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Lists are the curse of the age.

Fifty things I've learned about the literary life
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Dec 20, 2011 - 63 comments

"I can't stop acquiring books..."

The Library: [SLYT] A film by Sergey Stefanovich. A journey through Duncan Fallowell's library which has spilled over into every available space and become an art installation in its own right. With the writer talking.
posted by Fizz on Dec 20, 2011 - 8 comments

Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government

How well do you really know old Arty? It all began with the Welsh: The The Annales Cabriae (inside) and parts of the Welsh oral tradition (later collected into the Mabinogion) give a very different picture of the popular King Arthur than contemporary readers are familiar with: no Lancelot, three or four different Guens, no love triangles or Holy Grails. A look at the vast scope of the Arthurian legend. [more inside]
posted by kittenmarlowe on Dec 19, 2011 - 30 comments

Children's book art by Freud's niece Tom

The Rabbit Dreams of Dr. Freud's Niece - An illustrator of children's books, Sigmund Freud's niece Martha went by the name Tom, wore men's clothing, and died by her own hand in her late 30s, a year after her husband's suicide. BibliOdyssey recently featured some of her early work from Das Baby-Liederbuch, noting that because she was Jewish, many of her books were destroyed in the Nazi era and are scarce in the book trade. More about the artist and her work at Tom Seidmann-Freud.
posted by madamjujujive on Dec 18, 2011 - 14 comments

Bibliographia

Today Cambridge University offered a complete free digital archive of the personal papers of Sir Isaac Newton, including the Principa Mathematica and his first published research paper. The archives join a number of efforts to open original works of scientific greatness to the world: Newton's original works are handily supplemented by The Newton Project, showing the man's insertions and deletions to his own work.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Dec 12, 2011 - 10 comments

Kitsch, chic and swank

Ultra Swank - Retro Living and Design from the 50s, 60s and 70s.
posted by unliteral on Dec 8, 2011 - 8 comments

Serialized eBooks

Despite the popularity of long-arc, serialized TV shows, no one really wants to read serialized fiction, apparently. That's not stopped anyone from trying, though, like say Stephen King with The Green Mile and The Plant, semi-successful efforts from a mega-successful author. That was before the current rise of the ebook, though, and a few authors (also here and here and here) are betting technology will turn serialized novels into the next big thing, that we're in "the perfect environment for a resurgence."
posted by nospecialfx on Dec 7, 2011 - 44 comments

“This is not a definition, it is not true—and, therefore, your questions do not make sense.”

In reflecting on the project, McAllister feels “caught between the intimacy of each individual response, and the pattern of the cumulative replies.” The question remains: Why did they answer? McAllister claims no credit, describing his survey form as “barely literate.” He recalls that in his cover letter (no examples of which exist) he misused the word precocious—he meant presumptuous—and in hindsight he sees that he was both, though few writers seemed to mind. “The conclusion I came to was that nobody had asked them. New Criticism was about the scholars and the text; writers were cut out of the equation. Scholars would talk about symbolism in writing, but no one had asked the writers.” Sixteen year old boy dislikes English homework, goes outside the chain of command.
posted by villanelles at dawn on Dec 5, 2011 - 55 comments

An Institution in Transition

Upheaval at the New York Public Library: an article in The Nation which looks at the current state of the NYPL, and highlights many of the problems facing public libraries across the United States.
posted by codacorolla on Dec 5, 2011 - 40 comments

Oh sugar!

It's that time of year again... the contenders for the Literary Review Bad Sex Award have been announced. [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Nov 25, 2011 - 44 comments

"I don't like the sound of all those lists he's making - it's like taking too many notes at school; you feel you've achieved something when you haven't." ~ Dodie Smith

New York Times 2011 List of 100 Notable Books.
posted by Fizz on Nov 25, 2011 - 36 comments

Leaves left

It started with your name' '@byleaveswelive', and became a tree.… This was followed by dragons, coffins, lost sinners and, 10/10, ‘Gloves of bee’s fur, cap of the wren’s wings’ but there were only 8? A dinosaur was found in the museum, but what of the last? [more inside]
posted by BadMiker on Nov 25, 2011 - 16 comments

"What I realize when I’m doing an audiobook is that I actually have a much closer relationship to the text than I do when I’m reading."

