Posts filtered by tags: Words[x]


October linkfest

Cleo Levin wrote for Slate about “ridiculously surreal” made-for-Amazon brand names: “Here were a series of names that were not only unknown to me, but also quite perplexing: Artfish, Wishpig, Sweatyrocks, Demonlick, and Pukemark.”  * Ben Zimmer wrote for Beyond Wordplay about Washington’s new Planet Word Museum, which opened via virtual ribbon-cutting—with President Obama as a surprise guest—on October 22. * Have you ever wished there was a word for “words that elicit amusement due t...
Tags: Amazon, Music, UK, Medicine, Obama, Washington, Advertising, Journalism, Atlantic, Linguistics, Burma, Words, Herald, Contests, Wall Street Journal, Neologisms

Michelle Obama’s Editor Launches New Publishing House With Unorthodox Marketing Strategy

“Rather than relying chiefly on bookstores, retailers, advertising and other traditional channels to promote authors,” Molly Stern plans to have her new venture, Zando, “team up with high-profile individuals, companies and brands, who will act as publishing partners and promote books to their fans and customers.” – The New York Times
Tags: Art, Michelle Obama, Words, Molly Stern, Zando, 10.22.20

‘Its Idealism Is As Inspiring Its Naiveté Is Disquieting’: Philip Kennicott On Planet Word

“[It] inhabits essentially the same universe as most of the museums that preceded it a century ago: It hopes to raise up the discourse, and spread the blessings of the educated and elite to those who hope to be educated and elite. … Everything is up to date in this museum of video screens and touch panels except its founding principle, which is the old noblesse oblige.” – The Washington Post
Tags: Art, Words, 10.21.20, Philip Kennicott On Planet Word

Planet Word, New Museum Devoted To Language, Opens In D.C.

“The interactive museum fills three floors of the historic Franklin School with play spaces, games and videos screens — lots of video screens — that invite visitors to think about the origins and evolution of English, to explore the unique qualities of other languages and to play with words by reading, singing and speaking. … With a decidedly middle-school-students-on-spring-break vibe (most obvious in its bathroom humor), it is a descendant of science centers rather than the Smithsonian facili...
Tags: Art, Smithsonian, Words, Franklin School, 10.21.20

Edgar Allan Poe Letter Pleading For $40 Sells For $125,000

“Here he’s writing to a magazine editor basically begging for money. The person behind these incredible psychological thrillers and macabre tales was in fact struggling and could maybe relate to the chaos around him.” – Baltimore Sun
Tags: Art, Edgar Allan Poe, Words, 10.21.20

The Atlantic Magazine In The Confounding Era Of Trump

The Atlantic is a magazine not precisely of the center but rather of a set of liberal civic ideals; more than any other publication, its purpose seems to be the continual renewal of educated Americans’ commitment to high-mindedness. The past four years have severely tested those ideals. – The New Republic
Tags: Art, Atlantic, Words, Trump, 10.20.20

Which Native American Writers Get To Do What With Which Native Stories? The Case Of Rebecca Roanhorse

Just two years after her debut novel was published, Roanhorse has been racking up awards and praise in the science fiction/fantasy field, even drawing comparisons to George R.R. Martin and N.K. Jemisin. But she draws on Diné (Navajo) myth and legends as source material, and she herself is Diné only by marriage (her people were from the New Mexico pueblos); while some Diné are thrilled by her work and her success, others have attacked her furiously for appropriation. – Vulture
Tags: Art, Words, New Mexico, Dine, George R R Martin, Rebecca Roanhorse, Roanhorse, 10.20.20

August Book Sales Down 30 Percent

Sales fell to $754 million compared to $1.09 billion in August 2019. The steep August drop put an end to a brief rally during which the rate of decline in bookstore sales had been slowing. – Publishers Weekly
Tags: Art, Words, Audience, 10.16.20

Is There Such A Thing As Contemporary Conservative Literature? Can There Be?

