"Immersion in the life of the world, a willingness to be inhabited by and to speak for others, including those beyond the realm of the human, these are the practices not just of the bodhisattva but of the writer." --Jane Hirshfield

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Beautiful Libraries

These photos are gorgeous and make me wonder if all the worry about people losing interest in books can possibly be justified.

Abortion Doctor

CNN, ABC and Yahoo (and no doubt Fox) are all guilty. The NY Times, bless its lonely, print-bound, going-bankrupt soul, is not: Doctor who performed abortions is shot to death.

I think the misuse of language encourages crime, altho it would be hard to argue that CNN is responsible for this murder.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Fiction in Orbit

Our experience of stories is, by and large, a lateral one, in which the writer commands every aspect of the world the reader inhabits as well as the process by which it reveals itself. Fine; it’s worked for centuries. But it’s hard to shake the feeling that gaming – which increasingly promises a narrative space for the player to make his own way, never having the same experience twice – is where at least some of the great writers of tomorrow will make their names.

Eh. I've heard this argument for about the past twenty years. So, when is it going to happen? The author of this article at the Telegraph mentions a lot of books that inspired games, including the forthcoming Dante's Inferno, "an uncannily good fit for the levels of a computer game." I don't know if books are what the video games are replacing -- why not TV, or team sports or even opera? And, if video games do replace books, what will the gamers do when the source materials are all used up? Write new ones?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Judging a book by its cover

Are new sci fi book covers designed to appeal only to genre readers? Did the old ones have more general appeal? Hm. On the Penguin blog. Here is a link to the cover art of some old Penguin titles. You can get bigger images and book descriptions by clicking.

Maybe readers were more open minded in the past. Most of these covers look pretty science-fictiony to me, lover of aliens and worlds ending that I am.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Sad Story in Here Somewhere?

Chocolate Chip Cookie for One. I'm surprised it doesn't come with a single-cookie-making machine.

Well, it saves a trip to the convenience store in the middle of the night, although you can make the whole batch in the same amount of time, as one reviewer notes. I just like the idea. It's the cookie version of a paperback that fits in your Levis pocket.

People did used to carry books around more often, right? And cookies? Now it's all phones and Blackberries, personal music devices and GPS things. I'd rather get lost with a book and a cookie, myself.

Friday, May 1, 2009

A la carte

pricing for short story collections? Sort of like mp3 files... Is this really what's in store for e-books? Not to mention rewriting to influence search engines.

“perhaps entire books written with search engines in mind.”


And, what happens when we can't tell what other people are reading on the subway, and what they have on their shelves? How can we prejudge them/influence their first impressions of us, if nobody can tell we have great lit on the Kindle?

Obviously, we need a Kindle that displays a slideshow of the titles contained within, and some way of telling that the person actually has the books, and not just the slideshow.