Books

Books in Retrogression

I love this quote from Arts & Letters Daily about the book publishing industry.
\"Once upon a time, the major American publishing houses could be counted on to bring controversial new ideas, trenchant political criticism, and works of enduring literary merit to the reading public. No longer. Instead, we get a steady stream of diet books, celebrity biographies, quasi-spiritual self-help manuals, formulaic technothrillers, Jacqueline Susann knock-offs, and warmed-over tabloid journalism about the scandal of the moment.\"

One may or may not easily argue the accuracy of such a statement, depending on reading tastes and also given the fact that a trip to the library or to the closest bookstore, whether it be physical or virtual, will yield quality literature aplenty for someone. The saga continues at The American Prospect

Publishers of Texts With Errors Pay Up

The Houston Chronicle has a Story in which said Sarah Wahl, head librarian for the Goose Creek Independent School District says the publishers of those 12 textbooks that are full of errors should receive stiffer fines in an effort to curtail mistakes. A recent legislative change allowed the State Board of Education to levy fines totaling $80,500 against nine textbook publishers last year for failing to correct errors.

Laura Bush, first lady of literacy

Salon.com has an Interview with Stanley Crouch, who read his stuff at the big presidential Inauguration in D.C.

\"Look, I\'m fairly sure [Laura Bush] is going to be doing things connected to literacy, making books available, teaching kids how to read -- literature is one thing, but reading is another, and those of us currently paying our rent as writers would probably be better off anyway if there were more focus on literacy rather than on celebrating professional authors.\"

Is nothing sacred?

Salon has a rather Interesting Story on Peggy Kamuf, a professor at the University of Southern California, insists that teaching kids to read initiates them into the patriarchal construct of the family unit and society at large, and learning to read is brutal and painful rite of passage.

She says learning to read is violent.

ALA Award Winners

Richard Peck, author of \"A Year Down Yonder,\" and David Small, illustrator of \"So You Want To Be President?\" are the 2001 winners of the John Newbery and Randolph Caldecott Medals, the most prestigious awards in children\'s literature. -- Read More

Why books make thieves of us all

The Guardian has an Interesting Story on how folks in the UK love to steal books. While most folks wouldn\'t \"misappropriate my neighbour\'s ox or ass\", they seem to have no problem taking books from the library, or a books store.

\"As students we walked out of libraries with books up our jumpers, not with larcenous intent, but because check-out was such a hassle. The libraries turned a blind eye. Most of the books came back. We trusted one another. But, sometimes, one forgot.\"

Amazon\'s used book sales

Some folks that make and sell books are none too happy about Amazon\'s new used book sales. CNET has a story Here and there is a letter to Jeff Bezos Here from the Authors Guild and Association of American Publishers.

\"If your aggressive promotion of used book sales becomes popular among Amazon\'s customers, this service will cut significantly into sales of new titles, directly harming authors and publishers,\"

Slashdot has a Discussion as well.

Biography of a Bookstore

Lee Hadden sent in this one.The Washingtonpost has a Story on the Politics & Prose bookstore. Independent stores continue to struggle against the big chains.

\"I am filled with shelves; the shelves are filled with books; the books are filled with ideas. Of all stripes: liberal, conservative, kooky, kinky, cogent, cautious, cockamamie.\"

What of Old Books?

Here\'s a short but sweet Story from Feedmag on our love / hate relationship with \"Old Books\". They call the LOC plan to digitize all it\'s books a \"fit of visionary enthusiasm\", and raise some interesting questions on the rush to digitize everything.

\"How much difference is there, really, between revering old books simply because they\'re old and ignoring them for the same reason?\"

Freedom from choice

Bob Cox sent in This Story from Salon on all those \"best of\" books. You know the ones, \"Best Short Stories\", \"Best Long Stories\", \"Best Boring Stories\".....


\"Preselection is one of those organizing principles -- like Oedipal conflict or right-wing conspiracy -- that seem, the minute you hear them, to make disparate phenomena fall into an understandable pattern. Oprah\'s Book Club, for instance, has had more influence on American literature than Lionel Trilling and Ralph Waldo Emerson combined. It\'s so popular because Winfrey is saying, \"This is a good book. Go and read it.\" \"

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