***Interesting Articles, Part One***

DiscussãoClub Read 2019

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***Interesting Articles, Part One***

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Editado: Dez 23, 2018, 12:48pm

If you run across an interesting article about a book, an author interview, a tantalizing book list or just anything that you found interesting and that is at least tangentially sort of literary, please link to it here.

I'll start us out with something I've just read. It's a superlatively good article by Jessmyn Ward about racism and poverty in Mississippi and her decision to raise her children there. This isn't a new article, but it was new to me.


Dez 31, 2018, 6:53am

>1 RidgewayGirl: That was heartbreaking!

Jan 1, 2019, 1:16pm

Jan 1, 2019, 3:37pm

A friend shared this the other day https://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/277273/the-new-york-times-just-published-an-unq...
and then there's this sort-of followup about it. https://forward.com/opinion/416284/alice-walkers-conspiracy-theories-arent-just-...

Really disappointing. I never got around to The color purple yet though of course it's been on my get-to-someday list for ages, but now I won't touch it. Such a shame. :(

Jan 1, 2019, 3:59pm

>4 .Monkey.: Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

Jan 1, 2019, 10:40pm

>4 .Monkey.: saw that story. Really disappointing both of Walker and the NY Times.

Jan 3, 2019, 10:29am

>4 .Monkey.: Ugh is right.

Editado: Jan 3, 2019, 4:53pm

>4 .Monkey.: That is disgusting and reprehensible. I'll get rid of the two books I own by Alice Walker, and I won't ever read anything else by her.

ETA: I missed this, but the NYT featured an article last month in which Walker responded to the controversy, and her support for David Icke:

Alice Walker, Answering Backlash, Praises Anti-Semitic Author as ‘Brave’

I absolutely hated her misportrayal of Black men in the movie based on her novel The Color Purple, so much so that I got into a heated argument about it with my girlfriend outside of the theater we saw it in, and we broke up on the spot. Because of that very negative experience I haven't read anything by her, so I won't miss anything by not reading her work.

Jan 3, 2019, 8:35pm

>8 kidzdoc: Can’t process... 😡

Jan 3, 2019, 8:44pm

>4 .Monkey.: Nylah Burton also added a pretty powerful article to the whole mess: Alice Walker’s Terrible Anti-Semitic Poem Felt Personal — to Her and to Me - which is how I caught wind of this disaster.

I am a bit conflicted. I had not read The Color Purple yet but it had been recommended by a lot of friends. On one hand, I find Walker's latest display unforgivable. On the other hand, I had read books from authors that I despise as human beings - because sometimes it is all about the story and good storytellers can separate themselves from their stories (and I had been taught not to search the authors behind the stories). I almost wish we did not have that much access to the authors... almost. I probably won't read it anytime soon but I am still trying to decide in my head (and heart) if I can separate the author from her work here.

Editado: Jan 3, 2019, 9:06pm

>8 kidzdoc: What's even more bizarre is that Alice Walker's first husband was the Jewish civil rights activist and lawyer Mel Leventhal. They had one daughter together, Rebecca Walker, and in her book Black, White and Jewish Rebecca wrote about the neglect she suffered at the hands of her mother, who spent her time on her writing career and in constantly belittling her daughter. Alice denies these accusations, and the two have been estranged for many years.

I had forgotten about this until I read that article and Alice Walker's Wikipedia page. She's nearly as much of a monster as V.S. Naipaul was, and maybe more so.

Jan 4, 2019, 10:12am

>8 kidzdoc: /11 Oh man. I don't think I've actually ever seen the movie, mainly due to when it came out (I was just a few yrs old) combined with being a weighty topic. Of course as an adult I've always meant to watch it, but somehow, as with the book, simply hadn't gotten there yet. More negatives from her just confirms my decision that there's more than enough other wonderful things out there to read/watch, I can happily give hers a miss!

>10 AnnieMod: One of my friends on the only social media site I use (discounting LT, of course, which has social aspects but is first & foremost about the books!) is a major activist, like, she no longer works but that used to be her actual job (and she still does some phone work and such when there's something(/someone) that she feels strongly about), so she really keeps abreast of what's going on and is my main source of info on a lot of news, heh.
I know what you mean, there's times it's really crushing to find out someone who has been such a big deal, or who you really admire, etc, is actually a pretty terrible human being. :| It makes me really sad to have to write off people I'd thought were so great. But, on the other hand, particularly for those still living, I'm really glad to be able to choose not to support them, too. And in this case, there's plenty of other books I can read written by wonderful black authors/humans instead, and kidzdoc's focus on that has given me a great big list to add, too! :D

>11 kidzdoc: Oh no, I know nothing of Naipaul other than the name, what did he do?

