“A year ago, [owner] Chris Hughes … vowed to continue his fight to transform the century-old magazine into a more digitally-focused media operation, despite a mass walkout by staffers who bristled at his efforts. On Monday, he said he was done.”
“The last week, it has felt genuinely that we are part of a real community, that publishers do care about independent bookshops and understand their value. We are important: to the book trade, to authors, readers and to the wider communities we exist in. The amazing support we have had is a huge reminder of this and made us even more determined to survive this.”
“After wading through the Golden Globes last night, the ALA Youth Media Awards this morning were like a refreshing start-over for the week. The American Library Association, IMHO, can show the rest of the universe of award shows how its done: The awards are always bursting with positive energy, love and true support for the winners, and (revolutionary!) diversity of winners and presenters. Sorry, negative spirit of the Golden Globes, I’m Team ALA this morning.”
“In a remarkably tone-deaf interview, the executive officer of the festival, Franck Bondoux, claimed that there was a very simple reason no women were included among the nominees. Discrimination was not to blame, he said. Instead, it was because of a lack of qualified women. ‘The Festival likes women, but cannot rewrite the history of comics,’ he said.”
For one thing, quit feeling guilty about it. “I think a lot of people feel guilty about reading. … We are all so busy and have so much going on in our lives that we find it difficult to justify taking the time out.”
A team of scholars and historians spent three years preparing a nearly 2,000-page edition with about 3,500 annotations in anticipation of the expiration on Dec. 31 of a 70-year copyright held by the state of Bavaria.
“If Harry Potter and Huckleberry Finn were each to represent British versus American children’s literature, a curious dynamic would emerge: One defeats evil with a wand, the other takes to a raft to right a social wrong.”
Throughout the 19th century, novels were regarded with the same suspicion with which we treat, say, Eli Roth’s ‘torture-porn’ Saw movies today. They were dangerous not simply because of the stories they might contain – the romantic expressions of wish-fulfillment, for example, that led Emma Bovary down the garden path of adultery – but also because reading itself was seen as a kind of possession: an encroachment of the ‘other’ upon the self.
Linguist John McWhorter talks to Scott Timberg about ‘black bodies and the ‘blaccent’, gender and the pronoun ‘they’, and heated rhetoric and social media.
Now publishing 1,500 pieces a year, with several new reviews, essays, and interviews on its main page each day, it has made its mark on criticism, spawning an “LARB style,” as Brian T. Edwards, a professor of English at Northwestern University, put it at a standing-room-only forum on the state of criticism at last year’s Modern Language Association convention.
“It seems to me that socioeconomic class is a tougher sort of diversity to bring to writing. Unlike the other varieties, it’s at odds with what readers are used to and what they’re likely to want—namely wealthier, more glamorous, or just less drudgery-having versions of themselves.”
“What can we say? We messed up. Our list of ’80 Books Every Man Should Read,’ published several years ago, was rightfully called out for its lack of diversity in both authors and titles. So we invited eight female literary powerhouses, from Michiko Kakutani to Anna Holmes to Roxane Gay, to help us create a new list. Each participant made 10 picks.”
“This list is an olive branch to the poetry skeptics. Prose is great for fiction, essays, and belabored introductions to lists, but poetry has its own place in this world. … Many wonderful poems exist, but the following selections will appeal to readers of prose: work that is approachable, funny, smart, but still verse. Take a chance on these 10 poems.”
“How is it possible that the New Yorker of 2016 remains to this day the readily identifiable descendant of a magazine that came into being in the same year that F. Scott Fitzgerald published The Great Gatsby and Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five cut their first records—and how does it retain so much of its editorial vitality 91 years later?”
“We asked a number of writers across the board – from Eileen Myles to David Mitchell to Chuck Palahniuk to Alexander Chee to leading genre authors – about the books that changed their lives. Here’s what they had to say, in their own words.”
I was 21 years old, I was brand new to being a critic, and I was desperate to get attention, to have “interesting” and “provocative” opinions. I didn’t even know how to write a book review, much less write one that was “interesting” or “provocative.”
“These days there is more pressure on editors to acquire best-sellers, and they are much more involved in marketing a book. And that, he says, leaves precious little time for actual editing.” (audio and text)
“It’s not uncommon in mainland China for company executives and dissidents to be detained for lengthy periods by the authorities or vanish without anyone claiming responsibility, but the disappearances are unprecedented in Hong Kong and have shocked the city’s publishing industry.”
“Booksellers are, generally speaking, a cautious group when it comes to voicing optimism, but I sense a cultural shift coming on: Books and bookstores and reading are the wave of the future.”
“Just two years after winning the Costa novel award for Life After Life, … the novelist has landed the prize again for her follow-up, A God in Ruins. … Along with Atkinson, four other writers were named as winners in different categories” – biography, poetry, children’s lit, and first novel – “each of whom will receive £5,000.” The Costa Book of the Year will be announced on January 26.
“He is known as a crime writer, but that doesn’t quite capture what he does. His books are love stories, political dramas, mordant cautionary tales. Characters who are Latino, black and white, artists, professionals and laborers, are described in staccato chapters, like a catchy corrido. ‘It’s hard to find anything about Latinos in fiction about Denver,’ Ramos says. ‘I’m doing something that’s not done.'”
“The works are hidden treasures, many of them awaiting discovery. Not even the curators and librarians know everything that is there. ‘There were many materials in the library’s special collections that I had never seen before,’ Mr. Baumann said. ‘The range and depth of our collections never ceases to astonish me.'”
“As publishers have become more aware of Mr. Gates’s reviews — missing the publicity they used to get from Oprah Winfrey’s televised book club or from the regular author appearances on ‘The Colbert Report,’ which have been less frequent since Stephen Colbert moved to CBS from Comedy Central — they have tried to figure out how to get their new books in front of him.”
“Science is an epistemology. It is a way of knowing the world and certain things in the world. Science fiction is genre fiction, and genre, too, is an epistemology. The things that science fiction and genre know in the world are different, as are the modes, methods, and determinations of each.”
Winnipeg’s McNally Robinson Booksellers became Canada’s largest independent bookstore by offering a fun, stimulating place for booklovers.
“Finishing every book you start is not just annoying — it’s counter-productive. There will never ever be enough time to read every worthwhile book. Even spending almost every spare second reading, there were titles I returned to the library, spines woefully uncracked.”
“They had been pried from their favorite television shows to attend – of all things – a poetry reading. Some nice people from the public library, they were told. Then came the poet: unshaven, in his early 20s, dark hooded sweatshirt, dark T-shirt, dark ball cap slung backward on his head. Some men leaned forward, elbows on their knees. Expressions shifted to curiosity: This was not what they were expecting.”
“This year, NASA confirmed the existence of liquid water on Mars, raising the possibility of Martian life; a genetically engineered animal can now be sold for human consumption, as in a tale by Margaret Atwood; and a Silicon Valley research institute was formed to create a computer with the intellectual ability of a human, and to confront the threat such artificial intelligence poses to humanity. …”
“‘This is my suit. Color it gray or I will lose my job,’ reads a caption next to a picture of a man getting dressed for work” in 1961’s Executive Coloring Book. “The coloring books that followed managed to cover, between them, a selection of the decade’s neuroses: national security, the red scare, technology, sex, mental illness. … There were coloring books that made fun of communists and coloring books that made fun of people who were scared of communists.”
“The cause of the fire is being investigated. The museum, which is located in a century-old building, houses historic texts about the evolution of the Portuguese language. Officials said that the loss of ancient documents may be minimised as there are backups of many texts.”