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Posts tagged Culture

French government’s cultural pretensions exploded by ministerial gaffe
October 31, 2014 | 12:26 pm

France can be proud that one of its best veteran writers, Patrick Modiano, has lived up to its great literary and intellectual traditions by winning the 2014 Nobel Prize for Literature. It can be far less proud of its current government's continuing antics in its own rearguard action against the supposed encroachment of Americanism, the modern world, and reality in general. Fleur Pellerin, France's current Minister of Culture and Communications (born in South Korea but adopted in infancy and raised in France), admitted on air after the announcement of the award that she had enjoyed the author's company - but could...

What is Faber’s new division supposed to do? And is digital the savior of high culture?
October 6, 2014 | 10:29 am

According to a report in The Bookseller, Henry Volans, head of Faber Digital, has been tasked to form a new division of Faber and Faber, Faber Press, with the goal of creating a new kind of business for the venerable UK literary publisher. The exact purpose of this new structure is not yet clear, except that, according to several reports, it unites Volans's current purview at Faber Digital with Faber Finds and Faber Fine Press, as well as embracing Faber's poetry, drama, film, and classical music lists. Faber Press apparently does not bring any change in editorial policy, with commissioning still...

Step up now to save Blake’s Cottage
July 25, 2014 | 2:25 pm

Cottage-in-Milton-1024x571 William Blake is not only one of England's most celebrated and beloved literary and artistic sons worldwide, he is also author of what has become the unofficial English national anthem, "Jerusalem." Yet the cottage in Felpham, Sussex, where he composed "Jerusalem" is now up for sale to private buyers after UK cultural bodies failed to make a move to save it. The Blake Society, custodians of his memory, have been given a strictly time-limited opportunity to buy the property at a discount - if they can find enough donors. "We have until the 31 October 2014 to raise enough money to...

Sajid Javid appointment two cheers for UK culture?
April 11, 2014 | 10:25 am

Sajid_SittingThe exit of Maria Miller, former UK Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, over inflated expenses claims, and her replacement by Sajiv Javid, who becomes the first "the first Asian male Conservative cabinet minister," as the BBC put it, could be seen as a positive signal for an embattled sector in British life. But both Miller and Javid's post is immediately junior to that of the widely reviled Ed Vaizey, UK Minister for Culture, who has presided over systematic yet deniable neglect of the UK public libraries, apparently on ideological grounds. Despite Javid's highly politically correct credentials on ethnic...

Paper books vs. e-books and the clash of bookstore cultures
June 30, 2013 | 5:43 pm

Salon Magazine’s culture editor Anna North recently posted an article about how much she “hates books.” Not the collections of words—she loves reading—but the physical artifacts that have the words in them. She’s moved seven times in eight years, and has gotten tired of hauling dead tree pulp around. She’s come to love her iPad, and the ability to read e-books on it, The books she keeps, she keeps because they hold important memories and associations for her, but most new books she buys digitally. There’s not a whole lot new in this, of course. Accounts of people joyfully...

The Great Book Scandals of 2012
January 4, 2013 | 11:00 pm

  Books—staid and intellectual cultural artifacts that they so often are—were not all just staid or intellectual this year. Not nearly. There were, in fact, scandals, at least a few of them surrounding books and their authors and publishers, and there were times in which discussions of books and the business grew dramatic and tension-filled. Near-scandals! Other times, these conversations were simply very, very interesting, full of twists and turns, much like a good book. Remember when Philip Roth took on Wikipedia to clear up what he described as false perceptions of The Human Stain? (It was a big year for Philip Roth news altogether, really.) Or...

Small Demons builds concordance to aid book discovery
November 16, 2011 | 12:17 pm

small-demons-logo_1888I ran across another one of those guest posts on Publishing Perspectives where the founder of a publishing-related business is invited to talk about the idea behind that business. This one seems to involve a method for enabling discovery of new books in the age of the e-book. Small Demons, explains CEO Valla Vakili, was born out of enjoying a book and wanting to go out and experience some of the things and places written about in that book. Then it occurred to him that links to other people, places, and things, including other books, can be found in...

Interview: “The Social Context of Reading: Five Questions for Bob Stein”
August 6, 2011 | 1:31 pm

From an Interview by Buzz Poole (via Imprint) I first learned about The Institute for the Future of the Book while working on a magazine assignment that eventually became this piece for The Millions. In getting to know Bob Stein, his colleagues and the projects they championed I became convinced that concerns about the death of reading and writing were deeply misplaced. What readers, writers, publishers and retailers really needed to worry about, and catch up with, was the increasing potential of what a book’s content could be, the delivery of the content and how we could interact with the content....

“Ereaders ruined my love life!”
July 5, 2011 | 8:43 am

Lisa Lewis' post in The New York Times' City Room blog yesterday brought up a familiar complaint about the social aspect of ereaders—namely, that there isn't much of one, unless you want to talk about the gadget itself. It wasn’t the first time I’d flirted my way into a Saturday night date with a simple phrase: “I love that book.” [...] I had one good pickup line, and e-readers ruined it. I can no longer hit on a handsome man on a long commute by asking about his book — because I can’t see it. [...] I promise there is...

Enhanced ebooks and the death of imagination
June 1, 2010 | 8:38 am

lone ranger.jpgEnhanced ebooks, TV, videos, video games all share a common feature — they stifle imagination and creativity. Enhanced ebooks have a proper role to play in educating people, but perhaps not in educating the very young. OK, I admit I’m old and that I can remember back to the birth of television, when The Lone Ranger was the hot show. And I can remember picking up a book and letting the words create a picture in my mind. These pictures were born from my understanding of what the words meant. Authors had to create worlds in writing that could be recreated...

Lunar Conspiracies and This Old BBS: Ancient Files Equals Good Reading!
May 17, 2010 | 3:34 pm

For those of us who've been around the Internet for quite a while, are you starting to feel old yet? From BBS's on a slowwww dial-up modem to the hyper-crazed, graphics-intensive, social-media world of today, it's been quite a wild ride. I remember hanging out in the computer lab on campus with rows and rows of the old IBM machines staring silently back at me, with nary a web browser on them! However, today's post isn't about me getting all teary-eyed about scratchy modems and spaghetti piles of network...

Paleo E-books: Animé fanfic and Undocumented Features
April 29, 2009 | 6:23 pm

uf-title This series, “Paleo E-books,” looks at groups who were writing Internet literature in the late 1980s and early 1990s—well before most people had any idea what an “e-book” was. Prior “Paleo E-books” columns cover: The Superguy Mailing List The Legion of Net.Heroes & rec.arts.comics.creative alt.cyberpunk.chatsubo, alt.pub.dragons-inn, alt.pub.havens-rest In this entry I will be looking at fan-written fiction, or “fanfic”—and in particular one of the more famous early Internet fanfic series: Undocumented Features. Today, there is nothing unusual about Internet fanfic; it’s just one of those things that people do on the Internet. It’s gotten so you can barely research Harry Potter without coming across a...