Friday, July 29, 2011

On fREADom

In Missouri this Monday, the Republic High School board voted 4-0 to remove both Slaughterhouse Five and Twenty Boy Summer from their curriculum and library. The vote came in response to a public complaint filed last year by Wesley Scroggins. Galleycat linked to a letter he penned challenging use of the offending Vonnegut and Ockler. Laurie Halse Anderson was also named (for Speak) but the board voted against its removal. Ockler has since responded to the decision.

For the record, I read Slaughterhouse-Five when I was in high school. At my local library. So I routinely refer customers to their branch. A free library is the cornerstone of democracy and with #thankyoulibrarian making the rounds on Twitter this week, I encourage everybody to take the time to thank those working tirelessly to provide open access to information.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Little Wars

Like Dungeons & Dragons? H.G. Wells invented it. Rather, it came directly out of tabletop wargaming which Wells brought into the parlor out of the war room. Still!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Famous for the Wrong Book

Image via Wikipedia
John Self writes for the Guardian about the difference between an author's best work and their best-known. There's lots of lively discussion in the comments, everybody adding to the list and waving banners for or against what's been put forward. It's a good side-poking jump-off to thinking about how you came to your own favorites. I know I avoided Salinger for years after our high-school introduction through Catcher in the Rye. The day I was gifted Nine Stories, everything changed. I chased it with Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and repented for years of misplaced avoidance. He writes a mean, perfect story and I only wish I could've come to them sooner. I try to be more careful now, recommending authors I particularlyfeel for. It's a dice toss trying to guess the work that might resonate most with a person and I'm less prone to hand-selling the single book, preferring instead to give a customer my suggestions in threes. Here's to hoping everybody finds their way to everyone.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Excerpts I Want Adapted to Television

But the hero did not hide. He rode out the city gates, armored in scales of copper and jet and mounted upon a white charger whose striped pink-and-white barding matched the silk cloak flowing from the hero's shoulders. The lance he bore was fourteen feet long, swirled in pink and white, and his hair was shaped and teased and lacquered into two great curling ram's horns.

A Storm of Swords, George R.R. Martin

Thursday, July 14, 2011

David Lynch

"I call that depression and anger the Suffocating Rubber Clown Suit of Negativity. It's suffocating, and that rubber stinks. But once you start meditating and diving within, the clown suit starts to dissolve. You finally realize how putrid was the stink when it starts to go. Then, when it dissolves, you have freedom."

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Lesson for Today

To see a man, to see a man about a dog, or to see a man about a horse is an English language colloquialism, usually used as to apologize for one's imminent departure or absence – generally to euphemistically conceal one's true purpose, such as going to use the toilet or going to buy a drink.[1][2] The original non-facetious meaning was probably to place or settle a bet on a race, thus dogs or horses.
 Source: Wikipedia

Monday, July 11, 2011

On Writers in Hollywood

via Open Culture
"Money buys pathetically little in Hollywood beyond the pleasure of living in an unreal world, associating with a narrow group of people who think, talk, and drink nothing but pictures, most of them bad, and the doubtful pleasure of watching famous actors and actresses guzzle in some of the rudest restaurants in the world."

Dear Hollywood: Raymond Chandler thinks you should get it together. Find the original 1945 piece for The Atlantic here.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Old Devils

"Both carried empty glasses and the way each moved brought out for the moment a striking physical resemblance: rather short in the leg and moving slowly and softly, shoulders bowed but head well up and forward, rather pointed nose questing for the wine-bottle."

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Road To Wigan Pier

"A human being is primarily a bag for putting food into; the other functions and faculties may be more godlike, but in point of time they come afterwards. A man dies and is buried, and all his words and actions are forgotten, but the food he has eaten lives after him in the sound or rotten bones of his children."

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Art of the Novella Reading Challenge

Melville House is running a fantastic contest, the kind that rewards with daily prizes! Beginning August 1st, read from their ART OF THE NOVELLA series and comment on the MOBYLIVES entry to link to your posts about the challenge. Or write about the challenge in the comments. To be entered in their daily giveaway, email contact@mhpbooks.com and link to a review/article you’ve written about one of the Novellas. Among the prizes? The Bartelby Tote Bag that haunts my dreams.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Pencil Book

The Tombow Irojiten Color Dictionary Color Wooden Pencil Set is maybe the best thing in the world. An array of fancy pencils in their own book cases? Yes, please. With names like Sea Fog? Lettuce Green? Pigeon Gray? Tombow has made you a color encyclopedia.

Available at JetPens. Be warned, there are three sets. To explore more thoroughly and hurt your heart's wallet, click here, here and here.