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Posts Tagged ‘Google’

Let’s Hear It for Refrigerators, and Other News

May 9, 2014 | by

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From Life, November 19, 1965. Via the Appendix.

  • BREAKING: FLAUBERT NOT A REALIST, SAYS EXPERT TESTIMONY
  • Nathaniel Mackey has won the Ruth Lilley Poetry Prize: a cool $100k. Don Share, editor of Poetry magazine, says, “The poetry of Nathaniel Mackey continues an American bardic line that unfolds from Whitman’s ‘Leaves of Grass’ to H.D.’s ‘Trilogy’ to Olson’s ‘Maximus’ poems, winds through the whole of Robert Duncan’s work and extends beyond all of these. In his poems, but also in his genre-defying serial novel (which has no beginning or end) and in his multifaceted critical writing, Mackey’s words always go where music goes: a brilliant and major accomplishment.”
  • The rise and fall of the conventional romance novel: “By the seventies, Harlequins became known for their lush language, which often evoked settings that sounded like Thomas Kinkade paintings: ‘The rolling tide of summer grass had engulfed the small meadow in a sweet-smelling flood of lambs’ tails, coltsfoot, feverfew, the drifting pollen from them like pale yellow dust on Linden’s bare arms as she lay full length among them.’” Now self-published erotica, much of it hardcore enough to make your average Harlequin heroine blush, have eaten into sales.
  • We take our refrigerators for granted, but history reminds of the glories inherent in artificial refrigeration, which used to blow people’s minds.
  • Google now offers a street view of the Grand Canyon: “On the virtual river you can fast-forward downstream, avoiding the soaking rapids and searing sun, putting in and taking out as you please. But part of the Grand Canyon experience is surrendering to the flow of the river and committing to the journey. Anyone who has traveled in canyon country knows how much the terrain can change in a matter of seconds during an afternoon rainstorm, or in the hours between noon and dusk, as sunlight glistens and fades upon the canyon walls. To these subtle but vital gradations, Google’s roving digital eye remains conspicuously blind.”

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Full-Color Book Espresso Machines, and Other News

November 15, 2013 | by

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  • The first full-cover book espresso machine comes to Books-a-Million of Portland, Maine.
  • Bukowski in Hollywood.
  • Google wins its epic book-scanning battle.
  • Michiko Kakutani loves the phrase “deeply felt.”
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    In Praise of the Flâneur

    October 17, 2013 | by

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    Reworking of Paul Gavarni’s Le Flâneur by Spenot.

    Little things in life supplant the “great events.” —Peter Altenberg, as translated by Peter Wortsman

    The figure of the flâneur—the stroller, the passionate wanderer emblematic of nineteenth-century French literary culture—has always been essentially timeless; he removes himself from the world while he stands astride its heart. When Walter Benjamin brought Baudelaire’s conception of the flâneur into the academy, he marked the idea as an essential part of our ideas of modernism and urbanism. For Benjamin, in his critical examinations of Baudelaire’s work, the flâneur heralded an incisive analysis of modernity, perhaps because of his connotations: “[the flâneur] was a figure of the modern artist-poet, a figure keenly aware of the bustle of modern life, an amateur detective and investigator of the city, but also a sign of the alienation of the city and of capitalism,” as a 2004 article in the American Historical Review put it. Since Benjamin, the academic establishment has used the flâneur as a vehicle for the examination of the conditions of modernity—urban life, alienation, class tensions, and the like.

    In the ensuing decades, however, the idea of flânerie as a desirable lifetsyle has fallen out of favor, due to some arcane combination of increasing productivity—hello, fruits of the Industrial Revolution!—and the modern horror at the thought of doing absolutely nothing. (See: Michael Jordan’s “retirements.”) But as we grow inexorably busier—due in large part to the influence of technology—might flânerie be due for a revival?

    If contemporary literature is any indication, the answer is a soft yes. Take Teju Cole’s debut novel, Open City. Cole’s narrator, Julius, wanders up and down Manhattan, across the Atlantic to Brussels and back again, while off-handedly delivering bits of wisdom and historical insight. It’s not just that Open City is beautifully written, though that’s certainly true. Cole’s skill manifests itself in depicting the dreamy psychogeographic landscape—and accompanying amorality and solipsism—of Julius’s mind. Riding behind his eyes is a trip; even though we’re in his head, the tone of his thoughts still sets us at a distance.

    Tao Lin’s recently released Taipei achieves something similar. As Ian Sansom wrote in the Guardian, “Passage after passage in the novel dwells on the meaning of disassociation and self-exile.” Read More »

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    Google Guide to the Galaxy, and Other News

    March 11, 2013 | by

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    Bookish Cakes, and Other News

    March 4, 2013 | by

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  • Happy Monday. Here are some cakes inspired by books!
  • Nineteen Charles Bukowski drawings have come to light; most of them illustrated his column for the Los Angeles Free Press.
  • A poem written by a thirteen-year-old Charlotte Brontë is expected to fetch at least £40,000 at auction.
  • “If there has ever been a golden age for the unconventionally named author, it is now.” Bylines in the age of Google.
  • The 2013 Tournament of Books is on.
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    Happy Birthday, Bram Stoker

    November 8, 2012 | by

    Web surfers will have noticed Google’s celebration of the Dracula scribe’s big 1-6-5 in today’s doodle. But the celebrations don’t end there: Galleycat has rounded up free Stoker e-books, while those across the pond enjoy a Bram Stoker Wedding. Enjoy an excerpt from the 1922 silent film version of Nosferatu:

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