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"One of the things I like about my job is that it draws on the entire person: not just your knowledge of grammar and punctuation and usage and foreign languages and literature but also your experience of travel, gardening, shipping, singing, plumbing, Catholicism, Midwesternism, mozzarella, the A train, New Jersey. And in turn it feeds you more experience. The popular image of the copy editor is of someone who favors rigid consistency. I don’t usually think of myself that way. But, when pressed, I do find I have strong views about commas." Mary Norris's "Confessions of a Comma Queen," from the New Yorker.
Jeff wrote in with this question about The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem:I guess this is a book question. Certainly it's a question related to a book. In this week's Village Voice, there is an article about a promotional 2CD-set meant to be a companion to Jonathan Lethem's "Fortress of Solitude." It sounds quite interesting. Does anybody know how it can be obtained? Here's the URL to the article: http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0401/christgau2.phpI found this question especially intriguing because there were many times while I was reading Fortress of Solitude that I wished the book had come with a cd. Music of many genres permeates the book, some of the songs and artists I was familiar with, others I had never heard of, and as I was reading I found myself creating a soundtrack to the book in my head, inventing my own songs if I didn't recognize an artist or song. It was an interesting reading experience. But, now, apparently there is a cd out there, and as Robert Christgau, the Village Voice music reviewer, makes clear in his review, you're not going to get your hands on it. This seemed to be confirmed by my research as none of my contacts at Random House / Doubleday had even heard of the cd. Apparently the 2 cd set has been handed out here and there to friends and fans at book signings, and due, of course, to copywrite issues, this fantastic compilation will never truly be released. But, as is often the case these days, now you can make your very own at home. Lucky for us, David, who runs a Jonathan Lethem site has posted the track listing, so with a little bit of elbow grease and a modest disregard for copywrite law you can have your very own Fortress of Solitude compilation.
Longtime Millions reader Laurie sent in her reaction to all these "top ten" book lists that have been floating around in recent months, while also, of course, sharing her own:In the wake of the release of The Top Ten, [there is also a Web site] a collection of top ten books chosen by 125 British and American writers, the Washington Post is soliciting readers' top ten picks.These exercises are fun, but I hope no one takes them seriously. The lists they receive (like mine) will lean toward American/British books, with a smattering of European titles, partly because American schools emphasize Western literature. Cao Xueqin's Dream of the Red Chamber should be as well known as War and Peace, but most Americans have never heard of it. Even when we have read the non-Western classics, we tend to favor the familiar -- my list included The Old Man & the Sea and To Kill A Mockingbird, but Murasaki Shikibu's The Tale of Genji and Abolqasem Ferdowsi's Shahnameh are probably greater works.What do you want to bet, though, that like the Modern Library a few years ago, they get inundated with a lot of lists that include Battlefield Earth?!My top ten (not set in stone, except for Heart of Darkness):The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark TwainThe Old Man and the Sea - Ernest HemingwayHeart of Darkness - Joseph ConradPortrait of the Artist As a Young Man - James JoyceTo Kill A Mockingbird - Harper LeeDon Quixote - CervantesThe Iliad & The Odyssey - HomerThe Dream of the Red Chamber - Cao XueqinWar & Peace - Leo TolstoyOedipus the King - SophoclesThanks Laurie!
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