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 -
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 -
is a map based newspaper browser. Filter by category, language, time or region or use the heatmap. [blog]
posted by unliteral
on Jan 9, 2012 -
What Middletown Read.
Robert and Helen Lynd's immersive studies of early 20th century Muncie, Indiana, published as Middletown
(1929) and Middletown in Transition
(1937), are classics of American sociology. Ball State's Center for Middletown Studies
has created a database of the circulation records from the Muncie Public Library from 1891-1902, providing a rare glimpse of the reading habits of turn-of-the-century middle America. Slate examines
the project and what it reveals.
posted by Horace Rumpole
on Nov 17, 2011 -
The Elusive Big Idea
"It is no secret, especially here in America, that we live in a post-Enlightenment age in which rationality, science, evidence, logical argument and debate have lost the battle in many sectors, and perhaps even in society generally, to superstition, faith, opinion and orthodoxy. While we continue to make giant technological advances, we may be the first generation to have turned back the epochal clock — to have gone backward intellectually from advanced modes of thinking into old modes of belief."
posted by bitmage
on Aug 16, 2011 -
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 -
Most of us know and love Dailylit
. But, if you want to have more current book snippets emailed to you every day, you can upload your own ebooks to Dripread
. [more inside]
posted by reenum
on Jul 3, 2011 -
"Reading a novel of punishing difficulty and length is a version of climbing Everest for people who prefer not to leave the house. And people who climb Everest don’t howl with exhilaration at the summit because the mountain was a good or a well made or an interesting mountain per se, but because they’re overawed at themselves for having done such a fantastically difficult thing." Mark O'Connell writes about how he overcame his fear of reading very long novels
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear
on May 18, 2011 -
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 -
Recent research on children. (1) Brothers and sisters who argue a lot can improve their language, social skills and outcomes: Guardian article
; paper on part of the research
(pdf). (2) First findings from Understanding Society
. Conclusions include: the unhappiness of children’s mothers with their partners affect children’s happiness, but this is not the case if children’s fathers are unhappy in their relationships; having older brothers or sisters doesn’t appear to affect children’s happiness, but having younger brothers or sisters is associated with less happiness; not living with both natural parents has a greater negative impact on a young person’s life satisfaction than their material situation. (3) A longitudinal study on people now in their forties has found that for these people reading is linked to career success, though not necessarily to better pay, whilst playing computer games and doing no other activities was associated with less likelihood of going to university. In particular, those who owned a ZX Spectrum or Commodore C64 were less likely to go to university. thinq interview with researcher
. Guardian article
. Telegraph article
. (4) Poll about children’s attitudes to losing in sport. Press release
. Data from children’s survey
. Data from parents’ survey
. (All three are PDFs.)
posted by paduasoy
on Apr 9, 2011 -
, the Magazine of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Field, is the paper of record in the science fiction community. Every year the editors and reviewers at Locus publish a recommended reading list which includes novels, YA novels, first novels, anthologies and collections, related non-fiction, art books, and three types of shorter work (novellas
, and short stories). If you are at all interested in the current state of the SF&F genre you can't do better than Locus' yearly effort. The list for 2010
appears in the February issue. [more inside]
posted by Justinian
on Feb 18, 2011 -
The Suck Fairy.
"The Suck Fairy is an artefact of re-reading. If you read a book for the first time and it sucks, it’s nothing to do with her. It just sucks. Some books do. The Suck Fairy comes in when you come back to a book that you liked when you read it before, and on re-reading—well, it sucks. You can say that you have changed, you can hit your forehead dramatically and ask yourself how you could possibly have missed the suckiness the first time—or you can say that the Suck Fairy has been through while the book was sitting on the shelf and inserted the suck." [Via]
posted by homunculus
on Sep 30, 2010 -