Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The reading list

Word of the day: “vajazzling”. Go on, have a look.

Copyrights and wrongs: the Economist calls JD Salinger “the pre-eminent enemy of open culture in American letters”.

Jonny B at Private Secret Diary has mice

A very short planetary history: the four parts are “The Birth of the Moon”, “The Late Heavy Bombardment”, “The Oxygen Catastrophe” and “Snowball Earth”. We are now in the Cenozoic era of the Phanerozoic eon. But you probably knew that.

Kevin Ireland’s 1977 collection Literary Cartoons won the NZ Book Award for Poetry. Here is a literally literary cartoon.

B.R. Myers rails against foodie-ism in a review of four new food books and compares them unfavourably with Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx’s Heroin Diaries, which he found refreshing by contrast. Money quote:
Johnston and Baumann note that “eating unusual foods is part of what generates foodie status,” and indeed, there appears to be no greater point of pride in this set than to eat with the indiscriminate omnivorousness of a rat in a zoo dumpster. Jeffrey Steingarten called his first book The Man Who Ate Everything. Bourdain writes, with equal swagger, “I’ve eaten raw seal, guinea pig. I’ve eaten bat.” The book Foodies quotes a middle-aged software engineer who says, “Um, it’s not something I would be anxious to repeat but. . . it’s kind of weird and cool to say I’ve had goat testicles in rice wine.” The taste of these bizarre meals – as researchers of oral fixation will not be surprised to learn – is neither here nor there.
More from Tim Worstall on why speculators in food are doing us all a favour.

A great (if long) piece by Alec Clark on book editing, with additional notes by authors such as Blake Morrison, Diana Athill, Jeanette Winterson and Craig Raine. (I was surprised that Raine regarded the editor of one of his books as exercising “unerring diligence” because she picked up a misquotation from Ulysses. Picking up misquotes and other errors is what we editors do.) Money quote, from literary agent David Miller:
In a world where digital publishing has made a large number of people think that authors can go direct to an audience, publishers have been utterly crap at explaining what they do. And most of what they do is intrinsically invisible.
Monitors: Kottke, Clare McIntosh

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