Nicholson Baker, who in his book, Double Fold, argued for saving newspaper collections, explores "The Charms of Wikipedia" with insightful and hilarious results. He also has a new book, Human Smoke, coming out (excerpt)
In Philadelphia, the ratio of students to librarians has increased dramatically. Schools are not only cutting the jobs of librarians, but they are failing to hire those who are qualified to perform the task. Some people, including principals, seem to have the notion that school libraries are a nonessential facet of high school education or are adopting idiosynchratic measures to keep school libraries in existence. The Toronto District School Board, for example, has decided that it will only offer a full-time librarian to schools with more than 710 pupils, leaving school libraries that are closed half the time or that remain substantially inaccessible to students. Laura Bush's Foundation for America's Libraries is an admirable idea, but will merely talking about the importance of libraries hammer the point home? What does it take to convince administrative types of the importance of school libraries? Where did the idea of the school library go astray? And what can we do to ensure that a reasonably accessible school library is there for any student who needs it?
Literary lynching, the practice of attacking authors who make statements against the U.S. government or engage in dissent, gets a comprehensive overview with a book in progress. As 72 year old author Dorothy Bryant puts it, "More than ever, we need free exchange of facts and opinions. I hope that looking back on a few cases that have had time to cool off will help us to understand the psychology of literary lynching, and to resist it — not only in others but in ourselves." But in today's world, is there any distinction between a thoughtful response and a downright ugly rejoinder anymore? (via Moby Lives)
Final Hitchhiker's Novel Found: A Salmon of a Doubt, the sixth novel in Douglas Adam's series, will be published next May upon Adam's death. But is this a serious effort from a man who was growing tired of the Hitchhiker's series towards the end of his life or an easy way to cash in on Adams's death, V.C. Andrews-style?