Tuesday, January 10, 2012 10:43 AM
Ever wonder what the heck primary elections actually are and how they work. Truth is, it’s really complicated. Here’s a crash course. Careful, it gets wild after about 50 seconds.
Question: What’s more beautiful than a Christmas tree full of sparkly ornaments? Answer: Christmas ornaments full of sparkly glitter—exploding.
Trash talk at the dinner table: Salt needs a new companion; pepper is lame.
A mother writes about how she went into breastfeeding all wrong.
Recession inspiration story: A 40-year-old, out-of-work architect who moved back with his parents has now built a career as the creative force behind the Lego architecture kits you see everywhere, making $10,000 per commission.
Skyhorse Publishing has announced an unusual program: It will pay cash to struggling book publishers for their backlist titles.
The best American Sign Language music videos, including White Stripes, “We’re Going to Be Friends”; Kanye West, “Good Morning”; and Paula Abdul, “Opposites Attract.”
It’s a frog-eat-bat world. Cool footage from Smithsonian scientists studying fringe-lipped bats in Panama.
BrethalEyes, a new iPhone app, tells you if you’re sober enough to drive. By scanning your eye movement, it claims it can estimate your blood alcohol content.
A musical airport floor, played by your and your suitcase
Once you pop you just can’t stop: A look inside the big business of communion wafers.
Of all the thousands of novels written, can you guess the number of unique plots contained therein? If you guessed 1,462, you’d be right.
Is your relationship with your drinking buddies platonic or Platonic?
Friday, September 30, 2011 11:12 AM
Despite the overwhelming popularity of the blog as a means of proliferating ideas and opinions, zines—those ever-so-frugally produced mini-books you might see next to the cash register at your community bookstore or stuffed illegally in between issues of USA Today—are flourishing as a literary form. Perhaps this is because zines and blogs attract different kinds of people. While blogging allows writers to (maybe) reach the world with a single mouse-click, producing a zine requires a much greater effort—and the potential audience for a zine is only as large as the number of copies its publisher can afford to print up at Kinko’s. Some would say that makes zines inefficient and unnecessary, but those who produce the little magazines argue that it’s a labor of love. There is a certain satisfaction in producing a physical object, after all, and in the publishing world, zines are the ultimate incarnation of an independent press.
This past weekend, a public gymnasium in Utne’s hometown hosted Twin Cities Zinefest, an annual event designed to bring Minneapolis’ underground publishing community together, and to let the public know that it exists. Below are some highlights from the one-day festival (and yes, after that lead-in, we understand the irony in directing you to the websites of zine publishers):
Creative Ladies Are Powerful (C.L.A.P.) describes itself as “a progressive quarterly zine that celebrates women in all their various forms of creative living.” Feminism—and women in general—had a strong presence at Zinefest, with many tables dedicated to female writers and artists. If that’s your bag, also check out Girl Germs Radio, the hosts of which produce a hard-to-find zine about the horrors of working as a waitress.
Top Secret Nerd Brigade seeks to marry old-school arts and crafts with modern technology. Aside from its author’s various experimental zines, TSNB also sells QR Code Cross Stitch Kits.
Damaged Mentality is a zine about author Synthia Nicole’s experiences coping with a disabling brain injury. Its descriptions of how the trauma affected every aspect of her life go a long way in putting a face on a side of humanity about which few people know much.
A whole bevy of comic artists and illustrators attended the convention, with a wide array of styles and inspirations represented. There was Anna Bongiovanni, whose surreal illustration incorporates pen, watercolor, computer graphics, and even crayons. Multi-disciplinary artist Michael Perez brought a zine called I’d Sleep There, a catalog of places where he wouldn’t mind taking a nap. And Erica Williams showed off Little Constructs, an international collaborative effort between Williams and Londoner Jo Cheung.
But not all zines are tiny expressions of one or two peoples’ ids. Some enterprising self-publishers have made a mini-industry out of printing zines, and chief among them is Portland/Kansas-based Microcosm Publishing, perhaps the closest thing in the zine world to a Pan Macmillan or a Harper Collins. Microcosm’s booth at the show was literally spilling over with hundreds of little publications for the zine-hungry masses.
