In the spring of 2006, John Unsworth taught a graduate seminar on “Twentieth-Century American Bestsellers.” It led to one of history’s finest class projects–a browsable database of bestsellers, 337 in all. As with any bestseller lists, you’ll find a range of titles, everything from Thomas Wolfe to Tom Clancy, but click through and find that each entry includes an extremely detailed description of the book’s history (these were compiled by graduate students, after all); a mini-essay on its reception; images of covers, page layouts, and even some ads; and more. It is, in short, bibliophilic crack. (Thanks Craig)
Over at Indian Country Today Media Network, read a statement in response to the controversy surrounding J.K. Rowling’s History of Magic in North America. “What matters here, folks, in this debate over J.K. Rowling’s latest work is the language society uses – the language that is still taught to kids in schools today about Native Americans and our spiritualities.”
“I fought the urge to throw up in my hands as I asked myself, ‘How the fuck did I get here?’” When you’re a jewel mule, as Kayli Stollak describes in this piece for The Establishment (via Narratively), going through customs can be a little stressful. For more lurid tales of crime and aristocratic extravagance, see our own Matt Seidel‘s review of Making Monte Carlo: A History of Speculation and Spectacle.
Bat Segundo’s BEA podcasts continue. Yours truly makes a brief appearance in the latest installment.Elizabeth Crane is discussing George Saunders’ collection In Persuasion Nation at her blog this week.Meant to post this Friday, but luckily I think spelling bee-related links have an indefinite shelf life. Language Hat and his band of commenters provide indispensible commentary on the word that won the National Spelling Bee, “ursprache,” and other Bee topics.
Ferris Jabr writes for The New Yorker on the “profound relationship between walking, thinking, and writing,” and cites books such as Ulysses and Mrs. Dalloway as evidence this “curious link between mind and feet” is a serious literary force. After you’ve finished reading Jabr’s piece, be sure to check out Michelle Huneven‘s essay “On Walking and Reading at the Same Time,” and then perhaps go for a little stroll with a good book.