• In the words of one starry-eyed journalist, “The library of the future will be one which any man can carry under his arm.” Not a bad prediction for 1878.

    Bottled Authors: The predigital dream of the audiobook | Cabinet

  • It’s hard to think of any similarly productive, commercial novelist today who speaks so vigorously against religious and political pieties.

    Those couple adjectives act as pretty strong qualifiers, but point taken.

    Graham Greene Against the World | The New Republic

  • …Packard and Montgomery had taken pains to author their stories without any assumptions about the reader’s gender, and in Cave of Time neither the text nor artwork betrays this conceit[.]

    Marketing ended that progressive approach.

    1979: The Cave of Time | 50 Years of Text Games

  • My top-of-my head nominations:

    • John Dos Passos’ U.S.A.
    • Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War
    • John Layman’s Chew
    • Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49

    Ars’ plea: Someone make this into a series | Ars Technica

  • Three children’s books for Veterans Day.

  • Last night I started reorganizing a bookcase. The question is: Do I now reorganize every bookcase in the house?

  • If there’s one positive thing I can point to, right now, about my readiness for the next few weeks, it’s that I have the tsundoku equivalent of Joseph’s silos.

  • Her uncle is reading her Brian Floca’s wonderful Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11. She looks up & says:

    “I don’t want to go to outer space because I’m still a little kid.”

  • The “U.S.A.” novels plumbed the depths of our rifts, and explored how they might be widened by a media-saturated age, and by the fragmentation of information and the latent social hysteria that come with it.

    What John Dos Passos’s “1919” Got Right About 2019 | New Yorker

  • Is it evening reading time yet?

  • The stuff was like nitric acid, and moreover, in swallowing it one had the sensation of being hit on the back of the head with a rubber club.

    Imitation Gin from George Orwell’s 1984 | How to Drink [YouTube]

    A chemistry professor speculates on Victory Gin’s “oily” quality.

  • My Kindle Keyboard turns nine this month. It’s not perfect, but its designers got plenty right. Its weight-saving materials & size limit fatigue. Physical buttons allow me to read & hold hands at the same time. I hope device makers occasionally revisit these old designs.

  • Without prompting, my daughter brought out her cardboard box “spaceship” today. She hasn’t played with it in months, & we haven’t talked about today’s significance. She did this on her own.

    We’ll be reading some Evoloterra-themed books this evening before bedtime.

  • It’s been quite some time since I have felt such revulsion for an “author” as I am experiencing with Bill Browder, whose Red Notice pushes just about all of my buttons. His criticisms of Putin have merit, but to describe the him as an “imperfect vessel” would gild the lily.

  • It’s obsolete the moment each entry is finalized, but there’s still something to be said for a physical copy of one of these. This edition was published in 1975; my colleagues & I still occasionally reference it. I wish we also had a full set of the Great Soviet Encyclopedia.

  • Although American fiction is neither bad nor withering, there is a lurking suspicion … that without international literature, we end up writing the same things in the same ways over and over again.

    Will Translated Fiction Ever Really Break Through? | Vulture

  • Every page of The Overstory I read pushes me further & further toward silence. It’s not imposing a mute helplessness; it’s asking me to hear the world vanish in the swell of our cacophony.

    If I care about my daughter, this might be one of the most important books I read.

  • With The Overstory, Powers has not created a fable so much as translated reality into a compelling system of belief.

    Halfway through The Overstory, I’m thoroughly enthralled.

    Writing the Pulitzer-Winning The Overstory Changed Richard Powers’s Life | The Atlantic (Spoilers!)

  • Staying up late on a snowy April night to listen to Keith Jarrett & fall a bit more in love with Richard Powers’ The Overstory.

  • So it goes. They have been dying in my mind every day for the last 14 years. I suspect they will do so until I’ve exhausted my own days on this earth. This is my moment trapped in amber.

    Kevin Powers reflects on “The ‘Moral Clarity’ of ‘Slaughterhouse-Five’ at 50” | NYT

  • If I’m writing a book I tend to secrecy, but when I’m translating one I’ll rope in anyone useful. My plumber provided diagrams when I was working on a short story about a piece of jewellery lost in an S-bend.

    Between worlds: in praise of the literary translator | Prospect

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