The Daily

Posts Tagged ‘Ray Bradbury’

Crystallized Books, and Other News

July 31, 2013 | by

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  • It takes some work to decipher this infographic charting writers in prison for nonliterary crimes, but we like that it exists.
  • Larry McMurtry’s epic rare-book auction is now the subject of a documentary.
  • The band Heaven’s new single, “Dandelion Wine,” is named after the eponymous 1957 Ray Bradbury title.
  • Bibliotherapy: exactly what it sounds like.
  • Artist Alexis Arnold’s Crystallized Book series: exactly what it sounds like.
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    Book Shopping with the Best-Read Man in America

    December 28, 2012 | by

    We’re out this week, but we’re re-posting some of our favorite pieces from 2012 while we’re away. We hope you enjoy—and have a happy New Year!

    I was dragging my five-year-old daughter through the musty stacks of my favorite used bookstore last spring when a middle-aged man, squatting in the Sci-Fi section next to a brimming cardboard box, caught my eye and reminded me of someone.

    “Excuse me,” I asked, “are you a writer?”

    “I am,” he said, standing up and straightening his glasses. His eyes were deep set and hard to read. He was bashful.

    “Are you Michael Dirda?” I asked.

    “I am.”

    It was him: the book critic and author, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, known apocryphally as the best-read man in America, whose essays had enticed me to read everything from Little, Big to Three Men in a Boat—and here he was, squinting his way through the lowest shelves in the same crusty bargain dungeon I came to all the time.

    “Amazing. Nina, this is the man who wrote that little letter that we have in your George and Martha,” I told my daughter. Nina was nonplussed.

    “When I was eight, in 1992,” I explained, “I wrote a letter to the Washington Post when James Marshall died and you printed it in the Book World section and even wrote a sweet little response. And her grandpa put a photocopy of that letter in The Complete George and Martha for her.”

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    Kafka’s Mice, and Other News

    December 10, 2012 | by

  • In a match made in fun, fearless, female heaven, Harlequin and Cosmo are producing a line of e-books.
  • Feel like writing your own erotica?
  • The intersection of Fifth and Flower Streets in downtown Los Angeles is now Ray Bradbury Square.
  • An interactive art installation encourages participants to fill empty books.
  • We can add nothing to this description: “A letter from Franz Kafka in which the sick writer describes his ‘naked fear’ of mice invading his bedroom and complains about his cat soiling his slippers could be saved from disappearing into a private collection in a last-minute rescue attempt by German fans.”
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    What We’re Loving: Simultaneity, Latin Lovers

    September 28, 2012 | by

    I’m not really a fan of family-drama novels—I make exceptions for Lionel Shriver and Jane Smiley—but when one is set in your home state and the author teaches at your alma mater, it seems like required reading. Now I can make Andrew Porter’s In Between Days an exception, too. This story of a family’s collapse begins after the falling apart—infidelity, divorce, coming out, leaving for college—has already taken place. There’s more dysfunction to come, but the real treat is Porter’s plainspoken treatment of his characters, quiet and intense, and the revelation of fine but substantive fractures that are impossible to repair. —Nicole Rudick

    Blaise Cendrars and Sonia Delauney published The Prose of the Trans-Siberian and of Little Jeanne of France in 1913, calling it “The First Book of Simultaneity.” Cendrars’s poem, recounting a journey he may or may not have taken from Moscow to Manchuria, was accompanied by Delauney’s scroll of abstract forms in bright colors. The idea was that the reader should take in the text and painting simultaneously, and the poem strives gamely toward the same goal: “So many associations images I can’t get into my poem / Because I’m still such a really bad poet / Because the universe rushes over me / And I didn’t bother to insure myself against train wreck.” A facsimile edition of the original book—a gorgeous, unfolding paper accordion—has been published by Yale, and I’ve been staring at it all afternoon. —Robyn Creswell

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    Bradbury’s File, The Unified Field

    August 29, 2012 | by

  • Seattle band Fleet Foxes is launching an arts and literary journal, The Unified Field. Quoth the L, “Round one features a journal entry penned by recently freed West Memphis 3 member Damien Echols on adjusting to life after eighteen years on death row, an excerpt from Gloria Steinem’s forthcoming book, a photo essay on adolescence by noted rock photographer Autumn de Wilde, a contribution from SPIN’s Charles Aaron, and another from Animal Collective sister/visual collaborator Abby Portner, among 30-plus other pieces.” Proceeds benefit nonprofit 826 National.
  • During the sixties, the FBI kept a file on suspected communist sympathizer Ray Bradbury. According to the bureau’s then-source, “some of Bradbury’s stories have been definitely slanted against the United States and its capitalistic form of governmental.”
  • Kindles don’t have a soporific effect according to one study: “a two-hour exposure to light from self-luminous electronic displays can suppress melatonin by about 22 percent … Stimulating the human circadian system to this level may affect sleep in those using the devices prior to bedtime.”
  • The Marriage Plot hits the small screen.
  • Across languages, “the fundamental colour hierarchy, at least in the early stages (black/white, red, yellow/green, blue) remains generally accepted. The problem is that no one could explain why this ordering of colour exists. Why, for example, does the blue of sky and sea, or the green of foliage, not occur as a word before the far less common red?”
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    The Finalists: Win a Bicycle Contest

    July 25, 2012 | by

    Our inbox runneth over! We asked you to describe the facing image in three hundred words—in the style of Ernest Hemingway, P. G. Wodehouse, Joan Didion, Elizabeth Bishop, or Ray Bradbury—and some two hundred of you did just that. We had hoped to announce a winner yesterday, but it took us this long just to read through all the manly terseness, Jeevesian whimsy, California deadpan, villanelles (“Write it! Pedal faster”), and Martiana. Plus a surprising number of entries that went their own way and ignored the “in the style of” part of the contest—thereby forfeiting the chance to win a bicycle but showing impressive powers of imagination when it comes to devils and flappers on wheels.

    Scroll down to read excerpts from our finalists. And again, many thanks to Velojoy and Hudson Urban Bicycles!

    The Drones’ First Annual Charity Tour De Blandings and Fancy Dress Ball took a wrong turn when Freddie Widgeon and Billie Mainwaring arrived. Somehow each had misread the invitation and got the idea that the cycling was fancy dress. Billie came as a “Muse of Modern Dance,” all chiffon and gauze and trailing scarves. Isadora Duncan on a velocipede. Freddie had on a fearfully complete devil’s costume, though how he’d pedal in those hoof-shaped boots got right past me.

    —Elliot Nesterman

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