“Crossover words are a tremendous testament to our awesome ability to shape the language as we use it. To master our fears. To take our terror and use it to build something terrific.” – Arika Okrent writes for The Week about irony, slang and the way language changes.
HTMLGiant’s A. D. Jameson went and saw part one of The Hobbit in theatres so now none of us have to do the same. Instead, sit back and check out his “250 Points” about the film. Or, if you’d prefer a blast of Tolkien analysis from the past, check out W. H. Auden’s 1956 book review of The Return of the King.
Do people still need to study the humanities? You’d think the answer is “yes, of course,” but the issue is far more complicated than that. In a bid to sort it out, The New Republic recently asked a group of former university presidents to give their viewpoints on the matter. Sample quote: “Humanities faculty have too often conspired well.” Pair with: our own Nick Ripatrazone on coming to writing from outside the humanities.
In 1970 The American Scholar published a list of works that “distinguished men and women” deemed neglected. Now, inspired by a LitHub essay on “10 Great Writers Nobody Reads,” the Scholar‘s editors are revisiting those neglected books to see if anything’s changed. Pair their efforts with Claire Cameron‘s look at the unlikely rise of the once-neglected Stoner.
In Zadie Smith’s introduction to the Writers Bloc series, she writes that the program sought essays “that were not only pious, charitable or analytical but also readable, engaging, exciting.” The essays published by Guernica certainly meet this criteria. I particularly recommend Aleksandar Hemon’s essay on first graders in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
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.
The Portable Story Series is accepting submissions to their inaugural contest, judged by Year in Reading alumna Kate Christensen. The theme is hunger, the genre is fiction, the word count is 2000-4000 words, and the deadline is March 28, 2016. The contest benefits three charitable organizations.