Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Literary Tattoos

Proving that newspaper reporters know how to use Google Image Search, the UK's Daily Telegraph has a collection of literary-focused tattoos found online.

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Friday, July 25, 2008

The Mad Men Bookshelf

Mad Men has its style and mysogyny, but it's also got books; back in the day, it wasn't an egghead-thing to read, it was part of being a rennaisance men, appreciating literature, whisky, and whatever woman was at your side -- here, courtesy of New York magazine, are a number of the books that appear in the plot of Mad Men.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Book Inscriptions

I've got lots of inscribed books (some by the author, even) -- this website collects a bunch:

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Monday, July 21, 2008

Police Children's Book, Rewritten by Chavs

On the right-hand side, a fine British children's book. Oh, the left-hand side was once the same thing, but this edition appears to have been rewritten by somebody with a bad attitude about the police (some NSFW, others just funny):

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Dust Test

When looking for a partner and lover, there's some things to look for -- Erika Nanes, in particular, needs a guy who can appreciate the used book store. The Dust Test is devised to check if somebody has an affinity for the old bookstores; if one isn't into the old, dusty books and digging through boxes, it's a good sign they won't last long as a partner. It's telling in the kind of activity used-book-shopping is: it's enjoyable as a couple. Sporting things don't require both to participate (especially if seen as a 'guy thing'), organized groups aren't always couples events, but shopping for books is better when you can go, "hey, come look what I found!", much like love for antiquing the wifey and I share.

"The Dust Test" is part of a series at Pop Matters called "Secondhand Wonderland: The World of the Used Book" -- the whole series is a good read if you're a fan of old books and used bookstores.

(the mug can be found at the LA Library Foundation's website)

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Information Overload, Rennaisance Style

one of the diseases of this age is the multiplicity of books; they doth so overcharge the world that it is not able to digest the abundance of idle matter that is every day hatched and brought forth into the world

Barnaby Rich, 1613. (via)

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Print Isn't Dead, It's Different

Reading online is the dissemination and absorption of information -- pleasure reading is like a day at a spa, effortless and engaging. Friend Gracie has had this problem at (NSFW, and I designed it), difficulty finding readers online willing to read a couple-thousand word article, but their book sells pretty well. We've long said we won't publish eBooks, because of the pain of reading them online. Short, informational pieces work better online? No wonder newspapers are declining in their corporeal influence.

So, where will long-form writing go? That's why people say print isn't dead - it does something online doesn't do. It is, however, why blogs took off but online magazines haven't -- blogs are easier to read, and easier to write, and the cost is right. Produce something people want in large quantities, for very little cost, and it's a good product.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Stuart Little v. NY Public Library

In 1945, Stuart Little was first put into print, after much support from the creator of the children's library, Anne Carroll Moore. Moore, sadly, will become the tiny mouse's greatest opponent -- preventing Stuart Little from inhabiting the shelves of public and school libraries for a time, and possibly cutting off Little from wining literature awards it deserved. The public spoke: teachers and students disobeyed the critics and found EB White's book worthy of library inclusion, and petitioned their local libraries to include it. As the article says, Moore's failure in opposition to Stuart Little "...was like watching a horse fall down, its spindly legs crumpling beneath its great weight."


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Saturday, July 12, 2008

NYT's Literary Ephemera

The New York Times has a gallery of the fun stuff publishers send them in hopes of getting a better review placement:

See also, the more entertaining (but less book-related) Onion AV Club Swag! Roundup.

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Sunday, July 06, 2008

Cover Version Exhibit, in LA

At the Taylor De Cordoba gallery in LA is an exhibition of book covers redesigned by artists -- not that this isn't the kind of project every graphic-design website rolls out every couple months as an exercise, but in this case you can go to a gallery and view the works displayed prominently on the walls:

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Saturday, July 05, 2008

32 Sci-Fi Must Reads

How To Split An Atom brings us the 32 sci-fi books that you should read -- which, in itself, provides no surprises because every book here has been identified as a great work of literature at some point in the past fifty years. The only books I was not familiar with are Accelerando by Charles Stross, Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan, and The Giver by Lois Lowry. Those three should maybe have been the focus of their blog post, with a little more info on why they belong on a list with A Clockwork Orange and 1984. Linking to a relatively uninteresting list is mostly a reason for me to give you an uninteresting list of those books that I've read:

  1. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by PK Dick
  2. War of the Worlds by HG Wells
  3. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  4. Neuromancer by William Gibson
  5. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  6. Brave New World by Adolus Huxley
  7. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  8. 1984 by George Orwell
  9. Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  10. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Wow -- less than a third; I've intended to read Animal Farm (on a sci-fi list?), Foundation, and Stranger in a Strange Land, but some on their list I really don't have much interest in reading. I once started I, Robot, which I gave up on due to boringness (which doesn't give me much faith in Foundation). Dune, The Time Machine, and Atlas Shrugged are all so ubiquitous that I've heard about as much about them as I'll get actually reading them. As for the humor/satire books like Ender's Game, Ringworld, and H2G2, I find them mildly amusing but I'm not drawn to them. Snow Crash intrigues me, but I read Zodiac and The Diamond Age and while both have their points, I'm not impressed enough with Stephenson's writing ability to put up with another book. And three William Gibson books? He's good, but I wouldn't consider him the source of almost 10% of the best sci-fi ever. And a Michael Crichton book -- while he's more of the entertaining vein of sci-fi, I haven't heard much good about Timeline, definitely not enough good to warrant it being on a list of recommended reading alongside HG Wells or Heinlein.

But, then, what good recommendation list doesn't invite criticism? The blogger does do well with the classics, maybe not so with stuff since the 70s, but I might also be missing something by not having read them. It's not like I have the guts to put together my favorite books and call them the books that everyone must read.

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