Meet Philip M. Parker, a marketing professor at INSEAD Business School and the man whose name graces the covers of over 100,000 books. Is he the most prolific author of the modern age? Well, kind of. Thanks to “a computer system that can write books about specific subjects in about 20 minutes,” Parker and his company have combined to create over 800,000 titles currently listed on Amazon – including such works as The Official Patient’s Sourcebook on Spinal Stenosis and Webster’s Icelandic – English Thesaurus Dictionary.
“Recently, a friend told me she didn’t like pictures of herself because she never looked the way she thought she did in her head. I think this pretty much describes the universal horror that is looking at your own photos, and that’s why I love the selfie so much. It gives you all the controls to the story you are telling.” In defense of the selfie.
When John Steinbeck wasn’t busy writing 600-page novels, he might have been a Cold War CIA spy. In 1952, Steinbeck approached the CIA and suggested he could do some spying on an upcoming European trip. “The pace and method of my junket together with my intention of talking with great numbers of people of all classes may offer peculiar advantages,” he wrote to an agent.
Nathaniel Rich, who seems to have endured his 47-hour train trip without descending into madness, describes one of his favorite historical attractions in New Orleans: the Pharmacy Museum. “There are few things in life more terrifying than antiquated medical devices,” he writes.
Since 2003, Spain has seen its “average number of regular readers” climb from 47% (one of the three lowest in the EU) to 60%. During that time, writes Alasdair Fotheringham, the number of library borrowers in the various parts of the country has risen between 50 and 150%. Yet in spite of this burgeoning trend, library budgets are still at risk of further austerity cuts. Meanwhile, almost the exact same thing is happening in Florida’s Miami-Dade County.
At the Morgan Library in NYC: “A Woman’s Wit: Jane Austen‘s Life and Legacy.” Read the NY Times review of the show here. And, if your hankering for eighteenth and early nineteenth century English art isn’t sated by the Austen, the Morgan is also offering “William Blake‘s World: ‘A New Heaven Is Begun'”.