Neil Gaiman’s audiobook record label: [Salon.com] The best-selling author talks about introducing his new, hand-picked lineup [Audible.com] of favorite books to American ears. Neil Gaiman Presents is part of a larger enterprise by Audible.com, called ACX (for Audiobook Creation Exchange). It aims to bring new titles to the public by hosting a service through which authors (and other rights holders) can connect with professional narrators.
posted by Fizz on Nov 24, 2011 - 20 comments

Maria Popova Is Busy

Maria Popova may be the best curator of Awesome on the Internet after the blue's own hivemind. Her site, Brain Pickings, has been mentioned a few times, but no-one appears to have pointed out her Twitter feed or her contributions to TBWA's tumblr, Curiosity Counts. Some recent posts of note: a piece on digital parasitism and the business of culture, Terry Prachett's self-documentary Choosing To Die, her selection of the best children's and picture books of 2011. Also, the best of Brain Pickings from last week and 2010. When not doing all that, she's writing for several magazines, organising the effort to restock the Brookyn OWS library after its destruction by police, and curating physical objects, sent as gifts every quarter.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Nov 21, 2011 - 20 comments

Meme Weaver

Meme Weaver In which "the author tries—and fails—to cash in on a big idea". Warning: skippable full-screen ad alert. Behind it is an article in the Atlantic (the magazine, not the ocean). Of possible interest to fans and critics of the popular science genre of books, Wikipedians, and underdog/failure sympathisers.
posted by nthdegx on Nov 18, 2011 - 7 comments

Library Science - Exhibition at New Haven Libraries

Library Science is an exhibition at New Haven (Connecticut) libraries that contemplates our personal, intellectual and physical relationship to the library as this venerable institution—and the information it contains—is being radically transformed by the digital era. Some examples: Untitled (Suburban Homes) by Erica Baum, Hurricanes by Chris Coffin, and Chinese Library No. 46 by Xiaoze Xie.
posted by carter on Nov 15, 2011 - 2 comments

Booksleuth provides further help finding "lost" books.

I have just discovered ABE books "Booksleuth" forum, where people help each other remember that "lost" story or book.
posted by uans on Nov 14, 2011 - 13 comments

The Legend of Doom House

Malpertuis (Belgium, 1971, aka ‘The Legend of Doom House’) is a movie that has been described as ‘bizarre, lurid and baffling;’ ‘a mysterious curiosity;’ and ‘exquisitely bonkers.’ An international cast led by Mathieu Carrière and Susan Hampshire (playing five rôles) also included Orson Welles. Its director, Harry Kümel, is otherwise best known for his stylish lesbian vampire flick Les Lèvres Rouges (aka ‘Daughters of Darkness’). The movie was adapted from an unusual gothic novel, first published in wartime Brussels—the work of Jean Ray (aka Raymond Jean-Marie de Kremer): a convicted embezzler & prolific hack, who was, nevertheless, one of the foremost exponents of the fantastique in French-language fiction. Please note that some of the links above are NSFW (some nudity) & several contain SPOILERS. [more inside]
posted by misteraitch on Nov 14, 2011 - 7 comments

Auerbach! Lacan! Jameson! Fish!

I don’t believe in dissing books I used to love, and I always suspect the moral judgment of people who sneer at the taste of the reader they used to be: “I know thee not, old book.” Six writers talk what's on their shelves.
posted by villanelles at dawn on Nov 12, 2011 - 72 comments

“If I have a little money I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.”

Books seen in new ways: the Book Drum World Map (popular books mapped to their locations, and more). The Infinite Helical Bookcase. CodexCloud (store, search and share your eBooks online). Also: galleries and blogs of unique bookshelves, Bookshelf Porn and BookPorn. [more inside]
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Nov 10, 2011 - 5 comments

Six New Libraries Opened Daily

After visiting Nepal in 1998, John Wood left Microsoft to try something different. His organization Room to Read now has created 12,000+ libraries around the world, and given away 10 million books.
posted by LeLiLo on Nov 7, 2011 - 10 comments

"Dropping out may not always be the worst fate: sometimes staying in proves costlier."

Our Universities: Why Are They Failing? The New York Review of Books has a lengthy review of several books about problems in higher education, pulling together the various causes that ultimately lead to universities failing to educate students. [more inside]
posted by missix on Nov 4, 2011 - 80 comments

All Hallow's Read: because there aren't enough traditions that involve giving books

"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 - 22 comments

Makes me want to go hunting for secret art.