Jan 4, 2019, 11:41am

>12 .Monkey.: Naipaul was an arrogant, misogynistic asshole, to just sum it up briefly. I still like his writing, but I can't read (or reread) any of his non-fiction anymore.

>10 AnnieMod: It's a weird thing to like a work by a problematic author. I'm more willing to set aside the histories of dead authors, although not for every single one of them, than I am for living writers, especially when the transgression is not regretted or acknowledged. But it's a complex question - why am I willing to give some authors passes and others not at all?

Jan 4, 2019, 12:16pm

>13 RidgewayGirl: Ah, well, good to know! I think I may have picked up one or possibly two of his novels 2ndhand but not read yet. Don't think I'll be getting any others!

Yeah it's difficult. For some I basically give them a pass, for the time they were writing, even if it's not like they couldn't have known better, but if whatever their issue was was something "everyone" at the time was thinking, well alright, I'll still keep it in mind but won't completely hold it against them for just going with the masses. But if they're like full-out awful, then no, I probably won't give them the time of day, unless possibly they're someone with a huuuge cultural impact, like Lovecraft (who I've still not gotten around to yet but do own and plan to at least start in on sooner than later). But then there's the occasional author who even though I ought to totally dislike them, I simply can't. Like Nabokov. I know he was shitty about women (though he did at least seem to really love his wife and considered her worthy, but I'm pretty sure she's the only woman he thought had any sense at all), but he was so damn brilliant, I just can't manage to hold anything against him. But pretty much anyone modern, any kind of bigotry/-ism found in their work or life is almost surely a write-off.

Jan 4, 2019, 1:03pm

>12 .Monkey.: >13 RidgewayGirl:
Which is why I am conflicted... The story itself is the same as yesterday - it is the person that had written it that had changed (or revealed what they are). Welcome to the era of information I guess...

Jan 4, 2019, 1:32pm

Interesting discussion. What if it were a gem of a writer who did this? I think it takes an odd self-confidence to be an ambitious fiction writer, and that leads to quirks. But counter-factual conspiracy theories driving a mindset of racial implications and hate - today that kind of stuff is harder for me to manage than maybe it once was.

Jan 5, 2019, 1:38am

>15 AnnieMod: Welcome to the era of information

Yes, this is a really difficult one. In many ways it’s the same as the old dilemma about whether it’s OK to enjoy Wagner. And there’s still no easy answer to that one: everyone has to come to their own conclusion about it, ideally whilst still managing to respect the views of those who come to the opposite conclusion...

On the whole, I’ve always tried to stick to the line that the writer’s personal morals and political views are irrelevant to the quality of the work, and that bias I know about can’t hurt me. And that stupid things people said or did when they were very young or very old are not necessarily representative anyway.

But of course, that’s easier said than done. If I know that someone is a racist, homophobic, wife-beating religious fundamentalist who voted for Hitler, Brexit and Donald Trump, then of course I’m not going to be super-motivated to read their books. And even if I’m confident that they won’t convert me to the bigoted views I now know they hold, I have to consider whether I’m in danger of adding legitimacy to those views by buying those books or talking about them (even in a negative way).

Jan 5, 2019, 3:02am

>17 thorold: As always, there are subtleties. One is, are/were the author's view typical of her/his time? Racism and sexism in old books is somewhat easier to handle, I find, if I can say that the views were typical of the time. I don't object too strongly to Fanny Mendelssohn's publishing her music under her brother Felix's name because that was how things were at the time. It's much harder to take that Boosey & Hawkes lost interest in Margaret Sutherland's compositions in the 1930s when they found out that "M. Sutherland" was a woman.

Another is, will I contribute to supporting those racist etc views? For a living author, if I buy his or her works I am to some extent encouraging whatever views she or he holds. I suspect I won't be buying Alice Walker's books any time soon. To take a slightly more distant example, I might have been moved to dip into L. Ron Hubbard's science fiction a little, if only out of curiosity, but I am most certainly not going to buy the books (not even used!) because by doing so I would be supporting his lunatic views. (Even though he is dead, his copyrights still exist and are presumably being used to support his religious activities.)

