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In September, just days before Borders Group met its end, one of the chain’s last retail holdouts, in the Nashville suburb of Brentwood, Tenn., was being liquidated, with prices slashed by 90 percent. It was difficult in the stark surroundings not to think of a battle waged and lost, of the armies of Kindle owners and e-book peddlars off celebrating victory while all around lay the carnage—two copies of a Paul Reiser memoir, the suspect Greg Mortensen book Stones into Schools , a still-brimming manga section. A couple of professional scavengers picked over the DVDs, cataloging them with their own scanners. Empty shelves were being stacked in the store’s growing hollows and themselves tagged with prices ranging from $25 to $50.
Joseph Heller: There's only one catch - his best book is Something Happened. Photograph: Todd Plitt/AP Why is it that the book for which an author is best known is rarely their best? If history is the final judge of literary achievement, why has a title like Louis de Bernières' Captain Corelli's Mandolin risen to the top, overshadowing his much better earlier novels such as Señor Vivo and the Coca Lord ? It's not, I hope, the simple snobbery of insisting that the most popular can't be the finest.
Jamie Redknapp … 'That cross to Rooney was literally on a plate.' Photograph: Nick Harvey/WireImage I was sitting in a cafe – one of those generic pain au raisin and latte joints, with an earnest singer-songwriter soundtrack to boot – when a kid to my left piped up: "My school gym is like literally 500 years old." His friends nodded with conviction. They understood.
 Mar 22, 2013 Jane Austen Between the Covers Janine Barchas Ready-bound books in sturdy no-nonsense cloth bindings first began to appear in the 1830s. With the advent of these so-called publishers’ bindings, book covers became transformed into a marketing canvas of sorts. Janine Barchas will trace the surprising history of the Austen cover—from Victorian schmaltz to Kindle-era nudity—while speculating about the range of marketing strategies and what they tell us about the shifting cultural opinion of Austen and her work.
The New Yorker cover May 14, 2012 Nature or nurture. Love it or leave it.
Draft is a series about the art and craft of writing. As I noted in my earlier article , rules and conventions about when to use and not to use commas are legion. But certain errors keep popping up.
Draft is a series about the art and craft of writing. When I was a teenager, newly fixated on becoming a writer, I came across a piece of advice from Kurt Vonnegut that affected me like an ice cube down the back of my shirt. “Do not use semicolons,” he said .
Reconsiderations Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases by Peter Mark Roget I can see my own copy up on a high shelf.
Posted by Patrick on July 20, 2011 Yesterday, in the Guardian, John Self wrote a very entertaining post about why it seems that so many authors' best known works are not their best works . He writes, "If someone reads Kurt Vonnegut's most famous book, Slaughterhouse-Five, and doesn't like it, I'll want to shout to them, "But it's rubbish! Cat's Cradle is much better!" This is the sort of argument that used to be unwinnable -- you'd say Slaughterhouse-Five is the best, I'd argue for Cat's Cradle, and in the end, after some fisticuffs, we'd agree to disagree and go have a beer.
By Alan Jacobs While virtually anyone who wants to do so can train his or her brain to the habits of long-form reading, in any given culture, few people will want to. And that's to be expected.
Discussed: Epic Struggles, The Distance Between Masters and Hacks,Palindromic Taxonomy, A Convenient Ampersand, Cutting-Edge Work in Reversibility, Some Limitations of an Untrained Audience, A Strange Kind of Amazing, The Relationship Killer, Disproportionate Responses, A Surfeit of Calendars, A Deficit of Wool and Illusions In March 2010, Barry Duncan, master palindromist, was locked in an epic struggle with the alphabet. He was totally absorbed in the completion of a commissioned piece.
John Sutherland The Words of Others: From Quotations to Culture By Gary Saul Morson (Yale University Press 352pp £20) Academics like me are skilled users of turnitin.com. Never heard of it?
Published in 1964. Many things in the world have not been named; and many things, even if they have been named, have never been described. One of these is the sensibility -- unmistakably modern, a variant of sophistication but hardly identical with it -- that goes by the cult name of "Camp."
In his often anthologized essay “On Reading Old Books,” William Hazlitt wrote, “I hate to read new books. There are twenty or thirty volumes that I have read over and over again, and these are the only ones that I have any desire to ever read at all.” This is a rather extreme position on rereading, but he is not alone. Larry McMurtry made a similar point: “If I once read for adventure, I now read for security. How nice to be able to return to what won’t change. When I sit down at dinner with a given book, I want to know what I’m going to find.”
Tim Parks Burt Glinn/Magnum Photos C.S.