Monday, May 21, 2007

Links & Reviews

- At Adventures in Ethics and Science, Janet Stemwedel replies to Ann Althouse's comments that novels shouldn't be read in school. She posits eleven good defenses of literature in the classroom, and commenters have added quite a few more. Althouse's comment that students should be taught "about history, science, law, logic - something academic and substantive - and leave the fictional material for after hours" is positively mind-boggling ... as Janet says, "It's not all John Grisham out there." Indeed.

- From Scott at Fine Books Blog, more on the theme of "books in the background" - in this case, books manufactured specifically for movie sets, and thoughts on the Nicholson Baker essay "Books as Furniture." Scott also notes the upcoming sale of Rockford College's Bertha A. Holbrook Collection of A-B-C Books. More on the Rockford sales here.

- Frank Cottrell Boyce reviews Tolkien's The Children of Húrin for the Independent. Best line: "It's a prequel [i.e. to LOTR] in the sense that a book about neolithic traders of the Dorset coast is a prequel to Persuasion." My review here.

- David Crystal's new book By Hook or by Crook: A Journey in Search of English is reviewed by Nick Groom, also in the Independent. A mixed bag: "At his best, Crystal can be a compelling guide, but he can also be too self-conscious, oddly faux naïve, and overly fond of truncated sentences and paragraphs."

- Over at Steamboats are Ruining Everything, Caleb muses on book design, singling out Henry Glassie's Pattern in the Material Folk Culture of the Eastern United States for special praise.

- From the Washington Post Book World section: Rebecca Stott's novel Ghostwalk is reviewed by Ron Charles, and Daniel Stashower reviews Nigel Cliff's The Shakespeare Riots, about an 1849 clash between fans of American Edwin Forrest and English actor William Charles Macready.

- The New York Times profiles miniature books, noting the Grolier Club exhibit which complements our show here in Boston.

- Our resident Bookplate Junkie has some puzzles for us: you could help solve a mystery.

- From Paul Collins, eBay auctions for a counterfeit detection book from 1870, and another noteworthy title: Premature Burial and How It May be Prevented: With Special Reference to Trance, Catalepsy, and Other Forms of Suspended Animation (1905).

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