Sunday Links, September 29, 2013

Vampires in the lemon groveAuthor Karen Russell has won one of the McArthur Foundation’s so-called genius grants. After reading some of the stories in Vampires in the Lemon Grove, I think the award well-deserved. One of these days I’m going to have to get to Swamplandia!, her first novel.

Stephen KingStephen King is making the rounds for his new book, Doctor Sleep. I’d sure love to be able to attend one of his events; even more, I’ve always wanted to sit down and share a bite to eat while discussing horror fiction with him. He’s just one of those people that you feel like you know if you’ve read enough of his work — even though you are intellectually aware that you don’t know him at all. Still, this reading must have been a lot of fun. So much happens in New York! I wish I lived there.

In an Antique LandI’m of an age where I feel like I need to start some serious traveling. I don’t want to die without having seen the Eiffel Tower, Michelangelo’s David, the Great Wall, and a kangaroo in person! But finances seem to get in the way, and so I still tend to do a lot of my traveling in my armchair. And there are plenty of places I’d like to visit that just seem too dangerous these days. So I was glad to see this list of 35 great travel books, which is a boon to armchair travelers everywhere. There are quite a few books here that I didn’t know about. I think I may be heading to Egypt next, care of Amitav Ghosh’s In an Antique Land.

Goodreads has a new review policy, and some think it amounts to censorship. I think this is a tough call. In theory, I agree that an author’s personal bad behavior is not necessarily a factor in considering whether his or her writing is good or bad or in between. On the other hand, I don’t want to enrich bad actors by buying their books. So is their behavior a valid comment on a book or not?

Sometimes I’m astonished that certain things still happen. I mean, it’s the 21st century, right? Granted, I don’t have my flying car yet, but I expected that we’d at least not have antediluvian college professors refusing to teach books by female writers. Or at least, that they’d be sufficiently aware of the world around them to understand why people find this offensive. Where have men like this been for the past 50 years? Hiding under rocks?

Where should an American writer live? Other than New York, that is. Flavorwire lists 20 great American cities for writers that aren’t New York. Having Chicago right up front seems just right to me.

Berlin libraryI’ve given you pictures of libraries before, but this collection is kind of strange. Some architects like to play with the idea of the ideal library, and what they come up with ranges from the gorgeous (like Book Mountain in Spijkenisse, the Netherlands) to the genuinely bizarre (like the egg-shaped Philological Library of the Free University, Berlin, Germany). Which is your favorite?

Art Made From BooksTo my mind, art made from old books is gorgeous, as you know from my past Sunday Links. Here’s some more, from a book being published by Chronicle Books called Art Made From Books: Altered, Sculptured, Carved, Transformed. I think that book is going on my Christmas wish list.

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