a new collection tells us more.

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Why Do People Relate To Characters Who Aren’t Real?

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“Fiction offers many pleasures – we may enjoy its capacity to make the world anew for us through its descriptions, or to advance our understanding of science or philosophy through its application of ideas to examples of human behaviour, but although it does – on examination – seem so faint as to be numinous, nonetheless it’s our conviction that fictional characters’ hopes, fears and desires matter that allows fictions to become facts on the ground – a ground we sympathetically traverse alongside them.”

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The Crackdown On Little Free Libraries

little free libraries

“Alas, a subset of Americans are determined to regulate every last aspect of community life. Due to selection bias, they are overrepresented among local politicians and bureaucrats. And so they have power, despite their small-mindedness, inflexibility, and lack of common sense so extreme that they’ve taken to cracking down on Little Free Libraries, of all things.”

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