Images by Philip James Hart.
Tuesday, March 08, 2011 12:40 PM
For those of you out there looking for your life after your successful stint in a rock band, you’d do worse than heeding the advice of Johnny Temple, member of the band Girls Against Boys and founder of Akashic Books. In a three part series with mediabistro’s Media Beat, Temple sits down with Jason Boog, editor of GalleyCat, to discuss the history of Akashic, the advantages of coming to the book world with a music background, and why Akashic authors have to be good people (not just good authors) in order to be published by the independent press.
Source: Akashic Books’ blog, mediabistro.com, GalleyCat
Monday, November 01, 2010 1:15 PM
“[T]he electronic highway is for bulletin boards on esoteric subjects, reference works, lists and news….Nobody is going to sit down and read a novel on a twitchy little screen. Ever.”
Few have ever missed the mark quite so badly as Annie Proulx did in 1994 with the quote above. Across the board, from author to publisher to seller we’re seeing the effects of books moving from the page to Proulx’s “twitchy little screens.” But maybe there’s some good to be had for the authors. Maybe the playing field can be leveled and the ideas of the writer can come through these new channels; instead of the writer being sold, the words will once again be the commodity. Or so speculates Robert B. Reich in The American Prospect. As the internet disintermediates books, Reich wonders, will he have the opportunity to put the ideas and proposals he’s spent his adult life marketing out front, rather than schlepping his own personality along with his books? Not so fast, concludes Reich unfortunately. Without the usual intermediaries to market the product, Reich himself will have to do all the work: “Of course, all this will require marketing. After all, I’ll need to attract customers…I’ll be on my own. That means I’ll have to sell myself like mad—not my ideas but me. Get it? Disintermediation isn’t the end of humiliation. It’s just the beginning.”
Source: The American Prospect
Image by bradlindert, licensed under Creative Commons.
Tuesday, June 01, 2010 12:49 PM
The rainforest is a recurring theme in lots of green-themed children’s literature—yet many publishers of these same books are using paper that contributes to the destruction of rainforests. That’s the upshot of a recent report (pdf) by the Rainforest Action Network (RAN), which found that nine of the 10 leading publishers of children’s books are selling books manufactured on paper that is unsustainably harvested from Indonesia’s rainforests.
To find this out, RAN went shopping for 30 randomly selected books—three from each of the nation’s top 10 children’s publishers—then submitted them to an independent testing laboratory to determine whether they contained fibers from rainforests or from acacia plantations, which are being grown on razed forest land. Nine of the top 10 publishers were implicated, despite that five of them have publicly stated paper procurement policies.
Part of the problem is China. How is that? According to RAN,
With the rapid growth of book printing and manufacturing being outsourced to China, the U.S. book industry has become increasingly vulnerable to controversial paper sources entering its supply chain. China is the top importer of Indonesian pulp and paper, and much of the Chinese paper industry is linked to or controlled by highly controversial Indonesian pulp and paper suppliers, Asia Pulp and Paper and Asia Pacific Resources International, which together account for 80 percent of Indonesia’s production. From 2000-2008, Chinese sales of children’s picture books to the U.S. ballooned by more than 290 percent, averaging an increase of more than 35 percent per year.
RAN’s sample was admittedly small, but the results are enough to give book buyers pause. What’s a book-loving parent to do? Given the apparently widespread nature of the problem, perhaps it’s best to revisit one of the three R’s in sustainable thinking—reuse—and get our kids’ books secondhand from garage sales, library sales, thrift stores, friends, and relatives. Or else we may have some ’splainin’ to do.
UPDATE 6/10/10: RAN has now released a list of 25 children’s books that are “rainforest-safe,” having been printed on paper that is recycled or certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. See the list of rainforest-safe children’s books here. RAN plans to add more books to the list.
