53 posts tagged with Literature and reading.
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Eat your vegs

POINT: To drop a novel after a few chapters is, then, to disregard what makes it a formal work of art rather than a heap of papers that reside in a desk drawer. Today, books and authors need all the help they can get; if you care about literature as an artistic endeavor and the people who create it, then you should do so fully. If you consider yourself a literary person, you shouldn't just embrace the intellectual cachet that starting books gives you. Starting, but not finishing, books is one step above saying, "Oh yeah, I've heard of that author."

COUNTERPOINT: So if we are considering whether or not it “hurts literature” for us to finish or not finish books, we can mark this down as a “hurting literature” moment. Because if Nabokov is a super important author that we should read…I am not going to read him. Forcing myself to finish the book cost me that.
Juliet Lapidos says you should finish every book you start. Peter Damien disagrees.
posted by MartinWisse on Dec 8, 2014 - 236 comments

Literature - good God y'all - what is it good for? Absolutely something.

What is Literature for? [SLVimeo]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Nov 3, 2014 - 6 comments

“Not everybody wants to read about vampires and dystopia,”

To Lure Young Readers, Nonfiction Writers Sanitize and Simplify: [New York Times]
"Inspired by the booming market for young adult novels, a growing number of biographers and historians are retrofitting their works to make them palatable for younger readers."

posted by Fizz on Oct 9, 2014 - 24 comments

“Lovers of print are simply confusing the plate for the food.”

International Read an E-Book Day:
The new holday -- "holiday"? -- is the brainchild of OverDrive, a major e-book distributor. OverDrive is the country's largest provider of e-books to libraries; it handles e-books from 5,000 publishers, including major Penguin Random House, Macmillan, HarperCollins, Perseus, Wiley, and Harlequin. If you've ever checked an e-book out from the L.A. Public Library, it was provided by OverDrive. To celebrate International Read an E-book Day, Overdrive will be giving away tablets and e-reading devices at the readanebookday.com website and through social media. Readers are asked to "tell their story of what eBooks mean to them" and use the hashtag #eBookDay to be eligible.
via: L.A. Times
posted by Fizz on Sep 18, 2014 - 88 comments

A hard stare from a public bench bear

"London has become a literary playground: a project by the National Literacy Trust has scattered 50 book-shaped benches across the capital for the whole summer, each dedicated to an iconic London-related author or character." (The Guardian). The BBC report about the literary benches; the full list of benches from the Books about Town website. CNN has a slideshow that includes a nice photo of the Paddington Bear bench in use.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Jul 25, 2014 - 11 comments

But then I suppose we have all read the reviews. We can talk about those

"So what is going on here? Should we be reassured that critics are sticking loyally by a work they admire regardless of sales, or bemused that something is being presented as a runaway commercial success when in fact it isn’t?" Tim Parks: Raise Your Hand If You’ve Read Knausgaard. [more inside]
posted by RogerB on Jul 25, 2014 - 33 comments

774-325-0503

Call Me Ishmael: call a number and leave a voicemail about a book you've loved and a story you've lived. Later, that anonymous voicemail will be transcribed and made into a short video for everyone to see.
posted by SkylitDrawl on Jun 22, 2014 - 8 comments

"What message are we sending to young people?"

Julianne Ross asks: Must Every YA Action Heroine Be Petite? Amy McCarthy asks a similar question: Why do all our young adult heroines look the same? Mandy Stewart also offers up her own advice: Be Divergent and Other Lessons for My Daughter. Interview with Veronica Roth on her book 'Insurgent' and feminism. [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Mar 27, 2014 - 142 comments

you can love me if you want it's not my problem

"Alt lit [previously] is accused of navel-gazing myopia, but technically any writing occurring outside of traditional institutions qualifies for the label. Everyone I know has written alt lit: every status update, every blog post, everything that has ever been said on Twitter. And Twitter, unbeknown to Jonathan Franzen, is especially literary...Which brings me to Heiko Julien," Author (and composer) of "I Am Ready To Die A Violent Death." [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Dec 6, 2013 - 21 comments

