Nerf ball stuck at the net. In the early to mid 1990s I often engaged in epic nerfball contests with Po Brons0n., Who had the upper hand? I can’t say, but Po was ever a formidable opponent, that’s for sure.
Andy Hunter, Editor in Chief of Electric Literature, writes:
I wanted to let you know we just released our 2nd issue, featuring work by Colson Whitehead, Lydia Davis, Stephen O’Connor, Pasha Malla, and Marisa Silver….
We made a trailer for Colson’s story: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSf_4vxWmxg – we are always extremely grateful when you feature our videos on your site.
Sure, why not?
A friend and colleague, Will Powers, died suddenly of a heart attack on August 25. I had worked with Will when I was at North Point Press, employing him as a free-lance copy editor and proofreader. He had worked previously as a typographer at Stinehour Press, and he brought a craftsman’s eye to the projects he worked on. About twenty years ago, Will moved to the twin cities, and for the past eleven years he worked as design and production manager for the Minnesota Historical Society Press.
Above, where I mentioned his work as a proofreader, I initially typed “proofreading” instead, and I was sorely tempted to retain that error, for reasons that will become apparent. Sometime in the past year or two Will e-mailed me the following poem, entitled “The Printer’s Error,” by Aaron Fogel. It seems a fitting memorial, and I hope the author will not mind me running it here in Will’s memory.
The blog of the museum for which I do publications recently appeared on a list of “100 best curator and museum blogs.” The list was attributed to someone named Emily Thomas at onlineuniversities.com. That was nice, but there was no explanation who Emily Thomas is or how the list was arrived at, and a visit to the onlineuniversities site raised as many questions as it answered.
Some days later the museum received an e-mail from Emily Thomas suggesting that she guest blog for us and pointing to the list to establish her bona fides.
I’m curious what topics readers of this blog are most interested in. If you’ve visited before you probably realize that this blog deals with all sorts of book issues, and some other things as well.
Order of answers is randomized. Select as many answers as you like.
Image from hugovk’s photostream
Many authors, among them C. Dale Young, report that Amazon is censoring books with sexual, and especially GLBT, content by removing them from their rankings, apparently in an effort to make the titles less visible to the general public.
Edward Campion, saying the Amazon policy “represents the greatest insult to consumers and the most severe commercial threat to free expression that we’re likely to see in some time,” is among those calling for a boycott of the company.
Here’s more from Campion:
To add insult to injury, such anti-Semitic texts as Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion remain within the ranking system while the less offensive books named above [D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Dorothy Allison’s Bastard Out of Carolina, Annie Proulx’s Brokeback Mountain, and John Cleland’s Fanny Hill] are considered too “adult.” In other words, if you’re a writer who has written openly about sex, Amazon considers you worse than an anti-Semitic writer who helped initiate pogroms and concentration camps.
Amazon’s side of the story? Publisher Mark Probst received this communication from Amazon:
In consideration of our entire customer base, we exclude “adult” material from appearing in some searches and best seller lists. Since these lists are generated using sales ranks, adult materials must also be excluded from that feature.
Hence, if you have further questions, kindly write back to us.
For more on this issue, including links and contact information, see Campion’s post.
I have removed the Amazon link from my right sidebar. The Powell’s link remains, and I encourage readers to buy from their local independent bookstore, or else to order from Powell’s.
The image at right is a selection from my inlinks tag in Google Reader. It shows websites that have been linking to mine (these are all via Google Blog Search). This is less than a single day’s sample. As you can see, all of a sudden many people are posting links on their blogs to my glossary of book publishing terms.
I’m sure the number of links is not staggering compared to pages that go viral on places like Digg. Still, the glossary has gotten about 5,000 views over the past five days.
There will be a reading from the Mutanabbi Street anthology that Red Hen Press recently published, tomorrow, March 11, at 7:30 at Overland Books in San Francisco. The book (which I haven’t seen yet) collects writing that commemorates the bombing of Baghdad’s booksellers’ row and celebrates freedom of expression. I have an essay in the anthology. Tomorrow’s reading, however, will be entirely of works by the Iraqi authors who are in the book, and I will be the proxy reader for “Escape from al-Mutanabbi Street” by Muhammad al-Hamrani.