Source: Rainforest Action Network
Image courtesty of Rainforest Action Network.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010 12:51 PM
The folks over at The Believer have awarded the fifth annual Believer Book Award to Percival Everett’s novel, I am Not Sydney Poitier. The book was picked from a short list of novels and story collections that the editors deemed “the strongest and most underappreciated of the year.” I’ve been thinking about the underappreciated thing. With so many books coming out, what does “underappreciated” even mean in the book world anymore? I sent this question in an email to Believer HQ and editor Heidi Julavits sent me this response:
Indeed, who in 2010 is not underappreciated? Even the appreciated are underappreciated. For example, the week after the Pulitzer Prize for fiction was announced, one of the two finalists was scarcely to be found in one of Manhattan’s most tasteful and typically on-the-ball indie bookstores (the clerk had never heard of it; she finally located their lone copy in an unfrequented and shadowy corner shelf).
Or take, as an example, Remainder, by Tom McCarthy, the winner of our 2007 award. That book was published by a big and powerful press (it was a Vintage Paperback original); it was even featured on the front cover of the New York Times Book Review. But astonishingly, despite that level of so-called appreciation, very few people—and by “people” we mean people we know personally, people who read The Believer and other books that we ourselves read, people who would seem to be the perfect audience for a book like Remainder—many of these people had never read the book even heard of it.
So by underappreciated maybe we mean that we’ve found a book that a certain sort of person should be appreciating, and based on our anecdotal and highly unscientific surveys, this book is not being adequately appreciated by those people.
Thursday, May 13, 2010 11:34 AM
I just ordered Issue Zero of 48 HR Magazine, and now I'm all excited about what I'm calling "magazine gymnastics"—the art of maximum agility in magazine production.
If you missed the hurricane that was 48 HR Magazine last week, here's a recap: On May 7th the editors of 48 HR announced a theme for the debut issue: Hustle. Interested writers and artists had 24 hours to produce and submit work. The next 24 hours were for the editorial team to "snip, mash and gild" the best submissions until they had a magazine. At the end of that period, the magazine was avaialble for purchase at MagCloud. And it's beautiful.
Also this week I downloaded the iPhone app by British design magazine Creative Review. It's an interactive adaptation of their annual design showcase issue and it's an incredible piece of work (built by Russell Quinn, the fellow behind the also amazing McSweeney's iPhone app). Every time I open the app I'm gone from the world for at least 15 minutes. For every featured project there are photos, the occasional video, and text. When the big news magazines talk about releasing each issue as an app, I bristle—but special issues as apps? I'm a believer.
Finally there is a tiny magazine published in South Africa called Goodwill Fernandes. I want it bad. Real bad. Here's what Creative Review (yeah, those folks again) had to say about this 5x8 cm adventure in publishing: "The magazine comes in a tiny slipcase which can be removed to reveal the tiny, landscape format magazine. Inside there are short stories from both sides of the Atlantic and an interview by Pienaar with Francois van Coke—South Africa's most controversial rock star; a story on a group called Jesus Saves that cleans up Cape Town's graffiti by painting block shapes or stripes over the old graffiti; and a look at how Argentina's government uses the medium of graffiti (which is otherwise banned in the country) as its most effective medium for propaganda and campaigning. And a whole lot more including a selection of knock knock jokes..." How do I get my hands on this thing?
I'm hooked—and I am on the magazine gymnastics beat from this day forward. If you come across anything I ought to know about, find me at jguntzel [at] utne [dot] com. Onward!
Sources: 48 HR, Creative Review
Monday, April 26, 2010 3:38 PM
Okay, not really. These are typesetters in the Government Printing Office, circa 1910. But I like to think that guy on the right is Andrew Sullivan, preparing something on the child abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. The guy next to him is Juan Cole, also hard at work. The person standing on the left? Why that's my favorite art blogger Paddy Johnson of Art Fag City (with a really short haircut) waiting for Sullivan to get off her damn machine.
