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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

LeVar Burton never saw it coming

Modern drinking games are often crafted around movies or television, leaving dry those with literary ambitions. Now you avid readers can get in on the fun! (via) [more inside]
posted by Korou on Aug 7, 2010 - 95 comments

Moby Dick? Middlemarch? Jane Eyre?

Humiliation: Which book are you most embarrassed to admit that you have never read? Several "respectable" authors answer the question at the Ways With Words festival. (single-link Telegraph post)
posted by fiercecupcake on Jul 28, 2008 - 260 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

(some) books are for girls

Gender differences in literary taste - The Guardian (inter alia) has been reporting two English professors' studies of reading habits and feelings about books by gender. Others (newest to oldest): most revelatory books by reader gender (for men), (for women), author gender by reader gender. The methodology may not be unassailable but the findings are interesting and plausible. [viaduct vianochicken]
Sidenote: I did a little research following a comment on MR and reached a non-obvious conclusion: women hate Akira Kurosawa (check out those charts; for comparison). Theories welcome.
posted by grobstein on Apr 10, 2006 - 36 comments

"My instincts in publishing are very much a gut reaction"

In those days, he could do no wrong. In the Sixties, he was the man who published Catch-22, Portnoy's Complaint and Hemingway's A Moveable Feast; he put John Lennon's doodles into cold print, launched the careers of John Fowles and Gabriel García Márquez, looked after Thomas Pynchon and Kurt Vonnegut and later, in the early 1980s, was the godfatherly mentor of Amis fils, Julian Barnes, Ian McEwan and Salman Rushdie. He was equally adept at commissioning inspired non-fictions such as The Naked Ape, Desmond Morris's zoological inspection of human behaviour.
The Independent profiles Tom Maschler, publisher, founder of the Booker Prize. (via Bookslut)
posted by matteo on Mar 17, 2005 - 7 comments

Fascism in America?

Fascism in America? It Can't Happen Here is a masterful satire in which a popular, dimwitted politician rises to dictatorial power on the backs of radio evangelists, opponents of urban, yacht-owning, college professor liberalism, common people, and the Rotary Club. America is pushed into a manufactured war by all-powerful corporate interests, liberties are restricted in the name of national emergency, and all is coordinated by a behind-the-scenes political maestro sometimes called "the brain." Sound familiar? It's nothing new: the book was written by Sinclair Lewis in 1935.
posted by socratic on Nov 29, 2004 - 50 comments

Umberto Eco On Reading

Why Books Will Always Be With Us... along with almost everything else. Umberto Eco goes all encyclopedic on us (but in a nice way!) summing up (and reopening) the themes of a lifetime of reading, writing and watching. Though I'm sure what he says about the Web and electronic media will be picked to bits here, I'd say that would be a perfect vindication of this extraordinary exercise in common sense. [Via Arts & Letters Daily.]
posted by MiguelCardoso on Nov 26, 2003 - 14 comments

Potter here, get your Potter here

Potter anyone? Harry Potter fever has started.... Some individual or group of individuals managed to walk off with 7680 copies of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" Reuters has an article here mentioned that the books are worth about 130500 pounds. MSNBC is behind the times with their stolen article and are reporting ~$1.68 Million.
posted by meanie on Jun 17, 2003 - 22 comments

Visual Relationships at Amazon.com

Visual Relationships at Amazon.com - Here's an interesting visual implementation of the Amazon API. It's almost like flipping through books on the shelf. What's next? A 3D bookstore rendered on the Quake engine?
posted by Argyle on Mar 3, 2003 - 2 comments

KidPub

KidPub is an enchanting little website that I rediscovered after rediscovering a list of my circa-1995 bookmarks. (And it looks today almost exactly like it did then -- you can even see a bit of Siegel influence) KidPub is a place for children to post their stories, poems, etc. Most of the authors seem to be in the 9- to 12-year-old age range, and the stories have titles like "The Mystery of the Circus Clown" and "Crazy School". A cute site to remind you of the importance of reading and writing for children.
posted by oissubke on Nov 11, 2002 - 9 comments

"But at some point along the path to discovery, the reader confronts his or her reading mortality. There's only so much time. And there are so many great books." I must come to grips with this myself, even as I anxiously await the inaugural book club discussion. I must admit, though, that people like this [NYT link] make me feel my own "reading mortality" more acutely. (I wish I could read that much so quickly...)
posted by arco on Dec 25, 2001 - 18 comments

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