And I don't listen to Wagner, partly because he was a pompous ass and various kinds of unpleasant, but also because I find his music godawful tedious. I've often wondered why the composition that was played outside Cosima Wagner's bedroom on Christmas morning 1870 was called the Siegfried Idyll and not the Cosima Idyll, since it was officially her birthday present.

Editado: Jan 7, 2019, 6:25pm

I spent time the last two days considering the issue of Walker and the Times. My first thought was that they should have included a response to the book, but that might have opened a Pandora's box that could end very poorly. In the end I decided that as appalling as it is, her inclusion of the book is actually a worthwhile thing to have happened. Look how many of us had no idea what her real beliefs were. If anything, she's laid herself open for a very public examination of who she is and what her values are.

I looked around the Times and found a formal response regarding the issue, and it seems they feel somewhat the same (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/18/reader-center/alice-walker-pamela-paul-book-r...). The most relevant part:

Given The Times’s large platform, are there any beliefs that we shouldn’t allow people to espouse?

If people espouse beliefs that anyone at The Times finds to be dangerous or immoral, it’s important for readers to be aware that they hold those beliefs. The public deserves to know. That’s news.

Do we have standards for what, if anything, we wouldn’t include?

By the Book has to be factually accurate and conform to Times style. We check to make sure the interviewee has spelled the name of the author correctly and gotten the title accurately, but we do not investigate the accuracy or assess the quality of the books mentioned.

In retrospect, would you have done anything differently with the column by Ms. Walker?

No. Readers have certainly learned something about the author and her tastes and opinions. I think it’s worthwhile information for them to know.

Our readers are intelligent and discerning. We trust them to sift through something that someone says in an interview, whether it’s the president or a musician or a person accused of sexual harassment, and to judge for themselves: Do I agree with this person?

(I might mention that I loved The Color Purple, book and movie. What a pity Walker has turned out to be so despicable.)

Jan 7, 2019, 6:24pm

On a much more pleasant note, the Times had a lovely article this week about new board books, tested on the author's own 18-month- and three-year-old kids:

Board Books That Let Toddlers Join the Action

Jan 8, 2019, 10:06pm

Does a writer's immorality or prejudices necessarily make his or her books immoral? I don't know the answer, but I sense that the human psyche is pretty complicated and able to hold a lot of good and evil at the same time.

Caravaggio was apparently a rapist and murderer, but there is enough tenderness in his paintings, especially the Crucifixion of St. Peter and Supper at Emmaus, to make me weep.

Jan 8, 2019, 10:09pm

>20 auntmarge64: Thanks, Aunt Marge! I do a "blankies and books" project to promote literacy and book enjoyment among parents and their babies. Great list. I will look for some of these to put with the blankets I knit up this year.

Jan 11, 2019, 2:14pm

Houses of famous authors - ticks my two passions! Most of them picture perfect.


Jan 12, 2019, 1:41pm

>23 AlisonY: Those are gorgeous. Fun article.

Editado: Jan 13, 2019, 8:39pm

Here is an opinion article about why we keep our (many, some unread) books.


Editado: Jan 13, 2019, 10:54pm

>23 AlisonY: Can’t help wondering why they thought Newstead Abbey so good that it needs to be in the list twice...

And they missed at least three very obvious ones: Lamb House in Rye (Henry James and E F Benson), Abbotsford (Walter Scott), and Bateman’s (Kipling).

Jan 14, 2019, 12:42pm

>25 LadyoftheLodge: I think a lot of the backlash against Marie Kondo has to do with misunderstanding the concept of 'sparking joy'.

Jan 14, 2019, 2:38pm

>25 LadyoftheLodge: I think this could lead to some great discussion questions

Jan 15, 2019, 1:38am

>25 LadyoftheLodge:

For people who claim to be avid readers, this is not a difficult concept to understand.

Reading literature whether it be happy tales or dark tordid affairs is the process that causes you joy, and thus the books provide you joy and thus you should keep those books. Kondo is just saying that you probably don't need that 40 page Tales around the Campfire book if you thought it was campy, or maybe you don't need The Illustrious Book of Knighthood, a book you never read but only kept because your mother-in-law gave it to you as a wedding present.

This is not a difficult concept. At all.
Maybe these people need to pick up the book "How not to overreact to simpleton ideas that are here to help you, not tell you what you HAVE to do". I hope it sparks them joy.

Jan 17, 2019, 8:55am


Richard J Evans - whose new biography is about to come out next month - on how Hobsbawm wasn’t really a Stalinist after all.

Jan 17, 2019, 10:15am

>29 lilisin: "not tell you what you HAVE to do" This, this, this!

