“‘Moby Dick is one of my favorite books, but let’s face it — it’s a hot mess,’ says Evison. ‘If I had software that said, ‘Look, maybe this four-page essay on scrimshaw isn’t gonna fly with your 28 to 40 male [demographic],’ what would we have lost with that? Sometimes, you know, it’s just got to be a little bit of a dictatorship.'” When e-readers and marketing tactics collide.
In its treatment of the poor, Britain may be “going back to the Middle Ages,” says Booker repeat winner Hilary Mantel. Indeed, she explains, “In some respects … Cromwell lived in a more enlightened time.” And she’s not the only high profile UK author to come to the side of government welfare these days. In a two–part interview for The Daily Show, J.K. Rowling notes that she couldn’t have written her first books without government “benefits.”
The true story of the Whaleship Essex – which was deftly recounted in Nathaniel Philbrick’s 2000 book In the Heart of the Sea – will soon be adapted into a 90-minute documentary for the BBC. As avid whale watchers already know, the plight of the Essex is what ultimately inspired Herman Melville to write Moby-Dick. You can get an overview of the disaster at Melville House’s blog, Moby Lives. (How appropriate!)
Got a smartphone? Check out the new Sonnets by William Shakespeare app to receive 154 poems, scholarly annotations and criticism, as well as special sonnet performances from such notables as Sir Patrick Stewart. Revisiting The Bard of Avon’s verse will prove so pleasurable; you’ll probably forget altogether that he was a self-plagiarist way before Jonah Lehrer.
From one muckracker to another: Thomas Frank on Mailer and Miami.Fear and Loathing at Build-a-Bear WorkshopThe folks at n+1 on Obama and the culture war reduxSarah, the book, nibbles at the edges of Amazon’s Top 10, sparking its own kind of culture war in the reviews section (scroll down)Can Palin! The Musical be far behind?A new tool for mapping bookstores, chain and indieFor Salvadoran novelist Horacio Castellanos Moya, politics are a genetic burdenFrank O’Hara…yeah, New York will do that to youJonathan Yardley on the venerable Elements of StyleDon’t blame me…I voted for Kodos