Google has just released a tool that lets you see how frequently certain words have appeared in the millions of books from all eras that Google has scanned. It’s pretty neat. Here are some presidents, technologies, and the meaning of life.
Noam Chomsky, in conversation at the University of Arizona, derides the rising cost of university tuition. He goes on to say student fees are “a general form of indoctrination and control, which goes down to kindergarten. I mean, that’s what No Child Left Behind is about. It’s training for the Marine Corps.”
New this week is Carlos Fuentes’ vampire tale set in Mexico City, Vlad. Also out are The Collective by Don Lee, Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann, Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer, and Evel Knievel Days by Pauls Toutonghi, who last year introduced us to six Egyptian writers as the world watched the Egyptian revolution.
As a child, Xiaolu Guo hunted birds and toads to survive. Now, as a writer in Britain, she’s written a memoir about her difficult childhood, which you can read more about in this review in The New Statesman. Sample quote: “Perhaps it is no coincidence that the reason that Guo gives for deciding to write in English is to be free of Chinese government censorship, a process that she describes as the wearing down of a rock’s sharp edges to a smooth pebble.”
In the New York Times, Mokoto Rich highlights the superfluousness of book covers in the digital age and the marketing challenges that result. cf. “Ether Between the Covers: Gifting Books in a Digital Age.”