All of this is really just my way of pointing you to a really great website that I never have the occasion to blog about, though I look at every photograph they post. It's called The Shorpy Historic Photo Archive, and I think you'll love it.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010 10:42 AM
is a digest of inspiration and wisdom written by our favorite editors, journalists, artists, and visionaries. Today's guest is Jen Angel, author of Get Noticed! How to Publicize your Book or Film. Angel has been here before, with her post Five Amazing Activist Organizations That You've Probably Never Heard Of.
The world of book publishing is changing. In the last 10 years, the advent and expansion of new print-on-demand services like Lulu and CafePress has led more and more individuals to publish their own books. Book publishers are no longer gatekeepers deciding what gets published on the basis of how much profit it will make.
While the self-publishing process may seem awesome–total creative control, for example–the world of self publishing is not so simple. Printing your own book means you are now responsible for all of the other things that the publisher would normally do. The biggest one? Selling your book.
The world is changing for book publishing houses too–as the landscape of how people interact with and consume media changes, they’re feeling the financial crunch. This means that they may have a smaller budget or a smaller staff than in the past and they won’t be able to put the time or energy into promoting your book that they (or you!) would really like. While your book may be the biggest or most important thing you’ve ever done, your title is likely just one of many that this publisher will be working on this year and it may not be the number one on their list.
So regardless of whether you’ve been published by a reputable book publisher or you’ve done it on your own, if you want your book to be successful, you need to take matters into your own hands. You need to be a master of self-promotion!
Right now that may be conjuring up an image in your head of that really annoying person who talks about their project ad nauseum (and at inappropriate times). But, really, that doesn’t need to be you. The goal of publicity and promotion is to make it easy for people who want your book to find out about it and to purchase it, not to push your ideas on any unsuspecting people you come in contact with. After working with authors and filmmakers for the last several years, here are the five (free or cheap) beginning steps to get you started promoting your book or project.
Before you begin, the most important thing you can do is figure out who your audience is. Once you identify one or two groups that you want to read your book, consider where and how those groups get their information. This will help guide you as you go through these five steps to promoting your work…
Five beginning steps to promoting your book
One: The first thing you should do, before you do any other of these activities, is to make a website. It can be simple, like a free blog from Wordpress or Blogspot, or you can pay someone to make you a really fancy one. Regardless, your website should have a picture of the book, a description, something about you, any reviews of the book, a way to contact you, and, most importantly, a link to where they can buy the book—whether it’s directly from you through Paypal or from an online retailer like Amazon.com (I prefer Powells.com).
Two: Tell everyone you know. No, not in that annoying way.Your family, friends, and professional colleagues are your best opportunity to get the word out about the book. You can easily take advantage of this network by sending a simple email letting people know that the book is out and where they can buy it. They’ll be interested because they know you–but send them one email (a personalized message if you have time), not five. Ask them to forward it to anyone who they think might be interested. Once you’ve done that, add a small sentence in the signature of your email account with a link to your site so that every email you send includes information about your book–you never know who might be interested.
Three: Interact with your community. Go to conferences, read blogs (and comment on posts), write letters to the editor. Include your name and attribution in the signature of your letter or post, just like at the bottom of this blog post.
Four: Make promotional materials (like a business card or a postcard) and always have them with you. While you’re at those conferences and meetings, you’ll meet people who might be interested in your book. Having something to hand them that reminds them of your name and website will increase the chances that they’ll remember and follow up.
Five: Use social media. Depending on your audience, you may think that Facebook or Twitter aren’t for you. But, really, they are. Recent statistics show that 5% of all time spent online is spent on Facebook, and Facebook accounts for one third of all social networking use. Facebook claims that it has over 250 million active (users who have returned to the site in the last 30 days), and that more than 120 million users log on to Facebook at least once each day. That’s an audience you really can’t afford to ignore. They say that more than two-thirds of Facebook users are outside of college, and the fastest growing demographic is those 35 years old and older. (These stats were published on the company’s website in September 2009.)
There’s a lot more you can do, like reaching out to media or hiring a professional publicist. Publishing a book is a long-term commitment. You’ll be promoting it for several years. A lot of that can be done on your own if you’re motivated!
