* Are literary classics obsolete? A new study says today’s writers are influenced by authors of the present, not the past. This basically describes me.
We also feared bloated overheads would hold editors hostage to an unsustainable commercial imperative. (We were right.) But little did we imagine that the blunderbuss for change would arrive in the form of an avaricious imperium called Amazon. It is something of a surprise to see so many now defending the practices of corporate publishers who, just yesterday, were excoriated as philistines out to coarsen the general culture.
* Is SF Still The “Big Idea” Genre? Use this for its ideas and for book recommendations.
* Speaking of SF, Economist Paul Krugman Is a Hard-Core Science Fiction Fan: “The science fiction world has a lot of people doing seriously imaginative thinking, and my usual world is one where, you know, I like to hope that my friends and the people whose work I admire are adventurous thinkers, but we do tend to stick pretty close to the ground on a restricted set of issues, and it’s great to get to talk to people. . .”
Paul Fussell, Literary Scholar and Critic, Is Dead at 88; I especially like this: “At Harvard he developed a disdain for academia akin to what he felt for the military” and this: “These were books, he would later recall, that he was ‘supposed to write.’ Then it struck him that he might reach a wider audience by comparing the art and literature created in response to earlier wars with that inspired by World War I.” The books you’re “supposed to write” seldom seem to be the ones people actually read.
* An Economist Gets (a Zero Martini) Lunch, or how to find places with good cocktails and good food.
* The book reviewer vs the autograph-seeker: the secret to consistent success with women.
* The great Verizon FiOS ripoff.
* David Lee Hoffman and the fight against intrusive government; actual NYT title: “In Hippie Holdout, a Fight Over Worms and Moats.”