Curiosities

Some links

Incredible interview with the New Yorker's Jon Lee Anderson. He tells about the time he was arrested in Guinea and accused of being a spy. Happens to journalists all the time, you say? No, this was when he was thirteen. If he ever writes a memoir, publishers will be lining up. (via Jenny)I thoroughly enjoyed Ed's account of a near-drink with William T. Vollmann.Golden Rule Jones has a lovely new home. Be sure to update your bookmarks and feed readers.Interesting article about a promotional push by The Economist in Baltimore. A few years ago, I started hearing people talk about The Economist all the time. I wasn't sure if the magazine was getting more popular or if I was just traveling in different circles. This quote clears it up: "Of The Economist's worldwide circulation of just less than 1.1 million, Rossi said, North America accounts for a bit more than half, at 569,336, a figure that has increased 47.3 percent since 2001." Wow, that's a big jump. They deserve it. It's a great magazine. If I had more time, I'd read every issue all the way through.
Curiosities

Weekend Links

When I was a kid, I read the whole Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder and never thought about it being "for girls." At Slate, Emily Bazelon writes about why it's wrong that "the conventional educational wisdom holds that boys don't like to read about girls."The New York Public Library's 25 Books to Remember from 2005 (via Conversational Reading)It's Perfectly Normal, a sex education book by Robie H. Harris tops the American Library Association's list of 10 Most Challenged Books of 2005. Also on the list: The Catcher in the Rye and the Captain Underpants series.The Ten Worst Autobiographies as listed by The Independent. Not sure where else you'd find Hillary Clinton, James Frey and Hitler on the same list. (via Books Inq.)A New Orleans resident auctions off a bunch of "first-edition books, handwritten manuscripts and letters by Beat Generation writers" to raise money for Jon and Gypsy Lou Webb who published some of Charles Bukowski's earlest works and were left homeless by Hurricane Katrina.
Curiosities

Weekend Links

The Oscar Blog: Ed has recruited Scott, YPTR, Elizabeth Crane, Jeff, Gwenda, Mark and several others to "live blog" the Oscars on Sunday. I'm convinced that no good can come of this... but you can bet I'll be reading along.I'll read what ever Malcolm Gladwell writes, but his 2-part conversation with ESPN.com columnist Bill Simmons on sports (and many other topics) is particularly entertaining.I'm a huge fan of the Comics Curmudgeon blog, which hilariously skewers the newspaper funnies. Now Josh has hit the big time. He'll be skewering political cartoons for Wonkette.The winners of the 2005 Book Critics Cirle Award will be announced tonight. Here are the finalists.Brokeback Mountain (video link) in Bun-O-Vision.
Curiosities

Bonus Links

Simon & Schuster is planning to put out full-length audio editions of Ernest Hemingway's novels. At the blog Okay Terrific, Steve figured out that Islands in the Stream will be read by Tommy Lee Jones and For Whom the Bell Tolls by Campbell Scott (and Steve is launching a campaign to get his own narrating gig.)Remember my post about book news RSS feeds? I've added the USA Today book news feed to the list. I use the book news feeds to generate the headlines that appear to the right. Any feeds that I'm missing? Let me know in the comments.Recently discovered The Publishing Contrarian via Books Inq. It's full of all sorts of insidery book industry commentary.
Curiosities

Smaller bits

The internet has allowed self-publishing to become tremendously popular, but writers have been limited in their ability to create custom designed books. A new site called Blurb is offering book creation software that allows you to build your own book. Then they print it for you. It's meant for creating a one off gift or keepsake, and the prices seem somewhat steep, but it's probably better than what you would get from a professional print shop.The Bookfinder.com Journal discusses the US Copyright Office's new report on orphan works ("Orphan works are copyrighted materials whose owners are difficult or impossible to locate, meaning they can no longer be purchased, reprinted, cited at length, or otherwise built upon. Books can get 'orphaned' for all sorts of reasons.") New rules will hopefully make it easier to republish out of print work that has disappeared because copyright holders cannot be found.The Baltimore Sun reports on a man who tried to build his book collection by checking out more than 402 books on as many as 10 different library cards. The fine? Three years in prison.
Curiosities

