I’ve been trying a new series of posts on this blog, lately. Each week, I look over the posts from various litblogs, and do a roundup of anything that catches my eye. What catches my eye? Here are some recent posts that I found interesting.
Classics for the Future Past
78 years ago, a magazine for book collectors polled its readers to try to predict which authors would be considered top ten “classics” in the year 2000. Well, how good were their predictions? The Smithsonian’s history blog explains, “some of the authors are likely forgotten names to even the most ardent reader here in the year 2012.” and in respone, Open Culture asks “which writers do you think stand as the Fitzgeralds and Faulkners of today — or, more to the point, of the year 2078? Care to put your guess on record?”
Crowdsourced Book Editing
Speaking of polling the readers, there’s a new service online that connects writers in the earlier stages of their work, with readers who provide feeback. It’s called Advance Editions and the idea seems to be that readers get an early edition, electronically; then they provide comments about what they’ve read; then in three months a more final edition comes out. The website explains, ” It’s as easy as writing an online review and much more useful, because the author still has the chance to refine the book before final publication.” The guardian describes it as “Crowdsourced editing: e-publishing’s next frontier” and I think it might prove useful. As a writer of poetry, it can be difficult to get my friends, who aren’t readers of poetry, to give me any feedback. Other writers, they have invaluable feedback of course, but writers and readers are different. Currently there are two books available for reading and response on the platform.
Reading an 110,000 Word Novel in Four Hours, 13 Minutes
In an act that sits somewhere between literary experiment and athletic feat, Rob Boffard set out to read a 110,000 word novel, in a single afternoon, with the help of a speed-reading app called Spritz, on an iPhone. How did he do? He made it through the book in about 4 hours, but says “You can do it, but there are far more pleasant and logical ways to get there. If Spritz is going be used as a novel-reading tool, then the technology needs to be able to handle complex, nuanced writing.”
Amtrak Announces Writers Selected for Residency
A while ago, Amtrak announced it would sponsor a writers residency. Now, they’ve released the list of the 24 writers who have been selected to participate.
(Why) Is Academic Writing Hard to Understand?
There’s a stereotype out there that goes something like this: academic writing is bad writing. What’s behind that stereotype? Why does academic writing have this reputation? Stephen Pinker examines these and other questions, clearly, in the Chronicle of Higher Education’s article entitled “Why Academics Stink at Writing.”
The Year Comic Books Grew Up
Kevin Cortez observes the rise of the stature of the comic book.
In 1986, literati started paying attention to comic books. In 1986, they realized that comics could be more than just throwaway newspaper print for children. In 1986, comic books became literature.