Contemporary poetry from around the world in English translation

Poetry International Rotterdam has contemporary poetry in English translation from all over the world, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, including countries as different as Argentina, China, Finland, Iran and Romania, in languages as unrelated as French, Malayalam and Zulu, as well as many poems originally in the English language. The poets range in age and stature from those barely over thirty to Nobel prize winners. There are also videos and audio recordings of poets reading, as well as articles about poetry.
posted by Kattullus on Oct 13, 2013 - 5 comments

A Los Angeles Review of Books essay on Melville by William Giraldi

The Writer As Reader: Melville and his Marginalia In the General Rare Books Collection at Princeton University Library sits a stunning two-volume edition of John Milton that once belonged to Herman Melville. Melville's tremendous debt to Milton — and to Homer, Virgil, the Bible, and Shakespeare — might be evident to anyone who has wrestled with the moral and intellectual complexity that lends Moby Dick its immortal heft, but to see Melville's marginalia in his 1836 Poetical Works of John Milton is to understand just how intimately the author of the great American novel engaged with the author of the greatest poem in English. Checkmarks, underscores, annotations, and Xs reveal the passages in Paradise Lost and other poems that would have such a determining effect on Melville's own work.
posted by jason's_planet on Sep 1, 2013 - 11 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

"His writing is not about something; it is that something itself."

In theory: the unread and the unreadable - "We measure our lives with unread books – and 'difficult' works can induce the most guilt. How should we view this challenge?"
posted by the man of twists and turns on Feb 19, 2013 - 18 comments

Cities and the Soul

With cities, it is as with dreams: everything imaginable can be dreamed, but even the most unexpected dream is a rebus that conceals a desire or, its reverse, a fear. Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else. December 2012 marks the 40th anniversary of Invisible Cities -- the sublime metaphysical travelogue by author-journalist Italo Calvino. In a series of pensive dialogues with jaded emperor Kublai Khan, the explorer Marco Polo describes a meandering litany of visionary and impossible places, dozens of surreal, fantastical cities, each poetically reifying ideas vital to language, philosophy, and the human spirit. This gracefully written love letter to urban life has inspired countless tributes, but it's just the most accessible of Calvino's fascinating literary catalogue. Look inside for a closer look at his most remarkable works, links to English translations of his magical prose, and collections of artistic interpretations from around the web -- including this treasure trove of essays, excerpts, articles, and recommended reading. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Dec 30, 2012 - 26 comments

The Secret Lives of Readers

The Secret Lives of Readers Books reveal themselves. Whether they exist as print or pixels, they can be read and examined and made to spill their secrets. Readers are far more elusive. They leave traces—a note in the margin, a stain on the binding—but those hints of human handling tell us only so much. The experience of reading vanishes with the reader. How do we recover the reading experiences of the past? Lately scholars have stepped up the hunt for evidence of how people over time have interacted with books, newspapers, and other printed material.
posted by jason's_planet on Dec 29, 2012 - 25 comments

Short story podcast

Authors choose their favourite short stories. For the next two weeks over the festive period we will be running a short story podcast each day. Our contributing authors introduce the stories they have chosen to read. Ford reads Carver. Gordimer reads Saramago. Selfs reads Borges. Postcasts are being posted here. [previously]
posted by shakespeherian on Dec 24, 2012 - 3 comments

"But lapidary epithets are few./We do not deal in universal rubies."

Vladimir Nabokov reads his poem "An Evening of Russian Poetry." [more inside]
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Nov 29, 2012 - 11 comments

Henry Miller's "The Books In My Life"

They were alive and they spoke to me! That is the simplest and most eloquent way in which I can refer to those authors who have remained with me over the years. - Henry Miller, The Books In My Life [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Sep 23, 2012 - 7 comments

What Kind of Book Reader Are You?

