In Karen Russell‘s Swamplandia!, there is an enchanting place known as the abandoned Library Boat. “It held a cargo of books,” Ava Bigtree explains, “In the thirties and forties, Harrel M. Crow, a fisherman and bibliophile, had piloted the schooner around our part of the swamp delivering books to the scattered islanders. Then Harrel M. Crow died and I guess that was it for the door-to-door service. But his Library Boat, miraculously, had survived on the rocky island, unscavenged, undestroyed by hurricanes. It was an open secret, utilized by all our neighbors.” Now something similar has moored in England’s canals. And, across the Atlantic, one New Yorker is keeping his own open secret.
A July 2009 interview at bookish us with National Book Award nominee Bonnie Jo Campbell. Interesting especially is the question (and answer) about how/why American Salvage, the only book from a small press among this year’s NBA finalists, ended up with Wayne State University Press (with an initial print run of 1,500).
“Why on earth would you start a literary magazine?” In an essay for The New Yorker Stephen Burt offers a wide variety of answers, from promoting a new genre to promoting one’s friends. His article pairs well with our own Nick Ripatrazone‘s lit mag question and answer: “What is the wider cultural influence of literary magazines? I am not sure there needs to be one.”
“Check it out for yourself to marvel at the the long history of our language, including but not limited to the origins of the term ‘rock snot.’” The AV Club reports that the word nerds at Merriam-Webster have launched Time Traveler, a new tool that lets users look at the timing around when new words entered the print lexicon. Consider, also, authority and American usage.