Smaller Items

Last week I asked "What about J.T. Leroy?" I was wondering when the Leroy hoaxers were going to come forward. Now, one of them has. Warren St. John of the New York Times got Geoffrey Knoop to come clean on the record. Knoop also said that he didn't think Laura Albert, who wrote the Leroy books, would ever come forward: "'For her, it's very personal,' he said. 'It's not a hoax. It's a part of her.'"Meanwhile, PopMatters put together a special section about Leroy and James Frey. I enjoyed The Rake's related comments on why Frey can't hold a candle to Charles Bukowski.I saw Brokeback Mountain a few days ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. In an excerpt from Brokeback Mountain: Story to Screenplay, Annie Proulx describes what it was like seeing her story on the screen: "I felt that, just as the ancient Egyptians had removed a corpse's brain through the nostril with a slender hook before mummification, the cast and crew of this film, from the director down, had gotten into my mind and pulled out images." (via Maud)This Boston Globe column articulates quite precisely how I feel about the strife surrounding the cartoons of Mohammed published in a Danish newspaper.
Curiosities

Quick links

I've gotten a little behind in my reviews of books I've read recently. Maybe I'll get to it this weekend or early next week. In the meantime here are three literary links that caught my eye today:The many challenges of turning books with non-textual elements into audiobooks. Also discussed: how to verbally render David Foster Wallace's copious footnotes. (New York Times).Daedalus, the big remainder house, is opening a standalone bookstore in Baltimore (Baltimore Sun). Previously: I discuss remaindered books - and buy some, too!A mysterious person - or possibly persons - has been placing roses and a bottle of cognac on Edgar Allen Poe's grave each year for 57 years on the anniversary of the writer's birthday. This year some nosy people got in the way, but the meaning behind the ritual and the identity of the visitor remains hidden. (Guardian)
Curiosities

Vacation Links

We have returned from Los Angeles, where it was so sunny and warm, to Chicago, where it is so cloudy and cold. It actually rained briefly one of the days we were in LA, and we thought it was hilarious that everyone kept apologizing for it. If people apologized for bad weather in Chicago, nobody would have time to talk about anything else. Anyway, I've spent the day catching up on e-mails, RSS feeds, blogs and the like, and I thought I'd share the links that caught my eye.Mad Max Perkins, editor and secret-identity blogger, returned from a long hiatus to reveal the title of the novel that he had gotten so excited about editing back when he was a regular blogger. The novel is Dope by Sara Gran, and I have to admit, I'm very intrigued. In the process, Perkins revealed himself to be none other than Dan Conaway of Penguin Putnam, as Sarah at GalleyCat explains.At BookLust, a gorgeous sculpture constructed out of books.Hikikomori, Japan's epidemic of shut ins. In the New York Times.An oddly terrifying look at all the psychological engineering that goes on in reality shows: The Omarosa Experiment at The Morning News.Hilarious and informative: Outrageous firsts in television history.Jonathan Yardley's review of Michael D'Antonio's Hershey gives an interesting snapshot of the chocolate magnate's life.
Curiosities

Holiday links

We've been back from our holiday travels for a few days, and I've finally had some time to catch up with some online reading. Here are some articles and links that caught my eye. (Several of these come from Arts and Letters Daily)From Scientific American, a look at last year's tsunami and how scientists have used this real life event to validate and augment various previously untested theories about these rare, cataclysmic events.The 2005 Dubious Data Awards: the Statistical Assessment Service (STATS) at George Mason University highlights several examples of overhyped news stories based on dubious numbers.From Wired: Will the impending bird-flu pandemic be a global version of "the boy who cried wolf?" Scientists are trying to assess the real danger using supercomputers to play out fantastically complicated simulations that remind me of SimCity.In the Washington Post, Jonathan Yardley "reconsiders" C.S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower saga. He suggests Beat to Quarters as the best in the series.I've definitely become very interested in the business of newspapers in the last few years. Mike Hughlett's article in the Chicago Tribune is a little "inside baseball," but it lays out how important classified ads are to newspapers, and explains why newspapers aren't as imperiled in the in online classified arena as some might suggest.Another tough business is opening a coffee shop. Michael Idov shares the harrowing details of his experience at Slate.A no-frills list of the bestselling books from 1900 to 1998, year by year.
Curiosities

Holiday links

Hope everyone's holiday is going well. I'll be putting up one or two more "Year in Reading" posts and then The Millions will most likely be dark until the New Year. But first, a couple of links:One of my favorite end of year lists is the bookfinder.com "Top 10 out of print books": the main list and broken down into categories.Stephen King names his favorite reads of the year, including a forthcoming novel by A.M. Homes. His number one book, which he calls "the best mystery of the decade," is LBC pick, Case Histories by Kate Atkinson.Millions Flashback: Tis the Season