Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Links & Reviews

- Via fade theory, the second Literature Compass cluster on "Print Culture & Book History" has been released, and there are some interesting articles with limited-time free access on their homepage. I've saved a couple of them to read.

- Travis McDade reports further on book thief Paul William Powell and the bizarre "willingness of people to believe that these thieves are actually just caught up in some big misunderstanding."

- Paul Collins had some goodies for us over the weekend, highlighting Powell's epigram contest for the nonexistent Jim Crace book Useless America (hilarious background here and here). He also comments on 1903 New York City automobile speed limits.

- In the Independent, Christopher Hawtree reviews Emily Cockayne's Hubbub: Filth, Noise and Stench in England 1660-1770. Another one I'm passing along without reading since I've got the book to read very soon.

- From Book Trout, Rachel asks about the creeping obsolescence of the paper dictionary. She writes (beautifully) "I've tried the Internet dictionary route and it just isn't satisfying. Where's the serendipitous pleasure of having your eye stray to neighboring words and archaic phrases? Where are the interesting engraved illustrations? What will happen to the ennobling profession of lexicography? Will our language be dumbed down to a few thousand words of vocabulary and text message-style spelling? And am I the only one who really needs to have more than one dictionary in my house?"

No, Rachel, I don't suspect you are (although I confess the only paper dictionaries I have in my apartment at present are a facsimile of Websters first from 1828 and a couple editions of selections from Johnson's). I often use the online dictionary when I can (having access to the online OED makes that a one-stopper for most things), but indeed, the paper version does tend to be infinitely more satisfying.