Gilbert Alter-Gilbert (of “Literary Pets” notoriety) is the author of the new book Poets Ranked by Beard Weight. To celebrate its publication, 50 Watts‘ Will Schofield has posted some of his favorite excerpts.
"You’re following some cute glyph about smoking, then one about stationary, then dirty dishes and some mischievous cat—then it’s suddenly 'Not your father’s safari jacket' followed by pearl puddles, LIBERATOR dildos, Quaker teens, rehab, troubled teens, and more jackets. It’s like a mini-Buñuel movie! And they expect you to keep following along with Malcolm Gladwell, or whoever it is, over there to the left? Why would you? You want to shout, Hey Malcolm, can you shut up about Twitter and explain the neo-surrealist montage unfolding perversely in the margins?" The strange amalgamation that is the magazine ad column.
This past Sunday the American Library Association gave out the first Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction to Robert K. Massie’s Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman and Anne Enright’s The Forgotten Waltz. Also be sure to check out our interview with Enright.
The state funds for California's libraries have been dwindling for the better part of a decade, but now they face total elimination. Put into concrete terms: in the 1999-2000 fiscal year, libraries received $56.8 million from the state; in the 2008-2009 fiscal year, that number was down to $12.9 million; now they'll receive $0.
"All over the country research libraries are canceling subscriptions to academic journals," notes Robert Darnton, "because they are caught between decreasing budgets and increasing costs. The logic of the bottom line is inescapable, but there is a higher logic that deserves consideration—namely, that the public should have access to knowledge produced with public funds."
In the new Granta, Adam Johnson writes about the mind-bending experience of traveling to North Korea, an experience which informed his Pulitzer-winning novel The Orphan Master’s Son. Perhaps the saddest anecdote -- and there are a lot of sad anecdotes -- is the one about the North Korean tour guide who couldn’t believe the author didn’t want to buy knockoff goods.