“The fact that Harry Potter midnight release parties were the event to go to as a teen was completely unprecedented in geek culture. You can draw a dotted line to the mainstreaming of geek culture through Harry Potter.” Twenty years after the publication of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, The Huffington Post asks authors, editors, and publishers how Rowling’s juggernaut changed reading and the world of Young Adult fiction. Then see this counterpoint from our own pages last year: There Is No Such Thing as the Young Adult Novel.
Appearing Elsewhere: VQR Young Reviewers Contest winner and Millions contributor Emily drops by the NBCC blog to tell them what she’s been reading.The NY Times fleshes out some of the details of Google’s digitizing agreement with publishers and authors, including getting into some of the numbers involved. We explained the importance of the deal last year.At Jacket Copy Carolyn Kellogg gets Sarah Weinman to discuss the secrets behind her incredible speed-reading ability. (462 books in 2008!)Carolyn also recently highlighted all the great literary magazines that supplied the featured stories in last year’s “best of” fiction anthologies, as well as the runners up.80 years after the last one, a new Winnie the Pooh book is on its way.A timely and topical list: the Top 10 green books of 2008For the multi-tasker (or perhaps the really lazy): the book holder bracelet.”Had I an atheist friend who asked, ‘Can you tell me please what this religion business is all about, not as some metaphysical hypothesis or historical phenomenon, but what it really means to be religious?’ I might hand him or her a copy of Marilynne Robinson’s novel Gilead. ‘Read this,’ I’d say, ‘and it will give you a pretty good idea.'”For sports fans: Bill James on why statisticians should boycott the BCS.That perilous question: why blog?Vice did a fiction issue.David Brooks discusses some of the best long-form journalism of 2008 (with links!)The outgoing president’s surprising reading list.The Hype Machine’s impressive top albums of 2008 project.Wikipedia find of the week: Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffaloA consideration of poet Jack Spicer.With apologies to William Carlos Williams, A poem for Blago.New short fiction from Horacio Castellanos Moya, author of Senselessness (via Scott)Jonathan Franzen on the Social Novel (via OUP blog)
Excerpts from Anthony Michael Morena’s The Voyager Record: A Transmission are now available online in Ninth Letter. Morena combines flash fiction and prose poetry in his record of the phonograph record that was included on the Voyager spacecrafts. The record plated with gold contained 27 songs, 118 images, and greetings in 55 languages, and was meant to summarize all life on Earth for the extraterrestrials.
According to a report for The Wall Street Journal (paywall), Barnes & Noble will be lessening its floor space allotted to traditional books in order to make way for more Nook displays. Over at Melville House’s blog, MobyLives, publisher Dennis Johnson speculates that this move could signify the end of the road for Barnes & Noble as a bookseller.
At The Awl, a gritty interview with Daily News crime reporter Kerry Burke (who was once featured in a Bravo “reality show” Tabloid Wars that I loved but that was sadly cancelled). Burke says, “I’m not a very nice person. I’m not from a nice place. At the same time, I love these people. These are my people.”