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.
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]
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.
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:
- Charles Darwin's entire personal library, complete with annotations and handwritten marginalia, digitized, indexed, and searchable, part of the Biodiversity Heritage Library (previously)
- Mapping The Republic of Letters and Electronic Enlightenment, wonderful sites showing the communication and social connections of Enlightenment writers.
Ultra Swank - Retro Living and Design from the 50s, 60s and 70s.
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."
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.
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.
It's that time of year again... the contenders for the Literary Review Bad Sex Award have been announced. [more inside]
"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
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]
"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.
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.
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.
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.
I have just discovered ABE books "Booksleuth" forum, where people help each other remember that "lost" story or book.
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]
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.
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]
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.
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]
"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]
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.
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]
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]
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."
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.
"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]
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]
"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."
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.
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)."
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]
Smithsonian.com lists the top 10 books lost to time.
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]
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.
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]
Observe a classy penguin. It's worth it. Take time. If you don't expect something big huge and exciting, usually, um... [more inside]
Let's Get Critical is "a new Longform.org partner site dedicated to surfacing the best cultural criticism on the web."
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.
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.
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.
Would You Please Fucking Stop?: an article by Ursula K. Le Guin
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."
Bookfessions: [tumblr] "These are confessions and/or thoughts of a book lover, bibliophile, book addict, reader, lover of literature, nerd..."