“[L]ike many, many other rules in the English language, it turns out this one is built on a foundation of lies.” That whole ‘i before e, except after c rule? Bunk. Which you would already know, if you were a true spelling bee hopeful.
Recommended Reading: The New Republic on public participation and the Internet. “Did you know that as originally conceived the web was supposed to be writable? That is, you wouldn’t just read a web page, but you’d be able to edit it, too, from right inside your browser.” Our own Elizabeth Minkel writes about fanfiction and its influence on academics.
In 2003, Mary Roach kicked off her book-publishing career with Stiff, a look into the lifespans (pun intended) of cadavers and the ethics of using them for study. At Lapham’s Quarterly, you’ll find the 2001 magazine article that Roach later expanded into Stiff. (Related: we interviewed Roach back in April.)
Ta-Nehisi Coates wants to make America less stupid about the Civil War. He recommends five books we should all read to gain a better understanding of American history during this war and assures us that “I’ve tried to think very hard about readability, and to offer books you might actually complete.” So no excuses, start here
Waterboro Library in Maine has compiled a list of books about “Drowned Towns,” – “Mysteries and other fiction with a featured element of intentional submerging, inundating, and flooding of towns, villages, cities, and other places as a consequence of building dams and reservoirs for water supply, hydroelectric power, irrigation, flood management, and job creation.” Also known as “Reservoir Noir.”Rare art by Calvin & Hobbes creator Bill Watterson (via)AICN Books offers early looks at The Road by Cormac McCarthy and A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon.The Written Nerd looks at the ethics of “street dates,” the “do not sell before this date, or else!” restrictions that come with blockbuster books.The IHT looks at Gunter Grass’ new memoir, roughly translated as Peeling the Onion. Earlier this month Grass told the world that the book would reveal that he had been a member of the Waffen SS during World War II. Word has it, the book is unlikely to appear in the US any time soon.Google now lets you add a Book Search widget to your Web pages. The search engine giant has also announced that it will start making public domain books available in PDF form. Here’s an example.YPTR, in amusing fashion, takes up the question of DFW and whether he will produce a novel again.
A few days ago, Amazon announced the launch of their new “@Author” feature for the Kindle, whereby readers can click on an e-book passage and ask the author questions about it directly. I’ve broken out in a cold poststructuralist sweat about this over on The New Yorker’s Book Bench blog.