Things I have read on the web
It has been an interesting week already. And it’s only Wednesday.
Things I have read:
How the New York Public Library figures out what its patrons want to read- and budgets for new books “Like bookstores, libraries need to anticipate literary appetites. Unlike bookstores, libraries do not have a financial incentive to feed those appetites immediately. They have to balance civic missions and budget concerns with the imperative to put books in people’s hands. Sometimes, patrons have to wait. While bookstore best-seller lists monitor only what goes out, lists of the library’s most-circulated and most-requested books reveal not only which books readers want right now, but which they’re willing to wait for.”
I find the mechanics of libraries fascinating (hence, starting the Masters program at Pratt.) And I think this piece explains the inner workings and decisions of the library rather well.
The Business Case for Beautiful Libraries ”The public library is a city’s epic living room.” Yes. I am all for libraries being beautiful in their spaces, both physical and virtual.
for Reference class, we were assigned to read Chapter 2 of The Information: A History, A Theory, a Flood by James Gleick. Having read his overview of the history and rationale of dictionary writers through history, I want to read the whole book. Cultural history for the bookish!
Why established writers use pen names: In this tight economy, publishers are warier than usual, giving smaller advances, and even spurning novels from established authors whose recent sales weren’t stellar. So… some authors are gaming the system by submitting novels with a fresh start of a new pen name. (I guess it’s riding the perception of the breakout-debut-novel-success, like Kathryn Stockett and The Help?) Other surprising bit: I didn’t know there was a Nielsen rating system tracking book sales. But there is! And yes, e-books have thrown a wrench in the monkey. As usual.
The Myth of the Eight Hour Sleep I’ve seen references to this before, the idea that waking up in the middle of the night, and/or sleeping in segments during the night is natural, and was common practice up until the Industrial Revolution really got going and artificial light became more common. This article explains it particularly well, though.
I am also reading, furtively and in between things for grad school: Best Food Writing 2011, edited by Holly Hughes. And Blood, Bones and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton. The problem is that I am reading them as library books on my Kindle, and they are about to have their loans expire and I’m not done yet. I think I need food writing to be in print, and be a book I own. So I can savor it properly.
I am also reading a ton of poetry. As I shelve it at the Poets House.