You don't have to be a professor or even a writer to follow these authors. Following them is like being part of a literary salon--thoughtful conversation sprinkled with irony and wit. You may find that you're buying more books as a result. Thanks to Ken Calhoun, a fiction writer and professor of design and new media at Lasell College, for alerting me to this list of top 50 creative writing professors on Twitter. The list includes me--much to my surprise in the esteemed company of authors I love.FULL ENTRY
All those downloaded copies of "50 Shades of Grey" may mean fewer trees are felled in the name of "mommy porn," but that doesn't translate into a smaller carbon footprint. The equation is not that simple, according to Nick Moran, writing for The Millions.
The death of Maurice Sendak has many people quoting their favorite lines from his books and interviews on social media. Even better are people's recollections of Sendak and what his books meant to them--here in the United States and around the world.
In addition to their memories, below are links to Sendak's archived interview on NPR's Fresh Air (replayed today on the show, which left the staff weeping), President Obama's reading of "Where the Wild Things Are" and a YouTube video of Carole King singing "Chicken Soup with Rice."FULL ENTRY
Heroes! The Telegraph (UK) reported today that police came to Trish Vickers' rescue--ON THEIR OWN TIME--after the blind woman had handwritten numerous pages of her novel without realizing her pen had run dry.
Here's the story:FULL ENTRY
A book is worth more than the cost of the paper it's printed on.
So says Nathan Bransford, social media manager for CNET who spent eight years in publishing. In a blog post yesterday, Bransford reminds us of what we're paying for when we buy a book and does the math:FULL ENTRY
The much beloved Newtonville Books held its grand re-opening party Thursday night in its new digs in Newton Centre. (Despite its relocation, the store retains its original name--forever confounding those who rely solely on GPS.)
My favorite part of the new book store is the customer counter/book seller area. The counter consists of hundreds of used books, their spines tucked inside. I will admit that I touched the books, but that was before I saw the keep-hands-off sign. Oops! (I later confessed my transgression to book seller Sarah Rettger, pictured below.) Framed pieces of the walls bearing the signatures and notes of authors who read at the original store over the years are now hanging at the new place.FULL ENTRY
It had to happen. Someone out there decided Game of Thrones fans want to smell like
teen spirit dragon breath a Khaleesi. And as of this writing, nearly 4,800 people "like" this (or they "like" it in that eye-rolling way).
The website describes Game of Thrones Fire and Blood Perfume as "a scent worthy of the blood of the dragon." Here's more:FULL ENTRY
With Etch A Sketch becoming political fodder this week, I wondered whether authors included the beloved toy--as metaphor or toy--in their novels. Sure enough, they have.
Here are 12 novels, among many, in which the Etch A Sketch makes a cameo appearance (be sure to check out the classic Etch A Sketch commercial at the end):FULL ENTRY
The M. N. Spear Memorial Library in Shutesbury, Mass., is cramped, the heating grate melts shoe soles, and it has no running water (it has a composting toilet). Its dollhouse proportions have lost its charm for the town's residents (population 1800). The library was built 110 years ago to serve Shutesbury's then smaller population of 400 residents.
The state library commission agreed that the town was overdue for a new library and approved its plans with a caveat: The commission would fund 60 percent of the cost--$2.1 million--if the library raises the rest--$1.4 million--by June 30. With $180,000 raised and an anonymous gift of $150,000 if they can match it, the library made a video to raise awareness about its plight. Think of it as an online calorie-free bake sale.FULL ENTRY
Today's newspaper industry might take its cues from these beautiful late nineteenth century newspaper posters. These artistic advertisements exude class and elegance--though some of the headlines may make you think of modern-day tabloids. Such arty posters could entice readers to pick up a newspaper or two. Um, maybe.
The posters are from the New York Public Library's digital collection. From the description:FULL ENTRY
Novelist Ann Patchett opened Parnassus, an independent bookstore--and the only bookstore--in Nashville last year. On The Colbert Report, she challenges him to compare a book-signing party at her store to one in an Amazon warehouse. Colbert tells her, "Oooh, independent bookstore! I should buy one on Amazon."
After Colbert asked the audience to order her book via Amazon to bump up its sales, Patchett told them that everyone who orders her book, State of Wonder, online through her bookstore's website will receive a signed copy.FULL ENTRY
Literature and food feed the mind and the body. Now you can enjoy the literary and culinary in one place.
In January, a new blog, Paper and Salt, debuted featuring the recipes that appear in books and in author's letters and diaries, along with tidbits about the author. Talk about a literary feast! The blogger, Nicole (no last name), writes,FULL ENTRY
Book reviews are perfect for buzzword bingo. Words like compelling, lapidary, page-turner and elegiac appear all-too frequently in book reviews.
