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.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Library arranged by color, plus a pug

This is the stuff dreams are made of. Of which dreams are made.


As for the image: My apologies to Laughing Squid, but no Youtube clip or Google image search could beat XKCD on this occasion.

Laughing Squid has alerted me that Friday the 13th is upon us, and you know what that means? It's time to celebrate 1234567890 Day, the anniversary of Unix Time (which has been going up every second since 1970).

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Dentist Fear Girl

Picture via

Dentist fear girl
starved to death

Check out the headline from Language Hat, and the story in Sky News. (Thanks, Hilary.)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Subway knitting

A particularly nice post by Every Person In New York.

Plimpton Prize and latex leggings

Factory photo via Bouncing Red Ball.

Peter Matthiesson loves you, Alistair Morgan.

It's cute that you can write a whole article about letter-writing making a comeback without any evidence to support it. (via The Elegant Variation)

In old news, everyone seems mystified by The Way We'll All Make Billions On the Internet.

MIA might be an apologist for the Tamil Tigers, but she is indubitably pregnant.

Two great links from BoingBoing: photographs of factories in Japan, and of a broken-down hospital in Maryland.

Oh! And one more! I've been meaning to post recipes for making your own toothpaste, laundry detergent, etc., but BoingBoing links to How To Make Your Own Latex Leggings, which seem to be a New York essential these days. You're welcome.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

RIP Joe Ades

The greatest peeler in all of Union Square.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Please don't close, Terrace Bagels!

Photo via Yelp.

Word on the street is Terrace Bagels is closed "for a while."

This is the most important restaurant in all of Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Rocks coffee is delicious, and there's nothing like a fresh (boiled!) bagel just out of the oven. Send them happy thoughts, please.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Via this.

(Thanks, Elaine!)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Monday, February 2, 2009

Get well soon, publishing world

Image via UCL Institute of Child Health.

How did Houghton get in this mess? Not, it seems, because of bad publishing.