Rebecca Mead writes for The New Yorker about “The Pleasure of Reading to Impress Yourself” and the false divide between books “we read because we want to and those we read because we have to.”
“I’m a total database nerd. In college I worked as a troubleshooter for a database of medical research, trying to predict and prevent mistakes in the data entry process to avoid screwing up the records. Is anything more satisfying than a successfully written query delivering precisely the required results? It’s so much more direct than writing fiction. A query either works or it doesn’t.” Steve Himmer’s Nervous Breakdown self-interview.
On The Nervous Breakdown this week, J.E. Fishman considers the book review practices of The New York Times: “My view is very much eastern, very much old school, where a book review from the Times was the only sure sign that an author had arrived. But maybe it’s time to rethink that, and this rethinking has been long overdue.”
After a Boston attorney banned the publication of Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman set out to defend the book, arguing that the sex that earned the book censorship was an integral part of the experience he wanted to convey. In an essay for Salon, John Marsh examines Whitman’s defense in light of the content of his work, exploring the ways in which he upset Puritan mores. You could also read our own Michael Bourne on how Walt Whitman saved his life.
The day has come. Amazon just announced that it is now selling more e-books than physical books, and its ad-infused “Kindle with Special Offers is already the bestselling member of the Kindle family.” Meanwhile, it’s still news when a well-known author publishes an e-book (in this case, Susan Orlean’s new Kindle Single Animalish).