Bio: Jen Angel is a publicist and social justice activist living in Berkeley, California. She is the co-author of Get Noticed! How to Publicize your Book or Film and blogs at http://jenangel.wordpress.com
Thursday, January 28, 2010 5:10 PM
If anything, all the chatter over the Apple Tablet (I refuse to speak its name) only amplifies the question that has been haunting the publishing industry for a decade or more: What does the future hold for e-books? Canada’s Quill & Quire reports on some of the trends coming out of the industry—mostly models that resemble the iTunes or the surge in the movie industry of DVDs loaded with special features. Publishers such as HarperCollins and Penguin are revamping their backlist titles with features like web links and imbedded video and audio, hoping to target consumers who already own print titles and lure them to add a digital edition to get the enhanced features.
A spokesperson for Random House of Canada says the company has “observed parallels between e-book and music downloading habits,” and thinks that in the same way music lovers purchase entire album collections when they discover a favorite new artist, e-books will encourage users to nab an author’s entire works with a single click.
Another industry insider predicts that once e-books hit their zenith we’ll see an entirely new trend: She envisions some consumers purchasing what she calls “disposable reading”—titles you might buy at the airport before boarding a long flight—in digital format, and serious works—titles you might want to reread some day or pass along to your kids—in print editions. “In some respects, the book will go back to being an objet,” she hypothesizes, “[a] beautiful, expensive edition that people want to pay for [and keep], almost the way [books were treated] in the 16th and 17th centuries.”
Which, in the end, leaves us right back where we started.
Source: Quill & Quire (article not available online)
Image by timonoko, licensed under Creative Commons.
Monday, November 30, 2009 10:41 AM
Alt Wire is a digest of spoon-fed inspiration curated by our favorite editors, journalists, artists, and visionaries. Today's guest is indie publisher and Utne visionary Richard Nash.
Object Desire: The Victoria and Albert Museum in London now has an online visual catalog of more than a million of the items in its collection of material artifacts -- clothing, furniture, shoes, toys, photographs, design drawings, textiles, coins, religious artifacts, and many other types of objects. Some object records include multiple photographs, and all include fairly robust cataloging information, including details about the biographies of designers and other in-depth information.
A Temporary Monopoly on Expression: These two links deal with a topic about which I think I might be more passionate, intellectual property. A terrible misnomer term in fact, as copyright and trademark isn't even property, but rather a temporary monopoly on expression granted by government. OK, it can be argued that property itself is also that, but let's not go there. Anyhow, American's leading copyright lawyer, Bill Patry recently gave a speech on the origins of copyright law, and the controversies of recent years surrounding it. For many artists though, they tune out one more lawyer trying to tell them their work isn't quite as theirs as they think it is, so the other link on this topic is to Jonathan Lethem's "The Ecstasy of Influence," a seminal essay by a novelist seeking to illustrate his (ecstatic) dependence on the culture he's soaked in.
Embrace the Middlebrow: Ex-Utne dude Josh Glenn has joined forces with critic/scholar-at-large Matthew Battles to create HiLoBrow... for, as they aver, middlebrow is not the solution. You'll not find a simple "What is Middlebrow" page here, as Josh is still working on his manifesto, so I'm forced to offer Wikipedia's definition: "The term middlebrow is used to describe both a certain type of easily accessible art, usually literature, as well as the population which uses art to acquire culture and class that is usually unattainable." Whatever you think of the premise, the outcome is unarguably fab: In the last few days alone they've featured Lynn Peril on Robert Mapplethorpe and Ti-Grace Atkinson, Jason Grote on Sam Shepard, Patrick Cates on on Screaming Lord Sutch, and Luc Sante on Hans Magnus Enzensberger.
The Obligatory Meme: And, finally, because every set of five favorite links needs to contain at least one cute, user-generated-content, ironic-yet-oddly-sweet internet meme: My Parents Were Awesome.
Bio: Richard Nash is an independent publishing consultant and entrepreneur, presently developing a start-up portfolio of social publishing communities and imprints. For most of the past decade, he ran the iconic indie Soft Skull Press. He is a 2009 Utne Readervisionary .
