The Book Pirates of Peru.
A slideshow in which Peruvian author Daniel Alarcón describes the vibrant literary scene in his home country, where the informal publishing industry is the same size as its legitimate counterpart. There's no library system to speak of, the National Library's acquisitions budget is nil, but a culture of reading and writing is booming, with book sales and attendance at literary festivals up, up, up.
posted by WPW
on Jan 18, 2010 -
"In the lawless mountain realms of Asia, a Yale professor finds a case against civilization
Zomia is a rugged swath of Asia that for 2,000 years has remained culturally aloof from the traditional centers of power and the pull of empires. Its inhabitants, Asia’s “hill people,” have earned a reputation for egalitarianism, insurrection, and independence. Up until the second half of the 20th century, many of the societies there remained nonliterate and supported themselves through trade, smuggling, and Iron-Age practices like slash-and-burn agriculture... In Zomia’s small societies, with their simple technologies, anti-authoritarian tendencies, and oral cultures, Scott sees not a world forgotten by civilization, but one that has been deliberately constructed to keep the state at arm’s length.
posted by andoatnp
on Dec 13, 2009 -
David Byrne has just published a new book about bicycles called Bicycle Diaries
. A long time rider, Byrne muses on how the world looks and works from the vantage point of a cyclist. It's getting pretty good reviews
. To launch the book, Byrne is touring the US and arranging public forums. Each event features a civic leader, an urban theorist, a bicycle advocate, and Byrne himself speaking about bikes in cities. Here’s a schedule of the upcoming events
. He’s also designed some bike racks
for his hometown of New York City. [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan
on Sep 27, 2009 -
"I work at a used and rare bookstore, and I buy books from people every day. These are the personal, funny, heartbreaking and weird things I find in those books. "
posted by milquetoast
on Jul 25, 2009 -
From 1864 to 1904, the Russian Empire tried to quelch the nationalism of Lithuanians by ordering all Lithuanian texts to be printed with Cyrillic characters instead of in the Latin-derived Lithuanian or Polish alphabets. But they didn't count on the Knygnešiai - the Booksmugglers
. [more inside]
posted by mdonley
on Jul 12, 2009 -
"It would be naïve to identify the Internet with the Enlightenment. It has the potential to diffuse knowledge beyond anything imagined by Jefferson; but while it was being constructed, link by hyperlink, commercial interests did not sit idly on the sidelines. They want to control the game, to take it over, to own it. They compete among themselves, of course, but so ferociously that they kill each other off. Their struggle for survival is leading toward an oligopoly; and whoever may win, the victory could mean a defeat for the public good. ...We could have created a National Digital Library—the twenty-first-century equivalent of the Library of Alexandria. It is too late now. Not only have we failed to realize that possibility, but, even worse, we are allowing a question of public policy—the control of access to information—to be determined by private lawsuit."—Robert Darnton
on what the proposed Google Book Settlement
could mean for the pursuit of knowledge—Google and the Future of Books
posted by Toekneesan
on Jan 23, 2009 -