Last week Zadie Smith, acclaimed novelist and Year in Reading alum, was presented with The Moth Award for storytelling. She gave a charming acceptance speech, video of which can be found here, and we definitely recommend watching!
While East Coasters are still dealing with the wrath of Hurricane Irene, the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina passed yesterday. NPR has a timely interview with host Michel Martin, musician Irvin Mayfield and Keith Spera, author of Groove Interrupted: Loss, Renewal and the Music of New Orleans. Likewise, Rivka Galchen‘s 2009 Harper’s essay “Disaster Aversion” bears re-reading.
We’ve heard about the weak dollar making things tough on Canadian readers, but the pain is being felt by Canadian publishers as well, as profit margins diminish. The latest casualty is publisher Raincoast Books.Philip Agee died today. His Inside the Company in 1973 may have created a modern day genre, one that would be contributed to by many former agents, the CIA tell-all.The Atlantic reaches deep into the archives to bring us “The History of Children’s Books,” from 1888:It is hard to imagine a world without books for children. There have been children’s stories and folk-tales ever since man first learned to speak. “Many of them,” in Thackeray’s words, “have been narrated, almost in their present shape, for thousands of years since, to little copper-colored Sanscrit children. The very same tale has been heard by the Northmen Vikings, as they lay on their shields on deck; and by the Arabs, couched under the stars in the Syrian plains, when the flocks were gathered in, and the mares were picketed by the tents.” Children’s books, however, are a late growth of literature. Miss Yonge says, “Up to the Georgian era there were no books at all for children or the poor, excepting the class-books containing old ballads, such as Chevy Chase, and short tales, such as The King and the Cobbler, Whittington and his Cat.” We shall nevertheless see that there were English books for children (and it is with no others that we have to deal) long before this time.
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.
JSTOR will be making 500,000 articles from over 200 journals freely available to the public. These will include items published before 1923 in the US, and published before 1870 abroad. Earlier this month, I rounded up a few pieces by people who think the entire database should be free.
In November, Matt Kish will write a series of guest posts for Tin House’s Open Bar Blog. He’ll be “exploring some of the ideas and processes behind five of [his] Heart of Darkness illustrations.” Over on his personal blog, however, he’s asking for readers to help him select which five pieces he should discuss. Kish, who has previously illustrated the pages of Moby Dick, was recently mentioned in our Great Second-Half 2013 Book Preview.