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There's treasure in there

Books with borax crystals growing on them. Artist Alexis Arnold grows crystals on the pages of books.
posted by gauche on Jul 26, 2013 - 24 comments

Does Open Access Diminish Publishing Opportunities for Grad Students?

The American Historical Association just released a statement that "strongly encourages graduate programs and university libraries to adopt a policy that allows the embargoing of completed history PhD dissertations in digital form for as many as six years." The statement is aimed at publishers who are disinclined to consider books based on dissertations that have been made freely available in open access databases. Some responses cite a 2011 survey, "Do Open Access Electronic Theses and Dissertations Diminish Publishing Opportunities in the Social Sciences and Humanities?," that found most publishers self-reported they would indeed consider publishing such dissertations, but also suggested university libraries are refusing to buy books based on dissertations that have previously been available online. "The Road From Dissertation to Book Has a New Pothole: the Internet," a 2011 article from the Chronicle of Higher Education, quotes editors who are wary of publishing such books, and discusses the process by which students can restrict access to their work at companies like ProQuest, "the electronic publisher with which the vast majority of U.S. universities contract to house digital copies of dissertations." [more inside]
posted by mediareport on Jul 23, 2013 - 40 comments

Book designs by Ellen Raskin

Ellen Raskin (1928-1984) is best known as a writer, author of The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I mean Noel) and the Newbery Award-winning The Westing Game. But she always considered herself an artist first. Raskin designed over 1,000 book covers, including the iconic original cover of A Wrinkle In Time, the edition of Dubliners you probably read in college, and the New Directions edition of a Child's Christmas in Wales (Raskin did the woodcuts on the inside, too; further appreciation here.) More Raskin covers are collected in this flickr set from Bennington College. [more inside]
posted by escabeche on Jul 18, 2013 - 29 comments

And they rode on in the friscalating dusklight.

Everyone knows that this book isn't real. What this Goodreads entry presupposes is...
posted by Legomancer on Jul 17, 2013 - 24 comments

Five Feet of Books

"During his days as Harvard’s influential president, Dr. Charles W. Eliot made a frequent assertion: If you were to spend just 15 minutes a day reading the right books, a quantity that could fit on a five-foot shelf, you could give yourself a proper liberal education. Publisher P. F. Collier and Son loved the idea and asked Eliot to compile and edit the right collection of works. The result: a 51-volume series of classic works from world literature published in 1909 called Dr. Eliot’s Five Foot Shelf, which would later be called The Harvard Classics." (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 11, 2013 - 89 comments

Stately, plump Buck MullZZZZZZZZ

What makes you put down a book? A Goodreads infographic on the what, when, and why of abandoning a book, and what keeps people reading.
posted by Cash4Lead on Jul 10, 2013 - 107 comments

Things get a little crazy in the scriptorium after compline

Skeleton doodles, crappy D's, cat hats, embroidered book repair, dentistry, and a duck going queck, from the tumblr of Erik Kwakkel, a medieval book historian at Leiden University.
posted by theodolite on Jul 5, 2013 - 21 comments

'My kids were in your library before me. I was really interested.'

Burma's Lucky Bibliophile
When the Ministry of Information’s director general visited Ye Htet Oo’s library in 2010, it could have been disastrous. Ye Htet Oo, then a recent college graduate, was running his new library in downtown Rangoon on the sly, without approval from the former military regime, and was told he could face three months in jail for every book he lent without permission from the censorship board. Unable to get a library license from the government, which saw libraries as a way to spread subversive ideas, he fronted his operation as a bookshop but kept a collection of unapproved library books hidden in a back room. Then one day, unknown to the young bibliophile, the ministry’s director general—who has since become the deputy minister of information and President Thein Sein’s spokesman—entered the “bookshop” and walked straight into the secret room.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jul 5, 2013 - 14 comments

And as I recall, I think, we both kinda liked it.

