“The Miami dialect is not a second-language accent, like you’d hear from a Cuban immigrant whose first language is Spanish. It is an American English dialect … spoken by native-born Americans. Which doesn’t stop the accent from seeming foreign to others: [FIU linguist Phillip] Carter says that his students will sometimes find themselves in a neighboring county, only to be asked what country they’re from.” Dan Nosowitz looks at the ingredients in this sancocho of speech patterns.
“Around half of the population of the UK and Ireland continue to use libraries. Nearly half (46%) of people aged 25 to 34 still visit them according to the study – a rise of 2%.”
In response to a proposed law banning any books by, or even “concerning,” the late author of A People’s History of the United States, two nonprofits offered to send the book and related classroom materials to any Arkansas middle or high school teach or librarian who asked. Hundreds of them did.
“The Pulitzer comes after The Underground Railroad won the National Book Award, after it was selected for Oprah’s Book Club, and after Moonlight director Barry Jenkins signed on to adapt it for television.”
Henry Grabar: “In short, Evicted the book that everyone who thinks about housing for a living has been reading or giving to their friends.”
“Matar’s latest book details his return to Libya in 2012 as he sought the truth [of] his father’s fate, decades after he was kidnapped by Colonel Qaddafi’s secret security [forces]. … His first novel, In the Country of Men, was nominated for the 2006 Man Booker Prize.”
“Thompson’s book explores an infamous  riot at the Attica Correctional Facility [in New York state] that involved 1,300 prisoners and ultimately led to the deaths of 39 people. … [Jess’s volume] tells the stories behind America’s blues, work songs and church hymns.”
“To run a business, you have to be deeply involved in all the minutiae, from strategy to product to hiring. Diving into the story, identifying with the characters, and trying to solve the mystery has two effects on me. First, it is a very efficient way to disconnect from all the problems I face in the business. Second, it immediately unlocks my creativity. My mind has no limits while I’m reading, and it shouldn’t while I’m conducting business.”
Lincoln Michel attacked the concept in an essay last week; here, Emily Temple defends it. But she extends her defense: “No one should feel compelled to create lists of irrelevant details because of some oppressive Internet overlord. Actually, I have good news: literally nothing is required from fiction.”
Other interesting statistics from Britain and the Republic of Ireland: “The highest levels of library use were in Scotland and Ireland, with the lowest in Northern Ireland.”
What happens if you start looking up the word ‘mondegreen’? “The churning sea of language raises its watery head to look around and then dives back into itself, splashing out words like litotes, genericide, and yes, metaphor. I collect these terms like Easter eggs, thrilled to have names for the ways we outfit our messages with color, rhythm, and nuance.”
Whoa: “Elling O. Eide decided to bring the world of Sinology to Sarasota. Already a voracious collector, he doubled down on his passion, buying entire collections of academic journals and books. His research specialty had been China’s most famous poet, Li Po, who lived during the Tang dynasty of the seventh to 10th centuries, often called China’s greatest. That dynasty became his focus. He amassed 75,000 volumes, including 50,000 in Chinese.”
“As a pre-World War II transatlantic creative, he worked in Hollywood and on Broadway. And after World War II – things had gotten pretty hot for him in Britain because of the radio broadcasts he made for the Nazis as a captive in 1941 – he lived in the U.S. until his death. He became an American citizen in 1955.” And this American-ness, argues one scholar, is key to Wodehouse’s continuing appeal.
An anonymous woman in northwestern England purchased an auction lot of old secondhand books for £14. When she finally had time to go through the contents, she found the 1886 edition of the Dostoevsky novel, the first published in English. She has now made a 96,300% profit.
“Librarians spent decades figuring out how to best organize its constantly growing collections, which would render systems dated as their contents reflected new industries, and thus required new vocabularies. Heads butt over how to organize the stacks; casual rivalries even arose between librarians who had different visions.”
The five-time National Magazine Award finalist, which has had contributors ranging from Nick Hornby to Anne Carlson to
Lemony Snicket Daniel Handler, had been published by McSweeney’s since it was founded in 2003. The title has been purchased by the Black Mountain Institute at The University of Nevada, Las Vegas and will be edited by the Institute’s executive director, Joshua Wolf Shenk.