It never ceases to amaze me how often people feel like they have to publically justify not taking advice that actually wasn't specifically offered to them personally.

Jan 17, 2019, 11:50am

>31 rhian_of_oz: Over on goodreads, this has gone to extremes, with one person posting a meme which misquoted her and people joining in to offer threats of violence and some really salty gendered slurs. It's ridiculous and I'm left wondering why people are so upset at one woman stating that she, personally, only owns around thirty books. Surely if we want people to be tolerant of our own houses slowly sinking under the weight of all the books we keep, we must allow others to own a few or none or thousands more than us without judgement?

Jan 17, 2019, 12:01pm

Jan 17, 2019, 12:11pm

>33 LolaWalser: And when a few people cautiously suggested that this was maybe not in keeping with the spirit of a book site, the OP went into a spiel about how men are browbeaten and under attack. For being forced to encounter mild pushback, apparently. It's so silly.

Jan 17, 2019, 12:18pm

>34 RidgewayGirl:

Insane. I haven't watched the show but based on books it's hard to imagine what could elicit such a response--and what does it have to do with men or women as such anyway? Sounds like what by now is some kind of internet law: "woman's face/opinion on screen"==>"pile on the abuse".

Jan 17, 2019, 2:02pm

>35 LolaWalser: Very much so. Kondo is very much proof that there is no way to make yourself quiet enough or inoffensive enough to avoid internet harassment if you choose to live in public as a woman.

Editado: Jan 17, 2019, 5:50pm

Poet Mary Oliver has died.

Jan 18, 2019, 1:21pm

>37 RidgewayGirl: lovely poem, Kay. RIP MO.

I think Kondo has struck a nerve and, of course, people wearing their protective online masks seem to have weakened sense of propriety.

>30 thorold: never heard of Hobsbawn, but very interesting article.

Jan 18, 2019, 3:46pm

>37 RidgewayGirl: I'm so sorry to see Mary Oliver go. Her poems more often than not hit a sweet spot for me.

I think Kondo strikes a nerve for a lot of people because housekeeping is such a hypersensitive topic. I'll go out on a limb and say particularly for women, who even in 2019 have that "angel of the house" baggage lurking somewhere in their personal evaluation of how well they are or aren't managing. If you don't have "help" and you work, have kids or pets, are disabled, are a caretaker, or any combination of the above, life is generally a constant battle against not only clutter and dust and dirt but your own expectations of how your space should look AND how much effort you should be putting into making that happen. She totally pokes at that sore spot, even if her advice is well meaning.

Jan 18, 2019, 6:20pm

It's just bizarre...

From what I understand, she's someone people hire when they feel overwhelmed by their mess and wish to organise their homes. Maybe there's some difference between the books and the show; from the books at least, I didn't get the impression she was telling what to do to all and sundry, but advising specifically people feeling burdened by their accumulated possessions. Some people have a problem with what their apartments/closets/etc. look like and go to her for help. It's not like she's invading people's homes at random and starting fires.

Although it doesn't surprise me that there should be manufactured outrage at a very successful young woman on flimsiest pretexts possible.

What about all those gazillion other professional household advice-givers, women's magazines, "makeover" TV shows and the like, do people find those equally enraging?

Jan 18, 2019, 10:53pm

What's wrong with Marie Kondo? She was off my radar until I read something about her in the WaPo last week.

As far as I can see, she just gives people tips about how to clear out stuff they don't want anyway and how to organize the stuff they do want so it's not a burden to themselves and others.

I don't get how that could possibly be offensive. People aren't forced to buy into the spark-o-joy thing if they find it off-putting.

Jan 19, 2019, 9:50am

>30 thorold: Just Bought How To Change The World: Tales of Marx and Marxism by Eric Hobsbawm for my kindle. (now that I know it is safe to read him)

Editado: Jan 19, 2019, 10:34am

Oh my goodness. I did not see Marie Kondo asking people to give away their children. If one has the space, keep all the books you want and donate ones if you choose to do so. Each to their own. I donate some of mine to thrift stores where I also buy some. My opinion and like I said, each to their own.

Jan 19, 2019, 4:51pm

>43 mnleona: Children? Maybe if she had some advice on effort/reward with pets. (But if I did that math, we wouldn't have any pets)

Jan 24, 2019, 1:20am

I haven’t read any of these ten novels about music selected by Rebecca Kauffman: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/jan/23/top-10-musical-novels?CMP=Share_iO...

