Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Book dissections

Brian Dettmer blows my mind! He does great stuff with cassette tapes, too (thanks, Gene!).

Friday, August 14, 2009

Smell of Books

Now you can finally enjoy reading e-books without giving up the smell you love so much. With Smell of Books™ you can have the best of both worlds, the convenience of an e-book and the smell of your favorite paper book.

Smell of Books™ is compatible with a wide range of e-reading devices and e-book formats and is 100% DRM-compatible. Whether you read your e-books on a Kindle or an iPhone using Stanza, Smell of Books™ will bring back that real book smell you miss so much. (Thanks, Kat.)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

In B Flat

In the mood for a little music In B Flat?

Colm Toibin

Colm Toibin has the best interviews of anyone I've read of late. The comment about getting no pleasure from writing was incredible, and this bit about being bald as well as gay was a nice zinger.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

"The world is peopled by ghosts."

"The Office Girl," a short story by Joe Meno.

Delicious words

The Language Log article mentions the word "kumquat," which makes me think of this little girl's face.


The Language Log on word attraction.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Friday, May 8, 2009

May 7

By Embloggery.

I've been working for years to get the job offer I got yesterday.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Letter by Strange Letter

Have I mentioned I finally fulfilled my dream of starting a blog of alphabets?

Just alphabets.

Sometimes blogs are better when they're simple.

Flying Dreams

My boss tipped me off to this series by Tabitha Vevers, titled "Flying Dreams." She painted all sorts of people's dreams about flying - simple but delicious, isn't it?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Kindle is bigger, not better

I get it, Amazon. You hired Toni Morrison and Steven King to advertise for you. But a bigger screen doesn't add the color photos or interactive elements a handheld reading device could offer. Let me know when the price drops lower than $500 and the design is a little more attractive. The pink doesn't help much of anything, even if it makes Steven King smile.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Before the notebook computer there was:

Noteboek from Evelien Lohbeck on Vimeo.

Brilliant little video with a high-tech little black notebook. (via BookFutures)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

James Wood finger drums

James Wood's finger drumming, analyzed by Alex Rose for Opium Magazine.

I had the pleasure of seeing Wood lecture at Columbia in a very crowded seminar room just a few weeks ago. Everyone held her breath while he talked. If only they'd seen him drum!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Thursday, April 23, 2009

It's almost summertime

If a stop-motion video of Morocco doesn't make you ready for summer vacation, try Stuart Gibson's photos of the ocean. (via NotCom)

Peter Kaplan

Sorry to hear that Peter Kaplan is stepping down from The New York Observer. I liked him enormously when he lectured last summer at the CPC. Hope the paper will survive without his guidance.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

On keeping things separate

Image via ThomasMoronic.

I had with me a copy of Le Rouge et le noir. He riffled the pages. Do you like this?

Yes. I read it first in Arabic. Now I'm rereading it in French. And I added: Julien's family life is like my own in some ways. One thing in particular is almost identical: Monsieur Sorel bound out his son Julien to the mayor of the town for three hundred francs a year, and my father rented me for thirty pesetas a month to a hashish-smoker who ran a cafe in the quarter of Ain Khabbaz where we lived in Tetuan.

I see your trouble. And you're not the only one. You'll never find beauty in literature that way. You shouldn't read with that sort of thing in mind, with the idea that the life of one or another protagonist has something to do with your own life. You have to keep things separate. Your life is nobody else's life.

-Jean Genet in Tangier by Mohamed Choukri, translated by Paul Bowles (page 7)

Collective Yawn

Peter Funch takes photos on New York street corners and pastes them into single photographs. (via Kottke)


by ReadingWritingLiving.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Advice for surviving your 20s from Catherine Bohne

WHY did I start working in the bookstore? When I discovered the bookstore, in my early 20's, it was the sole (it seems to me now) haven from the terrors of trying to figure out how to live and be a grownup—life was hard and scary, expensive and confusing, and I seemed to find myself in one situation after another that I'd thought I wanted but didn't really suit me at all…the bookstore was simply the one place that felt calm and sane, peaceful and welcoming. I applied for the weekend job on a whim, got it, and just never left. Whenever other opportunities would come up I'd find that if I was honest, I'd really rather live in the world of the bookstore, and so although it sometimes seemed irresponsible (or at least quixotic) I just stayed and stayed—moving into positions of increasing authority seemed to happen naturally. And now I own it!

