Recent Posts

Friday, March 19, 2010

Mad as a Hatter

Here's a nice little creampuff from the New York Times about the origins of the Mad Hatter from Lewis Carroll's Alice books.

You can read the article here.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

In the end everything goes bye bye

Yes, even your precious CDs will decay eventually. As books and writing are brought into the digital age, several questions crop up: Are words less meaningful because they are so impermanent? Is the internet going to turn into a giant dustheap of information, unintelligible as broken hieroglyphs to anyone in the future? How do we keep the important stuff from decaying or getting lost in the shuffle?

The question that is interesting me most right now is the safety of the massive amount of digital information created today. Who is protecting this information and are we, as a culture, perhaps a little to comfortable with the permanence of our digital world? Is it hubris to feel safe with so much of our cultural heritage sitting on magnified material when the Earth is one big magnet?

Patricia Cohen of the New York Times delves into these questions directly here.

And here's a blog entry from the blog, Time, Etc., discussing the various lengths of time digital media takes to decompose.

Where do old web pages go when they die? Who knows, but a lot of them* can be viewed here.

And finally The Gutenberg Project is, thankfully, taking old books (as long as there isn't an existing copyright, e.g. Kafka, Shakespeare, Emerson, etc.) and doing their damnedest to make sure they don't disappear. You can visit the Project here.


*About 150 billion, to be exact.

Jonsi

Many of you may not be aware that I am practically obsessed with the Icelandic band Sigur Ros. They are ethereal, other-worldly, and absolutely gorgeous. If you haven't heard them you can check out some of their best songs at the links below.

The lead singer of the band, Jon Thor Birgisson has begun a solo group called Jonsi and you can check out the first single from his upcoming album, titled "Boy Lilikoi" here. Jonsi appears to have a bit of a poppier sound than Sigur Ros, but it is still incredible. They will be doing a small North American tour coming up, so if you like it make sure to check out one of the shows. I've seen Sigur Ros twice and I can only imagine what Jon has up his sleeve with this group.

As promised here are some links to Sigur Ros songs:

"Hoppipola" from Takk...
"Glosoli" from Takk...
"Untitled 1" from Untitled

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Where's the work?

Jennifer Scheussler of the New York Times asks why the workplace has disappeared from modern novels. She argues that work used to be an integral part of a character's character, but now what someone does doesn't seem to matter more than their hair color. Does this sound right to you? Should work be in modern fiction more, or do you think most people are so sick of work by the time they get home that the last thing they want is to read about it?

You can read the article here.

Christina Henriquez and the big debut

Despite having a tremendous amount of success with her first couple books, Christina Henriquez, woke up one day and asked her husband whether writing was what she was supposed to do for the rest of her life. This is a good read for those of you who, if you're like me, have those moments of despair when all your efforts seem in vain. Do not give up, brothers and sisters. It is worth it. I promise.

You can read the article about how Christina pulled herself out of it from the Chicago Tribune here.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Writing Life As Exile

Dani Shapiro, the extraordinarily successful memoirist, wrote recently in the LA Times about how much more difficult it is for an author to receive the support and backing required to develop one's craft in today's uber-blockbuster publishing market. The read is quick but pointed, and Shapiro tries at the end to keep the essay from being too depressing. She doesn't really succeed but I think this is an important message for new authors to hear: It will be hard whether you "make it" or not, so keep your eyes on the prize and keep on writing.

You can read the essay here.

Monday, March 15, 2010

SPOGG

Grammar is important. Especially to writers. And especially to the members of the Society for the Protection of Good Grammar (SPOGG). Started by Martha Brockenbrough as a means for Grammarians to get together and poke fun at the crumbling lexicographic infrastructure of the English-speaking world, SPOGG members contribute to the blog and Martha has just released a hilarious new book titled Things That Make Us [SIC]. They are also the founders of National Grammar Day, which happens to be...well, TODAY!!!

So hug the Militant Grammarian closest to you, and be grateful someone cares about this stuff. Cuz Lrd nos we doesn't.

Check out SPOGG here.