Monthly Archives: May, 2010

The Richest Birthday Gift Ever Offered to a Poet in This World

On this day 121 years ago, Mark Twain wrote Walt Whitman an effusive letter wishing him a happy 70th birthday: What great births you have witnessed! The steam press, the steamship, the steel ship, the railroad, the perfected cotton-gin, the telegraph, the telephone, the phonograph, the photograph, photo-gravure, the electrotype, the gaslight, the electric light, […]

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The Lineup: Memorial Day

Memorial Day is my time to remember those killed by wars the world over, from time past and time present, in uniform or not. In part, to honor the soldiers—although most who die in wars don’t exactly volunteer, which I suppose, is badge of another sort of honor. In part, to bring to mind the […]

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BEA Wrapup: What the Book Wants

I’m always tempted to look for themes and coherence in events that have none—maybe that’s why I do this. And I know I’m not the only one. The first topic of conversation with pretty much everyone I talked to at BEA this year was “It’s not as grim as last year.” The fact that so […]

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BEA Day 1 (in Absentia)

The end of May: Summer’s heating up, we’re dusting off our seersucker and white shoes, and it’s BEA time again. I wasn’t able to make it over yesterday, and missed out on both the publishing CEO panel and Barbra Streisand. The panel, moderated by Farrar, Straus and Giroux president Jonathan Galassi, featured Workman’s Bob Miller, […]

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Of Monkeys and Jackasses

One of my favorite children’s book authors, from back when I owned a child of my own, is Lane Smith. He has a new one out in August, a bit of metafiction for young people called It’s a Book, in which a monkey is grilled by a jackass on his reading matter: “What do you […]

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Testament to The Humument

Picking up where the Gap left off, Penguin is partnering with the African AIDS relief fund (Product) RED on a new line of Penguin Classics. Designed along the same color-centric lines as the Great Ideas series, these eight reissues have been smartly redesigned. Three of the designers—Jim Stoddart, Stefanie Posavec, and Coralie Bickford-Smith—and marketing manager […]

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Trailers, No Trash

As promised, the Moby Awards event was quite swank, and as promised, the drinks were quite expensive. It was a good time nonetheless, and everyone looked marvelous. There were no stunning upsets as far as prizewinners went—apparently “best” and “most viral” are mostly interchangeable. Maurice Gee’s skillful Going West, which we’ve linked to here, won […]

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Tons of Fun!

William Strunk, Jr., in the very first edition of The Elements of Style, published nearly a century ago, enjoined his readers to “use the active voice,” finding it “more direct and vigorous [and bold] than the passive.” By no one else in the world this day was such admonition heeded more seriously than by a […]

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Roll Out the Red Carpet for the Moby Awards

In a few hours I’ll be heading downtown for the gala first annual Moby Awards, where the best and worst book trailers of the year will be feted. After receiving a browser-hanging 591 responses to their call for nominees, the MobyLives judges have narrowed the field to five videos in each of five categories: Best […]

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Setting Free the Gourmets

… and the Bon Appétits, and the Food & Wines. I’m guest blogging today over at Sue Dickman’s A Life Divided, talking about my relationship to old cooking magazines and hoarding tendencies. Come on over and take a look.

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