7/27/2010 2:51:51 PM
According to an interview with The Bygone Bureau, literary journalist and author Tracy Kidder came to hate his first book so much that he wanted to prevent it from ever being re-published. His solution: He bought the rights to The Road to Yuba City—his 1974 nonfiction account of a California murder trial—and it is now out of print. You can find used copies of the book through Amazon, but the prices start at just under $100. In the interview, Kidder explains this act of bibliographic erasure and also reflects on his writing process, the future of books in print, and how to become a professional author.
(Thanks, The Book Bench.)
Source: The Bygone Bureau
7/21/2010 2:13:11 PM
Get ready to practice the arts of martini mixing, gin bootlegging, and inordinate obsessing through Big Fish Games' video game adaptation of the 1925 classic The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Okay, you don't really get to practice any of those things. Mainly you just stare at a computer screen searching for poorly hidden objects (think Highlights) and completing simple word puzzles (Highlights again, I guess).
Creatively titled The Great Gatsby Game, the PC-operated release purportedly allows users to "launch themselves into the high-society, low-morality world of East and West Egg and wade neck-deep into all the excess and depravity of Gatsby, Daisy, Jordan, Tom…the whole gang!"
And all for only $6.99. A steal really, when you consider what excess and depravity normally go for.
Image by yoppy, licensed under Creative Commons.
7/14/2010 12:57:43 PM
Sporting the subtitle "And Now the Good News," it's no wonder that tickets to TEDGlobal sold out. Who isn't anxiously searching for a modicum of hope in a worldso frequently portrayed as mired in disaster and despair?
For all of us who didn't have the cash and/or connections to attend this annual gathering of the most forward-thinking individuals in the world, Good compiled a "What You Missed" rundown of the opening day of the four-day long multidisciplinary conference in Oxford, England. Maria Popova details the presentations of Tuesday's ten speakers, including links to some of the work that won them stage-time.
Popova concludes that this year's TEDGlobal serves as a "reminder of just why 'good news'—reframing the world as its potential for the positive, not its pathology for the negative—is not merely a good addition to our cultural dialogue, but a necessary one."
A full schedule for the conference is available here, including bios for each presenter. And TED has posted a video of Matt Ridley’s Tuesday lecture, “When Ideas Have Sex.” All talks will be available online once the conference has ended.
Source: Good, TED.
Image by Jurvetson, licensed under Creative Commons.
7/12/2010 1:43:37 PM
A recent dustup over author Nicole Krauss’s long and ecstatic book blurb for David Grossman’s To the End of the Land brings to light the perhaps impossible art of writing in blurb-speak. Scott Esposito of Conversational Reading may have started the fight, but his explanation is also a measured one: “[I]f you happen to have the chance to write a blurb, you probably want to let it sit for a day or two and make sure it doesn’t sound too overwrought.”
(Thanks, The Rumpus.)
Source: Conversational Reading
Image by xmacex, licensed under Creative Commons.
7/8/2010 2:34:33 PM
There’s never a bad time to publish a zine—but here in Minneapolis it is undoubtedly a perfect moment. This weekend marks the Twin Cities Zinefest, an exhibition of more than 40 zine publishers and artists. These reputable defenders of the small press may have honed their methods over many years, but zine-making is fundamentally an amateur’s game.
Zine-making is as easy or elaborate as you make it. Start with the supplies—for a basic zine, all you’ll need is a pen, paper, glue and a pair of scissors. From there, the possibilities are endless. Honesty, self-expression and personal satisfaction are the only core values of zine-production according to the “Cut & Paste” mini-documentary.
Once you’ve mastered the process, why not follow Broken Pencil's guide to set up a DIY screen-printing press and make your zine even more memorable? No matter how you cut and paste your zine, we can’t wait to read it. Seriously. Send it here:
12 N. 12th Street, Suite 400
Minneapolis, MN 55403
Unlike blogs, zines are tactile, unique and timeless. And despite the popularity of online publishing tools, as Utne Reader’s former librarian Danielle Maestretti wrote in 2007, the zine-scene is here to stay.
Source: Broken Pencil
Image by wadem, licensed under Creative Commons.
7/7/2010 1:44:45 PM
Bryan Welch—publisher and editorial director of Ogden Publications, which owns Utne Reader— routinely speaks about how the green movement has evolved from a righteous collective of would-be revolutionaries to a body of individuals who nurture interests in social justice, responsible ethics, practical politics, and sustainable business. At the LOHAS Forum in Boulder last month, Welch spoke to TriplePundit about the rise of affinity journalism, as represented by outlets like Mother Earth News, which, like other Ogden publications, covers the do-it-yourself, green lifestyle of its subscribers.
