“Book lore and book history and everything around them, to do with libraries or culture, I think it centers so much of civilization.” Atlas Obscura interviewed journalist Alex Johnson about his forthcoming title, Book Towns, which explores off-the-beaten-path towns bursting with bookshops.
The Guardian offers a long, worthwhile profile of Dave Eggers, who suddenly is being considered and reconsidered seemingly everywhere. “The McSweeney’s empire… often gets characterised as a kind of cabal: a hip, young gang. [Eggers] and [wife Vendela] Vida, whose writerly circle includes Nick Hornby, Rick Moody, Jonathan Lethem and Joyce Carol Oates, tend to be seen as tastemakers. He thinks this is ridiculous.” (Thanks Emre!)
Here’s everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the communion wafer’s place in free-market capitalism.
Brett Ortler, a blogger at Bark, chronicles his effort to figure out why indie publisher, BlazeVOX, wants to charge him $250 to publish his book of poems. Follow-up posts reveal, first, that BlazeVOX has rescinded the pay-to-play scheme, and, second, that it now plans to go out of business by the end of the year.
“I didn’t really understand what reading was for. If I wanted a story, the thing to do was to get my grandmother to read it to me. Then listening to her voice, her story-reading voice which always sounded a little incredulous, marvelling, yet full of faith, bravely insistent, and watching her face, its meaningful and utterly familiar expressions—lifted eyebrows, ominously sinking chin, brisk little nods of agreement when, as sometimes happened, a character said something sensible—then I would feel the story grow into life and exist by itself, so that it hardly seemed to me that she was reading it out of a book at all; it was something she had created herself, out of thin air… But one summer I had the whooping-cough, and afterwards I could not go swimming or jump off the beams in the barn or boss my little brother, because by that time he had the whooping-cough himself. My grandmother was off somewhere, visiting other cousins. So I swung on my swing until I got dizzy, and then for no reason in particular I took the Child’s History out of the bookcase in the front room, and sat down on the floor and started to read.” Alice Munro writes about A Child’s History of England, the first book she ever read.