"Just because I’m a woman, don’t assume that I automatically empathize with a brooding 20-something Elizabeth-Bennett-type protagonist. (Trust me, I don’t.) This doesn’t mean I can’t design ... a biography on Susan Sontag—or, for that matter, a spy novel, a political satire, or a memoir about a Japanese game show host set in outer space. I can do all of these things. Because it’s my job to design book covers." Over at The Literary Hub, a cover designer wonders why she's always offered a particular type of book.
Most of our discussions about changing the canon revolve around adding onetime marginalized writers. But there’s a flipside to this -- who do we need to eject? In a Bookends column for the Times, James Parker and Francine Prose pick greats that are no longer great.
Google put up a special Shakespeare page for easy access to all of his plays through Google Book Search. The Book Search blog has additional details.Latest literary trend story: senators writing books. "About 30 of the 100 currently serving U.S. senators have authored books at some point in their careers, and the number is growing."A literary trend story continues: Product placement in novels. Earlier instances include efforts from Ford and BMW.In the Guardian, "An American judge intervening in a long-simmering feud has ruled that the rights to John Steinbeck's most famous novels... should be seized from his publisher and handed to his descendants."And finally, there's Ed's Twenty-One More Reasons Why Litbloggers Are Evil & Unethical
Today in things you might like to read about animals: Some birds, apparently, not only mourn their dead but even hold funeral services. And while it's widely known that the internet is made of cats, Wired dug a little deeper and tried to uncover the root of our collective feline fixation.
Joel Rice has a new column up at McSweeney’s, in which he looks at “the literature of skateboarding.” All in all, this kind of reflective writing should pair nicely with Nick Courage’s fantastic Paris Review piece from last month. (Bonus: Rice’s column linked above also features a nice little bit of David Foster Wallace memorabilia.)
In his 2001 treatise, Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper, Nicholson Baker lamented the wholesale transfer of newspaper archives to microfilm and the subsequent destruction of the originals (A recent essay here at The Millions argued that this is still a big problem). But, according to an article in The Missourian newspaper, microfilm may at least be far more permanent than easily corrupted digital archives. As executive editor Tom Warhover notes: "How about those perfectly preserved newspaper pages that have been digitally fossilized? They're usually stored on hard drives, which can wear out quicker than your grandmother's underwear."
“The second prophecy was even more intense than the first one, and introduced a lot of new rules I didn’t even know existed, but everyone else seemed to kind of already know about them. But you know what? We’re a misfit band of teens who will do anything for each other now, like stand up to that town bully who’s not even scary to us anymore, now that we’ve faced pure evil and lived.” An excerpt of Mallory Ortberg’s best-selling YA novel.