What kind of book reader are you? More types of book reader.
posted by rollick on Sep 4, 2012 - 63 comments

Hysterical Literature

Clayton Cubitt's Hysterical Literature is a video project where women seem to reach orgasm simply by reading a favorite passage from a book. Session 1 features alt-porn star Stoya reading Supervert's "Necrophilia Variations", while session 2 features Alicia reading Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass". Stoya's thoughts on the project, and Supervert's thoughts. (all NSFW)
posted by Joakim Ziegler on Aug 25, 2012 - 33 comments

What becomes a legend most?

In 1929, John Galsworthy won a Guardian poll as the novelist most likely to still be read in 2029. Three years later, he won the Nobel Prize, and the prices of his first editions skyrocketed. His reputation has since been on a 80-year wane that shows no signs of abating. The New Yorker asks Why is Literary Fame So Unpredictable? And who will they be teaching in literature class a century from now?
posted by Horace Rumpole on May 22, 2012 - 65 comments

Less Wrong: The Best Textbooks on Every Subject

For years, my self-education was stupid and wasteful. I learned by consuming blog posts, Wikipedia articles, classic texts, podcast episodes, popular books, video lectures, peer-reviewed papers, Teaching Company courses, and Cliff's Notes. How inefficient! [...] What if we could compile a list of the best textbooks on every subject? That would be extremely useful.
Less Wrong, a community dedicated to rationality, is compiling a list of The Best Textbooks on Every Subject.
posted by Foci for Analysis on Mar 25, 2012 - 49 comments

“There are so many books. Always so many. They collide in my mind.” - Colum McCann

The Millions 2011: A Year in Reading. With 72 participants naming 214 books, it’s safe to say this has been our biggest and most high profile Year in Reading yet. Our participants included the current Poet Laureate, a longtime candidate for the Nobel Prize for Literature, the reigning winners of the IMPAC and Pulitzer Prizes, two authors of books named The New York Times’ 10 Best of 2011, a recent inductee to the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame, and more Pushcart winners than I care to count. [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Dec 23, 2011 - 12 comments

"In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy." ~William Blake

Winter Reads: [Guardian.co.uk] a new series matching the story to the season. [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Dec 22, 2011 - 2 comments

There can be only ten.

NPR Books is asking people to vote for their ten favorite science fiction / fantasy books of all time. The list is exhaustive; the picking only ten is hard.
posted by mygothlaundry on Aug 3, 2011 - 521 comments

"Gatsby without greatness"

Roger Ebert has discovered the Macmillan Reader's Edition of The Great Gatsby and he hates it: "This is an obscenity." Macmillan Reader's Editions are geared to ESL students. Ebert thinks that's a really bad idea: "Why not have ESL learners begin with Young Adult novels? Why not write books with a simplified vocabulary? Why eviscerate Fitzgerald?" [more inside]
posted by CCBC on Jul 8, 2011 - 247 comments

I want my edition with the subtraction!

In such a world maximalism and encyclopedism, erudite puzzle solving, simply feel like more of the same, and the last thing we need is more of the same. We need less, much less: we don't need fiction that cultivates the general noise in a slightly more erudite way but still plays by the same rules; we need fiction that strips its way down to our nerves and fibers, simulations that are willing to cut enough of our context away to let us step outside of our own increasingly simulated experience and to see it afresh, from without.
Brian Evenson, "Doing Without," an essay in The Collagist
(could also be titled "How a mistake in the digital conversion of a Cory Doctorow novel [see difference between print and electronic version] made me think about the meaning of innovative literature") [more inside]
posted by jng on May 16, 2011 - 10 comments

You see all Yoknapatawpha in the dying last of day beneath you.

