Curiosities

Curiosities: The Bowflex of Bookishness

The August issue of Open Letters is available. Nestled amidst the literary fare are early Oscar nominations from Sarah Hudson and a piece on the video game The Sims by Phillip A. Lobo.Electric Literature teamed up with animator Jonathan Ashley and musician Nick DeWitt to produce an animated trailer for Jim Shepard's "Your Fate Hurtles Down at You," a story which appeared in the literary magazine's first issue.BOMB Magazine has a conversation between poker buddies Nam Le and Charles D'Ambrosio.Years ago, we wrote about La Porte, Indiana, a nifty book with a connection to Found Magazine chronicling a cache of found photographs from a small town. Now the book is being made into a documentary.Nicholson Baker has written the funniest piece yet about the Kindle. Ed initially takes umbrage (and gets comments from Baker and recants somewhat). YPTR weighs in as well.Spoiler Alert: neojapansme, a provider (along with our own Ben Dooley) of quite a bit of insight into Murakami's new (and untranslated) novel 1Q84 has published a review of the book.Millions Fans: The Millions Facebook group now has over 400 members. We'll be asking group members to help us with some upcoming special features, so join up (if you're into that sort of thing.)Shatner... Palin... Twitter... bongos... need we say more?
Curiosities

Curiosities: Astronaut Food

Jonathan Evison talks with independent publicist Lauren Cerand about promoting books.Kindle shenanigans: "This morning, hundreds of Amazon Kindle owners awoke to discover that books by a certain famous author had mysteriously disappeared from their e-book readers."Marking the 40th anniversary of the Moon landing, Kottke puts together a huge post of photos, videos, and links in commemoration.Our recent item rounded up all the "big" books coming out in the latter half of the year. PW alerts readers to "10 promising fiction debuts" coming this fall.Jacket Copy concludes its Pomo Month with an annotated list of "61 essential postmodern reads."New uses for card catalogs. (via)The second issue of online literary journal The Critical Flame has arrived.Mark Sarvas offers a four-part interview with Joseph O'Neill. "I think I start with one idea. In Netherland, it was cricket in New York. Then there is an accumulation of sentences, and often just single words. Words that interest me. And I sort of build it up like a poem."Amazon names the "Best Books of the Year... So Far."
Curiosities

Curiosities: Santa Nutcracker

On the occasion of Scribner's publication of the "Restored Edition" of A Moveable Feast, Gioia Diliberto, biographer of Ernest Hemingway's wife Hadley, writes of her discovery of the Hadley Hemingway tapes.Sarah Schmelling's McSweeney's piece "Hamlet (Facebook News Feed Edition)" has spawned a book Ophelia Joined the Group Maidens Who Don't Float: Classic Lit Signs on to Facebook, the canon retold in social networking parlance.Speaking of the canon, The Second Pass plays devil's advocate and tells us which of history's most praised books are best avoided. (We will pass over in silence the inclusion of One Hundred Years of Solitude.)Mark Athitakis writes about the National Book Award in 1980, "an interesting time for the prize." The previous year, publishers pulled out of the awards, contending according to an NYT article, "the awards favored little-read books." (This criticism resurfaced in 2004.) After 1980, the festivities ballooned to eight fiction categories before eventually being scaled back in subsequent years. (via Maud)In Slate, Nathaniel Rich wonders why "the most peaceful people on earth [Scandinavians] write the greatest homicide thrillers."The "Significant Objects project," in which worthless trinkets are sold on eBay along with original fiction written about said worthless trinkets, has launched. Participants include Curtis Sittenfeld, Lydia Millet, Matthew Sharpe, Sam Lipsyte, and a few dozen others. The eBay auctions can be found here.
Curiosities

Curiosities: The Life and Times of Fuzzy Dunlop

Dr. Seuss Went to War: A Catalog of Political Cartoons by Dr. SeussThe Philadelphia Inquirer profiles Joseph O'Neill (via).A primer from Bookride for using the web to check the values of old books. "The first thing to remember is that most books are of low value or no value. Some books are worth less than nothing."The second issue of Wag's Revue is out, featuring an interview with T.C. Boyle.For fans of The Wire, issue four of darkmatter Journal analyzes the series with essays like "The Politics of Brisket: Jews and The Wire" and "The Subversion of Heteronormative Assumptions in HBO's The Wire".The Rumpus gets listy with George Pelecanos' favorite WesternsThe Second Pass follows up on our "Most Anticipated" list with a few more books to look forward to.
Curiosities

Curiosities: SF Tour

History's 10 best prison breaks.A Paid Content column argues that the true genius of the Kindle is that it breaks the trend toward multi-tasking......But there is still a huge amount of confusion surrounding the Kindle's DRM policies.AbeBooks aggregates some summer reading lists.VQR compiles a brief reading list for those following the post-election protests in Iran.Bay Area readers: Conversational Reading is taking a page from The Millions playbook and hosting a San Francisco indie bookstore walking tour. Sounds fun!
Curiosities

