Monday, July 07, 2008

Belated Links & Reviews

Apologies for the delay; I went home this weekend for a couple days of family, food and rest, and used today to play a little bit of catch-up. Without further ado:

- From the Penguin blog, a guest post by author Nick Hornby on the ebook "phenomenon." I'm not quite as sanguine as he is about reading in general, I guess, but then again I'm way off the average of buying seven books a year (that's closer to a fortnight for me, maybe a month if I'm trying to behave ...).

- The July issue of Common-place is out: it includes a history of Monticello as "historic place," among other noteworthy essays. One of the most browsable and consistently interesting collections of historical scholarship on the web continues to improve.

- Over at LISNews, Christopher Kiess asks whether future librarians might not need an MLS.

- An update on the vandalism at Robert Frost's home, Homer Noble Farm. NPR reports "Some of the 28 people charged with trespassing and vandalism accepted an unusual plea agreement - they had to take a class on Robert Frost." Poetic, perhaps, but not nearly harsh enough.

- Here's an FBI press release on the recent developments in the Brubaker case.

- In The Guardian, David Crystal suggests that text-messaging may not be killing the English language after all. He finds that the majority of text messages use standard orthography ("In one American study, less than 20% of the text messages looked at showed abbreviated forms of any kind - about three per message"), and offers a short history of English-language abbreviations (criticized by Joseph Addison and Jonathan Swift, among others, so those of us who complain about 'c u l8tr' aren't in bad company). Crystal also notes the pretty silly way text messaging has been programmed into phones ("No one took letter-frequency considerations into account when designing it. For example, key 7 on my mobile contains four symbols, pqrs. It takes four key-presses to access the letter s, and yet s is one of the most frequently occurring letters in English. It is twice as easy to input q, which is one of the least frequently occurring letters. It should be the other way round"), which I quite agree with, and concludes his essay by examining the recent trend of text-message-based poetry and novels. Read the whole thing (rtwt?). I don't necessarily agree with Crystal's conclusions, but he makes a fair case.

- Ben reports that the Oklahoma Bibliophiles' event with Kevin Hayes went very well. My copy of Hayes' Road to Monticello arrived today, and I've barely been able to keep myself out of it so far.

- Rachel notes Lawrence Downes' NYTimes essay "In a Changing World of News, an Elegy for Copy Editors."

- From Britannica and Old Time Radio, a 29 May 1945 broadcast of "Information Please!" featuring guest Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. and other panelists James Kieran, Franklin Adams, and Oscar Levant. Quite impressive indeed. More episodes here, including several with author and bookman Christopher Morley which I'm looking forward to listening to.

- Tim has a portion up of his talk at ALA about the future of cataloging.

- J.K. Rowling has joined the chorus of British authors opposed to the publishers' age-banding scheme.

- Laura points out the fascinating timeline of printing and book history created by Paul Dijstelberge using the Dipity software. I haven't played with that yet, but it looks pretty nifty.

- Another installment in the Who Was Shakespeare? debate, as reported by NPR. Also on NPR, Renee Montagne speaks to author Nigel Cliff about his book The Shakespeare Riots.

- Also from NPR, a discussion with Tony Perrottet, the author of the new book, Napoleon's Privates: 2,500 Years of History Unzipped.

- Rick Ring seems to have found Jefferson's own copy of an 1802 edition of his manual for parliamentary procedure.


- Larry McMurtry's new memoir, Books, is reviewed in the Christian Science Monitor and The Statesman.

- In The Telegraph, Jonathan Keates reviews James Cuno's Who Owns Antiquity?: Museums and the Battle Over Our Ancient Heritage.

- For the Boston Globe, Michael Kenney reviews If by Sea: The Forging of the American Navy by George Daughan.