Sunday, July 01, 2007

Links & Reviews

I should have done a mid-week roundup this week, probably!

- Joyce comments on marginalia in books: "Every book carries its history on its back, and front and endpapers. Sometimes it's boring and ugly, and inappropriate. Unless it was done by your own child, crayon decoration on a contemporary children's book is distasteful and unnecessary, crayon on a children's book 100 years old can be fascinating. Marginalia in a book say, younger than 1950 is usually annoying and ugly, marginalia in a book from a book older than 1950 is a tiny time capsule. It can be a message from the past. Now I am not talking about general pencil markings, indistinct marks and doodles, I am talking about words , pictures, signatures, inscriptions - not everything should be removed all the time." Leave it there, she says, quite appropriately.

- In The Guardian, Barbara Kingsolver talks to Ed Pilkington about Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (my review here). Pilkington got the full-immersion treatment at Kingsolver's farm, complete with turkey, um, affection.

- AHA Today provides some good links to several academic blog directories, and also recommends BibMe, one of the many new bibliographic utilities. I've yet to play with this one much (I'm sort of a bibliographic luddite and still like to make my own, but maybe that's just because I haven't found an automated one that works right).

- Over at Thingology, Tim engages former ALA president Michael Gorman's recent post about humans and learning, arguing that this whole "hive mind" thing isn't all bad. I've got a couple thoughts cooking about Gorman's argument and a few others he's made recently, and hope to have something up on that before too much longer (there, I've said it, maybe that'll get me moving on it).

- Scott Brown at Fine Books and Collections has announced the winners of this year's Collegiate Book Collecting Championship contest: David Butterfield of Christ College, Cambridge for "Landmarks of Classical Scholarship," Craig Citro of UCLA for "Mathematician Emil Artin," and Diana Looser of Cornell for "Drama of Oceana." Three honorable mentions were also awarded. Finalists will be profiled in the Sept./Oct. edition of FB&C.

- Lynn at Cuppa Joad reviews Steven Johnson's The Ghost Map, about John Snow's discovery of how cholera spread in London.

- Michael Lieberman highlights a progress report from the "Google Five" (the first institutions to sign up for the Google Books Project). Panelists all said they are pleased with progress, but noted that challenges remain, from bad metadata to scanning damage.

- Joyce, among others, recommends "Good Copy, Bad Copy," a free online documentary about copyright today. Between this and the Streeter "BookTV" piece I'm going to need to set aside an evening soon.

- Scott posts on auction descriptions of restored dust jackets, which he suggests (and I agree) that we'll probably be seeing more of in the future.

- Lesley McDowell reviews Linda Colley's The Ordeal of Elizabeth Marsh in The Scotsman. It's billed as the biography of "an ordinary woman," but McDowell notes there's much more to it than that. Sounds like a good read, actually.

- Bookride has posted the first installment of a series on celebrity book collectors; today's subjects include Johnny Depp, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Whoopi Goldberg.

- Paul Collins is on Radio New Zealand discussing his recent essay on collecting things radioactive ... and he's also discovered that a man by the same name in England recently won a
stinging nettle-eating contest (by eating 56 feet of nettle leaves).

- One quick non-book recommendation from me: I saw "Ratatouille" (the new Pixar film) on Friday night, and trust me, it's worth seeing. Beautifully animated, nicely cast, and a good story to boot. There's even an amusing and poignant Proust allusion in there. Don't miss this one.

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