If I did such a list, it would definitely include Thomas Mann’s Doktor Faustus, Thomas Bernhard’s The loser and Vikram Seth’s An equal music. Maybe Tous les matins du monde as well.

Tagmash for music and fiction: https://www.librarything.com/tag/fiction,+music

Jan 24, 2019, 8:40am

...and an obituary for writer and editor Diana Athill, who was still “living by her pen” aged 100: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/jan/24/diana-athill-obituary?CMP=Share_iO...

Jan 24, 2019, 9:59am

>45 thorold: I've read three and not finished another. Of the ones I've read I'd highly recommend Bel Canto, and I also enjoyed Station Eleven. Did not at all like A Visit from the Goon Squad and didn't finish Norwegian Wood.

Jan 24, 2019, 10:31am

>47 rhian_of_oz: I loved Bel Canto and Station Eleven. Song of the Lark was endless, although in general I love Cather's work.

Jan 24, 2019, 12:01pm

>45 thorold: I am not a music lover by any means. But I enjoyed Song of the Lark, Station Eleven, Swingtime, and Amsterdam.

Disliked Bel Canto. I lost interest in The Animators and set it aside. Maybe I should try again.

Jan 30, 2019, 4:50pm

>50 avaland: WaPo has article about the need for science fact and science fiction: "Science fiction is the literature of problem-solving." Ignore the provocative "Kamala Harris is wrong" hook.


Fev 12, 2019, 1:16pm

When Social Media Goes After Your Book, What’s the Right Response? (NY Times)


This was pretty scary. Not that some writers don't deserve it, but several of these stories are just plain social media gone mad.

Fev 23, 2019, 11:09pm

A book list for black history month, which is almost over, but it's a good list.


Fev 25, 2019, 1:43pm

>54 RidgewayGirl: thanks. Great list.

Fev 26, 2019, 3:06pm

>54 RidgewayGirl: This is a great list! Many things on it I haven't yet read. Thanks for posting.

Mar 1, 2019, 4:31am

A fashion designer who creates dresses out of book covers (and other things) here. I'm in two minds about this. On the one hand, they're beautiful, on the other, books are destroyed in the process.

Mar 5, 2019, 8:24am

Not an article, but a website. Has anyone been following?


Mar 5, 2019, 10:54am

>58 dchaikin: Interesting.

Mar 5, 2019, 4:24pm

>58 dchaikin: No, but I am now. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

Editado: Mar 6, 2019, 2:30pm

>58 dchaikin: Dan, that's a site I hadn't noticed but will follow. It's already led me to a book I didn't know about: David Shields's Nobody Hates Trump More Than Trump. I don't know if that's his actual point, but it's pretty much what I've thought all along. I'm going to check it out.

Mar 6, 2019, 2:45pm

>53 auntmarge64: That kind of social media madness would make anyone shrink from getting published. Social media sure seems to have taken over, positive and negative. I think people now seem a lot more apt to just type out and post on social media whatever is on their minds, with no thought to how it might affect others.

Mar 7, 2019, 12:14pm

>62 LadyoftheLodge: Yup, I think you're right. There's often no sense that this isn't a conversation just being batted around, this is commentary that's generally out there forever - including all the hateful things that are said. That's our societal norm since the 2016 election, though, isn't it? Attack, attack, attack. (You can always say later that you were only joking....)

Mar 9, 2019, 8:58am

Little gems.

Behold, the Tiniest of Books:
A grand collection of miniature volumes — 950 of them — is now on display at the Grolier Club in New York City.


Mar 9, 2019, 9:04am

Oops! Famously Scathing Reviews of Classic Books From The Times’s Archive


Mar 9, 2019, 10:40am

>65 auntmarge64: Well ... I didn't violently disagree most of those reviews.

Only sorry there wasn't one on Hawthorne. I hated The Scarlet Letter at age 50 as much as I did at 15, and I wish I had back all the hours it took to slog through The House of Seven Gables. But I do love his short stories.

Mar 9, 2019, 6:32pm

>66 nohrt4me2:. LOL, i I was thinking the same thing when I read their comments. I got the feeling they didn't necessarily disagree with their original assessments either, but since the books are popular and/or on all the best-of lists they thought it was an interesting idea for an article.

Mar 10, 2019, 12:52am


Rediscovering the Armenian/Syrian roots of the family who inspired the characters in Swallows and Amazons.

Mar 10, 2019, 8:44am

>68 thorold: That's cool—I had no idea. They seemed so very English, through and through, in the books.

