Recommended Reading: This excerpt from The Work of the Dead: A Cultural History of Mortal Remains by Thomas Laqueur. In it, Laqueur explores the cultural peculiarities of mourning and the necrobotany of the yew tree, or “tree of the dead.”
Jonathan Evison talks with independent publicist Lauren Cerand about promoting books.Kindle shenanigans: “This morning, hundreds of Amazon Kindle owners awoke to discover that books by a certain famous author had mysteriously disappeared from their e-book readers.”Marking the 40th anniversary of the Moon landing, Kottke puts together a huge post of photos, videos, and links in commemoration.Our recent item rounded up all the “big” books coming out in the latter half of the year. PW alerts readers to “10 promising fiction debuts” coming this fall.Jacket Copy concludes its Pomo Month with an annotated list of “61 essential postmodern reads.”New uses for card catalogs. (via)The second issue of online literary journal The Critical Flame has arrived.Mark Sarvas offers a four-part interview with Joseph O’Neill. “I think I start with one idea. In Netherland, it was cricket in New York. Then there is an accumulation of sentences, and often just single words. Words that interest me. And I sort of build it up like a poem.”Amazon names the “Best Books of the Year… So Far.”
“Insanity, madness, obsession, math, objectivity, truth, science and art. These friends always impress me. They’re sculptors and tailors, not scientists or spies. I’ve chosen them with the peculiar attentiveness of a shell collector stupidly combining the overwhelming multitude of broken detritus to hold up one shell so beautiful that it finds its way into my pocket, lining my clothes with sand. And then another. Not too many, so that the sheer number could never diminish the value of one.” On madness and genius with cosmologist Janna Levin.
In Florida, legislators are wondering whether or not they should raise tuition costs for students studying the humanities, or really anything other than STEM fields. Likewise, James Dyson (yes, the vacuum guy) bemoans Britain’s abundance of “students choosing to read humanities at university.” As a rejoinder, one New Statesman blogger notes that the study of humanities does not inhibit technological innovation, and that as a bonus, “we gain from having people who reshape our cultural landscape and put things in new contexts.”