This week on the bookish internet

  • Lorraine Berry discusses the history of bibliomania and book hoarding. (The Guardian)
  • And speaking of humblebragging, Ashley Bowen-Murphy talks about the hardest books she’s ever read. (Book Riot)
  • Alison Ray shares a medieval illuminated manuscript that has an awful lot in common with modern comic books. (Medieval Manuscripts Blog)
  • Michiko Kakutani explains why we should all read 1984 now. (The New York Times)

This week on the bookish internet

  • I salute these street artists who correct graffiti in Quito. (mental_floss)
  • Lynne Truss shares the story of, possibly, the only author to be killed by a bad review. (The Guardian)
  • Boris Fishman has comically bad luck with translators of his work. (The New York Times)
  • And speaking of translation…Richard Lea rounds up a number of authors who are more popular in translation than they are in their native languages. (The Guardian)

This week on the bookish internet

  • I will never not share a round up of the weirdest things librarians have found in returned books. (Tin House Blog)
  • Zoe Dickinson works at a book store with no catalog! Here’s what she’s learned about navigating without a map. (Book Riot)
  • Looking for something funny to read? The Guardian asked some of the biggest names in fiction about their favorite funny books.
  • Things have gone very wrong with American education when a poet can’t answer questions about her work on two standardized tests. (Washington Post)
  • Courtney Tanner reports on books that are banned in the Utah prison system. (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Emily Temple examines more than a century of books that have been called “the Great American novel.” What do you think? (LitHub)
  • Erin Blakemore digs up an excellent article from the JSTOR archives about underground publishing in the Netherlands during the Nazi occupation. (Daily JSTOR)

This fortnight on the bookish internet

I didn’t feel like posting a round-up of bookish links last week because of the election. So, here’s me catching up.

  • D.J. Taylor discusses the history of tone in book reviews and how the “hatchet job” goes in and out of fashion. (The New Statesman)
  • Joan Bertin and Millie Davis asked teens what banned books have meant to them and helped them. This compilation of quotations is powerful evidence of why we need difficult books: they help us grow up. (Boing Boing)
  • Have you ever heard of beta readers? Priya Sridhar explains this important, but rarely discussed, stage of book writing. (Book Riot)
  • Alaina Leary ponders disability in literature: how we get it wrong, how publishing gets it wrong, and how to improve. (The Establishment)
  • Amanda Diehl explains how becoming a regular library user helps her cope with her workaholic tendencies. I love a good “How I discovered the library” story. (Book Riot)

This week on the bookish internet

  • Michelle Anne Schingler reflects on reading The Handmaid’s Tale in a time when the dystopia looks less and less far-fetched. (Book Riot)
  • Frank Furedi discusses the history of “the bookish fool,” people who collect books for status and not for the pleasure of reading them. (Aeon)
  • Brandi Bailey reevaluates her reading life. (Book Riot)
  • Megan Rosenblum shares the macabre and fascinating history of anthropodermic bibliopegy: the creation of books bound in human skin. Most people I mention this practice to get immediately squicked out. For some reason, they can’t see the appeal of becoming a book after they’re done with their skin. (Lapham’s Quarterly)

This week on the bookish internet

  • Bronwyn Lovell drops some knowledge on people who argue that science fiction doesn’t have a problem with sexism. (The Digital Reader)
    • If nothing else, read through this for the sexist review of Frankenstein from 1818.
  • Ed Simon reveals that literary hoaxes go back a lot further than anyone may have realized. (LitHub)
  • S. Zainab Williams eulogizes the books she loves but will never re-read. (Book Riot)
  • I try not to get political on this blog (unless it’s to do with books), but the #TrumpBookReport is too funny not to share. (Moby Lives)
  • Rocky Rakovic shares some Uber reviews of literary journeys. (McSweeney’s)

This week on the bookish internet

  • Between the late 1880s and his death, Dr. Orville Ward Owen searched for the “real” author of Shakespeare’s plays. At one point, he grew so obsessed that he build a cipher wheel to decode Shakespeare’s plays. (mental_floss)
  • Rachel Hennessy shares how she lost and regained her faith in the power of literature to make a difference. (LitHub)
  • Yiyun Li shares some of her bookish memories from childhood. I know these many of these feels! (Granta)
  • Zoe Dickinson, unlike most readers, does not hoard books like a book dragon. Too many moves. Instead, her shelves are full of books that are “old friends.” (Book Riot)
  • Paul Ringel argues (rightly, I think) that banning books does children no favors. “Protecting” children from “inappropriate” books is misguided and potentially damaging. (The Atlantic)

This week on the bookish internet

  • Dashka Slate reflects on a heretofore unexamined wrinkle in the push for diverse children’s literature: how should diversity be portrayed? (Mother Jones)
  • When people ask me what I read for fun I have a hard time giving a concise answer. Tracy Shipley’s not-concise answer is more eloquent than mine. (Book Riot)
  • Steven Price reflects on having Ellen Seligman as his editor. (Hazlitt)
    • I was particularly moved by this passage:
      • “[Ellen] believed the nature of words mattered because a work of literature, to her, was folded seamlessly out of the language itself. One needed to get it right and the only true obstacle to that was giving up, giving in, too soon..I believe a great part of her gift lay in an endlessly elastic ability to adapt and re-examine how a novel moved and came to life. It was a kind of alchemy, a fluid gesture.”