Mar 13, 2019, 6:27am

The Man Booker International longlist is out. Looks interesting: the only one I’ve read is The years by Annie Ernaux. If the others are up to that standard, the judges will have a hard time.


Mar 14, 2019, 3:47pm

Here's the Pen America Literary Awards longlist:


And the Women's Prize for Fiction (formerly Bailey's, formerly Orange):


Mar 23, 2019, 7:32pm

This looks potentially interesting:


I'm mildly curious about what he's done, but I don't know if I'll ever find out.

Abr 8, 2019, 1:21am

Abr 16, 2019, 2:06pm

For those who have been enjoying Northern Irish writing of late, Lucy Caldwell has edited a new anthology of short stories by Irish writers which is being published in May:


Abr 16, 2019, 5:55pm

>77 AlisonY: You know I'll be queueing up for a copy!

Abr 18, 2019, 11:32am

Modern Library is coming out with new paperback editions of hard to find works by women. I recently read an article by a professor in which she states that while she wanted to teach Villette, but could not find affordable copies.


Abr 25, 2019, 3:37pm

The long-lost catalog of an enormous library assembled by a son of Christopher Columbus has been found: https://www.npr.org/2019/04/24/716600905/christopher-columbus-son-had-an-enormou...

Abr 25, 2019, 3:54pm

>79 RidgewayGirl:

That's interesting news. I hope they pick one of the more durable paperback formats. This is why I like Persephone Books - they do not republish the mostly known ones (so no Villette) but there are a lot of books written by women which had fallen to the sides and noone touches them.

Abr 30, 2019, 2:07pm

And another top 100 list - this time from Worldcat - based on the books which are available from the libraries of the world: https://www.oclc.org/en/worldcat/library100.html.

Top 500 with filters available here: https://www.oclc.org/en/worldcat/library100/top500.html

Abr 30, 2019, 3:29pm

>82 AnnieMod: Interesting - most of the top fifty are writers-in-English, as you would expect from the sort of data that makes it to the internet, but number 1 is Spanish. Apart from that, only the Russians, the French, and Johanna Spyri seem to get a look in!

Abr 30, 2019, 4:28pm

>83 thorold:

Well, Cervantes is Cervantes. :)

I find the top 500 more interesting - some books in the lower part of the list are... interesting - some are there just because they are new enough to still have a lot of copies in the libraries; some are just surprising.

Editado: Maio 1, 2019, 2:38am

>84 AnnieMod: Yes. Most of the ones I hadn’t heard of turned out to be American children’s books with thousands of copies on LT. If it were really a “world” list, you’d expect there to be spikes for big recent successes in other languages and for “classics in their own countries”, but there’s no sign of that: the non-English books are either established classics on the school syllabus more than 50 years old, or they are recent film successes like Der Vorleser (the only post-war German novel I could see on the list). And they obviously haven’t got any meaningful data from India: neither R.K. Narayan nor P.G. Wodehouse appears on the list. My guess is that more than 90% of the data is from North America.

Maio 1, 2019, 2:51am

It’s based on what is cataloged and connected in WorldCat. You cannot show data you have no access to :)

Editado: Maio 1, 2019, 9:24am

In Classic Children’s Books, a Window to Childhood in Past Centuries: Rare children’s books, made available online through the Library of Congress, show both the constants and the evolution in children’s literature. In color!


And here's a direct link to the online collection:

Editado: Maio 4, 2019, 1:42am

Carol Ann Duffy’s ten years as poet laureate are up, but there’s no news of a successor - the UK government seems to have other things on its mind, and several of the poets who should be in the running have ruled themselves out...


Maio 6, 2019, 4:47pm

This post doesn't exactly fit here, but I wanted to mention that I and Meg (FamilyHistorian) from the 75 Books group will attend a talk given by Naomi Wolf on Monday May 20th at 19:00 in Logan Hall on the campus of University College London in Bloomsbury. She'll talk about her new book Outrages: Sex, Censorship and the Criminalization of Love, which "explores the pervasive, still continuing and sometimes surprising repercussions of The Obscene Publications Act of 1857. Swinburne, Walter Pater, the Rossettis and Oscar Wilde all feature in a gripping analysis of how the state sought to exercise surveillance over the printed word, and of how artists and writers sought, ingeniously if not always successfully, to evade that surveillance."

Tickets cost £12, and can be purchased via this link:


If anyone is interested in going, please let me know, as Meg and I are planning to meet for dinner beforehand.

