Friday, May 30, 2008

Friday's Poem

Emily Bronte's "Rememberance":

Your Job Kind of Boring Today?

Would you rather read a short story collection right now rather than crunch some numbers and scare at a computer screen? But, yeah, I get it. You don't want to get caught not doing your job? Well, you can pretend to actually be working and STILL read for pleasure if you want to. It's pretty easy. Just go here.

5 Incredibly Specific Magazines

Thanks to the blog at Mental Floss.

A brief excerpt, discussing The Ukulele Occasional...

I haven’t decided if by occasional they mean, it’s only published occasionally or it’s for people who only play the ukulele occasionally (and let’s face it: who plays the ukulele that often anyway?) Whatever the meaning, this is THE magazine dedicated to all aspects of ukulele culture. “Our goal is to entertain uke enthusiasts with articles, rare photos, reviews and instruction centered around everyone’s favorite instrument,” goes the copy on their Web site.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Cornell Capa, Dead at 90

The famed photojournalist has died. From the story (and slide show)in the New York Times...

Mr. Capa had three important incarnations in the field of photography: successful photojournalist; champion of Robert Capa, his older brother, among the greatest war photographers; and founder and first director of the International Center of Photography, which, since it was established in 1974, has become one of the most influential photographic institutions for exhibition, collection and education in the world.

Good Reads for Girls

The Utne Reader showcases some great reads for girls and discusses, briefly, the Amelia Bloomer Project that lists books that would be, well, good reads for girls.

Though my daughter LOVES princesses (some of her favorites in random order: Snow White, Grace Kelly, Cinderella, Diana) we try and give her some well rounded reading material, like stories about Who's in the Bathroom.

Wow II: The Sequel

The show "The Artist's Library" at the Centre international d'art et du paysage de l'ile de Vassiviere.

Pictured above: Joseph Kosuth's "On the Phenomenon of the Library"

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Great Ira Glass

Discusses, via the Mental Floss blog, the great art of storytelling.

Unknown Rimbaud Text Found

The story is here.

From the article:

An unknown work by the French 19th-century poet Arthur Rimbaud has been uncovered in a newspaper back issue in his hometown in northeastern France, a local bookseller said on Thursday.

For those interested in learning more about that most interesting young man, there's the movie "Total Eclipse," starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Rimbaud. Better yet (much better), there's the absorbing biography by Graham Robb, Rimbaud: A Biography.


The artwork of Matej Krén.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I Should Be Thanking My Lucky Stars

I guess I should feel blessed that I didn't get into Grad School for Creative Writing. Hanif Kureishi equates creating writing classes to mental hospitals.

The Library in the New Age

The New York Review of Books takes a look at the Library in the New Age.

From the story:

Information is exploding so furiously around us and information technology is changing at such bewildering speed that we face a fundamental problem: How to orient ourselves in the new landscape? What, for example, will become of research libraries in the face of technological marvels such as Google?

How to make sense of it all? I have no answer to that problem, but I can suggest an approach to it: look at the history of the ways information has been communicated. Simplifying things radically, you could say that there have been four fundamental changes in information technology since humans learned to speak.

Somewhere, around 4000 BC, humans learned to write. Egyptian hieroglyphs [pictured above: Pillar of Pompey near the Library of ancient Alexandria] go back to about 3200 BC, alphabetical writing to 1000 BC. Accord-ing to scholars like Jack Goody, the invention of writing was the most important technological breakthrough in the history of humanity. It transformed mankind's relation to the past and opened a way for the emergence of the book as a force in history.

Meet T.E.A.L.

That is, the Typo Eradication Advancement League.

Who Killed the Literary Critic?

Salon discusses the death of criticism.

Below the headline:

In the age of blogging, great critics [pictured above] appear to be on life support. Salon's book reviewers discuss snobbery, how to make criticism fun and the need for cultural gatekeepers.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Taking a Few Days Off

Fear not, I'll return with gusto after the holiday weekend. In the meantime, why don't you go ahead and make yourself a comic strip.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Poetry of Barack Obama


A Poem Relay

From the New Yorker's Book Bench comes this story about a poem being relayed to the Beijing Olympics much like the iconic torch is. The poem is “June,” by Shi Tao, an imprisoned Chinese journalist, that addresses the 1989 protests in Tiananmen Square.

Killing Joke: A Critic at Large

The New Yorker takes a look at the marvelous and near genius Coen brothers and the marvelous and near genius movies they make.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Jon's Writing in SOMA Magazine

Go to your nearest book retailer and find a copy of SOMA Magazine. I've got a story in their latest issue, the "Travel Issue." I wrote about a few spots on Paris that aren't your run-of-the-mill bars, the most interesting, perhaps, is Paris's first oxygen bar, located at Bleu Comme Bleu. I also discuss a bookstore/bar and a place that still serves the devilish absinthe.