The Book Was Better is a podcast reviewing novelizations of films.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants on Jul 4, 2013 - 32 comments

Shelf Esteem

Shelf Esteem. Stories about people and their book collections.
posted by chunking express on Jul 3, 2013 - 9 comments

L'escholle des filles (1668)

The School of Venus, or the Ladies Delight, Reduced into Rules of Practice (digitized by Google Books) is a delightfully raunchy sex manual from 1680, captured in wonderfully engaging detail. [more inside]
posted by Skeuomorph on Jul 2, 2013 - 18 comments

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dad

Book Titles with One Letter Missing [more inside]
posted by ActionPopulated on Jul 1, 2013 - 529 comments

"When I do my act, I never think of a f*cking ending."

The rise and fall of Norm Macdonald's book club on Twitter.
posted by Cash4Lead on Jun 29, 2013 - 33 comments

The Comfortable: “The Torso-twist-with-arm-resting-on-back-of-couch”

Against Author Photos [Part 1.] For Author Photos [Part 2.] by Stephen Burt [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Jun 27, 2013 - 18 comments

It's just another lame ass green light

Sparky Sweets, PHD drops some of da illest classical literature summary and analysis that yo ass ever heard on The Great Gatsby, Crime and Punishment and To Kill a Mockingbird.
posted by sacrifix on Jun 21, 2013 - 10 comments

The Great (Gay) Novelist You’ve Never Heard Of

"Great war novels inevitably follow great wars, and in literary circles following World War II, everyone was wondering what would be the successors to A Farewell to Arms and All Quiet on the Western Front — and who would write them. But when John Horne Burns, age 29, in his small dormitory suite at the Loomis School in Windsor, Conn., on the night of April 23, 1946 (Shakespeare’s birthday, at that), finished The Gallery — 'I fell across my Underwood and wept my heart out,' he later recalled — he was convinced he had done just that, and more. ‘The Gallery, I fear, is one of the masterpieces of the 20th century,' he wrote a friend." (SLNYT) (via) [more inside]
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Jun 17, 2013 - 48 comments

2,131 books fell over... and the librarians cheered

The Seattle Public Library has set a new record for the longest domino chain... made of books (full video)
posted by oneswellfoop on Jun 15, 2013 - 21 comments

This is a position of daunting, fairy godmother-like power

Neil Gaiman is editing the Guardian books site for the day [more inside]
posted by Cannon Fodder on Jun 14, 2013 - 11 comments

The truth about female desire

Base, animalistic and ravenous: Daniel Berger's book What Do Women Want claims that a sexist bias has obscured research into the female sex drive. (previously)
posted by mrgrimm on Jun 13, 2013 - 48 comments

"We turn'd o'er many books together."

The avant-garde art of book stacking in stores of Japan.
posted by Fizz on Jun 9, 2013 - 22 comments

Crow Road

RIP Iain Banks. [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jun 9, 2013 - 372 comments

Cotton Tenants

Cotton Tenants, the newly released book by James Agee, was the precursor to Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. It is the original essay that was rejected by Fortune, presumably because it was too much like Famous Men. But Cotton Tenants "is not merely an early, partial draft of Famous Men, in other words, not just a different book; it’s a different Agee, an unknown Agee... This new book is most properly classed as a lost classic of that ’30s-era documentary renaissance. Five years later he would take this tradition of journalism and inject it with powerful hallucinogens, creating something new, a book that did important documentary work while simultaneously x-raying, through the psyche of its own author, the assumptions underlying such work. That was a greater task. And Cotton Tenants shows us one of the reasons for its greatness: that before Agee transformed the genre, he paused and mastered it."
posted by AceRock on Jun 5, 2013 - 5 comments

book tour

"I wondered why someone who hates words would take the trouble to arrange so many of them in a row." The Millions reviews Tao Lin's new novelty.
posted by four panels on Jun 5, 2013 - 106 comments

Thinking about thinking about thinking

The Essayification of Everything (SLNYT)
posted by shivohum on May 30, 2013 - 15 comments

Dhcmrlchtdj!