Maio 8, 2019, 5:22am

A beautiful video on books, reading, and bookstores. The title of the video is called "BOOKSTORES: How to Read More Books in the Golden Age of Content" but don't let that detract you as the video might have started out that way, but soon became an homage to beautiful bookstores around the world. And the footage of some of those bookstores are just stunning.


Editado: Maio 12, 2019, 1:03am

Alan Garner - who just happens to be promoting a memoir - on his connection to Alderley Edge: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/may/11/alan-garner-on-alderley-edge?CMP=S...

(Interesting: the iPad autocorrect doesn’t believe in Cheshire, and wants me to be talking about the Channel Islands...)

Jun 1, 2019, 12:24pm

Writers of fiction, including Elif Shafak, are under attack again in Turkey:

Jul 8, 2019, 3:46pm

At last, the answer to the burning question that lurks uneasily in all of our hearts at this time of year. Here is a guide to determining how many books to bring with you on vacation.


Editado: Jul 9, 2019, 11:37am

>94 RidgewayGirl: As someone currently dithering quite a bit about which and how many books to take with me on a week's vacation later this month, I found this amusing, although none of the scenarios mentioned there really apply for me this time, plus it completely ignores the very important question of what you need to bring to read on the plane. I think I generally decide on slightly more books than I'm likely to need, and then panic about the idea of running out and end up bringing twice as many as I need.

Which just leads to everyone telling me I need an e-reader, but, really, isn't picking out which books to take with you half the fun of a vacation? (Er... Isn't it?)

Jul 9, 2019, 11:45am

>95 bragan: Maybe not *half* the fun but certainly part of the fun.

Jul 9, 2019, 12:29pm

>95 bragan: Choosing which books to bring is the only fun part of packing! And while ereaders are great and all, a physical book has never chosen to go blank and die on the second day of a two week trip.

Jul 9, 2019, 2:37pm

>97 RidgewayGirl: True. Even if I had an e-reader, I'd probably feel the need to bring just as many paper books as backup, just in case it died.

Jul 9, 2019, 3:31pm

>97 RidgewayGirl:, >98 bragan: Or use that as a reason to spend an entire vacation day visiting all the bookstores.

Jul 10, 2019, 2:47pm

>99 ELiz_M: I once had only one book with me, and I finished it in the airport while waiting for my plane. That meant a trip to the airport bookstore, where I was forced to find something!

>97 RidgewayGirl: My e-reader definitely did not like Gettysburg, PA, as it chose to malfunction there, with several days left on the trip. Yikes! I take along my e-reader plus at least one more print book for backup.

Editado: Jul 13, 2019, 7:47am

Not an interesting article, per se. But NYRB is having a 20th Anniversary sale and every title in their "classics" category is included:


Ago 7, 2019, 12:44pm

Joyce Carol Oates is teaching a free, online course on short story writing. I'm tempted to watch just to learn about her writing process.


Ago 9, 2019, 4:20am

>102 RidgewayGirl: great - thanks for that.

Ago 9, 2019, 9:40am

Prize drawing, held by Penguin Books, for the chance to start reading Margaret Atwood's sequel to The Handmaid's Tale, in a London hotel, one minute after midnight September 10th.

Editado: Ago 17, 2019, 7:11am

Have you all been following the new lending policies that ebook publishers are using for libraries?


And a perspective from the authors guild.


I'm interested in this as I get MANY newly published books for my kindle from the library. I've acquire 31 books for my kindle so far this year and 17 of them were from the library. Most of these are new releases. If it gets harder to get ebooks from the library, though, I'm more likely to return to checking out physical copies of new books than purchasing them for my kindle. I don't really like purchasing for the kindle because of the format. After I finish it I can't loan it out to a friend, donate it, or display it on my shelves. Digital content is an interesting problem for publishers, authors, and readers - I'm curious to see how this works in the long-term.

Ago 17, 2019, 8:20am

I've been following it super closely—a responsibility of my day job as a library journalist (though my colleague the tech editor has been doing all the writing on the subject) and as a total power ebook borrower. For those of you on Twitter, Alan Inouye at the American Library Association's Washington Office links to a lot of useful info (@AlanSInouye).

Good article yesterday by University of Washington iSchool Professor Joe Janes here.

Editado: Ago 17, 2019, 9:49am

>105 japaul22: That's very interesting and I'm not sure how I feel about it. I agree with you on preferring not to buy ebooks because I can't donate them once I finish them, or loan them to a friend. And I like the look of a book on a shelf. But I do read ebooks, many of which are library books.

