Smatterings

  • Great opinion piece from Harry Mount in the New York Times about the lack of Latin knowledge by today’s politicians. He notes that Thomas Jefferson’s most thumbed book is a copy of the Aeneid.
  • Interesting article in the LA Times about the future of Powells. Michael Powell, 67, is getting read to hand over the reins to his daughter, Emily, 29. She’s been working at the store in various positions for a while, trying to learn all aspects of the business. Also of interest is what it says about other independents, that we’re still facing challenges from Amazon, used sales online, and increasingly thrifty customers. You don’t know frustrating it is to hear that someone comes to the store to create lists of books to then order on Amazon.
  • Edwidge Danticat interviews Junot Diaz in the most recent issue of Bomb magazine.
  • Dzanc Books announces the inaugural Dzanc Prize – a monetary award to a writer with both a work in progress, and an interest in performing some form of literary community service. The $5000 award goes to Laura van den Berg of Boston. Selected from more than 160 applicants for her proposal to teach creative writing in area prisons and on the quality of her fiction writing, the Emerson College MFA student will begin her service in 2008 with half of the prize awarded in January and the other half awarded once the service is completed.
  • I’m not going to start listing all of the Best of Lists and Gift guides because that could take forever. I will mention the clever A Very Brainiac Gift Guide from the Globe because it mentions one of my favorite books of the year: “Forget Cormac McCarthy! The best new novels I’ve read this year are “Jamestown” (Soft Skull, $25) by Matthew Sharpe and “The Red Men” (Snowbooks, $16.51) by Matthew De Abaitua.”
  • The Millions has commenced its Year in Reading Project.

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