Curiosities: The Aerosol Ebook Enhancer

One way to go green: the San Francisco Public Library is making library cards from corn.The New York Times mines the data from its integrated dictionary feature to find the words its readers most frequently look up: sui generis, solipsistic, louche...Bill Simmons talks basketball with The New Yorker (via)Inspired by the attention surrounding J.D. Salinger's lawsuit to block an unauthorized sequel to The Catcher in the Rye, Patrick Brown at Vroman's has put together an impressive, involved post cataloging and discussing literary remixes.It's not too late to get in on TMN's "Infinte Summer," a summer-long group read of David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest.For those ebook fans who miss that "new book smell."Speaking of enhancing ebooks, what happens to book signings in the age of the ebook? Sign the Kindle?!Sonya Chung's thoughtful take on Dan Baum's Twitter essay about being fired from The New Yorker, including a comment from Baum himself.Mark Sarvas says don't fear the Kindle at HuffPoCarolyn Kellogg shares some satire for the bookish set.The Millions' Collaborative Atlas of Book Stores and Literary Places has now been viewed over 500,000 times!From TMN, "A Terrifically Bad Idea: 10 cafes, 10 macchiatos, one morning, by bike."High concept fun from The Washington Post: "We asked authors which book character they would like to accompany them for a day on the beach." (thanks Arna)Wikipedia find of the week: List of child prodigies.Further Reading: Jeff Hobbes' "Open Letter to Kanye West" generated many supportive comments from other proud readers.
Curiosities

Curiosities: Seekers, Idiots, Grazers, Browsers, Campers, Independents, Time-Sucks

| 2
Lots of action with the online mags: There's a new issue of The Hipster Book Club, with a review of Aleksander Hemon's Love and Other Obstacles, and an interview with Glen David Gold. There's a new Quarterly Conversation, which includes Scott Esposito's thoughtful consideration of Cormac McCarthy. Issue 3 of N1BR is out. And the first issue of The Point includes a piece on David Foster Wallace's legacy.Brooklyn gets a new bookstore: Greenlight!Corpus Librus, the BEA editionIn an interview with Ed Champion, Sherman Alexie clarifies his comments about the Kindle being elitist.Tibor Fischer shares a first look at Thomas Pynchon's forthcoming Inherent Vice.The seven types of bookstore customers. (via)An incredible collection of pocket paperback colophons.Coming soon from The Onion, Inventory, a collection of "obsessively specific pop-culture lists."The Ask Metafilter crowd suggests what to read after 2666.For fans of style guides, here's one from The EconomistFOUND Magazine founder Davy Rothbart is crazy about vintage NBA jerseys. (via)Further Reading: Edan's post on gifting books in a digital age generated a bunch of interesting comments. Be sure to check them out. On a related note, in PopMatters, Michael Antman bemoans the disappearance of the "physical manifestations of contemporary culture."
Curiosities

Curiosities: Busking for Vampires

Our friend "Tom" finds that music soothes the savage vampire.Joseph O'Neill explores the "wholesome... misanthropy" of Flannery O'Connor.The Nation offers up a depressing assessment of the book business: "It is a confused, confusing and very fluid situation, and no one can predict how books and readers will survive.""Why Donald Duck Is the Jerry Lewis of Germany"NPR talks to the author of the just published biography, Gabriel Garcia Marquez: A Life.Daniel Green launches new online journal Critical Distance."Will Philadelphia be the place where the American newspaper dies?" (via)The Complete Review considers Bolaño's Amulet.
Curiosities

Curiosities: Three Feet of Paper

Conversational Reading covers "Four Greek Writers That You Should (and Can) Read."Wells Tower interviewed on The Dinner Party Download.Anne Trubek at Good Magazine recommends our site to "Post-Collegiate Literary Types"The Elegant Variation gets a new reader. Congratulations, Mark!Make of this what you will: "Popular Japanese horror writer Koji Suzuki will publish a short novel called Drop on rolls of toilet paper."Wikipedia Find of the Week I: Criticism of Wikipedia (so meta)Wikipedia Find of the Week II: No one cares about your garage band (so snarky)"Updike's Sunset:" Kakutani takes on two newly published Updike collections, My Father's Tears and Other Stories and Endpoint and Other Poems.Further Reading: Consider revisiting our guest post from last week, Finding Indie Opportunity on The Kindle, where a very interesting discussion developed in the comments.
Curiosities

Curiosities: Precise Obfuscation

"Chris Lloyd adores a minuet / the Ballets Russes and crepes suzettes / but Foucault loves to rock n' roll / a hot dog makes him lose control... what a crazy pair!"James Yeh and a plate of Korean barbecue co-star in: My Dinner with Shteyngart.Deborah Eisenberg reads Wells Tower.Open Letters Monthly looks at Landscape in Concrete, a lost classic from the World War II-era featuring a not-so-ÜbermenschWhat planet are translators from? Paul Verhaeghen spills the beans, in remarks from the PEN festival, (via Three percent)Novelist David Francis, guest-posting at TEV, pits the writer's interests against those of the publishing industry.W.W. Norton "friends" the Dalkey Archive.Richard Ford tells Nam Le, "Giving a colleague a bad review is like . . . seeing a hitchhiker and rather than picking the hitchhiker up, you run over him."The Second Pass reappraises Denis Johnson's 1983 Angels (whose characters reappear in Tree of Smoke).Finally, a piece on Reif Larsen's T.S. Spivet that doesn't mention the size of his advance.After only a year, Wyatt Mason's fine Sentences blog reaches a full stop.An amazing and cute fashion blog from a 13-year-old.The indie bookstore tour writ large: novelist Mark Fitten is visiting 100 indie bookstores and writing about it. (via Maud)Wikipedia find of the week: The Jimmy Carter rabbit incident