I Heart Miranda July

Omnivoracious has an exclusive video where July shares a kitchen-table "Book Talk" she recently had with the brand-new paperback edition of her very own story collection, No One Belongs Here More Than You.

There is a God, and He Likes Grammatical Symbols

Holy cow! You undoubtedly know how much I like the ampersand, as evidenced from earlier posts. I'm understandably excited then when I found this - a blog dedicated to the ampersand.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Quote of the Week

I would be the most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.
- Anna Quindlen (1953 - )

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Benefits of Bedtime Reading

The Guardian's Science Correspondent highlights the importance of reading to your kids.

From the story:

Reading to young children stimulates their development and gives them a head start when they reach school, according to researchers who have reviewed studies on the effects of reading. Apart from helping their reading, sharing a bedtime story with a child promotes their motor skills, through learning to turn the pages, and their memory. It also improves their emotional and social development.

And this:

Most important, though, said Zuckerman, is that reading aloud is a period of shared attention and emotion between parent and child.

For me? Reading with my kid is a hoot, oftentimes more for me than for her. For instance, I read Mo Willem's wonderful Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus (the pigeon is pictured above) in a very poor accent that is similar to Speedy Gonzales. My kid says sometimes, "Uh, dad? Can you just read it normal?" Which is a shame, because I do a very good bad Speedy Gonzales voice and I also, when reading Sesame Street books, do a very good bad Grover voice.

Anywho, read to little people. It's good for them. It's good for you.

1001 Books to Read Before You Die

Run out and read them! Of course reading 1001 books will probably kill you. Whatever. Here's the rather thoughtful list. How many have you read?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Top Fifty Bible Stories

The list, according to Cliff Richard.

And, don't forget The Brick Testament, the world's largest, most comprehensive illustrated Bible...done in LEGOS.

The Wonders of Whichbook

What sort of book do you like to read? A conventional sex-filled long novel? A disturbing demanding bleak novella? Something beautiful and larger than life? Something funny and violent? On Whichbook, you pick the criteria in regards to broad subject matter and it finds the books you'll probably like. Find out what books you'll want to read next here.

If a Table of Contents Slide Show is What You're After

A table of contents slide show is what you'll get.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Quote of the Week

Reading well is one of the great pleasures that solitude can afford you.
- Harold Bloom

Friday, May 09, 2008

Friday's Poem

Rumi's Sufi poem, "Say I Am You":

Jon's Writing in Distinctly Northwest Magazine

With summer just around the corner, I'm excited about camping again (particularly with my little kid who does likes them s'mores). I recently wrote about camping in the great Pacific Northwest. You can view it here.

Pictured above: The Ohanepecosh River at Mt. Rainier National Park.

75th Anniversary of the Nazi Book Burnings

It happened on May 10, 1933. AbeBooks remembers, interviews three authorities on book burning, and showcases a reading list of book-burning books here.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Jon's Writing in Seattle Sound Magazine

The big ol' Sasquatch Music Festival is coming soon to the Pacific Northwest. There's going to be some great acts coming, including R.E.M. and The Cure. Another act that'll grace the stage are the hilarious and talented Flight of the Conchords. I wrote a short piece about them in the May issue of Seattle Sound.

To prove to you their hilarity, their ditty "Foux De Fa Fa":

Fear the Gay Penguins!

The story of gay penguins tops the list of this year's most challenged books.

From the story:

"The complaints are that young children will believe that homosexuality is a lifestyle that is acceptable. The people complaining, of course, don't agree with that," Judith Krug, director of the ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom, told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Read about the destruction of the lives of our children due to a fictional account of warm and loving gay penguins here.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The Ten Best Books on Architecture

This, according to The Independent.

Pictured above: Central Chinese Television (CCTV) Headquarters, designed by Rem Koolhaas & Ole Scheeren; engineered by Ove Arup.

The Baron of Bibliomania

Meet Sir Thomas Phillips (pictured above). He was a bibliomaniac. It ruined his life. The Guardian has his story.

From the article:

The books and documents took over the house. The family - two wives, three daughters of the first marriage - knew their place: second best to the books and to boxes, some of which stood for several years waiting to be unpacked. They were pressed into service, unpacking, sorting, and stacking shelves. The walls of the once-fine house were stained and peeling; there was never money to pay for repairs. Regular visitors - for Sir Thomas, for all his faults, was unfailingly generous to serious scholars - noted mournfully as they escaped down the almost impassable track towards Broadway that the state of Middle Hill House was even more grievous now than the last time they'd seen it, with every room filled with heaps of paper, manuscripts, books, charters, lying on the floor or piled up against walls, on tables, chairs and beds.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Quote of the Week

Use your imagination not to scare yourself to death but to inspire yourself to life.
- Adele Brookman