Words

Amazon Publishing ‘Suppresses’ Book With Too Many Hyphens

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“When they ran an automated spell check against the manuscript they found that over 100 words in the 90,000-word novel contained that dreaded little line,” says author Graeme Reynolds. “This, apparently, ‘significantly impacts the readability of your book,’ and, as a result, ‘We have suppressed the book because of the combined impact to customers.'”

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An Old Membership-Only Library Remakes Itself As A Thriving Intellectual Equivalent Of Church

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“The [Providence] Athenaeum, a Greek Revival edifice that still gives its solid wooden card catalog pride of place, looks and feels like it belongs in another century. But it has lately become a vital part of 21st-century civic life, thanks to a lively Friday night salon series with discussion topics ranging from the 100th anniversary of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring to the Rhode Island quahog clam industry.”

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Those Amazing Writing Machines (A Cult Of Typewriters)

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“We felt we were more productive on a typewriter because we had to keep moving forward…. If we made a mistake, we kept typing. If we wanted to rearrange the information, we had to start over. With the word processor we’ve lost some of the immediacy. It’s too easy to delete, to cut and paste.”

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Walking The Paris Of Patrick Modiano’s Novels

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“There is probably no other writer like Modiano who invites his readers on a tour. Give me your hand, he says, and I’ll take you to the streets of Paris. He returns to places he knew many years ago, and demonstrates that very little has changed. He gives us a clear, concise, amazingly accurate map with which we can walk around the city.”

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Hilary Mantel’s “Assassination Of Margaret Thatcher” Story Brouhaha Starts Up Again

The Assassination Of Margaret Thatcher

BBC Radio 4 announced that the historical fantasy would be read on the popular Book at Bedtime broadcast, and the folks who fussed when the story was published this fall have resumed fussing. Says Mantel, “You’d think they’d learn. I was bemused when Lord Bell suggested the police should interest themselves in the case of a fictional assassination of a person who was already dead.”

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The Wikipedia Problem

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“That it has survived almost 15 years and remained the top Google result for a vast number of searches is a testament to the impressive vision of founder Jimmy Wales and the devotion of its tens of thousands of volunteer editors. But beneath its reasonably serene surface, the website can be as ugly and bitter as 4chan and as mind-numbingly bureaucratic as a Kafka story. And it can be particularly unwelcoming to women.”

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Australian Prime Minister Changes Jury’s Choice For Book Prize, Furor Ensues

tony abbott

The judges for this year’s Prime Minister’s Literary Award for fiction chose to give the $80,000 prize to Steven Carroll for A World of Other People. Then Tony Abbott stepped in (it’s his award, right?) to decree that Carroll should split the prize with Richard Flanagan for The Narrow Road to the Deep North, which had already won this year’s Man Booker Prize. This did not make many people happy.

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Patrick Modiano’s Nobel Speech: Literature Is Not In Danger

Patrick Modiano

“Today, I get the sense that memory is much less sure of itself, engaged as it is in a constant struggle against amnesia and oblivion. This layer, this mass of oblivion that obscures everything, means we can only pick up fragments of the past, disconnected traces, fleeting and almost ungraspable human destinies. Yet it has to be the vocation of the novelist, when faced with this large blank page of oblivion, to make a few faded words visible again, like lost icebergs adrift on the surface of the ocean.”

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Mysterious Italian Author Reveals – A Little Bit

elena ferrante

The novelist known as Elena Ferrante: “I didn’t choose anonymity. The books are signed. Instead, I chose absence. More than 20 years ago, I felt the burden of exposing myself in public, I wanted to detach myself from the finished story; I wanted the books to assert themselves without my patronage.”

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Hachette Tries Selling Books Straight From Twitter (Take That, Amazon!)

hachette twitter

“Hachette Book Group will start selling books straight from tweets, though it can’t be labeled more than an experiment for now: The publisher has partnered with digital distributor Gumroad to sell three gifty print books ‘for a limited time and in limited quantities’ via the books’ authors’ tweets.”

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Is It Important To Save Dying Languages? (Of Course, But Not For The Reasons You Think)

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“Certainly, a culture can thrive without its own language: No one would tell today’s American Indians that if they no longer spoke their ancestral language it would render them non-Indian. Likewise, being Jewish does not require speaking Hebrew or Yiddish. Yet because language is so central to being human, to have a language used only with certain other people is a powerful tool for connection and a sense of community.”

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It’s Easy – Too Easy? – To Write About Yourself

emojery

“The bot encourages you to communicate in emojis, but you can also add words. Everything you say is logged on your iPhone, and the idea is that if you’re diligent and reply every time it asks you what’s up, eventually you have yourself a journal.”

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Can You Get Too Old To Write Poetry?

Donald Hall

Donald Hall, former U.S. poet laureate: “It was gradual, and I had the sense of poetry fading on me, or me fading on poetry, for several years. And then I would think ‘No, this is good.’ And then six months later it wasn’t so good.”

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Who Really Wrote “Little House On The Prairie”?

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“The story of how this beloved series came to be has drawn great interest in recent years, as critics have debated Rose Wilde Lane’s role: How much of the “Little House” books did she revise or even write herself? Lane always insisted that she merely edited them; she didn’t believe there was much prestige in “juveniles.” At the same time, her diaries and letters reveal an intense and entwined relationship, and writing mentorship, between daughter and mother.”

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