Broadside “Make Books Not War” by Sarah Bodman. Text translated into Arabic by Nejat Chalabi and handwritten by Nadia Chalabi. More info here.
Tim O’Reilly makes some points in its favor.
Here’s a cool thing. I received an e-mail yesterday from Dave Kellam, someone I didn’t know. An excerpt:
Just found your blog today, via India Amos. I’m an aspiring book designer, and it’s been fun poking through your site. One of the posts linked to another post (http://www.rightreading.com/blog/2008/09/03/wordpress-plugin-wanted/) about wanting a WP plugin. I’ve created a few WordPress plugins, and might be able help you out with you with a custom plugin.
A few sightings from this year’s book publishing trade convention:
Photo of some guy from Hawaii holding a uke
via Pieces and Bits.
That’s what Rachel Donadio, in an article in the New York Times, calls this sort of situation: You’re in the getting-to-know-you stages of a relationship, and you encounter for the first time the other person’s bookshelf. Could what you see there cause you to break up the relationship then and there? How appalling would the book list have to be?
A shelf full of Any Rand would give me pause. At Donadio’s blog, readers offer their own nominations, which include such books as The Da Vinci Code and The Alchemist and such authors as Rand, Tom Peters, and even Umberto Eco.
The premise has something of a Nick Hornbyish High Fidelity quality to it. A commenter named Dante remarks on Donadio’s blog “Only a completely pretentious jackass would use a book as a measure of someone’s worth.” But another, with the handle of Oscar Wilde, says that “Only superficial people don’t judge by appearances.”
I suppose that blogs would have deal breakers as well. What kind of topic would incline you unsubscribe from a bookish blog?
Image (detail) from Nikita Kashner’s photostream
Yourshelves.com is a project of kimbooktu, who explains:
I collect pictures of libraries of ordinary people. People who love to read – and collect – books from all over the world. Every time I get a new ‘library’ I am amazed at how book lover’s keep their possessions. The fun part is; all the libraries have something in common. It is impossible to say who owns which library. All the shelves are loved. And most of the time there is too little space.
Gender, country, religion, color. It is said that one’s books say a lot about a person. But all the libraries on Your Shelves! just scream one thing at me. Passion for books. The rest does not matter. It is really about the things in what we are alike. Books.
It’s interesting, from an interior decorating and livestyle point of view, to see the diversity in the libraries. Every one of which is more orderly and less sprawling than mine, which desperately needs editing.
Shown is the library of Rachel and Dan from Schuylerville, New York (Kimbooktu is based in the Netherlands). They “love all kinds of books, but particularly love books about natural history, books about books, historical mysteries, jazz books, and fiction by Michael Ondaatje, George Macdonald Fraser, Sarah Bird, Charles Dickens, Russell Banks, Robertson Davies, Patrick O’Brian and Ian Rankin.”
It has become necessary for me to articulate policies that will be posted on my blogs.
Outright spam is straightforward to deal with, but here and elsewhere I am increasingly receiving marginal, opportunistic comments that, while they may appear to contribute faintly, are mainly intended to benefit the commenter through their links and anchor text. I have struggled with how to respond to comments that fall into this gray area.
I don’t believe in the default WordPress nofollow function that is intended to prevent search engines from following links in comments. If you contribute you should receive benefit, and I am sticking with that position. But maintaining site quality is paramount — otherwise the time I devote to my websites would not be well spent and the visitor experience would be diluted.
Because I am posting them now does not mean that I did not also reserve these rights previously. I will be going back and cleaning up comments on older posts.
A link to the following statement will appear on all my blog pages (it’s in the left sidebar on this site).
Some rights reserved 2021 Right Reading. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons (attribution, noncommercial, no derivs: 3.0) License (US), although some of the work this blog incorporates may be separately licensed. Text and images by Thomas Christensen unless otherwise noted. For print permissions or other inquiries please request via rightreading.com/contact.htm.