On July 8th 1618, Ben Jonson set out walking from London. Over the next few months, he traveled 400 miles on foot until he reached Edinburgh on September 5th. To commemorate the epic voyage, a team of researchers is re-enacting the walk online by updating a dedicated blog, Twitter page, and Facebook profile with a series of posts corresponding to dates, locations and occurrences Jonson experienced along the way. All this sounds grand enough, but I’ll be really impressed when somebody truly re-enacts Jonson’s mock-epic poem about paddling London’s disgusting Fleet Ditch: “On The Famous Voyage.”
The internet has allowed self-publishing to become tremendously popular, but writers have been limited in their ability to create custom designed books. A new site called Blurb is offering book creation software that allows you to build your own book. Then they print it for you. It’s meant for creating a one off gift or keepsake, and the prices seem somewhat steep, but it’s probably better than what you would get from a professional print shop.The Bookfinder.com Journal discusses the US Copyright Office’s new report on orphan works (“Orphan works are copyrighted materials whose owners are difficult or impossible to locate, meaning they can no longer be purchased, reprinted, cited at length, or otherwise built upon. Books can get ‘orphaned’ for all sorts of reasons.”) New rules will hopefully make it easier to republish out of print work that has disappeared because copyright holders cannot be found.The Baltimore Sun reports on a man who tried to build his book collection by checking out more than 402 books on as many as 10 different library cards. The fine? Three years in prison.
Here at The Millions, we know the importance of a book’s cover (for evidence see here, here, here and here), so Margaret Sullivan‘s new project, Jane Austen Cover to Cover, has our attention. A sample of covers for Emma, available on The Paris Review‘s blog, “provides a fascinating glimpse into a variety of publishing cultures, and it reminds that even our classics are mutable, pitched to appeal to any number of sensibilities, their literary status in constant flux per the dictates of the market.”
“These elements of scandal, by now familiar in the #MeToo era, claimed an unusual casualty on Friday: The Nobel Prize in Literature, the world’s most prestigious accolade for writing.” In the wake of a sex abuse scandal, The Swedish Academy announced it will postpone this year’s award until next year when they will name two winners. In the meantime, maybe we should all mull over the problem with prestigious prizes.