“Perhaps, fearful of losing the attention of their readers, novelists are borrowing the captivating force of music, feeding off its sensuousness in an effort to regain a lost immediacy. The lengthy musical passages in recent novels, including a few loving and climactic concert scenes, seem to strive for music’s Orphic power.”
“The heaving, barging, chattering throng of a thousand or so people, packing the aisles and testing the walls of the auditorium … was remarkable and exhilarating. It was a much younger, livelier and more euphoric crowd than literary festivals usually attract. It wanted to be provoked, was eager to laugh and fought to be heard: as the microphones went around for questions, eager hands snatched at them.”
That would be
Calcutta Kolkata, where “roadside tea shack owners will talk at length on important writers of the day and rickshaw pullers adorn the backs of their vehicles with the names of writers” – and where the world’s largest non-trade (i.e., for the public) book fair, the Boi Mela, attracts 1½ million people.
“Researchers have found a key that may unlock the only library of classical antiquity to survive along with its documents” – from a villa in Herculaneum, destroyed along with Pompeii by the Vesuvius eruption – “raising at least a possibility of recovering vanished works of ancient Greek and Roman authors such as the lost books of Livy’s history of Rome.”
“Over the past 100 years, tens of thousands of academic books have been published in the humanities, including many remarkable works on history, literature, philosophy, art, music, law, and the history and philosophy of science. But the majority of these books are currently out of print and largely out of reach for teachers, students, and the public. The Humanities Open Book pilot grant program aims to “unlock” these books by republishing them as high-quality electronic books that anyone in the world can download and read on computers, tablets, or mobile phones at no charge.”
“Those with privilege and luck don’t want the riffraff knowing the details. After all, if ‘those people’ understood the differences in our lives, they might revolt. Or, God forbid, not see us as somehow more special, talented and/or deserving than them. There’s a special version of this masquerade that we writers put on.”
“Most of the coverage of Zuckerberg’s book club has taken the perspective of the publishing industry and invokes the hallowed name of Oprah. Will the Facebook founder become the book business’ new Prince Charming, bestowing instant fame and bestseller status on some obscure but deserving author twice a month? But far more intriguing is the emerging portrait of Mark Zuckerberg as a reader.”
“Many scientists and engineers acknowledge that science fiction helped to spark their imagination of what was possible in science (immersion in the genre from a young age might help explain why I now research unconventional computers). And science fiction authors are inspired by future science possibilities. But how do novel scientific ideas get into SF authors’ heads in the first place?”
A laid-off electrician at the Spanish city’s cathedral is accused of having stolen the 12th-century Codex Calixtinus, considered the world’s first tourist guide (for pilgrims to Compostela) and one of the most important surviving sources for medieval music. The manuscript was stolen in 2011 and was found (along with other manuscripts and €1.2 million in cash) in the electrician’s garage the following year.
“The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven” was first published in 2010 and told of a 2004 auto accident which left Malarkey in a coma. According to the book, co-written by Alex’s father, Kevin Malarkey, he had visions of angels and of meeting Jesus. In 2014, Tyndale reissued “The Boy,” which on the cover includes the billing “A True Story.” As reported by Nielsen BookScan, which tracks around 85 percent of the print market, the book has sold nearly 120,000 copies.
“Despite the embrace of e-books in certain contexts, they remain controversial. Many people just don’t like them: They run out of battery, they hurt your eyes, they don’t work in the bath. After years of growth, sales are stagnating. In 2014, 65 percent of 6 to 17-year-old children said they would always want to read books in print—up from 60 percent two years earlier.”
“Now Merriam-Webster is pushing into the future by making an audacious nod to its past. More than half a century after it was published, the company’s landmark book—Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged, known in lexicographic circles as Webster’s Third, W3, the Unabridged, or the Third—is getting an overhaul. The Third is a behemoth—4 inches thick, 13½ pounds, 2,700 pages—that falls like a crashing wave when opened. A fourth edition, by contrast, might never exist as a physical object.”
“Teleny, anonymously published in 1893, describes the erotic relationship between two men – Camille Des Grieux, who has ‘always struggled against the inclinations of my nature’, and Rene Teleny. Its prequel Des Grieux was published in 1899. The authorship of Teleny was first attributed to Wilde decades later by the French bookseller Charles Hirsch, who had opened a London shop in 1889, and who counted Wilde among his customers.”
Adam Gopnik: “Houellebecq is, simply, a satirist. He likes to take what’s happening now and imagine what would happen if it kept on happening. … The principal target of the satire [in Submission] is not French Islam – which is really a bystander that gets, at most, winged – but the spinelessness of the French intellectual class”