The Daily

Posts Tagged ‘Man Booker Prize’

The World’s Most Average Typeface, and Other News

July 23, 2014 | by

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Z, from BIC’s Universal Typeface Experiment.

  • On the Booker longlist: Joshua Ferris, Joseph O’Neill, Richard Powers, Siri Hustvedt, Howard Jacobson, David Mitchell, David Nicholls, and others. Notably excluded: Donna Tartt.
  • Earlier this month came news of Charlotte and Branwell Brontë’s tiny books; now it’s the Brontë sisters’ school progress reports. In the early nineteenth century, a minister at Cowan Bridge noted that Charlotte “writes indifferently … knows nothing of grammar, geography, history, or accomplishments.”
  • Do you seek a bland font, a middling font, a dutifully average font? Try the Universal Typeface, “a constantly evolving, algorithmically produced font created by averaging hundreds of thousands of handwriting samples submitted to BIC’s website. Anyone with a touchscreen can help shape the Universal Typeface by linking their phone or tablet to the website and writing directly on the touchscreen—the lettering is quickly transferred to the Universal Typeface algorithm. As of this writing, more than 400,000 samples have been collected from around the world, and the resulting alphabet is … well, sort of boring.”
  • Wallace Shawn discusses playwriting and his new take on Ibsen’s The Master Builder: “If a man can presume to make a list of men who contributed to the feminist view of life, you’d have to put Ibsen at the head of the list. But he’s laying out on the table some of the worst male fantasies. I mean, he was a very daring writer, and he dared to be sort of sickening. He dared to create these characters who were sort of dreadful.”
  • “The jukebox musical can be an embarrassing phenomenon: a living, breathing pop-music wax museum. It can be pandering and disingenuous, fostering a dynamic that the Times has called ‘ovation-by-coercion.’ It can repackage your happiest memories as a Vegas revue … Our instinct is to sigh about it, but we shouldn’t. The form is evolving.”

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The Real Hunger Games, and Other News

September 16, 2013 | by

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  • Presented without comment: The Jewish Hunger Games: Kvetching Fire. (One comment: yes, it is about Yom Kippur.)
  • Word is, the Man Booker may open its doors to Yank authors come 2014. Needless to say, this is controversial.
  • Electric Lit starts an… irreverent take on Eat, Pray, Love.
  • Marmee, Mme. Swann’s Way, and other great mothers of literature.
  • Marshall Berman, an author and scholar whom the New York Times calls “a lyrical defender of modernism,” has died at seventy-two.
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    Saving the Harriet Beecher Stowe House, and Other News

    September 11, 2013 | by

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  • A federal grant will help the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center—based in the author’s Hartford home—to stay open.
  • Middlemarch, in emojis.
  • A map plots the location of every Booker Prize nominee since 1969. London leads the pack, at thirty-eight.
  • Tumblr has launched a book club. Reblog kicks off with Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl.
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    This Overdue Library Book Wins, and Other News

    July 24, 2013 | by

    Library, Kentucky School for the Deaf

    Library, Kentucky School for the Deaf.

    • Herewith: the Man Booker Prize long list.
    • “I just happen to love ampersands,” says David Gilbert of his decision to title his new novel & Sons.
    • Arrested Development’s Jeffrey Tambor, as it happens, is part owner of LA’s estimable Skylight Books.
    • Continuing with this week’s theme of overdue library books … a volume that was checked out in 1823. “I think if we add it up at our current rate of ten cents a day, it would be $6,000,” says librarian Stan Campbell.

     

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    Of Bloggers and Book Clubs

    September 26, 2012 | by

  • Brilliant: book club in a box.
  • Writers defend their favorite punctuation marks.
  • Tao Lin is selling his stuff on Twitter.
  • This gent has the largest collection of primary Hemingway works in existence.
  • The head judge of the Man Booker Prize claims book bloggers are harming literature.








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    Larger Than Life: An Interview with Will Self

    August 9, 2012 | by

    Last August, I interviewed Will Self—whose latest novel Umbrella has just been long-listed for the prestigious Man Booker Prize—in his London home. I had been given two weeks to prepare and I was quite terrified. My terror was warranted; I had spent the last ten days immersed in his hallucinatory fictional worlds, composed of seven novels, three novellas, and countless short stories. Through these parallel and often overlapping fictions, Self has constructed a relentless critique of our institutional failings, hypocritical cultural mores, and political inadequacies. My fears, notwithstanding being intellectually dwarfed, were largely to do with the sheer madness of many of his writings. Here was the writer who, over the years, had invented:

    1. A man who wakes up with a vagina behind his left knee and has an affair with his (male) GP (Bull: A Farce);

    2. A parallel Earth populated by nymphomaniacal and exhibitionist apes seen through the eyes of its most prominent experimental psychiatrists (Great Apes);

    3. The afterlife taking place in the purgatorial London district of “Dulston,” a suburb populated uniquely by senseless, chain-smoking dead people, haunted by their aborted fetuses and old neuroses, and living out the rest of infinity in dire office jobs (How the Dead Live);

    4. A postapocalyptic London governed by a religion based on a cab driver named Dave’s insane writings to his estranged son in the 2000s (The Book of Dave).

    And then there was the public figure—an acerbic satirist of towering intellect, a giant man of letters with a rhetorical bite strong enough to tear a lesser being apart. By the time I rang on the doorbell, Will Self had, to my mind, transmogrified into The Fat Controller—the Mephistophelian antihero in his My Idea of Fun—ready to shred me from limb to limb for my idiotic questions and inadequate readings.

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