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When book critic Maureen Corrigan first read F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby in high school, she was unimpressed.
"Not a lot happens in Gatsby," Corrigan tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "It's not a plot-driven novel and I also thought, 'Eh, it's another novel about rich people.' And I grew up in a blue-collar community."
She also couldn't relate, she says, because it doesn't feature any likeable female characters.
"In fact, that's one of the reasons why Fitzgerald thought it didn't sell well in 1925," Corrigan says, "because there are no likeable female characters and women drive the fiction market."
But today Corrigan considers The Great Gatsby to be the greatest American novel — and it's the novel she loves more than any other. She's written a new book about it called So We Read On: How the Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why It Endures.
In this lively & provocative collection of essays, veteran media critic Ron Powers, recipient of both a Pulitzer Prize & an Emmy Award, takes a searing look at a pivotal decade in TV history. He playfully presents some serious thoughts on TV, arguing that TV is a subject of utmost importance, perhaps the unifying & inevitable subject of our time. The essays by Powers contain significant insights into what TV did for us &, most especially, to us in the 1980s. He shows how America has reached a stage where the distinction between entertainment, news, & education -- between TV & the real world -- has nearly vanished.
This book was written in 1990. I think it is especially interesting to look at books again because now time has passed and you can see where things have actually headed and that can be contrasted to the discussion in the book.
If you judge a book by its cover, you might want to know what goes into its design. Jeffrey Brown speaks with Peter Mendelsund, author of “What We See When We Read” and “Cover,” about the process of communicating an author’s work to readers, as well as the importance of cover design in the age of e-readers.
"In an interesting post, writer Claude Nougat estimated the total number of books on Amazon – about 3.4 million at last count (a number that could include apps as well) and then figured out how many books were added in a day. Nougat noticed that the number rose by 12 books in an hour, which suggests that one new book is added every five minutes. And, most likely, it’s probably an indie book.
Let’s let that sink in.
What does that mean for the indie publisher? If you’re perpetually optimistic, very little. If you’re even a little bit pessimistic, however, you might want to rethink your career."
Author interview in Variety
"Take the example of desktop web browsers. Let’s face it, unless you’re really slow on the uptake, you’ve outfitted your web browser with an ad blocker. Ha ha, you win! But wait—that means most web ads are only reaching those who are really slow on the uptake. So their dollars are disproportionately important in supporting the content you’re getting ad-free. “Not my problem,” you say. Oh really? Since those people are the only ones financially supporting the content, publishers increasingly are shaping their stories to appeal to them. Eventually, the content you liked—well, didn’t like it enough to pay for it—will be gone."
At the Dudley Branch of the Boston Public Library, clustered volumes fill only half of many long, red shelves; the rest stand empty. In the adult nonfiction section, some shelves are completely barren.
The library, in Roxbury, once brimmed with books. But officials have been steadily culling its collection the past few months as part of a push by BPL administrators to dispose of up to 180,000 little-used volumes from shelves and archives of branches citywide by year’s end. Library officials say the reductions help assure that patrons can comfortably sift through a modern selection that serves their needs.
Teaches ninth-graders about masturbation, like they've never heard of it before
California parents are complaining that a new sex-education book for ninth-graders has way too much hot, naked sex in it.
From Melville House:
Every so often, a book is returned to the library so late, it makes headlines. The due date of the sad book in this particular headline was August 17, 1959.
The New York Public Library recently received a copy of Ideal Marriage by Th.H. Van de Velde, M.D. The librarian reports it’s a “very wordy” and scientific guide to sex from 1926. (It’s “certainly more juicy than The Tropic of Cancer,” writes Billy Parrott of the Mid-Manhattan Library.)
It was such a source of shame, it wasn’t returned by the patron, but by his in-laws after the patron’s death:
We found this book amongst my late brother-in-law’s things. Funny thing is the book didn’t support his efforts with his first (and only) marriage… it failed! No wonder he hid the book! So sorry!!
A shocked in-law