Amazon announced a new crop of digital reading devices today – bringing their lineup to seven in total. The new $119 Kindle Paperwhite features an “ambient light” display, an eight-week battery life, and adjustable fonts; the 3G version will retail for $179. A new Kindle Fire HD starts at $199 — and one with an 8.9″ display starts at $299. Meanwhile the standard Kindle has dropped in price to $69, and the standard Kindle Fire is down to $159. Additionally, Jeff Bezos announced the debut of a new $1.99 Kindle Serials program: customers can buy a serial once, and seamlessly receive all future installments as they come out. The full rundown of announcements (including this mind-blowing chart) can be found on The Verge‘s liveblog.
“Flooded with data as we are, each day brings even more innovations and technologies to help us mine, sort, and generate even more information. Asking about the future of libraries is another way of asking where this big, hot mess of information is taking us.” Justin Wadland reviews three books on libraries and attempts to predict the future of these institutions in a piece for the Los Angeles Review of Books. Meanwhile, Florida Polytechnic University has just opened and its library has no books at all.
On The Nervous Breakdown this week, J.E. Fishman considers the book review practices of The New York Times: “My view is very much eastern, very much old school, where a book review from the Times was the only sure sign that an author had arrived. But maybe it’s time to rethink that, and this rethinking has been long overdue.”
“We always try to create the worst opinion of everything there is in the United States, as a response to what they have always done with us. The only difference is that we do not write falsehoods about the United States. I told you that we emphasize the worst things, that we omit things that could be viewed as positive, but we do not invent any lies.” This excerpted interview with Fidel Castro over at The Paris Review is enlightening for its candor and frankness.
That Kickstarter is offering more opportunities than ever to literary projects, from Coffee House Press’s Catstarter to the Joan Didion documentary to the Reading Rainbow spin-off, is indisputable. Now there’s yet another worthy cause turning to the crowd-sourcing platform in search of an audience: The Riveter, a magazine of longform journalism by women.
WARNING: Do not visit the website for Michigan State’s Celebrity Lecture Series unless you have a substantial amount of free time to kill. Before you even need to scroll down, you have access to audio from Edward Albee, Maya Angelou, Margaret Atwood, and Pat Conroy.
Franz Kafka’s birthday was a couple of days ago — the celebration (which would surely have been a subdued affair) would have been his 133rd. Celebrate yourself by taking look at this helpful animation which explains the woefully misused term “Kafkaesque.”