Ron Charles, fiction editor and book critic for the Washington Post, has entertained book lovers everywhere with several funny videos about books. In his latest, Sh*t Book Reviewers Say, he mocks such book review fodder.FULL ENTRY
These Scrabble ads by Ogilvy & Mather's office in Costa Rica show a whimsical use of the board game's letter tiles. The quotes are from NASA, Marilyn Monroe and the Beatles. These ads could make for a new twist on the game for Scrabble devotees: replace a word in a famous quote using the letters in your tile rack.
Scrabble was invented during the Great Depression. You can read about its history here.FULL ENTRY
You may be wondering whether the Republican presidential wannabes are experiencing the real Sunshine State as they criss-cross the Florida while steering clear of its alligators. Come to think of it, their sniping seems like alligators skirmishing over territory.
The candidates might do better listening to humorist Dave Barry for a better understanding of Florida voters. Barry, as you know, lives in Miami and has observed the best and worst of life in Florida over many years, which he's written about in his columns. (Barry writes that, by the end of 2011, the most memorable quote uttered during "approximately 249 Republican-presidential-contender televised debates" was "Oops.") And if you, too, are trying to figure out whom Floridians want to run against President Obama in November, perhaps this clip featuring writer Dave Barry will give you some insight into what makes them tick. Maybe Barry should become a pollster. (Remember his columns about worst songs ever based on a survey of his readers?)FULL ENTRY
In the spirit of Wallace and Gromit's Cracking Contraptions, watch how this setup makes the newspaper page turn. With the slow disappearance of newspapers, might future readers need such help?FULL ENTRY
The couple who brought us the dancing books on their bookcase have taken it to a whole new level: an entire bookstore. The bookstore, Type, in Toronto, allowed the pair, plus 25 volunteers, to take over the store after closing and spend the night playing with the books. The result is whimsical. The couple asks, "So who wants to help us do the Library of Congress next? :)" Enjoy!FULL ENTRY
In all the talk about Kindle vs. Nook vs. iPad for reading, the death of books and disappearance of bookstores, some of us still believe in the inherent beauty of books. Last year, Donna Meyer of Arizona embarked on a 365-day challenge: make a book a day. She is chronicling her progress on her blog.
Meyer creates her books the old-fashioned way. She stitches bindings by hand, chooses paper and unique covers, and produces books that stretch the idea of what we think a book should look like. The results are beautiful works of craftmanship and art. Many are made with leather covers, but others use material that you wouldn't think of as book-ish material, including a Chinese food take-out container, recycled game boards and Mexican tiles. As of January 8, she has made 323 books. Here are some of my favorites:FULL ENTRY
Looking for a festive libation with literary ties, I came across a recipe for writer Dorothy Parker's cocktail of choice: Champagne Cocktail (below). According to Hemingway & Bailey's Bartending Guide to Great American Writers, Parker, after her introduction to champagne , wrote the following:
Three be things I shall never attain: Envy, content, and sufficient champagne.FULL ENTRY
In this corner: Rita Dove, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, former U. S. Poet Laureate, Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia.FULL ENTRY
The folks over at the satirical The Onion Sports Network report that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has written a memoir titled, "Tom Brady: A Life Of Joy And Painlessness."
The article goes on to spoof the imagined memoir, including a faux representative from a publisher, who says:
Jack Kerouac fans, a seller on Etsy makes--wait for it--a soap to take on the road. Embedded in each made-to-order bar is the above black-and-white photo of the Lowell native and Beat Generation author Kerouac.
The soapmaker will add your choice of scents like coconut, cucumber or poetry. The latter scent smells like sunflower and powder. No word on what kind of powder, but the seller labels this scent as "unisex."
Welcome to Red Sox Nation, Bobby Valentine! Undoubtedly, you know much about our beloved ball team, its history and lore.
For a more profound and well-rounded immersion, Bobby V, pick up these classics and more during your honeymoon period--from now until spring training--as the Red Sox new skipper. Over the next few months, you'll be logging a lot of miles jetting all over the country and to and from Japan, where you're helping with the earthquake disaster relief. All that air travel and airport time translates into plenty of reading time.FULL ENTRY
Call Good Night Moon the children's classic that spawned numerous imitators.
Now there's the latest--and inevitable--entry, one for the gadget era: Good Night iPad. The author is none other than Ann Droyd. (Amazon bio: "Ann Droyd is the pseudonym for an IRA/CBC Children's Choice winner who has written and illustrated over twenty picture books for young readers. Droyd's work is known for its sense of narrative, humor, and visual playfulness. Ann Droyd, who studied graphic design at Parsons, lives in Massachusetts.) Droyd is really David Milgrim, who lives with his family in Pioneer Valley in Western Massachusetts.FULL ENTRY
Last night on The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert asks New Yorker writer Susan Orlean the tough (ruff?) questions about her latest book, Rin Tin Tin, a biography of the German Shepherd who became a movie star.
Among the questions Colbert asks--and Orlean gamely answers--how can a dog found on a battlefield become a silent film star, how Rin Tin Tin made the transition to talkies, and whether Rin Tin Tin was fixed. (Answer: No. He had 44 offspring.)