Sunday, March 23, 2008

Links & Reviews

- LT has added some new stats for each user, including a wonderful page showing overlap with the legacy libraries. We're up to 13 completed legacies now, having this week added the libraries of Walker Percy, Ezra Pound and W.H. Auden. My overlap page is here ... or you can check out John Adams' here (yes, he did share a book with Susan B. Anthony). The work continues, with newly-begun efforts to add the libraries of James Smithson, John Muir, Rembrandt and the Finnish poet Eeva-Liisa Manner. LT was also discussed this week on NPR's "All Things Considered" (and the story is still one of the most-emailed).

- Over at bookn3rd, Laura writes brilliantly about the difficulty of explaining "book history" as a field of study, suggesting that an opening section from Robert Darnton's The Business of Enlightenment could serve as a useful handout. I heartily agree.

- Jennifer Schuessler's post at Paper Cuts about bookshelf etiquette has attracted many interesting comments, which are recommended reading.

- J.L. Bell has been doing a spectacular fact-checking job on HBO's "John Adams," and continues that this week with an excellent post outlining the differences between the screen version of the Boston Massacre trial(s) and the actual events, and another one discussing what's missing from the t.v. version of the Adams household (I was gleeful to note that one of the things he mentions is Adams' books, but of course am sad to know that the film version omits them).

- Paul Collins notes his Slate piece on the history and future of phone books, and his Tin House essay on the 1958 book How To Do Nothing With Nobody All Alone By Yourself (basically, he writes, "a step-by-step guide to grinding oyster shells against the front stoop for no damn reason, to turning buttons and string into buzzsaws that won't cut anything, and to making paper boomerangs that don't come back, Nothing is about what you do when you're nine years old and have neither money nor anyone paying much attention to you, and where your one guiding principle is that you avoid grown-ups and don't ask for help").

- Rick Ring comments on Charles W. Janson's 1807 book The Stranger in America, an Englishman's snarky account of life in the southern states during the early national period.

- In the Guardian's book blog, Belinda Webb writes about Mary Wollstonecraft's fictional writings. Webb suggests Wollstonecraft wrote literature "as intelligent protest."


- In the Boston Globe, William Martin reviews the new Revolutionary War novel, Jerome Charyn's Johnny One-Eye. Martin writes "If you think that Charyn owes historical figures their truth, even in fiction, you might want to stay away. If you believe that he owes less to history than to the fiction he fashions from it, read on." Wendy Smith also reviews Johnny One-Eye, for the Washington Post.

At The Little Professor, Miriam Burstein reviews Michael Cox's The Meaning of Night, which I reviewed almost exactly a year ago.

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