Visiting the Big Apple? "Don't ask a pedestrian where a certain street is. He is usually too busy to stop, and if polite enough to stop, won't know. No New Yorker knows anything about New York."
And another kind reminder: "Don't gape at women smoking cigarettes in restaurants. They are harmless and respectable, notwithstanding and nevertheless. They are also smart."
Advice from Valentine’s City of New York: A Guide Book
, published in 1920. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Jan 29, 2014 -
In February 1963
, a new publication
took advantage of the New York City printers strike and launched with a daring editorial
: It does not, however, seek merely to fill the gap created by the printers’ strike in New York City but to take the opportunity which the strike has presented to publish the sort of literary journal which the editors and contributors feel is needed in America.
The New York Review of Books
is now 50
. [more inside]
posted by mattbucher
on Oct 21, 2013 -
"Not very many people read. Most of them drag their knuckles around and quarrel and make money. We’re selling books. It’s a tiny little business. It doesn’t have to be Walmartized."
Superagent Andrew Wylie, who represents Martin Amis, Salman Rushdie, Elmore Leonard, and Philip Roth, among others, talks about the future of publishing, his on-again-off-again relationship with Amazon, and "effete, educated snobs who read," with the New Republic.
posted by escabeche
on Oct 7, 2013 -
What Is the Business of Literature?
Publishing is a word that, like the book, is almost but not quite a proxy for the “business of literature.” Current accounts of publishing have the industry about as imperiled as the book, and the presumption is that if we lose publishing, we lose good books. Yet what we have right now is a system that produces great literature in spite of itself. We have come to believe that the taste-making, genius-discerning editorial activity attached to the selection, packaging, printing, and distribution of books to retailers is central to the value of literature. We believe it protects us from the shameful indulgence of too many books by insisting on a rigorous, abstemious diet. Critiques of publishing often focus on its corporate or capitalist nature, arguing that the profit motive retards decisions that would otherwise be based on pure literary merit. But capitalism per se and the market forces that both animate and pre-suppose it aren’t the problem. They are, in fact, what brought literature and the author into being. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns
on Apr 27, 2013 -
's Hatchet Job of the Year
rewards "the angriest, funniest, most trenchant book review of the past 12 months," with the winning critic taking home a golden hatchet and a year's supply of potted shrimp. 2013's winner
: Camilla Long, for her devastating review
of Rachel Cusk's divorce memoir, Aftermath
. Among other things, she described it as a nasty, bizarre memoir written by a "brittle little dominatrix and peerless narcissist." (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Feb 18, 2013 -
"Twenty five years ago I quit a job on Wall Street to write a book about Wall Street. Since then, every year or so, UPS has delivered to me a book more or less like my own, written by some Wall Street insider and promising to blow the lid off the place, and reveal its inner workings, and so on. By now, you might think, this game should be over. The reading public would know all it needed to know about Wall Street, and the publishing industry would be forced to look to some other industry for shocking confessions from insiders. Somehow this isn't the case
posted by vidur
on Feb 5, 2013 -
"There are certain novels that can shape a teenage boy's life. For some, it's Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged; for others it's Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. As a widely quoted internet meme says, the unrealistic fantasy world portrayed in one of those books can warp a young man's character forever; the other book is about orcs. But for me, of course, it was neither. My Book – the one that has stayed with me for four-and-a-half decades – is Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy, written when Asimov was barely out of his teens himself. I didn't grow up wanting to be a square-jawed individualist or join a heroic quest; I grew up wanting to be Hari Seldon, using my understanding of the mathematics of human behaviour to save civilisation." [Paul Krugman: Asimov's Foundation novels grounded my economics
posted by vidur
on Dec 9, 2012 -
By late May, more than ten million copies of E.L. James’s Fifty Shades trilogy, an erotic romance series about the sexual exploits of a domineering billionaire and an inexperienced coed, had been sold in the United States, all within six weeks of the books’ publication here. This apparently unprecedented achievement occurred without the benefit of a publicity campaign, formal reviews, or Oprah’s blessing, owing to a reputation established, as one industry analyst put it, “totally through word of mouth.”
