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The Kids Are All Writing

Glee's Chris Colfer is writing a children's book. The Land of Stories, aimed at middle grade readers, will come out next year. He joins many other famous folks who have decided to write for younger readers. Perez Hilton is doing one. Madonna's done many. Even the "stars" of Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice got in on the kidlit craze. Of course, many of these authors don't actually write the books they publish. Even if/when they do, many readers find the results underwhelming. "If you are looking for the next Beatrix Potter or Maurice Sendak, you will not find it here," claimed the Guardian. There are exceptions, but it seems that for a lot of celebrities, literature for children has become merely another form of brand extension. Author, Adam Rex has countered with "An Open Letter to Everyone Who Thinks it Must be Easy, Writing Kid's Books" Or, as EB White said, "You have to write up to children, not down..."
posted by cal71 on Jun 9, 2011 - 31 comments

 

We're talking 30 tonnes of books.

Book rescue turns nightmarish. A Saskatchewan couple saved 350,000 books from being burned by a neighbor, but now the house they bought just to store the collection is collapsing from the weight. What to do?
posted by Tsuga on Jun 8, 2011 - 113 comments

Internet Archive: One copy of every book ever published, in shipping containers

A common refrain is "a library is not (just) a warehouse of books." Except, when it is. Internet Archive, best known as the worlds largest collection of digital books in the public domain, has started collecting "one [physical] copy of every book ever published" for long-term warehousing in shipping containers.
posted by stbalbach on Jun 6, 2011 - 58 comments

The Cartoon Guide to Life, the Universe, and Everything

Larry Gonick 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-by-way-of-Pogo 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 (previously), 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 - 29 comments

Browbeaten, weary-eyed, terribly optimistic units of the boobilariat.

Ben Hecht, arguably one of the greatest screenwriters in Hollywood history, started his career in the (sometimes literally) cutthroat world of Jazz Age journalism at the Chicago Daily News. Throughout 1921 he wrote a series of remarkable vignettes collectively titled the Thousand and One Afternoons in Chicago: stories of drifters, fops, and artists from Michigan Avenue to Chinatown, but most of all a fond portrait of the city itself. Collected in book form and gorgeously illustrated, the Thousand and One Afternoons are in the public domain and readily available online. Each story is four or five short pages in length, and goes great with coffee.
posted by theodolite on May 31, 2011 - 10 comments

Medicine in the Americas

Medicine in the Americas is a digital library project that makes freely available original works demonstrating the evolution of American medicine from colonial frontier outposts of the 17th century to research hospitals of the 20th century. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on May 31, 2011 - 9 comments

Out Of This World

Out Of This World: Science Fiction But Not As You Know It is an exhibition at the British Library exploring the origins of Science Fiction, running until September. China Mieville takes a look at the exhibition for the BBC. (Out Of This World postcards - images from the exhibition) [more inside]
posted by dng on May 27, 2011 - 13 comments

Man uses Google Books to build a 1906 Oldsmobile

Bob Ferry used Google Books to find old magazines that described mechanics, showed pictures and gave descriptions of a 1906 Oldsmobile Model B Runabout so he could build it 100 years later. Lots of pics and "how to" info at the article.
posted by dbooker on May 26, 2011 - 10 comments

Book bindings, artistic and historical

Publisher's Bindings Online, 1850-1930. A browesable searchable database of artistic book bindings. There are sections on artistic styles: Arts & Crafts, Japonisme, Poster Style. There are sections on specific authors and designers: Sarah Orne Jewett & Sarah Wyman Whitman, Lousia May Alcott, Lafcadio Hearn. There are historical galleries: Booker T. Washington, Women on Books, The Civil War in Fact and Fiction. There is much more. Previously.
posted by OmieWise on May 26, 2011 - 4 comments

Flashlight worthy - Really good books

FlashlightWorthy: handpicked book recommendations on hundreds of topics. Lists of books are easy to come by. Thoughtful lists of good books are harder to find. FlashlightWorthy does a fine job of mixing classic greats along with more obscure treasures. Plain vanilla lists (e.g. Best Cooking Books, 33 Best Books on Writing Fiction, Best Graphic Novels of 2009 and 2010) are well-represented but there's also quirkier and specialized fare like... [more inside]
posted by storybored on May 24, 2011 - 10 comments

Wolgamot

"It's harder than you think to write a sentence that doesn't say anything." The quest to find and understand the author of In Sara, Mencken, Christ and Beethoven There Were Men and Women. "Includes full-length album (by Robert Ashley) and PDF of Wolgamot's magnum opus." (Via)
posted by zarq on May 23, 2011 - 28 comments

