Ask Azar Nafisi, the woman who wrote “Reading Lolita in Tehran,” and she’ll tell you: “the truth of the matter is that the laws have remained the same, and there is no real security until there is real reform and real change. As you can tell from reading Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch, the human rights situation in Iran — the situation of journalists, writers, political prisoners — that also remains the same.”
“What was it that meant that women’s work was not seen, somehow, as valuable as the writing of their male counterparts. Tradition; nervousness about a plurality of voices; a sense that some subjects were more important than others?”
“These days, digitization of the NYPL collections falls under the aegis of NYPL Labs – which began as a catchall name for a range of digital experiments, then became an in-house, prototype-building research and development group, and now is a full-fledged department that’s broadly responsible for both the digital and experimental sides of the library and its branches.”
“Written for his high school newspaper, The Green Witch, in the early 1940s, … ‘The Moth in the Flame’ captures in a very short space the vast range of tumultuous emotions that spring from a distressing encounter.”
Turning random strings of characters into rhymed, metered verse was the brainchild of Kevin Knight, a senior research scientist at USC’s Information Sciences Institute and a professor in their Computer Science Department, and Marjan Ghazvininejad, a Ph.D. student at the institute.
“Her book was almost a word-for-word, scene-for-scene duplication of my book, except the characters’ names had been changed, and short M/M love scenes had been inserted. The only scene she didn’t include was the epilogue, which couldn’t be altered to an M/M scene. It involved the heroine in labour and the hero having sympathetic labour pains.”
“Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel … was suddenly pulled from the honors English curriculum at Illinois’s Mattoon High School because of ‘several passages that were ‘extremely’ vulgar detailing sexual acts’.”
That civilization’s main cities “boasted street planning and house drainage worthy of the twentieth century. They hosted the world’s first known toilets, along with complex stone weights, elaborately drilled gemstone necklaces and exquisitely carved seal stones featuring one of the world’s stubbornly undeciphered scripts. … Now – as a result of increased collaboration between archaeologists, linguists and experts in the digital humanities – it looks possible that the Indus script may yield some of its secrets.”
“The King James Bible may well be the greatest work of literature ever written by committee – and now we know a bit more about the collaboration that produced it.”
Since the first-ever Governor-General’s Literary Award was handed out in 1936, only three writers have won the prize for English-language fiction three times: Hugh MacLennan, Alice Munro and Michael Ondaatje.
“What keeps Sherlock Holmes alive? As is customarily the case with serial literature, the most important element of the appeal of the Holmes stories is the personality of their principal character, closely followed by his relationship with his amanuensis.”
“The library has no future as yet another Internet node, but neither will it relax into retirement as an antiquarian warehouse. Until our digital souls depart our bodies for good and float away into the cloud, we retain part citizenship in the physical world … In the midst of an information explosion, librarians are still the most versatile information specialists we have. And the purest.”
Jonathan Franzen: “What made a story New Yorker was its carefully wrought, many-comma’d prose; its long passages of physical description, the precision and the sobriety of which created a kind of negative emotional space, a suggestion of feeling without the naming of it; its well-educated white characters, who could be found experiencing the melancholies of affluence, the doldrums of suburban marriage, or the thrill or the desolation of adultery; and, above all, its signature style of ending, which was either elegantly oblique or frustratingly coy, depending on your taste.”
Americans’ ignorance about their own country’s history has been called an “epidemic,” and yet they seem as enthusiastic as ever to consume books, TV shows, movies, and musicals with a historical slant.
“I’ve been struggling with ‘coming out’ for a long time. I didn’t know how. I considered quietly disappearing, which is easier to do online than it is in real life. But disappearing isn’t owning up to what I’ve done, and this issue is bigger than I am. A friend suggested that I do the opposite of disappear – make a public statement. Here’s my best attempt.”
“Publications are increasingly charging fees to consider submissions – a practice that’s bad for the writing community at every level.”
“Diversity as an editor begins with your friends, your teachers, and your books. What rooms are you in? What conversations? Who are the people in your social media feeds? When you go home, is your family all white? When you go to a party, are your friends all white? When you look down your bookshelf, are all your books by white authors? Those are some tests. What people call diversity has always been, to me, my life. And so if your tastes are not diverse, your life may also not be. And if you find a result you don’t like in all of this, then you work on it.”
“Libraries are one of the few places people can still go to ask questions face-to-face about anything from Shakespeare and atoms to how to get help with everything from house issues to mental health. The most vulnerable members of our society need spaces where information is available from people rather than just being ‘out there’ on the internet. Not everyone has a computer or knows how to find what they need. Not everyone has books at home or a well-stocked school library.”
“Rated titles on Goodreads at present include Pride and Promiscuity: The Lost Sex Scenes of Jane Austen, Pride and Penetration, Mr. Darcy’s Undoing, Felicity in Marriage (Erotic Pride and Prejudice Continuation, #1), and the succinctly titled Spank Me, Mr. Darcy.”
“Marra: Can you describe that moment you realized your own extraordinary talent?
“Guy: I can actually remember quite clearly. I was in fourth grade, and we were asked to write about our summer vacations. I wrote mine entirely in the second person and without punctuation.”
“If the Night Vale novel succeeds, it could inspire more podcast-to-book projects as publishers search for new mediums to mine.”
“Cowell’s How to Train Your Dragon books, about the adventures of the Viking Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III, ‘stand out not only for their humour, excitement, and startlingly vivid descriptive language, but also, more surprisingly, for their profound meditations on complex political, historical, emotional and moral themes,’ said Philosophy Now, announcing Cowell’s win.”
“Amazon Publishing typically distributes its books only through Amazon.com. As a result, you won’t see them on the New York Times bestseller list, which discounts books that are only available from a single retailer, or on the subway: most are sold in electronic form. … It wasn’t necessarily supposed to be this way.”
“Apple wants mobile devices to be filled with apps. Google supports a world where people browse the web for most things. Now websites are increasingly caught in the middle of those competing visions.”
“Dr Anne Toner believes she has identified the earliest use of the ellipsis in English drama, pinning it down to a 1588 edition of the Roman dramatist Terence’s play, Andria, which had been translated into English … and in which hyphens, rather than dots, mark incomplete utterances by the play’s characters.”
“I began to leave some of my books (William Trevor, Andre Dubus, Richard Yates, and Alice Munro) amongst the business tomes, like wild, beautiful hippies poking through a humorless crowd of overachievers.”
“The book publishing industry’s workforce was younger in 2014 than in 2013, and, as a result, average compensation was down year over year, according to our annual salary and jobs survey. … it is also possible that the data reflects the success publishers have had in replacing aging, experienced, high-priced baby boomers with younger, less expensive employees.”
“This year, AmazonCrossing plans to publish ’77 titles from 15 countries and 12 languages’ in the United States, which will almost certainly dwarf the output of Dalkey and its ilk. And, with this new $10 million commitment, the number of works in translation published by AmazonCrossing should continue to soar.”
“Friday’s ruling is a big deal not just for search engine giants, copyright lawyers, authors, and publishers, but also for ordinary people. Only a generation ago, doing scholarly research in the way that Google Books now makes possible was a game only academics could play.”
“There’s a long and noble tradition of literary critics misunderstanding Joseph Conrad. … Far more words have been written about him than he ever wrote himself – and not everyone can get it right all the time. Especially when you throw combustible postcolonial issues into the mix. Time has a cruel habit of amplifying those mistakes. A century after he was writing, any negative predictions about Conrad’s long-term durability, for instance, seem hilariously misguided.”