Magazine Covers Are Thriving In The Digital Age

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“In the ethereal world of digital media, printed magazines continue to offer something concrete, a tangible representation of a collaboration between editors, artists, designers and writers. And nothing embodies this collaboration like the magazine cover, which remains one of the modern age’s most widely consumed pieces of public art.”

Why Are So Many Libraries Bad At Keeping Track Of What They Have?

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“Across the country, in city art collections and special collections of public libraries, one-of-a-kind items are routinely misfiled, misplaced, lost or stolen. And sometimes, routine mistakes and slipshod documentation grow into a much more intractable problem, with large portions of public collections being managed by institutions who have no idea what’s in them and no full inventory of their holdings.”

James Joyce Fascinates The Chinese

The stage production of A Journey Round James Joyce, which recently toured Chinese cities

“These days, if you ask about James Joyce – or ‘Zhanmusi Qiaoyisi’, as his name is transliterated in Chinese pinyin – in a Chinese bookshop you will be led to shelves lined with relevant volumes. The vast five-floor Xinhua bookshop on Wangfujing, a crowded shopping avenue just round the corner from Tiananmen Square, currently stocks no fewer than four different editions of Ulysses.”

‘An Argument Ends': What We Lose When A Bookstore Closes

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Adam Gopnik: “It is rarely the book you came to seek, but the book next to that book, which changes your mind and heart.” But, more than that, “restaurants, bookstores, cafés – on a grander scale railway stations, on a lesser one chessboards near park benches – are the sinews of civil society.”

Using Oral Histories To Write For Justice

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Mimi Lok: “If you only see someone as a case study then it normally hones in on that instance or instances of where they had their human rights violated. It’s reducing that person to that moment of injustice. You are reducing that person’s whole experience. We want to do the opposite.”

Crowd-Sourced Piracy Gets Crowd-Sourced Chinese Novels Translated

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“Vietnamese writer and translator Trang Ha condemned the conservatism of Vietnamese literature, and the paucity of good-quality fiction available to her compatriots. She was speaking in response to the increasing availability of Chinese novels in Vietnam – works which have often taken a convoluted and heavily mediated route to market.”

Maybe We’re Supposed To Hate Poetry? (But That Might Just Be The Point)

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“What if we dislike or despise or hate poems because they are – every single one of them – failures? The poet and critic Allen Grossman tells a story (there are many versions of the story) that goes like this: you’re moved to write a poem because of some transcendent impulse to get beyond the human, the historical, the finite. But as soon as you move from that impulse to the actual poem, the song of the infinite is compromised by the finitude of its terms. So the poem is always a record of failure.”

If ‘Ulysses’ Were Published Today, What Would Folks Make Of It?

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Charles McGrath: “By the standards of today’s dirty books, Ulysses seems pretty tame, and it’s hard to put yourself back in the mind-set of those who took such strenuous offense in the 20s.”
Rivka Galchen: “I can report that in my research I did not come across a single contemporary reviewer describing the book as obscene. Perhaps this accounts for why there aren’t really that many raves out there.”

Street Names – So Much More Than Labels For A Map

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“Street names are the lyrics to accompany the symphonies that all cities perform, day-in day-out, and their integrity ought to be respected. Maybe they do have more of a function after all than to simply help people tell one street from another.”

A Poet Laureate Whose Work Is Meant To Be Said Out Loud

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Dwight Garner: “[Juan Felipe Herrera’s appointment] makes you wish the job still entailed writing ceremonial verse, commissioned in bygone days for events like the openings of bridges or the deaths of fine old soldiers. Mr. Herrera is a poet you’d like to hear declaim from the National Mall.”

Why We Need Our Writers To Be Audacious

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“It is therefore necessary that writers everywhere should see it as their ultimate duty to preserve artfulness of language by couching audacious prose. Our prose should be the Noah’s ark that preserves language in a world that is being apocalyptically flooded with trite and weightless words.”

The Literary Crowdfunding Boom

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“Authors, publishers and literary journals are all finding new ways of connecting directly to their readers – and their wallets – on online platforms such as Kickstarter. Marta Bausells examines the books industry’s new wave of social financing and picks 10 of the best literary crowdfunding projects.”

The Poky Little Puppy Problem, Or, Why So Many Terrible Children’s Books Are Such Classics

Illustration by Kevin Cannon.

“The problem is that young children have terrible taste and enjoy garbage. Another problem, which compounds the first problem, is that they want to hear the same books hundreds of times in a row. So for all the joys that storytime can offer, it frequently entails a kind of dismal self-abnegation that’s too excruciating even to describe as tedium.”

Why Writers Should Keep A ‘Writing Diary’

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“Surveying this at the end of a project provides a fascinating vision of the evolution of a book – though I invariably find that it’s a catalogue of complaints (‘horrible day,’ ‘appalling day,’ ‘realised that most of what I wrote last week was rubbish’), relieved only rarely by moments of insight and sweaty euphoria: ‘Think I’m getting there at last, thank Christ!'”

Back When Critics Were Critics

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“Back then, the best reviewers – and the best magazines – were all Scotch; you couldn’t throw a stone in Edinburgh without hitting one of these slippery, multi-authored, self-reflexive, pugnacious, parodic, super-opinionated periodicals.”

Ursula LeGuin: My Beef With Amazon

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“If you think Amazon is a great place to self-publish your book, I may have a question or two in mind, but still, it’s fine with me, and none of my business anyhow. My only quarrel with Amazon is when it comes to how they market books and how they use their success in marketing to control not only bookselling, but book publication: what we write and what we read.”

Amazon Data: America’s Most Well-Read Cities

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Seattle tops the list. “Not so surprising, really. Several factors help boost our reading status, including our highly educated population, bookish community that includes fantastic public libraries and local bookstores that support authors and events, and long, dark months of dreary weather that lend themselves to, well, reading. It also helps that we have one of the world’s most famous book fans in town.”

Head Of Boston Public Library Resigns After Distovery Of $600,000 In Missing Art

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“The library said last month it was bringing in an independent firm to review security protocols and that before any items were reported missing it was already working with an outside consultant to “organize, catalogue, inventory, and recommend processes to allow better security and control over” its more than 1.3 million Print Department holdings.”