Peripatetic, itinerant, eclectic musings about books, politics, history, language, culture, and anything else that interests me.
When a tendency toward procrastination meets clinical depression, this is what you get.
Alan Bennett in The Telegraph writes about his lifetime love affair with libraries, “and argues that access to a book-lined haven is as important for a child today as it has ever been.”
What are Little Free Libraries? They are book receptacles in the form of miniature libraries that people put on their lawns and fill with books — and apparently it’s an idea whose time has come.
Dr. Juan Cole, the well-known political blogger and University of Michigan professor, wrote in Truthdig about “Reading in the New Millennium.”
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if someone could bottle that wonderful aroma of a used bookstore or a library, or just of the way a book smells when you hold it to your nose. Well, “renegade perfumer Christopher Brosius has done just that.”
There was a time in my life, many years ago, when I was enthralled with gothic romances, and read every Phyllis Whitney, Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart, et al., book I could lay my hands on. My tastes run more to nonfiction and literary novels now, but after reading this article from last Valentine’s Day about why romance novels are so enduringly beloved, maybe I’ll try that genre again.
On November 15, 2011, NYC police raided Zuccotti Park, where Occupy Wall Street protesters had been encamped for several weeks, and among other things, confiscated over 5,000 books that were part of a free People’s Library created entirely by donations from protesters, and threw them into garbage trucks and dumpsters. Only a little over 1,000 books were recovered, despite Mayor Bloomberg’s promise that all of the books were safely stored in NYPD warehouses. This article recounts how a group of volunteer OWS librarians reconstituted and recreated that library.
After Vaclav Havel — the celebrated writer, political dissident, and the ninth and final president of the former Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic) — died in December of last year, The New Yorker‘s David Remnick put together a list of Havel’s writings and of Havel’s own favorite books and writers.
The editors at Farrar, Straus and Giroux put together an end-of-year list of about 25 FSG authors’ lists of their favorite books from 2011.
On the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, The Atlantic published a fascinating collection of articles by famous writers of that time.
NPR Books reviews a first novel called Girlchild, about a “trailer trash tyke named Rory Dawn” who “finds consolation in books,” and whose “Bible of choice is a tattered old copy of The Girl Scout Handbook.”
Adam Gopnik at The New Yorker reviews a book by Elaine Pagels about Revelations — the last book in the Christian Bible. Also at The New Yorker, Sasha Weiss reviews Jonathan Safran Foer and Nathan Englander’s new haggadah called, appropriately enough, The New American Haggadah. It is, Weiss writes, “a haggadah for the Internet age.”
Tom Bissell’s new essay collection, Magic Hours, attempts to answer the question “What makes people want to make art?”
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