The Library of Babel is online! Recently digitized classics include Rtvcdg Lxcxahssds Qgflvab mge Bjbpd Orrq, Dgqqjv Iqfold xpx Ljg vjd Vapdophr, and Vmcyogxmvyrnle Lgjmyqsh Hfmni Lyvvdahec Bajvp Hlibiov, which appears by the gracious permission of Lbtddnbdqh Pjnghbdtvmi. [more inside]
posted by Iridic on May 29, 2013 - 42 comments

Where You Are Is Where This Library Goes

The folks at Mellow Pages, a community-run library/salon in Brooklyn (recently profiled in the NYT), have put together a how-to guide for building a similar kind of space in your neighborhood: short version here, long version (and Google Doc) here.
posted by Cash4Lead on May 27, 2013 - 12 comments

Italo Calvino's Letters

The New Yorker is publishing excerpts from Italo Calvino: Letters, 1941-1985, translated by Martin McLaughlin, on its book blog. (via) [more inside]
posted by Rustic Etruscan on May 22, 2013 - 15 comments

from "proteaform" mass of modern learning to "faustian fustian" of words

Finnegans Wake, Joyce's famously unreadable masterpiece (read it online here), was considerably more readable in one of its earlier drafts. Watch Joyce cross out decipherable words and replace them with less decipherable ones! Watch him end, not with a whimper, but with a slightly less impressive whimper! Sadly, Shem's schoolbook, which in the finished version is a House of Leaves-esque compendium of side columns and footnotes, was not written until much later (according to the footnotes of that section). The introduction to this draft by David Hayman, who assembled it, is worth a read.
posted by Rory Marinich on May 20, 2013 - 54 comments

The Last of the Great Chained Libraries

"On a beautiful sunny day last week, the Turning Over a New Leaf project team decided to take a day off from the office to visit a spectacular chained library in the small town of Zutphen (located in the eastern part of the Netherlands). Built in 1564 as part of the church of St Walburga, it is one of only five chained libraries in the world that survive ‘intact’—that is, complete with the original books, chains, rods, and furniture."
posted by brundlefly on May 18, 2013 - 18 comments

"Learn as much by writing as by reading."

First editions, second thoughts. [The Guardian] "Interactive: From Amsterdam to Wolf Hall, Booker winners and bestsellers – authors annotate their own first editions.
posted by Fizz on May 18, 2013 - 2 comments

A Century of Proust

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the publication of Swann's Way, the New York Times is publishing a series of blog posts on In Search of Lost Time. (via) [more inside]
posted by Rustic Etruscan on May 13, 2013 - 11 comments

“Don’t go around asking the question, ‘Is this character likeable?’

Claire Messud: “A woman’s rant” [National Post] "Over the last week, discussion surrounding Claire Messud’s new novel, The Woman Upstairs, has shifted from the book to an interview its author recently gave to Publishers Weekly, in which Messud took issue with the following question: “I wouldn’t want to be friends with Nora, would you? Her outlook is almost unbearably grim.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz on May 10, 2013 - 23 comments

And that absurd nom de plume! John le Carré, like some addled saint...

At Slate.com, Ted Scheinman has written a nice appreciation of John LeCarré. Confessions of a John le Carré Devotee
"...I could tell there was more than politics, class, and acts of stratospheric treason to be found in these pages. I adored the psychological acuity with which he roamed his characters’ heads..."

posted by Trochanter on May 9, 2013 - 18 comments

"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one."

My Psychic Garburator by Margaret Atwood [The New York Review of Books]
"Most dreams of writers aren’t about dead people or writing, and—like everyone else’s dreams—they aren’t very memorable. They just seem to be the products of a psychic garburator chewing through the potato peels and coffee grounds of the day and burping them up to you as mush."
[more inside]
posted by Fizz on May 8, 2013 - 17 comments

A funny thing happened on the way to the funeral

The novel resurgence of independent bookstores. {Single page version} [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Apr 29, 2013 - 31 comments

RED: "Well, we ought to file that under Educational too. Oughtn't we?"

Guantánamo prison library for detainees. [tumblr] New York Times reporter Charlie Savage set up a Tumblr dedicated to cataloging some of the books available in the Guantánamo prison library for detainees.
posted by Fizz on Apr 28, 2013 - 37 comments

"Publishing is tremendously susceptible to the availability heuristic"

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 - 62 comments

Bolaño Dia 2013

Sunday, April 28, would have been Roberto Bolaño's 60th birthday. The Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona is holding an event that day, in conjunction with their recent exhibit of Bolaño's archive, to celebrate the life and work of the writer. Or if you're not in Barcelona, the celebration is #DiaBolaño on twitter. [more inside]
posted by mattbucher on Apr 25, 2013 - 10 comments

Poor Seems Kind

On Sunday, Rachel Shteir, a theater professor at DePaul University, wrote a critique of three Chicago-focused books for the New York Times Book Review. Many Chicagoans were none too happy. [more inside]
posted by theuninvitedguest on Apr 24, 2013 - 32 comments

"I started to worry you'd never come."

