“How can we represent four hundred years of American literary history in a way that doesn’t reinforce the unfortunate hierarchies of those four hundred years?” Year in Reading alum Rebecca Makkai writes for Electric Literature about the opening of the new American Writers Museum in Chicago and what it means to curate an historical canon of letters. See also: our interview with Makkai from a couple of years back.
Anyone who cares about the financial viability of the book business should read Author’s Guild President Scott Turow’s open letter on the implications of the government’s threatened anti-trust suit against major publishers and Apple over alleged collusion in e-book pricing.
n+1 provides a fascinating study of today’s divisive concept of cultural elitism: “Today, though, it’s the bearers of culture rather than the wielders of power who are taxed with elitism. If the term is applied to powerful people, this is strictly for cultural reasons, as the different reputations of the identically powerful Obama and Bush attest. No one would think to call a foul-mouthed four-star general an elitist, even though he commands an army, any more than the term would cover a private equity titan who hires Rod Stewart to serenade his 60th birthday party.”
You’re only supposed to consume oysters in months with the letter “r” in their English (and French) names. This is because oysters in the Northern hemisphere are more likely to spoil during the warmer months of May, June, July, and August. So if you can’t eat ‘em, you might as well hear about ‘em instead, right? Presenting this video of Seamus Heaney reading his poem, “Oysters” (Text here).
One in ten residents of Iceland will publish something in their lifetime. (Compare that to the United States.) And all residents receive the bókatíðindi – a volume listing approximately 90% of all books being published in Iceland – free of charge. Indeed, as Mark Medley notes, when it comes to literary ambitions, the Land of Fire and Ice is “punching above its weight class.”