Tag Archives: books

The Birth of the Novel

From The Daily Beast—the opening paragraph about a very large undertaking:

On the second of the 1,106 pages in his new book, The Novel: A Biography, Michael Schmidt claims without apparent irony that he is writing “what sets out to be a brief life of the novel in English.” Since the hero of his biography has lived for over 600 years in the works of thousands of practitioners, a mere 1,106 pages might be excused as a brief life. But any biographer of the novel faces a problem more fundamental than compressing between two covers a vast and unwieldy subject. It’s also essential—and surprisingly difficult—to articulate what exactly defines a novel.

Why Read New Books?

From The New York Review of Books:

Hasn’t it all been done before? Perhaps better than anyone today could ever do it? If so, why read contemporary novels, especially when so many of the classics are available at knockdown prices and for the most part absolutely free as e-books?

Interesting answers in the article…

The Top Ten Most Influential Travel Books

From Smithsonian Magazine:

Even before there were armchairs, voracious bookworms traveled the world just by reading.

Most people didn’t have any other choice, even after there were armchairs. And before armchairs, how many people could read?

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The Spy Novelist Who Knows Too Much

From The New York Times: The article is about “Gérard de Villiers, an 83-year-old Frenchman who has been turning out the S.A.S. espionage series at the rate of four or five books a year for nearly 50 years. The books are strange hybrids: top-selling pulp-fiction vehicles that also serve as intelligence drop boxes for spy agencies around the world.”


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Secret Lives of Readers

From The Chronicle Review. Until I read this article, I had no idea that their were people studying reading in the manner explained here:

How do we recover the reading experiences of the past? Lately scholars have stepped up the hunt for evidence of how people over time have interacted with books, newspapers, and other printed material.

“You’re looking for teardrops on the page,” says Leah Price, a professor of English at Harvard University and the author of How to Do Things With Books in Victorian Britain (Princeton University Press, 2012). “You’re looking for some hard evidence of what the book did to its reader”—and what the reader did with the book.

In the overall scheme of things, I wonder why?

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Economist Tyler Cowen

From The Browser—FiveBook Interviews:

A conversation with the economist, educator, omnivore, polymath and co-founder of Marginal Revolution, highlighting books about decentralised information, mass collaboration and spontaneous order.

Tyler Cowen and his blog Marginal Revolution are worth reading.

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Sophie King on Creative Writing

From The Browser—FiveBook Interviews:

The author and creative writing teacher tells us where to go for tips on finding one’s voice, grabbing readers’ attention and getting published

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The 10 Best Psychology and Philosophy Books of 2012

From brain pickings:

From Buddhism to the relationship between creativity and dishonesty, by way of storytelling and habit.

And I liked that they picked Mortality, by Christopher Hitchens as a bonus book.

To the dumb question ‘Why me?’ the cosmos barely bothers to return the reply: Why not?

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On Worry

From The Browser—FiveBook Interviews: The author, Steven Amsterdam, “tells us about books that have anxiety at their heart, ranging from obsessional love and chronic neurosis to conspiracy theory paranoia and existential angst.”

What. me worry?

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