“This once-staid outfit — who buys a dictionary anymore? — has earned itself a large and devoted following on social media, and no wonder: Trump is literally being trolled by the dictionary.”
The Moth was founded in 1997 by the writer George Dawes Green — its name comes from his memories of growing up in St. Simons Island, Ga., where neighbors would gather late at night on a friend’s porch to tell stories and drink bourbon as moths flew in through the broken screens and circled the porch light. It has since grown into what its artistic director, Catherine Burns, calls “a modern storytelling movement” that has inspired “tens of thousands of shows worldwide in places as diverse as Tajikistan, Antarctica, and Birmingham, Ala.”
“Slow reading” is not to be understood in opposition to “fast reading.” There is nothing per se problematic with speed- or skim-reading; there are occasions when speed is necessary. Slow reading is often characterized by its intensity: it involves a fine-tuned attention to detail and nuance. And openness: “Slow reading is important precisely because it provides us with the attentive quality necessary for openness to occur.”
Why? Because the superhero world has a huge hole at its center. “Comics creator Jon Proudstar remembers the first time he saw a Native American character in a comic. It was Thunderbird, in the X-Men, and he was quickly killed off. Proudstar was 8 years old and he was not happy. ‘And for years I just lamented about it and said one day I’ll bring him back,’ he says.”
“The line between public and private selves is different for different writers. Some are comfortable sharing many details of their lives. Neil Gaiman tells fans about his book projects, encourages people to get involved in refugee relief and tweets pictures of his wife and baby son. Other writers prefer relative anonymity. Thomas Pynchon famously doesn’t give interviews and is rarely photographed. Most writers probably fall somewhere in between.”
“Susan Benne, executive director of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America, says the organization has about 450 members but estimates 60 percent of those do not have an open storefront, and the overall number of dealers continues to drop. Lost, too, is that dusty aura of something vanished, gone like smoke from steam engines in the American landscape. The digital age of Amazon.com, e-readers and online research has its advantages, but for parishioners of the Church of Old Books, it has also relegated a way of reading, and finding the book of your fever dreams, to a dust-mote-enchanted memory.”
This is the problem: “Every organizational schema is a doomed attempt to blanket chaos with order, and only more so the grander its ambitions. It may be possible to draw a sensible line delineating science from nature, art from design, autobiography from memoir, or war history from American history from Native American history, but to do so is to suggest that any one exists independently from the other. The clear lines bleed and become wobbly.”
Whoa. “The dizzying space contains a grand optical illusion that you only see once you’ve set foot inside. Its lobby is a cavernous tunnel that most notably features striking black mirrored flooring. Together, the reflective ground and curved shelving creates the feeling that you’ve stepped into a perfectly circular room, making you question which way is up.”
Ahmed Naji: “It is interesting working on a novel in prison.”
“For more than 200 years, male British authors (usually poets, usually in pairs) have co-written or co-edited collections, anthologies or scholarly travel journals. It’s a tradition that is in surprisingly rude health, with recent examples and forthcoming festivities marking the 50th anniversary of a collaboration that sold shedloads.”
“[Kate] Coleman works full time at the downtown library as part of a yearslong effort by the Hennepin County Library system to better help the homeless connect with tools and resources in the area.”
“Publishers believe that Russian individuals are behind the creation of an fake book parodying a self-styled manual for resisting US president Donald Trump and other populist leaders, with the author, historian Timothy Snyder, claiming the listing to be the latest attack in a series of efforts by Russians to undermine his work.”
“It would be a cliche to say that indexers are the unsung heroes of the publishing world. But unsung they generally are: no indexer usually expects or receives credit by name in books where everyone from the font designer to the snapper of the author photograph tends to get a solemn shout-out. And heroes they are, too: the index is, in any nonfiction book, more useful than almost anything else in the apparatus. It is a map of the text; a cunningly devised series of magical shortcuts that can in the good case save a scholar many hours of work, and in the bad one save a bookshop-browsing cabinet minister from having to buy a former colleague’s memoirs.”
“Men are wired for combat, to bash the enemy into submission, and it’s hard to wipe the blood and gore off your hands and sit down and write, ‘O wondrous thou, the wonderment of these my happiest days, I lift my pen to praise thy shining beauty’ and so forth. But you can do it. The first step is: Imitate.”