Interview on Bookslut with the owner of the Park Slope Community Bookstore (one of my favorite bookstores in the world), Catherine Bohne. (via Three Percent)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Thursday, April 2, 2009

L.A. Weekly on golden anniversary of Raymond Chandler's death

Judith Freeman on the 50th anniversary of Raymond Chandler's death:
Chandler understood how loneliness would become our new modern disease, the condition of a whole culture. It’s the source of much of the controlled, half-poetical emotion that lies at the heart of Marlowe and of every Chandler story.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Choire Sicha is writing a book!

Thank you, publishing world, for this gift. I told you you'd have my money the day you found a way for me to give back to Choire Sicha. Now I have something to daydream about during my night job.

"It used to be, you came to New York and you got a job as an assistant, and sooner or later you got to have part of your boss’s job and you moved up," Mr. Sicha said. "There was sort of a continuum. There was a thing called a career in New York."

Not anymore.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Just look


Pi Day and a weekend of baking

They are sold out of buttermilk in my section of Brooklyn, so that meant no soda bread baking today. Instead of buttermilk scones (another thought), I tried cream scones, which are lackluster but taste very nice with strawberry rhubarb jam.

I've now made three chocolate bourbon truffle-turtle tortes in approximately two days. I don't recommend the recipe unless you own a candy thermometer. It's clearly an excellent pie, it's just difficult to get the caramel to the right consistency when you're unsure of its temperature. (A friend also told me that you're not supposed to stir it at all, which is not what this recipe says.) I tried cooking it for some hours on Friday night, but it never held together. Tonight it again took an hour, but it was much closer to real caramel. I think it is only supposed to boil for about eight minutes, but the recipe is not specific. I tried a new baker's chocolate for the top layer tonight and it didn't turn out so smoothly as chocolate chips did on Friday.

I also tried the Darn Good Chocolate Cake recipe from the Cake Doctor, which seems to have come out well. I suspect I would trust this cookbook to care for my firstborn, had I a firstborn. So darn good.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

One in 8 Million

Screenshot via Swissmiss.

One in 8 Million, brief oral histories with New Yorkers, including slideshows of black-and-white photographs. Pure magic. Thank you, New York Times online.

On the subject of Atlas

Atlas Shrugged sales are up. BookNinja suggests it's because of the economy. I think it is probably because of Bioshock.

Stop using Twitter for advertising and make your books into video games. This will generate real revenue, publishing industry, and will allow your authors/readers/players to delve further into the worlds you create.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Can be used to write a phone number or e-mail, wipe your nose, place your gum in, make mini-footballs, write secret messages...

Via At Home At Home.

Orphaned books

Image credit goes to Loxosceles on Flickr.

Brewster Kahle responds to the Google news. If all goes well for Google, it could have exclusive digital rights to out-of-print books. (Thanks, Dan.)

Colm Toibin

Image via The New York Times.

Interview with Colm Toibin (call-um toe-BEEN) in the Manchester Review. Definitely a fun one - starts with Vonnegut's rules of writing and some praise for Flannery O'Connor, then evolves into a nice (though mildly grumpy) interview.

Grammar noir

Language Log celebrates National Grammar Day. (Image via LafterHall.)

What's black and white and read all over?

Image via Ranting and Raving.

Google has a $7 million ad campaign running in newspapers, among them the New York Times Review of Books and the Poetry Review in Britain. The idea is to reach out to the readers out there who are wary of the terms of GoogleBooks. Newspapers reporting this story sound gleeful.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Monday, March 2, 2009

Snow ice cream

This is kinda gross in New York, but in Kansas, it sounds great. The Kitchn suggests to serve it with dulche de leche, which I always boiled for three hours, but I guess you can make in just one. It's sweetened condensed milk boiled in a can. Might melt the snow ice cream really fast, but it's probably worth it. Mmm.