Thursday, August 13, 2009 1:49 PM
What’s the future of fiction? The stalwart American Book Review has the answer. Well, answers: The publication collected opinions from over 60 people (largely scholars, writers, and literary critics), and printed the delightful/depressing offerings in its July-August 2009 issue.
From mini-dissertations to one-liners, from quoted lyrics to URLs, the collected thoughts aren’t merely prophecy; they’re also a sounding board for the mood of the literary community at this moment when print is largely considered to be in peril. Here are some standouts:
Jim Ruland: Fiction is alive and well; it’s the machines through which these inventions are expressed (i.e., books) that are going the way of the dodo. If this process comes to be known as the de-commodification of fiction, then the next few decades will be extraordinary.
Michael Bérubé: I’m inclined to reply with a URL:
Kelly Cherry: The future of fiction may lie in some combination of hypertextuality, intertextuality, and video, but if so, it will have to do without me. Of course, it will ultimately have to do without me no matter what direction it goes in, so at this point I’m not very invested in the question. But I believe that no matter what fiction will continue to be interested in character and language. How otherwise?
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni: I see fiction’s future as strong in the coming years: in tough times, people turn more than ever to stories, which tell the truth aslant and cleanse us through catharsis, and novels are still the least expensive and most meaningful way to travel the world.
Marjorie Perloff: I predict future fiction will be much more transnational than it was in the 60s–70s. Witness the attention Roberto Bolaño, Javier Marías, W. G. Sebald, and others are receiving.
Larry Fondation: The future of fiction rests with its ability to regain its public function—as a principal way we relate narrative, as an indispensable means of telling our story and that of our era.
Stephen Graham Jones: Fiction’s future: it’s all made up.
Source: American Book Review
Image by helgasms!, licensed under Creative Commons.
Thursday, August 13, 2009 9:14 AM
Earlier this summer, as part of a master’s program at Emerson College, Kerry Skemp began blogging and tweeting about online commentary (i.e., comments left on websites or tweets) and its role in the future of publishing. The resultant blog, You’re Talking a Lot, but You’re Not Saying Anything, is filled with rich observations. For anyone who hasn’t been following all along, Skemp recently summed up the lessons learned with the ultimate “meta-commentary” post: “Commentary on My Commentary on Commentary.”
The distillation is fascinating stuff: a vision of online commentary that rebuffs proverbial complaints of commenters-as-trolls-and-idiots and slays simplistic traffic-building stratagems. “Online commentary both is and affects publishing,” Skemp writes. “It is publishing in the sense that it ‘makes public’ information that would otherwise remain private. In doing so, commentary (ideally) affects more than the commenter and the person being responded to.
“The unique nature of commentary on the internet allows it to be read by an unlimited number of people with varying levels of connection to the topic at hand. An astute comment can educate and inspire others; a negative or uninformed comment can motivate others to help educate. Admittedly, online commentary doesn’t give rise to enlightenment: but it can, and should.”
Finding enlightenment in a comment field might seem a bit farfetched, but Skemp backs up the claim with savvy observations that will be interesting to track as online comment infrastructure evolves. The presence of nasty (or self-serving) commenters, for example, means that “the art of commentary includes determining what to weed out,” a.k.a., a dose of media literacy. Additionally the “Twitterfication of commentary”—knowing who’s reading what you publish—injects accountability into the system, eliminating the anonymity under which bad manners and cheap shots flourish.
But more than commentary shifting toward more refined discourse, Skemp ultimately sees it functioning as a sort of super-discourse. “Commentary is the future of . . . search, and potentially even publishing,” she writes. “Commentary is the future of finding everything we need online, and responding to what is already online. Algorithms can only go so far without the human input that comes in the form of commentary: data showing what people think about other data.”
Source: You’re Talking a Lot, but You’re Not Saying Anything
Image by preater, licensed under Creative Commons.