RIP Bob Gould

The Sydney bookseller and Labor left-wing activist Bob Gould has died at the age of 74. His massive bookstore, Gould's Books, is a Sydney landmark. A massive archive of his political writings can be found online.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn on May 22, 2011 - 35 comments

Bookstore Compulsions

Biblioklept's list of bookstore compulsions, which I am sure you understand, like suggesting books to strangers, or buying books you'll never read.
posted by pleasebekind on May 20, 2011 - 49 comments

The Influencing Machine

Slate magazine has posted an excerpt from Brooke Gladstone's "The Influencing Machine." It's a reflection on the media done in quasi-comic book form and illustrated by Josh Neufeld. The fairly beefy excerpt is an interesting discussion on the concept, and the history of the concept, of Objectivity.
posted by Trochanter on May 19, 2011 - 7 comments

"Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing." — Harper Lee

Breathing Books — A collection of beautiful photos on all things bookish.
posted by Toekneesan on May 17, 2011 - 13 comments

The Translations and Rareties of Elfinspell

Elfinspell is a garishly painted trunk stuffed with rare old books. You can browse the collection by timeline or by Muse.
posted by Iridic on May 16, 2011 - 6 comments

Subtext

The Guardian has a new series of webchats with various people in the publishing industry starting with literary agent Karolina Sutton. Also various writers are asked: Can you teach creative writing?
posted by fearfulsymmetry on May 15, 2011 - 18 comments

skiffy

Today's Guardian Review is a science fiction special [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on May 14, 2011 - 89 comments

Enumerate me

The 40 Literary Terms You Should (maybe, depending on your predilection for books and availability of interstitial moments in which to read) Know
posted by four panels on May 11, 2011 - 58 comments

Loving Free Comics Can Never Be Wrong

Free Comic Book Day is a single day - the first Saturday in May each year - when participating comic book shops across North America and around the world give away comic books absolutely free to anyone who comes into their stores. Here's the store locator.
posted by BlahLaLa on May 7, 2011 - 36 comments

The means of production

‘Everyone is a worker.’ That is a powerful statement, if you think about it. Richard Scarry wasn’t afraid to paint contemporary American society in such bold strokes. Nor was he afraid to explain commerce and capitalism to children. - What Do People Do All Day.
posted by Artw on May 4, 2011 - 34 comments

As long as they're vertical, it's all right.

It's an odd thing that libraries – by tradition temples to the unfleshly – can sometimes seem such sexy places. The Secret life of libraries.
posted by shakespeherian on May 3, 2011 - 37 comments

From the beginning to the end

Novel First Sentences, Novel Last Sentences
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Apr 22, 2011 - 54 comments

Bad Politics, Worse Prose

Famous dictators and the books/poetry they write. [more inside]
posted by gman on Apr 20, 2011 - 21 comments

This book goes there, that book goes there

ShelvAr: an augmented reality app for shelf-reading library stacks, from Miami University Augmented Reality Research Group (MU ARRG!).
posted by steef on Apr 19, 2011 - 25 comments

Culling and surrender

The Sad, Beautiful Fact That We're All Going To Miss Almost Everything. The vast majority of the world's books, music, films, television and art, you will never see. It's just numbers.
posted by crossoverman on Apr 18, 2011 - 89 comments

Just Write It!

Fans of George RR Martin's "The Song of Ice and Fire" series are eagerly awaiting "A Dance With Dragons", the next book. This anticipation has led to hostility from some fans as to Martin's work ethic and the manner in which he spends his personal time.
posted by reenum on Apr 14, 2011 - 206 comments

The Social Network, The Room, The Social Network

All of the media consumed by Steven Soderbergh in one year [PDF]
posted by shakespeherian on Apr 13, 2011 - 46 comments

20 Even Stranger and More Wonderful Books

20 Even Stranger and More Wonderful Books. [more inside]
posted by storybored on Apr 8, 2011 - 57 comments

50 Books Every Eleven-Year-Old Should Read

The Independent (UK) proposes a list of fifty books that every eleven-year-old should read. [more inside]
posted by Halloween Jack on Apr 7, 2011 - 96 comments

More like "Motels with Elaine"

Steinbeck's American-road-trip classic Travels With Charley: In Search of America? Yeah, mostly b.s. [more inside]
posted by gottabefunky on Apr 4, 2011 - 50 comments

You Know They Got a Hell of a Band

Stephen King and John Mellencamp will debut their long-awaited Southern gothic musical 'Ghost Brothers Of Darkland County' next year. The story concerns the deaths of three people in Atlanta in 1957 and the CD will have songs by Kris Kristofferson, Elvis Costello, Neko Case, Meg Ryan, and Matthew McConaughey. King is also working on the 8th Dark Tower book, 'The Wind Through the Keyhole', which is due next year.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn on Apr 3, 2011 - 48 comments

Peeling back the layers.

