Before he died, Kurt Vonnegut gave the go-ahead that has allowed Charles Shields to construct And So It Goes, an incisive, gossipy page-turner of a biography, even if it’s hard to tell just how authorized this book really is.
“The University of Bologna in Italy has found what it says may be the oldest complete scroll of Judaism’s most important text, the Torah.”
“It soon emerged that there is a uniquely British brand of feeling, a blend of distress and composure marked by a touching compulsion to keep up appearances in the face of interpersonal dissolution. For all its prevalence and subtlety, this mode of engagement is difficult for the uninitiated to decipher or even to discern, and I would have remained oblivious of it if not for the works of Dame Iris Murdoch, a connoisseur of British emotional life in all its baffling permutations.” On Iris Murdoch and the British brand of distress and composure.
There are all kinds of arguments for reading the canon (Italo Calvino‘s come to mind) but why should we spend time reading untested contemporary authors? Tim Parks tackles this question, with a little help from Virginia Woolf, for The New York Review of Book‘s blog, and his argument pairs well with Guy Patrick Cunningham‘s Millions essay on reading the classics.
Google took the wraps off its long-awaited ebookstore today. Google ebooks can be bought at Google Books and are also available at Powells and indie bookstore portal IndieBound (both of which are missing out on some serious publicity by not having info about this on their front page today). The ebooks are readable on a variety of platforms, but not on the Kindle (at least not without some tweaking).
“She gathered books to display for attendees and discovered that inside the cover of one, ‘The Koran for Dummies,’ someone had written “lies cover to cover,” drawn a swastika and made a disparaging remark about the Prophet Muhammad.” The president of the American Library Association reports “startling increases” in 2016 of vandalism, including hateful messages, at libraries. The Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom has begun formally tracking such incidents to determine whether the increase is “a blip or a trend.”