I'm going to try to be more careful about checking out ebooks from the library - I have had books expire unread and given that the library is sometimes only given a set number of loans, I will stop this habit and check them out one at a time.

>106 lisapeet: That's an excellent addition to the conversation. He makes a strong case.

Ago 21, 2019, 12:33pm

Ago 23, 2019, 11:06am

>108 AlisonY: I have a book called Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong about Everything?. I'm pretty sure the answer is yes, and this is doing nothing to change my mind. :)

Ago 23, 2019, 1:49pm

>108 AlisonY: Are you trying to raise everybody's blood pressure? The people who will buy books based on spine color are the same people who think art should match their sofa. I'm sure there's room for that, but it's not going to make a room look as though people live there.

Ago 24, 2019, 3:35pm

>110 RidgewayGirl: I know, I know - never mind the book horror, I should have added a warning that the link contained references to Gwyneth Paltrow which could adversely affect people's health.

>109 bragan: I love that book title so much. I would agree that the answer is a resounding yes.

>111 thorold: What a fun review. Quite rightly she nails Paltrow and Wine. Thatcher Wine.... such a ludicrously pretentious name. Reminds me of a documentary on UK TV I saw a while back where a ridiculous toffee-accented Brit in silk slippers was wandering around the garden of some multi-millionaire sniffing her grass and armpits before peddling her a bespoke scent for her home that probably cost roughly the same as the average three bedroom semi.

Set 2, 2019, 4:13am

>104 dukedom_enough:

While being the first civilian in the world to read the Atwood sounds exciting, I know the book would still manage to find itself on the TBR pile unread while everyone around me ends up reading it before me.

Set 2, 2019, 8:08am

>113 lilisin: I know the feeling well.

Set 10, 2019, 12:50pm

If anyone's curious about Margaret Atwood's follow-up to A Handmaid's Tale, Ann Enright is here to tell you about The Testaments.


Set 11, 2019, 12:23pm

Set 21, 2019, 2:04pm

For all you list addicts, the Guardian has done another “100 best books of the last nineteen and a half years”. A little less US-dominated than such things usually are, I’ve actually read 21/100, more than I was expecting.


Set 21, 2019, 5:09pm

>117 thorold: I've read 35 of them, which is to say, this is a nice list of popular literary books (a small selection of non-fiction made the list).

Set 22, 2019, 7:40pm

>117 thorold: I am amazed to see that I have read nine of them.

Set 23, 2019, 3:19am

Interesting list. A paltry 14 for me. Definitely a few there that have been on my wish list for ages but something else interesting always comes across my path first.

Out 15, 2019, 12:50pm

Since there is a posting for today, I'm guessing there is no Part 2 to this list.

I keep my own list of interesting articles I'm trying to curate; I'm unsure whether it's OK to repeat any LT postings from it on this one. Can someone let me know? Thanks in advance.

In any case, right now I'm collecting links to Harold Bloom who has recently died. At this point I haven't posted any of them to my own list.

New York Times, 10/15/2019: Harold Bloom, Critic Who Championed Western Canon, Dies at 89

The Guardian, 10/15/2019; Title is self-evident: Harold Bloom Obituary.

The Atlantic, 10/15/2019: Why Readers Resented Harold Bloom

Out 15, 2019, 1:09pm

>112 AlisonY: Oh, my goodness. What a riot!

" Thatcher Wine.... such a ludicrously pretentious name. Reminds me of a documentary on UK TV I saw a while back where a ridiculous toffee-accented Brit in silk slippers was wandering around the garden of some multi-millionaire sniffing her grass and armpits before peddling her a bespoke scent for her home that probably cost roughly the same as the average three bedroom semi."

Me, I was immediately reminded of Jasper Fforde. Thatcher Wine is definitely a contender for a character name in a Thursday Next novel.

Dez 29, 2019, 8:53am

I love all the "end of year best books lists" and checking out Barack Obama's list is a favorite of mine. Here it is for those interested. What a great list!


Dez 29, 2019, 12:02pm

A glimpse into 2020's UK book releases:


Dez 29, 2019, 12:10pm

>124 japaul22: I'm tickled to find so much overlap between my reading and the President's. I don't read much non-fiction, but I've read five out of the seven novels he listed and have the other two on my wishlist.

>125 AlisonY: Such unsatisfiable temptation there! Months to wait!