For me, the call of Southern literature comes strongest in the dog days of summer, when the days are long and when the sun is burning. This year, it seems that the literary community has taken note: five representatives from the region’s “great independent bookstores” have gotten together to recommend the Southern books they’re craziest about this year.
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!)
Philosopher Slavoj Žižek doesn’t seem very happy these days. Yesterday he published a harsh response to the lukewarm reception NYRB and the Guardian gave his recently published opus, Less Than Nothing. And his declaration that “99% of people are boring idiots” in an recent interview does little to soften his image.
It’s not every day that you come across a defense of literary elitism, but The Guardian’s Nicholas Lezard is tired of explaining that not everyone is a critic. “What I want when I read a book review is to find out what someone cleverer than me and better read than me thinks about whatever’s being reviewed,” he writes.
Amazon announced that on Christmas day it sold more Kindle ebooks than regular books (and that the Kindle is not the site’s most popular gift ever). Chadwick Matlin outlines at The Big Money the reasons why the Christmas day surge in ebook sales don’t matter. The New York Times suggests each new version of the Kindle may be getting worse, and separately dubs 2010 the “Year of the Tablet.”