The writer has—has been stricken with the—the passion and beauty of life, the world, and a—a demon-driven need to—to express that, to put it down on paper or cut it into marble or into music, and with that foreknowledge that he has only a limited time to do it, he may be dead tomorrow—he's got to do it all while he can still breathe, and it's a—a desire, a need, to put the whole history of the human heart into any and every word, every paragraph that he writes, and the obscurity comes from a belief which I hold, that—that there is no such thing as "was."
In the late 1950s William Faulkner was writer-in-residence at the University of Virginia. Extensive recordings of readings, reflections, and classes are now online. NPR summarizes. [more inside]
posted by jjray on Jul 15, 2010 - 15 comments

Legality and Ethics in downloading e-books

On the ethics of illegally downloading e-books; a Teleread essay full of interesting links about these modern e-reading times. Inspired in part by this New York Times Ethicist column, and brought to my attention by this ask.metafilter question.
posted by Greg Nog on Apr 7, 2010 - 159 comments

Picture Book Report

Picture Book Report is an extended love-song to books. Fifteen illustrators will reach out to their favorite books and create wonderful pieces of art in response to the text that has moved them, shaped them, or excited them. From sci-fi to children’s books to fantasy to serious novels, we’ll cover them all. For three weeks out of every month there will be a new illustration every day from one of us along with our thoughts, process, anything we can come up with. Together we will try to excite readers both new and old and capture some of that magic of storytelling.. [more inside]
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew on Feb 15, 2010 - 12 comments

your favorite literary writer sucks

This is what the cultural elite wants us to believe: if our writers don't make sense, or bore us to tears, that can only mean that we aren't worthy of them. [more inside]
posted by philip-random on Nov 26, 2009 - 143 comments

...I didn't actually read the link...

It’s only natural that if you wish to present yourself as a well-read person, a certain degree of complete bullshit is required. There’s no shame in lying about what you’ve read. There’s only shame in getting caught. Then you look like a doofus, and an illiterate one at that... How to lie about books.
posted by Artw on May 28, 2009 - 73 comments

Infinite Summer

Infinite Summer - "The Challenge: Read Infinite Jest over the summer of 2009" [more inside]
posted by mattbucher on May 21, 2009 - 118 comments

What are you reading, charming writer?

What are writers reading? An eclectic mix of authors answer the perennial question. [more inside]
posted by mattbucher on Apr 21, 2009 - 10 comments

Fetish of ambition

"... many critics and editors, especially male ones, make a fetish of "ambition," by which they mean the contemporary equivalent of novels about men in boats ("Moby-Dick," "Huckleberry Finn") rather than women in houses ("House of Mirth"), and that as a result big novels by male writers get treated as major events while slender but equally accomplished books by women tend to make a smaller splash." [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Feb 24, 2009 - 95 comments

It is impossible - and unnecessary - to grapple with every 'must read' of the literary canon

John Updike died, have you read his books? Who has time where there are a 1000 novels to read yet! James Delingpole argues that it is impossible - and unnecessary - to grapple with every 'must read' of the literary canon. [more inside]
posted by stbalbach on Jan 31, 2009 - 49 comments

'Where Forgotton Books are Remembered'

The Neglected Books Page
posted by anastasiav on Dec 5, 2008 - 13 comments

Readers' Travels

I know a man who once went to Sioux City, not one of the world’s leading destinations, precisely because he had never been there before. More than a decade later he still talks about the experience, from the Sergeant Floyd obelisk to the dog track of North Sioux and the meat packing plant converted to a shopping mall. The same impulse explains a non-specialist’s reading a history of Byzantine iconography or a survey of Australian wildlife. Both offer a break in daily life and an enlargement of our sense of wonder and possibility. That awareness can provide a sense of transcendence, and connection, or even the spark of divine discontent that leads people to change their lives.
Reading as Vacation, an essay by J. D. Smith and Subway Reader, pictures of people who read while using public transportation.
posted by Kattullus on Apr 6, 2008 - 17 comments

"turn to page 69 of any book and read it. If you like that page, buy the book."