[Grey Area: How ‘Fifty Shades’ Dominated the Market
posted by vidur
on Jul 30, 2012 -
This is How: Proven Aid in Overcoming Shyness, Molestation, Fatness, Spinsterhood, Grief, Disease, Lushery, Decrepitude & More. For Young and Old Alike.
is Augusten Burroughs'
new self-help book (reviews here
, and here
), one which scorns the genre cliches of goal-setting and affirmations in favor of a hard-nosed philosophy of self-honesty based on lessons learned from his own background of abuse, neglect, and rape. In an interview with CNN
, he gives snippets of his views on subjects like the harm of people "clinging to a dream which maybe they don't actually have the talent to do", suicide ("it doesn't release you, it adds a new layer of horror") and the quest for thinness ("the brain is magnificent and to focus on your gastrointestinal track is a complete waste"). (previously
posted by shivohum
on May 14, 2012 -
"This Halloween, give somebody a scary book, to read. That's it. That's the idea. It's going to be a tradition.
" It's an idea Neil Gaiman came up a year ago
. It's called All Hallow's Read
, with a website and everything, which has book recommendations of all sorts
, plus stickers, bookmarks, cards, and a small story you can print off
, as well as a poster contest for next year's event
. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief
on Oct 31, 2011 -
is a veteran American cartoonist best known for his delightful comic-book guides to science and history, many of which have previews online. Chief among them is his long-running Cartoon History of the Universe
(later The Cartoon History of the Modern World
), a sprawling multi-volume opus documenting everything from the Big Bang to the Bush administration. Published over the course of three decades, it takes a truly global view -- its time-traveling Professor thoroughly explores not only familiar topics like Rome and World War II but the oft-neglected stories of Asia and Africa, blending caricature and myth with careful scholarship (cited by fun illustrated bibliographies
) and tackling even the most obscure events with intelligence and wit
. This savvy satire carried over to Gonick's Zinn
chronicle The Cartoon History of the United States
, along with a bevy of Cartoon Guides
to other topics, including Genetics, Computer Science, Chemistry, Physics, Statistics, The Environment
, and (yes!) Sex
. Gonick has also maintained a few sideprojects, such as a webcomic look at Chinese invention
, assorted math comics
), the Muse magazine
mainstay Kokopelli & Co.
(featuring the shenanigans of his "New Muses"
), and more
. See also these lengthy interview snippets
, linked previously
. Want more? Amazon links to the complete oeuvre inside! [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Jun 6, 2011 -
Nearly three decades ago, folklorist Alvin Schwartz
published Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
, the first of three horror anthologies that would go on to become the single most challenged book series of the 1990s
. But most of the backlash
was against not the stories themselves (which were fairly tame), but rather the illustrations of artist Stephen Gammell
. His bizarre, grotesque, nightmarish black-and-white inkscapes suffused every page with an eerie, unsettling menace. Sadly, the series has since been re-issued
with new illustrations by Brett Helquist
, of A Series of Unfortunate Events
fame. Luckily for fans of Gammell's dark vision, copies of the old artwork abound online, including in these three image galleries: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones
. Interested in revisiting the stories themselves? Then don't miss the virtual re-enactments of YouTube user MoonRaven09
, or the dramatic readings of fellow YouTuber daMeatHook
posted by Rhaomi
on Oct 29, 2010 -
The Book Pirates of Peru.
A slideshow in which Peruvian author Daniel Alarcón describes the vibrant literary scene in his home country, where the informal publishing industry is the same size as its legitimate counterpart. There's no library system to speak of, the National Library's acquisitions budget is nil, but a culture of reading and writing is booming, with book sales and attendance at literary festivals up, up, up.
posted by WPW
on Jan 18, 2010 -
Let boys make their own kites and bows and arrows; they will find a double pleasure in them, and value them accordingly, to say nothing of the education involved in the successful construction of their home-made playthings. -- The American Boy's Handy Book
In the late 19th- and early 20th-century, the Beard family—Daniel Carter, Lina, and Adelia Belle—wrote a number of books on outdoor activities, woodcraft, and other recreational activities for boys and girls. Many of these books are in the public domain now:
(The American Boy's Handy Book
The Field and Forest Handy Book
The Outdoor Handy Book
The Jack of All Trades
The American Girl's Handy Book
On the Trail: An Outdoor Book for Girls
). Others, such as Shelters, Shacks, and Shanties
and Boat-Building and Boating
, are excerpted online.
Some highlights include throwing tomahawks
, making candy
, and building tree houses
, and rafts
. [more inside]
posted by Upton O'Good
on Oct 29, 2008 -