“From the start of his career, Kadare broke with the prescribed literary mode of socialist realism to write fiction rooted in history, myth, and allegory. But he never became a full-on dissident. Doing so probably would have meant execution. … He saw his books banned and experienced internal exile, but he also served as a minister of parliament. … He describes his own relationship to the dictator as a game of ‘cat and mouse’: He wanted to survive, remain in his homeland, and continue writing; [Enver] Hoxha ‘didn’t want to be seen as an enemy of writers.'”
“I was a relatively late convert to the e-reader, getting my Kindle five years ago when it became clear that reading 600 pages of A Suitable Boy while breastfeeding wasn’t going to work,” writes author Erin Kelly (He Said/She Said). “Hachette Livre CEO Arnaud Nourry recently called ebooks ‘stupid’ – but last summer, they changed my life” as both author and reader.
The 33-year-old alt-right
troll provocateur “sued for breach of contract in July 2017 after the cancellation of his book Dangerous< .em>, claiming that Simon & Schuster violated the terms of their deal to publish following public outrage. Simon & Schuster claimed that the book had ‘substantial problems.'”
“A municipal council committee, tasked with deciding on the award, this week revoked its earlier decision to honour the famous author, who is also an outspoken critic of the current political climate in Turkey. The committee has so far given no explanation for revoking the decision which had previously passed unanimously by the seven councillors.” The head of the ruling party in the Bosnian capital is close, personally and politically, to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
“Egyptian poetry can come across as leaden and cryptic in English translation, which is why [Richard Bruce] Parkinson” – an Egyptologist who recently translated one of the civilization’s most popular narratives, The Tale of Sinuhe – “got his friend, New Zealand-born novelist and veteran Hammer film actor Barbara Ewing, to record a dramatic rendering. She gives it staggering-hearted new life.” (includes video)
In a one-page directive, Hoover noted with alarm a recent “increase in the establishment of black extremist bookstores which represent propaganda outlets for revolutionary and hate publications and culture centers for extremism.” The director ordered each Bureau office to “locate and identify black extremist and/or African-type bookstores in its territory and open separate discreet investigations on each to determine if it is extremist in nature.”
Writer Melissa Fraterrigo: “Before my daughters arrived I squandered time. I read books from start to finish whether I felt drawn into the world of the story or not. I worked on short stories that were okay but could easily be put aside to check email or run an errand. I lacked dedication. Parenthood changed that. So did the seizures.”
The accusations (anonymous at first) sparked an intense discussion as “at an awkward moment for the industry, which had gathered Monday at the American Library Association’s midwinter meeting in Denver to announce its most coveted awards for children and young adult literature.” Agents, editors, and publishing houses dropped some of the most famous male authors in young adult literature as the week went on.
“I wanted to read Lolita because I believed it would mitigate my sexual shame. The similarity between the novel’s plot and my day-to-day life had sent me on a Google search, where I read excerpts and watched trailers of both film adaptations, categorized under ‘crime,’ ‘drama’ and ‘romance.’ Until then it had never occurred to me to consider my relationship with my uncle under any of those genres.”
Cowboy poetry goes as far back as the late 19th century, when herders were known to recite original poems sitting around their campfires at night. Those poems mimicked the popular verse of their day, at least in form—they never veered into free verse, and they featured a singsong rhythm. Cowboy poetry continued for the next 100 years or so in this fashion, confined to fleeting performances in hushed fields, until 1985, when a group of folk historians used a small grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to create the Gathering in Elko with a simple purpose: to bring together men and women who craved poetry that valued and found beauty in their rural existence.
“[President Jefferson] knew that future mapmakers, naturalists, and other scientists would rely on the valuable first-hand knowledge that Lewis and Clark collected. He encouraged them to make their observations ‘with great pains and accuracy … for others as well as yourself.’ That meant that every time they encountered an unfamiliar plant, animal, landscape feature, or cultural item – the Louisiana Territory and the western portion of the continent teemed with them – they had to invent a new term.”
“What makes bibliomancy fascinating is that unlike other forms of divination, it trades in something which already has an interpretable meaning – words. Perhaps a butcher can figure out the narrative that a sheep’s liver conveys, but that The Aeneid, as indeed all texts, has a meaning requires no suspension of disbelief, even if the meanings which are being derived seem far from authorial intention.”