The Page 69 Test --inspired by Marshall McLuhan's suggestion to readers for choosing a novel, a new blog, inviting authors to describe what's on page 69. One says: Not the best, but not the worst. If my pages were presidents, I’d put page 69 somewhere in the James K. Polk range.
posted by amberglow on Dec 11, 2007 - 28 comments

Read Print.

Read Print. Online books, poems and short stories.
posted by St Urbain's Horseman on Oct 29, 2007 - 11 comments

Bookstore burns books

It's a sad old story but the reading of literature continues to decline. Prospero's Books - a Kansas-city used bookstore - is so desperate to thin out its collection it has started to burn books. Co-owner Tom Wayne says he is unable to sell many of his thousands of books, or even to give them away to libraries and thrift stores, so he started a pyre in protest.
posted by stbalbach on May 29, 2007 - 66 comments

Thai fiction

Modern Thai fiction, in English et plus en français.
posted by carsonb on Mar 26, 2007 - 12 comments

New online archive of contemporary British poetry

"Welcome to the Archive of the Now. The Archive of the Now is an online and print repository of recordings, printed texts and manuscripts, focussing on innovative contemporary poetry being written or performed in Britain. It is part of the Brunel Centre for Contemporary Writing, at Brunel University in west London, UK. At present, the Archive consists of readings by 65 UK-based poets. This number will continue to grow, and includes newly commissioned, recently acquired and historical recordings."
posted by jayder on Oct 22, 2006 - 5 comments

...515 to material with a homosexual theme or “promoting homosexuality,” ...

Banned Books Week -- 25th anniversary year. How to deal with a challenge, what you can do generally, and of course, lists, and more lists. Captain Underpants is a more recent entry, i notice.
posted by amberglow on Sep 25, 2006 - 42 comments

Spam yourself with the classics

Choose a (public domain) book and Daily Lit will e-mail it to you bit-by-bit every day. Finally, War and Peace delivered to your inbox in only 675 bite-sized pieces. [via LH]
posted by camcgee on Sep 14, 2006 - 15 comments

What to read

What to read. A list of lists for book recommendations, includes a compiled "Great Books" Lists with a World Literature list and lots more.
posted by stbalbach on Mar 20, 2006 - 50 comments

Reading Race

Is it American literature or African-American literature...or is it literature at all? Nineteenth-century novelist Emma Dunham Kelly-Hawkins, author of the little-read novels Megda and Four Girls at Cottage City, is getting dumped from The Schomburg Library of Nineteenth-Century Black Women Writers (previously mentioned in this thread) because she was probably white. Let the literary bickery begin!
posted by butternut on Mar 10, 2005 - 19 comments

Children Still Read ... Don't They?

10 Books to Feed the Imagination. Just in time for World Book Day, Lady Georgia Byng offers her favorite tomes for sparking a child's fancy. The usual suspects are here (Roald Dahl, J.K. Rowling, Philip Pullman) with a couple of welcome surprises (Yann Martel and Jostein Gaarder). But tell me, MeFites ... which others did she miss?
posted by grabbingsand on Mar 3, 2004 - 47 comments

Classic Reader

Did you know that George Eliot's Middlemarch is posted online in its entirety? As is Madam Bovary, Anna Karenina, and Don Quixote. ClassicReader.com contains 769 books and 1041 short stories by 211 authors. (via Bookfilter.)
posted by Pinwheel on Apr 8, 2003 - 10 comments

Good Riddance to Oprah's Book Club, and Her Literary Amateurism

Good Riddance to Oprah's Book Club, and Her Literary Amateurism Norah Vincent says Oprah's opinion in matters of literary taste is amateurish to say the least and she presumed where she should not have, and wouldn't want her sticker on his/hers book either.
Just for fun adds People who dislike Oprah's Book Club dislike it for the same reason that they dislike Barnes & Noble. The fact that the two do a brisk business isn't accidental, and the two represent the same pernicious homogenization of American life that makes existential despair all but unavoidable.
Pompous?
posted by Blake on Apr 12, 2002 - 53 comments

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