Jonathan Franzen’s Kraus Project should be “a match made in heaven,” writes Jacob Mikanowski, because of how it pairs together “the old hater [Karl Kraus] and the new [Franzen], the Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid of cultural criticism drawn together across the gulf of a century to take on all comers.” Alas, the end result is instead a “strange and rather discordant experience, like receiving a deep tissue massage while being spat on from a great height.” (Bonus: One of the best London Review of Books openers of all time.)
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.
“Why do we love our writing teachers so much? I think it’s because they come along when we need them most, when we are young and vulnerable and are tentatively approaching this craft that our culture doesn’t have much respect for, but which we are beginning to love. They have so much power. They could mock us, disregard us, use us to prop themselves up. But our teachers, if they are good, instead do something almost holy, which we never forget: they take us seriously.” George Saunders offers a timeline of his writing education over at The New Yorker.