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Likely Stories

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Keir Graff and editors from Booklist's adult and youth departments write candidly about books, book reviewing, and the publishing industry

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Friday, October 22, 2010 2:28 pm
Weeklings: Digitizing Our World, The Word Made Flesh, Short Book Titles, and the Quotable Tom McGuane
Posted by: Keir Graff

On Treehugger, Jaymi Heimbuch rounds up “7 Major Ways We’re Digitizing Our World, And 3 Reasons We Still Want Hardcopies.” It’s the latter 3 that get to me–take THAT, people who claim that paper books are bad for the planet!–and more fuel for my fear of all my information going up in a . . . well, I was going to say “cloud of smoke,” but it’s probably more like the sound your hard drive makes when it crashes. That’s right, silent death.

While e-books are great for replacing paper books, the most recent calculations estimate that people need to read at least 100 books a year on their e-readers to break even with books on environmental impact. And there’s of course the end-of-life issue of the device — it’s a lot more difficult to recycle an e-reader than a paper book.

Which literary tattoos are the most likely, you ask? “Kurt Vonnegut, e.e. cummings & Shel Silverstein Are Most Popular Literary Tattoo Inspirations,” answers Galleycat‘s Maryann Yin. What, no Harry Stephen Keeler? (Warning: the hyperactive editing on this short video may make you feel like Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange.)

The Word Made Flesh – book trailer from Tattoolit on Vimeo.

AbeBooks uses Tom McCarthy’s C as an occasion to examine other extremely brief novel titles (“The A to Z of the Shortest Book Titles“); apparently, there are still openings for B, D, F, I, J, L, R, T, and U. (I simply cannot believe that F and U remain available, but then I am a fan of the Odd Couple.)

And, speaking of authors who are alphabetized nearabouts to Tom McCarthy (yes, I said “nearabouts,” or anyway wrote it): Tom McGuane. Charles McGrath’s New York Times profile (“An Author Still Writing His Way through Big Sky Country“) had several quotable gems from the onetime Captain Berserko, whose new book, Driving on the Rim, is out:

“Literature is the ditch I’m going to die in,” he said. “It’s still the thing I care most about.”

“Giving freaks a pass is the oldest tradition in Montana.”

And this one may be best of all, summing up much of my own feelings about the literature of my home state:

“There’s a view of Montana writing that seems stage-managed by the Chamber of Commerce — it’s all about writers like A. B. Guthrie and Ivan Doig,” he said, referring to two authors of historical novels about a rugged, frontier Montana. “It used to bother me that nobody had a scene where somebody was delivering a pizza.”



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