A fore-edge painting (previously, but it's been a while) is a painting on the edges of the pages of a book that can only be seen when the pages are fanned out. Marist College has a nice history and introduction and the Boston Public Library has an impressive gallery.
posted by Vibrissa on Oct 25, 2011 - 8 comments

Such a heavenly way to die

The book covers at Paris's famed Shakespeare and Company bookstore come to life in this stop-motion collaboration between director Spike Jonze and designer Olympia Le-Tan, Mourir Auprès De Toi (To Die By Your Side). [more inside]
posted by Horace Rumpole on Oct 19, 2011 - 15 comments

One-stop publishing.

Amazon.com has taught readers that they do not need bookstores. Now it is encouraging writers to cast aside their publishers. “Everyone’s afraid of Amazon. ... If you’re a bookstore, Amazon has been in competition with you for some time. If you’re a publisher, one day you wake up and Amazon is competing with you too. And if you’re an agent, Amazon may be stealing your lunch because it is offering authors the opportunity to publish directly and cut you out." (Some adventures in self-publishing.) [more inside]
posted by SpacemanStix on Oct 17, 2011 - 68 comments

"Could robots ever be trusted to write original novels, histories, scientific papers and sonnets?"

Do Androids Dream of Electric Authors? [NYTimes.com] "So who was Lambert M. Surhone? Just looking at the numbers, you could argue that he’s one of the most prolific creators of literature who ever lived. But was he even human? There are now software programs — robots, if you will — that can gather text and organize it into a book. Surhone might be one of them."
posted by Fizz on Oct 16, 2011 - 23 comments

"P.S. I would like to start with 'The Myths' by Robert Graves."

Christopher Hitchens responds to a nine-year-old's question: "What books should I read?"
posted by overeducated_alligator on Oct 12, 2011 - 92 comments

The Nuremberg Chronicle

The Nuremberg Chronicle is one of the earliest printed books. The author, Hartmann Schedel, sets out a history of the world as understood at the time, relying heavily on the Bible. It is perhaps best known today for its wealth of images (some favorites: Creation of Birds, Map of the World, Half Horse, Stoning of St. Stephen and Apocalypse). The Beloit College website has a lot more information about the book and its context. They even have an English translation which is fully searchable.
posted by Kattullus on Oct 10, 2011 - 11 comments

Is there a David Foster Wallace character in Jeffrey Eugenides' new novel?

"Madeleine encounters Leonard in the lit crit seminar. He's a hulking, attractive guy who alternates between silence and bursts of intellectual virtuosity. He chews tobacco. He wears a bandanna. He's David Foster Wallace." (via Slate) [more inside]
posted by GraceCathedral on Oct 10, 2011 - 74 comments

Astronauts who got creative about their experiences

Over 500 people have traveled into outer space. While many have written books about the experience, only a few have used more creative means to express what they saw and felt. Here are a few: [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Oct 9, 2011 - 13 comments

"Even if you ignore the embarrassing ceremony and clichéd platitudes, few of these awards actually reflected genuine quality or what is happening in mainstream genre publishing today."

British Fantasy Award winner returns prize; Sam Stone hands back award after criticism of judging process. [The Guardian] "Controversy has riven the 40-year-old British Fantasy Awards, with the winner of the best novel prize handing her award back just three days after it was bestowed. But the organisation and presentation of the awards has been drawing criticism since then, culminating in Sam Stone, the winner of the best novel award – named after American writer and editor August Derleth – announcing yesterday that she is giving it back. The biggest attack on the awards was delivered by editor and anthologist Stephen Jones, who on Tuesday posted a lengthy blog decrying the organisation of the BFAs and making several allegations against awards co-ordinator and British Fantasy Society chairman David Howe."
posted by Fizz on Oct 6, 2011 - 27 comments

Phil Collins' solo efforts seem to be more commercial and therefore more satisfying in a narrower way, especially No Jacket Required and songs like "In the Air Tonight" and "Against All Odds"

"Patrick Bateman was me. I was Patrick Bateman…" - Bret Easton Ellis interviewed.
posted by Artw on Oct 4, 2011 - 151 comments

Malignant Narcissism Or Middle-Aged White Dudes Constantly Boning Down?

