The Neighbourhood Café wishes you happy holidays, and present this list of interesting articles as our gift to you:
Last week, Slate blogger Farhad Manjoo posted a piece entitled “Don’t Support Your Local Bookseller,” to the subsequent polarization of the Internets. Over at the Christian Science Monitor, Lisa Meier offers a response asking what it is, exactly that creates a literary culture– widespread distribution of titles, or the unique local flavour of ye olde brick-and-mortar?
You are no more likely to discover a book buried in the stacks of a bookstore (independent or otherwise) than you are to find it perusing Amazon’s webpages. But you are more likely to discover something different, because there is a unique group of people reading, selecting, and promoting titles at each store.
Do you feel like your vocabulary could use some jazzing up? Check out Mental Floss’ list of 19 Outstanding Words You Should Be Working Into Conversation. I’ve found that there are, in fact, many situations in which kummerspeck (excessive weight gained from emotional overeating, literally “grief bacon”) is just the word for the occasion.
The consistently excellent BrainPickings has been running pieces on the history and future of the book for a while now. Today they’re re-featuring an article from October on Martin Lyons’ Books: A Living History with some gorgeous photos.
Defining the book itself is a risky operation. I prefer to be inclusive rather than exclusive, and so I offer a very loose definition. […] The term ‘book’, then, is a kind of shorthand that stands for many forms of written textual communication adopted in past societies, using a wide variety of materials.
Having trouble finding the gift for that thirteen-year-old niece or nephew of yours that will doubtlessly be spending your family Christmas dinner in a corner with their nose in a book? (Yes, I was that thirteen-year-old.) NPR’s got a list of this year’s top 5 YA novels, just in time for the holidays.
This past week has seen the death of some very important cultural icons– Christopher Hitchens, Kim Jong-Il and Vaclev Havel (read Good’s list of 5 Things you Should Know About Vaclev Havel), which you’ve know doubt read all about. In the preceding couple weeks, the literary world lost some somewhat less widely known, but still very important people, namely Russell Hoban and George Whitman. The following comments are from Bill:
[Russell Hoban was] one of my all time favourite writers, his books for children are as enjoyable as his books for adults are. He was brilliant at getting into the minds of his characters and opening their very different worlds to anyone who read his books…
When I was 18 and backpacking through Europe I went in to Shakespeare and Company and shared a glass of red with George at about 9 o’clock at night. He lived in the store. He also had a small band of writers squatting in the upstairs’ rooms and staffing the store. I still remember the two books I bought there: Desolation Angels by Kerouac and White Fang Goes Dingo by Disch. The bookstore, despite its elegant location, shared more atmosphere with Red River Books than with our store; it made me sad to hear of George’s passing and pleasantly nostalgic.