One day, a small boy's holographic entertainment fails, so he heads out to explore the streets of abandoned shops outside. Down a forgotten alley he discovers the last ever bookshop. And inside, an ancient shopkeeper has been waiting over 25 years for a customer...The Last Bookshop
posted by Toekneesan on Apr 19, 2013 - 26 comments

Cats vs dogs

The Internet is cat; books are dog. "We're reading dogs and clicking cats."
posted by stbalbach on Apr 12, 2013 - 7 comments

For eccentric book-lovers with beards and cats

"..it is refreshing to see Jason Merkoski, a leader of the team that built Amazon's first Kindle, dispense with the usual techo-utopianism and say, “I think we’ve made a proverbial pact with the devil in digitizing our words.” [more inside]
posted by stbalbach on Apr 9, 2013 - 90 comments

The dark side of the moon

When it first surfaced in 2005, it was hailed as 'the most important Galileo find in more than a century'. Then, in June 2012, news broke on the Ex Libris mailing list that the unique 'proof copy' of Galileo's Sidereus Nuncius containing his original drawings of the Moon was in fact a highly sophisticated forgery. The full story is still unclear, but the finger of suspicion points at Marino Massimo de Caro, who in his brief reign as director of the Girolamini Library in Naples removed thousands of rare books in what has been described as a 'premeditated, organised and brutal' sacking of the library. Meanwhile, experts are still marvelling at the quality of the forgery: "We’ve seen missing pages replaced in facsimile, but no one dreamed that an entire book could be forged, something that is now more easily possible because of modern technology."
posted by verstegan on Apr 4, 2013 - 12 comments

Turn the wheel and look to windward

Two of our finest authors, humanist and government critic, Iain [M] Banks is dying of cancer. His next novel will be his last. His books are a source of inspiration and joy for me and many other mefites.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory on Apr 3, 2013 - 223 comments

Yet another reason books are awesome.....as if we needed one.

Mining books to map emotions through a century. Emotion words aren't consistently used through time, it seems. Things got scary in the 80's.
posted by littleap71 on Apr 2, 2013 - 20 comments

Reading? Ain't Nobody Got Time That!

If the bird is the word, three must be the number. Do you feel you don't have time to read everything you want? What about establishing some ground rules?
posted by huguini on Apr 2, 2013 - 41 comments

Harriet the Spy, Queer Hero

"Reading Harriet the Spy today as an adult, I find a queer subtext throughout. Not only is Harriet the quintessential baby butch, but her best friends, Sport and Janie, run exactly contrary to gender stereotypes. Sport acts as the homemaker and nurturing caretaker of his novelist father, while Janie the scientist plans to blow up the world one day. It was as if Fitzhugh was telling us kids back in the sixties that you didn’t have to play by society’s rules, the first lesson a queer kid has to learn in order to be happy."
posted by mokin on Mar 30, 2013 - 74 comments

“I never attacked anyone weak."

Cult writer Renata Adler, whose novel Speedboat has been reissued by NYRB Classics, sits down for an interview with The Believer. [more inside]
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Mar 29, 2013 - 6 comments

Amazon buys Goodreads

The social book site Goodreads has been acquired by Amazon. Many members are upset and uncertain what this means for site which has relied on members to do the work of building and maintaining their database. Amazon already owns Shelfari and has a 40% stake in LibraryThing, two competing sites.
posted by bongo_x on Mar 28, 2013 - 116 comments

friends sisters dance mean sick muddy yes? no! write read walk marry*

Cozy Classics are board book versions of classic novels, each story represented by 12 child-friendly words and 12 needle-felted illustrations, with the idea of developing "early literacy"—everything children know about reading and writing before they can actually do either. Current titles include Pride and Prejudice, Moby Dick, Les Miserables, and War and Peace, with Jane Eyre and Oliver Twist forthcoming. [more inside]
posted by ocherdraco on Mar 22, 2013 - 15 comments

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