Animated Anatomies is a new exhibition from Duke University Special Collections that examines the beautiful intricacies of anatomical flap books. [more inside]
posted by Horace Rumpole on Apr 3, 2011 - 7 comments

Shakespeare and Verlander

Why are we [U.S.A.] so good at developing athletes and so lousy at developing writers? excerpted from sportswriter Bill James's book Solid Fool's Gold: Detours on the Way to Conventional Wisdom. Via: [slate.com]
posted by Fizz on Apr 3, 2011 - 105 comments

Inside a dog, it's difficult to operate a mobile scanning device.

Books2Barcodes is an ongoing effort to convert all the world's great books to QR codes (2D barcodes). Each work featured here is the entire text of a piece of classic literature translated into several thousand barcodes. With a mobile device equipped with a camera and a barcode-scanning app, you can experience the joy of a great book as read through 800-character fragments on your cellphone.
posted by Wolfdog on Apr 1, 2011 - 27 comments

"No place affords a more striking conviction of the vanity of human hopes than a public library." ~Samuel Johnson

Is a library without books still a library? Newport Beach library is considering closing its original library and replacing it with a community center that would offer all the same features — except for the books.
posted by Fizz on Mar 31, 2011 - 81 comments

Look at all those books!

"The finished Strahov library panorama, released Tuesday on Martin’s website, is a zoomable, high-resolution peek inside one of Prague’s most beautiful halls, a repository of rare books that is usually off-limits to tourists... Martin’s panorama lets you examine the spines of the works in the Philosophical Hall’s 42,000 volumes, part of the monastery’s stunning collection of just about every important book available in central Europe at the end of the 18th century — more or less the sum total of human knowledge at the time."
posted by languagehat on Mar 30, 2011 - 24 comments

Unshelved.

Photos from all over Japan of libraries after the earthquake. (Via) [more inside]
posted by jardinier on Mar 29, 2011 - 10 comments

Book Review Commentary Goes Awry (read: Entertaining)

An author takes exception to a review of her book & comments on the reviewer's site. What could possibly go wrong?
posted by PepperMax on Mar 29, 2011 - 195 comments

Bill, your beard is ridiculous.

Insulted by Authors. Book lover Bill Ryan had the clever idea to start asking his favorite authors to insult him instead of simply signing their books. (Via)
posted by shakespeherian on Mar 29, 2011 - 24 comments

“ATENEO ATENEO!”

The Ateneo Grand Splendid Bookstore. "Argentinians are a famously literary people. In coffee shops, parks, on the bus and even while walking down city streets, their heads are often buried in a book. So it’s only fitting that Buenos Aires can lay claim to one of the world’s most incredible book stores: The Ateneo Grand Splendid."
posted by Fizz on Mar 28, 2011 - 29 comments

SLRP (R=reddit). PDF Paradise!

"Have any of you ever found a great PDF online?" [more inside]
posted by grumblebee on Mar 26, 2011 - 52 comments

Who Would Dare?

Roberto Bolaño recalls his days of stealing books in Mexico.
posted by shakespeherian on Mar 24, 2011 - 14 comments

The "flipback", a new kind of book

A new kind of book has been created in Holland, where its sold over 1m copies since it came out in 2009. Now finding its way to England, called the "flipback", the pages are super thin Bible paper with a special lay-flat spine and small format, making it suitable for reading with one hand, thumb page-flips, and shirt pocket storage.
posted by stbalbach on Mar 21, 2011 - 63 comments

A First Time for Everything

Recreating Mills & Boon romance covers, one passionate moment at a time. [more inside]
posted by whimsicalnymph on Mar 15, 2011 - 7 comments

Mr. Funny Reviewer

Mr. Hargreaves takes us on a Jungian journey to the integrated self. A series of entertaining Amazon reviews written by Hamilton Richardson for the Mr. Men classic library.
posted by Fizz on Mar 10, 2011 - 16 comments

A History of Picture Books

A timeline of children's picture books, from their beginning in 1658 to present.
posted by helloknitty on Mar 5, 2011 - 23 comments

Myers vs. Brooks

Polysyllabic Magical Incantations. For those who enjoy vigorous criticism, a bone-crushing takedown from biologist and blogger PZ Myers of David Brooks' latest foray into belles lettres. [more inside]
posted by steambadger on Mar 4, 2011 - 34 comments

MM in the NYRB

Marilyn by Larry McMurtry.
posted by xowie on Feb 27, 2011 - 8 comments

Cheese sandwiches required.

The anchovies are restless. Margaret Atwood, grand dame of Canadian letters, addresses the future of publishing. [more inside]
posted by CheeseDigestsAll on Feb 22, 2011 - 44 comments

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