Friday, August 07, 2009 12:53 PM
A wise person finds things to learn in his or her mistakes, but when it comes to research published in journals and magazines, successful studies understandably get more play. The Journal of Spurious Correlations seeks to amend this missed opportunity, specifically in the realm of the social sciences. Writing in Foreign Policy, journal cofounder David Lehrer explains:
Editors and readers don’t dwell on—and may never see—findings that are inconclusive, fail to confirm the researcher’s hypothesis, or can’t be easily explained by existing theories. These so-called “negative results” get buried because it’s simply bad marketing to publish wrong answers. But this is a shame, because we could learn a lot from seeing all the evidence.
The data buried in unsuccessful studies can challenge conventional wisdom. Lehrer points to one that “failed” to correlate women’s presence in government with lower levels of corruption—thereby calling into question the widely held belief that women make less crooked leaders than men. Such a negative result would have a hard time finding a home in a conventional journal.
“Publishing rigorous, informative results that seem unsellable will, we hope, give them the prestige and the audience they deserve,” Lehrer explains. “It will help update a scientific culture that prefers the simple and conclusive to the complex and open-ended, and often misses out on valuable information as a result.”
Source: Journal of Spurious Correlations, Foreign Policy
Monday, December 15, 2008 2:00 PM
Thanks to Chris Wilcox, scores of young writers will enter high school with a significant accomplishment under their belts: They’re already published. Wilcox is a fifth-grade teacher from Provo, Utah, and creator of the website MightyAuthors.com, which allows teachers and students to affordably self-publish books they’ve written and illustrated. Wilcox told the Salt Lake Tribune that the site is a tool to facilitate teaching writing and motivate students who “want to see a finished product.”
Sandy Lloyd, a teacher who has used the site, can attest to that. “When it’s actually published and [students] see it in color, they take a lot of ownership of it,” she told the paper. “It gives them confidence to say, ‘If I can do that, then I can do more.’ ”
After paying a one-time enrollment fee, students, teachers, and parents can purchase bound books of their own creations for between $7.95 and $22.95, according to the Tribune, or print their book for free on loose-leaf paper.
Image by Risen1, licensed under Creative Commons.
Friday, December 12, 2008 3:21 PM
With its 25th anniversary coming next year, book publisher 4th Estate (part of Harper Collins) asked design and marketing firm Apt to help with the celebration. The result is “This Is Where We Live,” a stop-animation video with scenery and figures made entirely out of the imprint’s books (more than 1,000 ended up being used).
The video is sweet and charming, and every viewing reveals another clever use of the material: Watch for The Corrections as a crosswalk and The Perfect Storm in the form of a fishing boat. After watching, take a look at the mind-blowing production stills and videos.
This Is Where We Live
from 4th Estate
(Thanks, Visual Culture
Thursday, February 21, 2008 9:41 AM
Order us a double whiskey and put a sad country song on the jukebox. We just learned that music magazine No Depression is about to stop publishing. Its May-June issue will be its last after a 13-year run.
Here at Utne Reader, we’ve long been fans of No Depression, nominating it five times for arts coverage in the Utne Independent Press Awards (including last year) and passing around each issue to browse its smart, clear-eyed coverage of American roots music. We admired No Depression’s trend-bucking moves, like putting 79-year-old Porter Wagoner on the cover, its general avoidance of music-mag clichés, and its ability to take us deep into the back corners of this country’s rich trove of homegrown music. In a world full of guys wearing Western-style shirts, they helped sort out the real deal from the posers.
No doubt, No Depression had a challenging mission in getting its hands around an amorphous category of music, most often called Americana, alt country, or No Depression, that at times encompasses folk, country, blues, soul, gospel, Cajun, zydeco, bluegrass, and various subsets of rock. But it navigated this broad landscape with pluck and verve, attracting a loyal readership that according to its editors hasn’t dropped significantly. What did drop was the amount of record label advertising, a result of “the precipitous fall of the music industry,” they write in their farewell notice.
No Depression was an earthy antidote to the glossy, glib, trend-obsessed coverage we often saw in the mainstream music press, like drinking a quenching brew instead of a gimmicky stunt martini. Looks like we’re going to go thirsty more often.
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