Posts tagged books
Posts tagged books
Good piece by Michael Mechanic from last summer. This bit is particularly fascinating:
MJ: You invent some pretty wild metaphors. Do they just pop into your head?
MC: I’m going to slow this process down, because this all takes place in a second at the most, but normally I have an intuitive sense that something, a visual or a process or whatever it may be, is like something else: This woman’s haircut: I see it in my mind and then I think, “What is it like?” And then I’ll think, “It’s like a Volvo—it’s like the back end of a Volvo from the 1970s.” And then I’ll think, “That’s it!” That’s just right, because I also want to imply that this woman is very cautious and safe, and very white, and very—all the things that come when you think of Volvo.
He makes it sound so easy. The interview also has information on the status of film adaptations of Chabon’s work (spoiler: outlook not so good) and a WW2-era television project he and his wife — Ayelet Waldman — were pitching to HBO and is apparently still in development, or at least something is.
The Lord of the Rings Family Tree Project is a somewhat absurd undertaking by Emil Johannsen to catalog the characters of Tolkien’s Middle-earth and their relationships.
One of the things that’s possible with this database is crunching numbers!
Only 19 percent of the total number of characters are female with the highest percentage among Valar, Maiar and Hobbits.
Important news, however that’s not why I’m linking it. Philip Jones deserves a slap on the wrist and a wag of the finger for penning some truly unfunny, painful suggestions for the name of the resultant company.
(Via Nick Harkaway.)
Wow. Horrifying, nightmarish treatment of a Norwegian woman by Amazon. They wiped her Kindle and closed her account and won’t tell her why. Martin Bekkelund:
As a long-term writer about technology, DRM, privacy and user rights, this Amazon example shows the very worst of DRM. If the retailer, in this case Amazon, thinks you’re a crook, they will throw you out and take away everything that you bought. And if you disagree, you’re totally outlawed. Not only is your account closed, all your books that you paid for are gone. With DRM, you don’t buy and own books, you merely rent them for as long as the retailer finds it convenient.
I understand why these total silence policies are in place — to keep crooks from getting a leg up on anti-fraud measures — but they are totally inhumane. This is a real woman’s account.
Michael Chabon’s new book, Telegraph Avenue, came out last week. He’s a pretty cool guy and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy.
James Sullivan of Rolling Stone conducted a short Q&A with Chabon about promotion, inspiration, and this:
I have a turntable within an arm’s reach in my office, but I find myself resorting to the ease of clicking on iTunes. It’s a pain in the neck to flip the album every 20 minutes.
Well, if you look at it that way, yes. But dude, let me tell you, you need to get up every 20 minutes. And sitting [at a computer] is bad for your hands, your wrists and your arms, and bad for your circulation. And now they’re starting to say people who spend their day sitting in a chair may live less long. At this point it has become a habit for me. The record ends and I get up, go to the bathroom, get a drink of water, stretch a little bit. Then I flip the record over or put a new one on. I incorporated it into my routine. Sometimes the writing is going really well, and I sit there a little while longer, and then at some point I notice the silence and I get up.
Speaking of Junot Díaz, here’s another interview this time with Nicholas Wrote in The Guardian:
He says his remarkable use of language – his Spanglish is just one example of worlds colliding – was part of an attempt to unite the various parts of himself. “I was from a very strict and conformist family, so it wasn’t even permissible to cohere between home and the streets. Then came college and so on. In artistic terms it took a lot longer to work out than it should have. There are protocols in writing that are used to simplify things. It takes a while for an artist to work out that they can be broken. One of the contradictions of America’s insane capitalism is that you will meet people like me who have lived in three or four worlds. Maybe it’s to do with the fact that I’m straight and male, but I never saw any value in sealing off my background. I was critical, but I never felt one of the options was to entirely reject it. But it did take a long time for me to talk to my friends at home about the kind of books I read and the kind of politics I was interested in at college. It also took a long time for me to take my home into this larger and more intellectual world.”
Dude just rocks so much. Read his books — there are only two and they are both amazing.
When I heard they were adapting Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell’s 2004 incredible, six-stories-in-one novel, I was really sad. The book seems almost impossible to adapt to the screen. But the more I learned about the project the more excited I’ve gotten. Tom Twyker and the Wachowskis in charge? Maybe it’ll work.
Now we’re finally getting to see our first look and holy crapola does it look awesome. I really hope the five-minute trailer is indicative of the rest of the movie being just as gigantic — nothing less for this amazing book.
For those who haven’t read it, the basic premise of Cloud Atlas is that it tells six stories, but the stories are each split in two so we read six beginnings and six endings. What’s more, each story is linked to the previous one — sometimes the previous story is actually written in a diary or letters, but some of them are more out there, like a film or an oral history. It sounds hokey but the device serves the central themes of the book — one of things Mitchell loves exploring is lives jutting up against each other, intersecting but never quite fully joining.
The idea that we are fundamentally and definitionally alone, yet live our whole lives seeking to be connected, to be heard, should be a familiar theme to readers of David Foster Wallace, and those readers will definitely enjoy Mitchell’s work. He has a gift for language, and each of the six stories is written in a completely different prose style and told in a completely different genre, spanning from Melvillean sea adventure to modern thriller pulp to full-blown science fiction. Seriously, so damn good.
Jordan Stratford is writing a children’s book about the fictional adventures of young Ada Lovelace and young Mary Shelley.
This is the made up story about two very real girls – Ada, the world’s first computer programmer, and Mary, the world’s first science fiction author – caught up in a steampunk world of hot-air balloons and steam engines, jewel thieves and mechanical contraptions. For readers 8-12.
This is a pro-math, pro-science, pro-history and pro-literature adventure novel for and about girls, who use their education to solve problems and catch a jewel thief. Ada and Mary encounter real historical characters, such as Percy Shelley, Charles Babbage, Michael Faraday, and Charles Dickens – people whom the girls actually knew. If Jane Austen wrote about zeppelins and brass goggles, this would be the book.
Wait, this is on Kickstarter. IT CAN BE FUNDED
Did you ever read Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark? Collection of American folk scary stories written by Alvin Schwartz and frighteningly, staying-awake-all-nightingly illustrated by Stephen Gammell.
HarperCollins has reprinted a thirtieth anniversary edition of it, with new illustrations by Brett Helquist. Here’s a kind of rage-y comparison of the art changes.
A three-story sculpture “tower of books” representing over 15,000 titles that have been written about Abraham Lincoln, are part of an exhibit at the Ford’s Theatre Center for Education and Leadership in Washington on Wednesday. The new museum, located across from Ford’s Theatre and next door to the house where Lincoln died, will open in time for President’s Day.