Over-confident people enter into our lives in many forms: military planners, Wall Street investors, that chick shouting *NSYNC into the mic at the back of the bar. Daniel Kahneman’s new book Thinking, Fast and Slow, deals with this phenomenon of human nature. Read an excerpt here.
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.
“Does handwriting matter?” That’s the question some researchers are working to answer and that Maria Konnikova tackles in a piece for The New York Times. The article ends by suggesting that “with handwriting, the very act of putting it down forces you to focus on what’s important… maybe it helps you think better,” which is doubtlessly encouraging to every writer who works on their drafts in longhand.
“After years of reading, teaching, and writing about the book, though, I’ve come to believe that… our understanding of what is comic and what is serious in Huck Finn says more about America in the last century than America in the time Twain wrote the book.” Andrew Levy writes for Salon about childhood, race, and “dedicated amnesia” in Mark Twain‘s controversial classic.
Novelist and blogger M.J. Rose thinks authors’ personal marketing efforts should be more substantially rewarded; Robert Miller, president and publisher of HarperStudio, responds with a proposal to restructure the author-publisher relationship into 50-50 profit-sharing, as HarperStudio has done.
“One Friday evening in March, I took the train to Columbia University and walked into one of the strangest and most interesting classes I’d ever seen. It was the Laboratory of Literary Architecture, part of the Mellon Visiting Artists and Thinkers Program at Columbia University School of the Arts, and a multimedia workshop in which writing students, quite literally, create architectural models of literary texts.”
In a piece reminiscent of Talk of the Nation’s “You Can’t Possibly Read It All, So Stop Trying” episode, A D Jameson tracks every film he’s watched over a fifteen year span, and then discusses the data for HTMLGiant. Choice line (which could easily apply to literature, too): “The more you watch from the present day, the more garbage you’re bound to see—but your conclusions will be your own. Conversely, the further back you go, the more you’ll be guided by the opinions of others. (If nothing else, what’s available will be largely determined by what’s remained popular.)”