Below is a clip of him speaking at the 2008 LOHAS Forum:
Image by Kyle Kruchok, licensed under Creative Commons.
7/6/2010 1:16:15 PM
If you’ve seen the film High Fidelity, you may remember the scene where John Cusack’s character, Rob Gordon, explains his autobiographical cataloguing system for his vinyl collection. He indexes his records by mentally tagging them with neurotic pieces of personal information. It’s a tad obsessive—and totally comprehensible. Over at HTMLGIANT, Roxane Gay reveals an autobiographical index of her book collection:
I bought The Book of Night Women because I’m from the Caribbean and Maud Newton said it was great, on her blog. I bought Then We Came to the End because I love writing from the collective point of view and I wanted to see if the book was as good as the hype. It was. I bought Revolutionary Road because the movie came out and I thought, “I bet the book is better.” It was. I bought American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld because intensely disliked Prep, as in, I have a visceral reaction just thinking about the book and I wanted to see what kind of reaction I would have to American Wife. I quite enjoyed it. It’s a slow, subtle book but well worth the read. I bought Gotham Diaries because I read in Entertainment Weekly that Spike Lee’s wife had co-written the book and I wondered if it was any good. Not so much. I could go on. For almost every book in my collection, I remember why I bought it, what was going on in my life, who I was in that moment.
Image by ♥ellie♥, licensed under Creative Commons.
7/4/2010 2:02:13 PM
Last week, the literary journal Tin House put an intriguing wrinkle in its submissions policy for the coming fall. Along with their submissions, writers will have to include a receipt proving they’ve recently purchased a book from a bookstore. The change affects submissions to the magazine and to Tin House’s books division. In a press release the editors added: “Writers who cannot afford to buy a book or cannot get to an actual bookstore are encouraged to explain why in haiku or one sentence (100 words or fewer).”
Here at Utne, we wanted to find out a little more about the thinking behind this new (and awesome) policy. Tin House managing editor Cheston Knapp was kind enough to play along and supply some answers.Though Knapp noted that there is some “apprehension” that writers will be angry about the shift, he says, “We're just asking people to be accountable for the fact that they're participating in an ailing industry when they submit to literary journals or book publishers.” The goal, then, might be to reinforce—concretely—the reading spirit of the creative writing community. After all, to support literary writing, there’s no way other than by reading books, journals, and magazines. “People are trying to figure out what the [publishing] landscape's going to look like but we want to do our part to ensure physical books remain a part of it,” says Knapp.
As for how long this policy might last, the current plan applies only for this fall’s reading period. Knapp adds that “there are many other literary magazines that charge you to submit to them and that seems to work… folks don't raise a stink about that. We'll see how people react to this.” It’s an uncertain time literature in print, and as Knapp suggests, the future is up for grabs: “What we hope is that writers can continue to write and booksellers continue to sell their books long into the future, as the building morphs around us like something out of Proteus's wet dream.” And you thought there wouldn’t be any literary references in this post.
Source: Tin House
Image by jelene, licensed under Creative Commons.
7/1/2010 10:49:13 AM
Over at Good, Anne Trubek writes that emoticons have a natural place in the history of punctuation. Moreover, she suggests that the development of punctuation marks irritated some people as much as emoticons irk today’s grammar police. Even the spaces between words are punctuation, Trubek reminds us:
A space is a punctuation mark, remember, so in those days, everyone used a script called scripta continua, which, as you may guessed, meant therewerenospacesbetweenwords. As more people began reading, itbecamehardertoreadthedamnedmanuscripts, and punctuation marks were invented to ease reading aloud.
The earliest marks indicated how a speaker’s voice should adjust to reflect the tone of the words. Punctus interrogativus is a precursor to today’s question mark, and it indicates that the reader should raise his voice to indicate inquisitiveness. Tone and voice were literal in those days: Punctuation told the speaker how to express the words he was reading out loud to his audience, or to himself. A question mark, a comma, a space between two words: These are symbols that denote written tone and voice for a primarily literate—as opposed to oral—culture. There is no significant difference between them and a modern emoticon.
It is true that some people go overboard, cluttering their writing with silly waving hands and kissy faces. But the same outpouring of new marks occurred in the Middle Ages, too, when the old hoary punctuation marks—the ones we now teach 5th graders—were new and exciting.
(Thanks, The Book Bench.)
Image by stewartpillbrow, licensed under Creative Commons.
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