As the art of close reading—a finely grained analysis of a text—has declined, a cohort of experts has emerged to reverse the trend and encourage stronger reading habits. Their solution has a kind of old-school simplicity to it: We need to allow the physicality of the book itself to lure us back into the pleasures of reading.
“The foundation is the five-paragraph essay, a form that is chillingly familiar to anyone who has attended high school in the US. In college, the model expands into the five-section research paper. Then in graduate school comes the five-chapter doctoral dissertation. Same jars, same order. By the time the doctoral student becomes a professor, the pattern is set. The Rule of Five is thoroughly fixed in muscle memory, and the scholar is on track to produce a string of journal articles that follow from it. Then it’s time to pass the model on to the next generation. The cycle continues.”
“Now more than ever, art and commerce seem indistinguishable. On today’s Internet, everything is, to borrow Hebdige’s term, even flatter. There’s less time, somehow, for the depth of history—yesterday’s trends float farther and farther from their points of origin, commingling as styles without pasts, images without contexts. I do most of my reading online, and a few hundred words can take hours to digest—a paragraph of text is a launch pad to other places; I find myself falling down YouTube and eBay wormholes, my attention drifting. That state of being would have sounded like heaven to my teen-age self. It doesn’t usually feel like it now, though.”
“School administrators said the decision was made in an effort to be considerate of all students after concerns about the [racist terms used in the books] were raised over the years. The books are not banned, however, and will still be available for optional reading.” Said one high school English teacher in the city of To Kill a Mockingbird, “I think it’s dated. That book now to me reads like it was written to explain racism to primarily a white audience. My African-American population doesn’t need to have racism explained to them.”
For hundreds of years, history was handwritten. The problem is not only that our ancestors’ handwriting was sometimes very bad, but also that they used abbreviations, old conventions, and styles of lettering that have fallen out of use. Understanding them takes both patience and skill. “I see the job as a cross between a crossword puzzle and a jigsaw puzzle,” says Linda Watson.
“On Tuesday afternoon, the [paper] announced that it would be hiring Quinn Norton as an editorial board member. Shortly before 10 p.m., the paper fired her. Norton has been a prolific tech journalist – covering issues ranging from bioethics to the Anonymous movement for publications like Wired and The Atlantic – and seemed initially to be a remarkably good pick to become the Times‘ lead opinion writer ‘on the power, culture, and consequences of technology.’ The hours between her hiring and firing were an object lesson in all three.”
‘Confabulation’ comes from the Latin fabula (‘story’) which can be either a historical account or a fairytale. When we confabulate, we tell a story that is fictional, while believing that it is a true story. As we are not aware that our story is fictional, this is very different from a lie: we have no intention to deceive. So in confabulation there is a mismatch between what we aim to do (tell a true story) and what we end up doing (tell a fictional story).
“As its title suggested, the book was an ‘Appeal’ to ‘The Colored Citizens of the World, but in Particular and Very Expressly to those of the United States of America.’ Yet appeal was a tame word for the prophecy smoldering between its covers, clearly directed towards the nation’s enslaved laborers. The police may have flipped to page 28: ‘It is no more harm for you to kill a man, who is trying to kill you, than it is for you to take a drink of water when thirsty.’ Page 35 argued that owners denied slaves education because it would reveal their right to ‘cut his devilish throat from ear to ear, and well do slave-holders know it.'”
Guardian Australia revealed last week that the ABC is breaking up its historic music and reference libraries and making 10 librarians redundant to free up floor space and save on wages. Sources say management plans include packing up all 22,000 books in Sydney and Melbourne – apart from a few “special items” – and sending them to Samoa. The books have been targeted because management wants the library space for the IT division. But insiders have mocked the idea, saying developing countries do not always want discarded books because of the high cost of transporting and storing them as well as question marks over their relevance.
Audible CEO Don Katz acknowledged that radio dramas have been around for nearly 100 years, but he emphasized that what Audible is creating is something different. It’s performative audio for the digital era, and Katz said the contributions of these playwrights could be transformative to industry’s landscape, which already includes established purveyors of recorded theater such as L.A. Theatre Works.