Saturday, May 21, 2011

Newish Reads from Newish SF Writers

I recommended free reads before. These aren't free, but they're all under $7.99, and most are under $2.99. So:

Four cheapish reads to fill a weekend

Transfection - David Gaughran. A short techno-thriller. "[M]ilitant vegans, corruption, homelessness, university politics... and a shadowy conspiracy." His second short story release following the recommended If You Go Into The Woods.

I Wish... (The Witches of Desire) - Wren Emerson. A YA paranormal: Witches, young love, old grudges, major powers, big secrets.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms - N.K. Jemisin. An epic fantasy collecting an epic list of award nominations. (Reduced to $2.99 on Kindle)

Of Blood and Honey - Stina Leicht. Lots of blood, lots of tension: 70s Ireland with a supernatural spin.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Pretty Buildings with Pretty Books

Good things come in threes. So I'm continuing my series on unique libraries, showing that a library doesn't have to be a drab utilitarian cement box focused on homework and term papers. This entry focuses on the Seattle Central Public Library. From the outside:

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Even the Robots will be Better Read

The new Mansueto Library at the University of Chicago, notable because robots are used to retrieve the books (a process that takes about five minutes). The picture above came from an article in the Chicago Tribune; the picture below (from the school website) shows the stored books.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I Want a Car Just to Park it Here

A photo of the parking garage at the Kansas City Central Library taken by Tim at Baby Got Books.

Philip Roth Wins International Booker, Controversy Follows

The Guardian summarizes the win. And the controversy.

I've mentioned Roth quite a few times on this blog. I'm clearly a fan, though I don't find his most recent work to be his most interesting. Some are less generous in their assessments, including a judge on the Booker panel. From the Guardian article linked above:
Author and publisher Carmen Callil has withdrawn from the judging panel of the Man Booker International prize over its decision to honour Philip Roth... Dismissing the Pulitzer prize-winning author, Callil said that "he goes on and on and on about the same subject in almost every single book. It's as though he's sitting on your face and you can't breathe".

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

One Night Stands and Stockholm Syndrome

That Word Count is So Out-of-Style

I've never bought the idea of 'an ideal length' for a book. I appreciate there are structural reasons that lead to publisher preferences, but like the fact that e-books may soon make this irrelevant.

But long v. short is still a decision we all face.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Exiles from the Main Streets

Revisiting the Native Soil

I spoke earlier of searching for one's native soil (a place that drives creativity). At 3quarksdaily, James McGirk imagines an Expat Aesthetic:
I lack of a homeland to plunder for deep, meaningful memories... My own memories seem too fragmented and distant for the deep aesthetic dives they take, unless there is such a thing as expatriate literature.
Living in many places should multiply sources of inspiration. If a little land provides a treasure trove (as Faulkner shows), then many lands should mean inexhaustible riches.

The Road is Twisted

But an itinerant life makes everything blur. The road wipes out particulars. The hums of travel become the only chorus. Rootlessness is our only roots. McGirk admits:

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Troubled Times, but the Art Endures

Many artists speak wistfully of past "renaissances" or being born into the wrong eras. Some have gone so far as to claim that Ancient Athens, Renaissance Italy and Elizabethan England were the only eras in which an artist could be truly great.

But decline often births great art. New communities are always being formed. Wastelands are still haunted by the muses.
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