In the comments field to yesterday’s Lit City post, Bud Parr raises some significant objections. There’s four main sortcomings he sees in the study:
1. The study regarded quantity of bookstores over quality, i.e., a boutique gift-bookstore counted for as much as a Tattered Cover or a Elliot Bay or a City Lights.2. Readings and other literary events were not considered at all in the study.3. It appears that universities (and possibly their libraries) were not counted, and/or not weighted for in the study.4. Socio-economics. Bigger cities are going to take a huge hit for having significant populations . . . continue reading, and add your comments
In what is destined to become the New Year’s Weekend topic of conversation, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater presents the 2004 edition of their study, America’s Most Literate Cities. (thanks to GalleyCat for the link)
Some of the ranks come off as a little funny (for instance, is Los Angeles really the 68th most literate city in the country?), but there’s lots of interesting information here. It ranks the top periodical publishers by the number of magazines with circulation over 2,500 and the number of journals over 500 published in a city. I don’t see the actual . . . continue reading, and add your comments
A while back I literally pulled William Gass’s Fiction and the Figures of Life out of a dump. There were these bookshelves where anyone could leave or take books, and I guess periodically the shelves get cleared out with the rest of the trash in the junkyard. Anyway, like most books I get for $1 or less, I stuck it somewhere in my apartment and promptly forgot it existed. I finally got around to looking through it and Gass’s writing is quite interesting.
In this collection is a short work entitled "The Medium of Fiction." It’s brief–only 7 . . . continue reading, and add your comments
The NYTBR has an article on literary journals. It’s pretty much "gee whiz, look at all this QUIRKY stuff going on UNDER THE RADAR." Really, I’d satirize it more but I’m tired. I apologize. (I’ve had a long day.)
"There are more literary magazines out there than ever, and it’s an important part of the literary world’s unsung heroes," said Jeffrey Lependorf, executive director of the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses, founded to help literary magazines compete in the marketplace. "If you’re interested in experimental poetry there’s a journal for you. If you’re interested in Southern culture, . . . continue reading, and add your comments
"There’s more profit in an hour’s talk with Billy Graham than in a reading of Joyce."–Gilbert Sorrentino, Imaginative Qualities of Actual Things___________________________________________
"A friend asked me to explain how we were adapting ["Monty Python's Search for the Holy Grail"] for the stage, and I thought about it and said, ‘O.K., you know how, in the movie, there’s a cow that flies out of a castle and lands on a page? Well, in the musical, the cow has a singing part.’"–Mike Nichols on the upcoming Monty Python Broadway musical, "Spamalot," from The New Yorker, 12/20, 12/27___________________________________________
"Time itself had been . . . continue reading, and add your comments
There’s an interesting discussion going around the blogs on the proper role of book reviews. Dan Green sums the discussion up in this post (I’ve added a comment to Dan’s post, so see that if you’re interested in my take).
BTW, I recently read the infamous McSweeney’s essay on snark. I only mention this because it seems (at least for the time being) inextricably tied to any discussion of what reviews should do. I found the essay a little haphazard. It is very erudite and brings in some good facts, but I didin’t really see it . . . continue reading, and add your comments
John Henry Days, Colson Whitehead (Anchor Books: 2001)
"Race and Modernity in Colson Whitehead’s The Intuitionist", Michael Berube, published in The Holodeck in the Garden: Contemporary American Fiction (Dalkey Archive: 2004)
"E Unibus Pluram", David Foster Wallace, published in A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again (Back Bay Books: 1997)
The Soul of Wit
Right about now, irony and sarcasm are pretty hot stocks. They were the magic at the center of the 1990‚Äôs most popular, and most clever, sit-com (Seinfeld), they‚Äôre used in commercials every day to sell products, and, really, they‚Äôre a big . . . continue reading, and add your comments
After hearing Gilbert Sorrentino’s name tossed around on a couple notable blogs, I knew I would have to check him out sooner or later. I had a few books I wanted to get to before Sorrentino, but last week I finally picked up Imaginative Qualities of Actual Things and so far I have not been disappointed.
I’ll say that Sorrentino’s style takes a minute to get used to. Even though I had heard that he eschews plot and is highly experimental, I still was taken aback by the abrupt shifts and long narrator-reader monologues that often come . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Consider this a service from one reader to another. Although in the abstract the concept of too many books may seem nonsensical (like "too much oxygen"), be forewarned that there is a definite threshold beyond which further accumulation of books can be detrimental. In some cases, it may ruin your life.
It is often difficult to judge for yourself if you have too many books. In fact, one of the most insiduous things about the overaccumulation of books is that you are often not aware that you have a problem until it is too late.
In this spirit, I . . . continue reading, and add your comments
‚ÄúThe room was filled with smoke, dry worn-out smoke retaining in it like a web the insective cadavers of dry husks of words which had been spoken and should be gone, the breaths exhaled not to be breathed again.‚Äù (194)
–William Gaddis, The Recognitions
‚ÄúHands on, garmet off. She had no idea what she wanted him to do, but it was off . . . continue reading, and add your comments