Chickens walking backward

Flannery. A profile and sort-of book review from The New York Times.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Changing the world

Here's a list of books that "changed the world." (via Kottke)

In love with A. Lincoln: new post on the Pursuit of Happiness blog

I may post every time Maira Kalman posts just to make sure you don't miss a single moment of her blog. I suggest you read her newest post while listening to Best Friends Forever.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

On the future of digital reading and writing

One of my recent columnist crushes is Roy Blount Jr., who wrote a piece about the Kindle for the NYT that states bluntly the same concern every writer has: how is the digital world going to screw us? His answer, for now, is that the rights for audio books need some sort of protection. At the present time, there is no court ruling on how digital devices may use audio rights.

A sort of poem about Born Digital projects by Stephanie Strickland. (via Silliman's blog)

ShortReads launches today. It's like GoodReads, but designed for mobile devices. The idea of using one program on any device is a good one, but I will admit that I think there are better ways to do such a thing. For example, buying directly from a publisher would put you in contact with the community that makes the books you like happen. There are ways to nurture this relationship to work to both parties' advantages. And having a distributor between the two can have disadvantages (cuts the amount the publisher and writer are making, for instance) as well as advantages (I've posted before that we don't have The Perfect book-sharing social network).

A year ago, I would have loved this. Since I tried to enter the industry, it makes me nervous. I don't want a program like this to be successful until it incorporates all of the elements it has the potential to use, because consumers will resist it and it will be even harder to win back their trust. Already the word "e-book" makes people think of the ugly first model of the Kindle, and if Authors' Guilds and writers become convinced that they're losing business to technology, the digital world will lose its most valuable readers and its most creative writers. If we're going to do this, we need to do it well. We need to sort out rights before we lose writers, and we need to add multimedia elements that enhance the reading experience, instead of reading glorified (and expensive) PDFs. Where's the excitement in that?

The Diggers

20 papayas planted in the ground for public nurturing and consumption. A piece by Gaye Chan and Nandita Sharma, deconstructed very intelligently In The Conversation.


YES YES YES! Congrats to Joseph O'Neill, winner of the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award! A well-deserved victory.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Soon the artists will all have to move to the Financial District because rent on apartments in Brooklyn is the only rent that isn't plummeting in this economy.

Since we're on the subject of eating

Unearthed an interview with Anurdha Mittal published in The Sun a few years ago. She speaks simply about why world hunger is not caused by a shortage of food. I can't believe I haven't read this sooner.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Saturday, February 21, 2009

When he was 8 years old

I'm terribly sorry to be That Picky Grammarian, but here is a sentence from today's Gothamist:
Zolezzi's father committed suicide when he was 8-years-old by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge.
This is a textbook case - no, it is almost precisely the sentence my ninth-grade English teacher used to show us the meaning of a subject of a sentence.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Some of the branches of this tree produce lemons, others oranges

Image via Old Roads.

Tayeb Salih, author of Season of Migration to the North, has passed away. His prose is elegantly translated into English by Denys Johnson-Davies, and is an absolute treat. You can read Season of Migration in just an hour or two - I highly recommend it. More on Salih is available at Laila Lalami.
It's a long story, but I won't tell you everything. Some details won't be of great interest to you, but others...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Bringing complete sentences back to the White House

Obama's sentence is declared "grammatically sound." I think it's worth pointing out grammar when it's admirable, and not just incorrect. It's just so hard to resist the latter. (On a side note, I heard someone yesterday say her husband was going to "talk his arm off." Isn't that lovely?)

'Tis the season

Anna Wintour is losing two of her three assistants. Think you're up to the job?

In other news, 20-somethings need health insurance

Image via Lawsome.
We're all very nervous about being hit by cabs right now. Especially because our entry-level jobs have been cut since the economy crashed. And we don't have savings to fall back upon.
“There was no way that I could pay my rent, buy insurance and eat.”

Blogs are nice sometimes

Image via Art Review.
and how did all those books start? in the kitchen of the murray house, and then somehow charles wallace and meg always goes for a walk to the star-watching rock. thats how they start. one foot in front of the other. and you know, like 3 immortal beings and a unicorn or a seraphim thrown in there. (and someone in the murray family is always making someone else hot cocoa. swear to god). they become about love and time travel and getting back to something like trust and grace with things that are familiar, and so readily problematic to the larger society. like dirty gay bathroom sex, for example. that the relativity of connection has no underlying foundation, there's no ethics to breathing so why can't that be so for love.