Thursday, December 31, 2009
It's a great issue and includes a list of "Fifty of the Most Inspiring Authors in the World."
I have to give them points for exercising some restraint. You'll notice that it's fifty OF the most inspiring authors and not the hyperbolic fifty MOST inspiring authors in the world.
Here's my problem with the list.
"Let's not forget," the folks at P&W remind us, "that our first African American president is also a best selling author."
Technically, yes. President Obama wrote two best selling books. But does that really qualify him to be put on a list of most inspiring authors? A list that (rightly) includes Billy Collins, Joan Didion, Dave Eggers and J.D. Salinger? A list of living authors that the editors made a point of mentioning would have included John Updike, Frank McCourt and David Foster Wallace had fate gone another way in this past year?
After all, another politician put out a bestseller this year. In fact, she had a book that hit the bestseller list before ink hit old school paper (1).
I am the first to admit that I've never bought on to the cult of personality that surrounds Obama. He's an amazing politician who was able to spark something during the last campaign. But I've never seen him as anything more than a politician...which I'll quickly note I do not mean in a pejorative fashion. Seriously. I'll even note it up here in the body of the text, not in a footnote.
But was there really no one else, someone who spends some part of every day staring at the proverbial blank page trying to create something from nothing, that could have occupied that spot on the list? Someone who has committed their time and passion to the art and craft of writing? Is Obama an inspiring author or is he an individual with an inspiring story?
Maybe I'm being too cynical. Maybe after the great deficit of the Bush administration I should be pleased for the simple fact that our president is literate and capable of writing expressive, grammatically correct sentences that do not involve folksy contractions.
Or maybe I'm craving the return of the writer.
If I could just figure out what the heck that actually means.
1. Yes. I'm being argumentative.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
So all those e-books that the Kindle-rati have been bragging about?
The ones that "outsold" their doddering old hardcover relatives this bright holiday season?
Turns out a big portion of them were free.
According to a count done by GalleyCat on December 27, 64 of the top 100 books on Kindle's bestseller list were as free as a gay country schoolteacher on a Saturday night (1).
As interesting but somewhat depressing is the Washington Post article that inspired the survey.
From the Post: "...Amazon's customers have made it clear that $9.99 is still too high for their taste. Most titles in the company's list of top 100 Kindle bestsellers are priced below $9.99, and the most popular price point is $0.00."
$9.99 is too much for a book.
Monday, December 28, 2009
As in, a normal person would take a deep breath and be grateful that they have a job (1) and get on with it.
I'm not a normal person.
The New Year is coming and I'm thinking I'm ready for something new in the New Year. Something that gets me out of bed as excited to hit the ground running as teaching does.
One bit is in the works already (2).
I'm also pretty excited to have found a great new thing already.
Do you know about the The Institute for the Future of the Book?
I didn't. Till now.
How cool are these people?
1. Okay...a few jobs.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
The good folks at The USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism and the National Arts Journalism Program have been handing out cash.
Not to me. But that's okay...I'm currently training a small band of English orphans to pick pockets for me.
I'll be okay.
"The USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism and the National Arts Journalism Program are pleased to announce the results of voting for projects entered in the National Summit on Arts Journalism, held October 2 at the Annenberg School Auditorium on the University of Southern California campus in Los Angeles.
First Prize of $7,500 goes to Glasstire of Texas. Second Prize of $5,000 goes to FLYP Media of New York City. Third Prize of $2,500 goes to San Francisco Classical Voice. Additionally, all three projects, along with finalists Departures (a project of KCET in Los Angeles) and Flavorpill, previously were awarded $2,000 each for being chosen finalists for the National Arts Journalism Summit.
Voters are members of the National Arts Journalism Program and alumni of the National Endowment for the Arts’ Arts Journalism Institutes, in a kind of informal professional academy of arts journalists."
You can read all about it and watch the competing videos here.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Sunday, November 1, 2009
"Year's best: Publishers Weekly today names its top 10 books of 2009: Richard Holmes' The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science; Dan Chaon's Await Your Reply; Victor LaValle's Big Machine; Blake Bailey's Cheever: A Life; Neil Sheehan's A Fiery Peace in a Cold War: Bernard Schriever and the Ultimate Weapon; Daniyal Mueenuddin's In Other Rooms, Other Wonders; Geoff Dyer's Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi; David Grann's The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon; Matthew Crawford's Shop Class as Soulcraft; and David Small's Stitches: A Memoir."