An American writer hasn't won the Nobel Prize for Literature since 1993 (Toni Morrison). Slate's Alexander Nazaryan tells us why: "The rising generation of writers behind Oates, Roth and DeLillo are dominated by Great Male Narcissists — even the writers who aren’t male (or white)."
posted by bardic on Oct 4, 2011 - 121 comments

Reading this post will destroy your soul

The Motif of Harmful Sensation (or as TV Tropes calls it, the Brown Note) is a recurring idea in literature: physical or mental damage that a person suffers merely by experiencing what should normally be a benign sensation. The phenomenon appears in both traditional and modern stories. [more inside]
posted by modernserf on Oct 4, 2011 - 87 comments

The Top 10 Books Lost to Time

Smithsonian.com lists the top 10 books lost to time.
posted by reenum on Sep 27, 2011 - 67 comments

Public Access Poetry

In 1977-1978, a public access TV show called Public Access Poetry featured leading poets from across the country (Ted Berrigan, Ron Padgett, Eileen Myles, John Yau, Brad Gooch, just to name a few). [more inside]
posted by mattbucher on Sep 23, 2011 - 5 comments

Tales for Little Rebels

Was your favorite childhood book written by a radical lefty? Scholars reveal the socialist history of 20th century American children's literature. Discover the myriad connections between midcentury American socialism and Crockett Johnson (Harold and the Purple Crayon), Syd Hoff (Danny and the Dinosaur), and the authors of many of the Little Golden Books and I Can Read Books.
posted by Miko on Sep 20, 2011 - 55 comments

Bushman Lives

Read the latest Daniel Pinkwater novel before it's published. As he has done with his last three novels , children's author, NPR commentator and pet lover Daniel Pinkwater is serialising his latest novel, Bushman Lives. [more inside]
posted by cottoncandybeard on Sep 19, 2011 - 28 comments

Something Is Happening That Is Not Happening At All.

Observe a classy penguin. It's worth it. Take time. If you don't expect something big huge and exciting, usually, um... [more inside]
posted by kaibutsu on Sep 8, 2011 - 30 comments

om nom nom

(Almost) Everything You Need to Know about Culture in 10 Books
posted by glass origami robot on Sep 1, 2011 - 49 comments

Let's Get Critical

Let's Get Critical is "a new Longform.org partner site dedicated to surfacing the best cultural criticism on the web."
posted by Ahab on Sep 1, 2011 - 13 comments

Much Randomness Ahead

Hey Oscar Wilde! — A spot to archive nerd images of interest from out of print/hard to find art books, magazines, comics and other assorted ephemera laying about as well as detours into other things found about the web. Some of the pieces from the 'Hey Oscar Wilde! It's Clobberin' Time!!!' literary art collection (previously on MeFi) may make it on here from time to time as well.
posted by netbros on Aug 30, 2011 - 2 comments

The 10 Most Ridiculously Difficult Encyclopedia Brown Mysteries

Enclyclopedia Brown is a children's fiction series written by Donald J. Sobol since 1963 and still very popular today. These are the 10 most ridiculously difficult mysteries in the series and baffling as to how a child is supposed to be able to solve them.
posted by rozomon on Aug 30, 2011 - 137 comments

A Frog for your Boils

Biomedical Ephemera, or, a Frog for your Boils is "A blog for all biological and medical ephemera, from the age of Abraham through the era of medical quackery and cure-all nostrums. Sometimes featuring illustrations of diseases and conditions of the times, sometimes fascinating ephemeral medical equipment, and sometimes clippings and information about the theories themselves." The archive page is also a useful starting point. via Things Magazine.
posted by Rumple on Aug 29, 2011 - 8 comments

When two readers love each other very much, they raise a smaller reader

"It’s a mistake to rarify reading and put books out of reach."
posted by burnfirewalls on Aug 19, 2011 - 63 comments

The L*** H*** of D***ness

Would You Please Fucking Stop?: an article by Ursula K. Le Guin
posted by rollick on Aug 18, 2011 - 184 comments

"Somebody should set up the ‘I Hate the I Hate Reading Page!"

We hate the “I Hate Reading’ Facebook page. [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Aug 15, 2011 - 138 comments

"The prize itself is a mug...but the glory is incalculable!"

Novelist, frontman, economist, pig stealer, and man from Ireland, Julian Gough invites you to join him on an adventure in "a love-based mutant version of capitalism."
posted by villanelles at dawn on Aug 13, 2011 - 18 comments

"It is the confession, not the priest, that gives us absolution."

Bookfessions: [tumblr] "These are confessions and/or thoughts of a book lover, bibliophile, book addict, reader, lover of literature, nerd..."
posted by Fizz on Aug 6, 2011 - 20 comments

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