No, Atlas Shrugged doesn’t count as literature, and neither do Ann Coulter and Dinesh D’Souza. “To define Right-wing literature is to ask what literature is and what it’s for, but the most ready-to-hand answers (beauty, truth, empathy, expression) are incongruous to conservatism’s means, if not to the perverse utopianism of its final objectives.” – Aeon
Tags: Art, Words, Ann Coulter, Dinesh D Souza, 10.19.20

On the Visual Thesaurus: Poll stars

In my latest column for the Visual Thesaurus, I take a look at a certain four-letter word that’s dominating the news lately. No, not that one. Not that one, either. I’m talking about poll. Full access to the column is restricted to subscribers. Here’s a sample: Time magazine, known in its early years for its inventive language , is responsible for an enduring poll coinage first seen in print in 1939: pollster, a person who conducts opinion polls—another term first recorded in 1939, alth...
Tags: Politics, Time, US, Linguistics, Words, Chaucer, Safire, Nancy Friedman, Visual Thesaurus, Ellen Jovin, William -RSB- Safire

The Wow Factor In Martin Amis’ New Autofiction

The difference between autofiction and a “loosely” autobiographical novel, broadly speaking, is the difference between Amis’s new book and one he published ten years ago, “The Pregnant Widow.” Both tell the story of a middle-aged baby boomer looking back on a formative erotic encounter that took place in the nineteen-seventies, during the heyday of the sexual revolution. – The New Yorker
Tags: Art, Words, Martin Amis, 10.19.20

The Formerly A Bit Secretive, Now All Up On YouTube World Of Diary Hunters

Diaries come from estate sales and garage sales, from where they get bought and sold on eBay or elsewhere online. Some buyers read them as a series on their YouTube channels; others collect them for more altruistic reasons. “Although the trend is undeniably voyeuristic, many collectors have a grander purpose. Polly North is the 41-year-old director of the Great Diary Project. Since 2007, she has rescued more than 10,000 of them.” – The Observer (UK)
Tags: Art, Ebay, Words, 10.18.20, Polly North

The Serious, Mysterious Autograph Collector

A jeweler started collecting autographs when he was a teenager. Eight presidents, many famous writers, Thomas Edison, and Sarah Bernhardt later, Lafayette Cornwell’s book was full – and a mystery. “How Cornwell organized the signatures in the book is as unclear as how he obtained so many.” – The New York Times
Tags: Art, Words, Thomas Edison, Cornwell, Sarah Bernhardt, 10.18.20, Lafayette Cornwell

Finding The Satirical Line In A Seemingly Satire-Proof Time

It’s not easy out here for a novelist. “Good political satire should be imbued with the spirit of speaking truth to power. But what does that concept mean when the powerful are impervious to truth telling?” – Washington Post
Tags: Art, Words, 10.17.20

Your Indie Bookstore Wants You To Revive It, Not Help Murder It, OK?

Before the pandemic, indie bookstores were reviving to the tune of hundreds more per year. Now they’re closing, about one per week, and as a certain online behemoth pushed a certain discount deal, locals are sharpening their stilettos – and asking for help. – The New York Times
Tags: Art, Words, 10.15.20

Footnotes Are A Pain. But For Historians, Essential

Proper referencing is important; it creates a breadcrumb trail for your reader so that your footsteps can be followed. It means providing your academic genealogy and giving credit for ideas you’ve adopted. It means that your factual assertions can be verified and it works to keep us all operating in good faith. If you make an honest mistake, it means that your reader can steadily work their way back along the path to find out where you took the wrong fork. – History Today
Tags: Art, Words, 10.15.20

Jush and zhuzh and tszuj

A TikTok video by QueenBV59, about her preparations for casting a ballot during early voting, was shared all over Twitter on Thursday. I’ve watched it half a dozen times myself. SHE READY — Meena Harris (@meenaharris) October 15, 2020 One repeated word—jush—was new to me and, apparently, to some other viewers as well. OK, folks, I’m gonna go over here and get my jush Y’all need to get y’all jush and get y’all vote on I’m gonna get my damn jush Jush—r...
Tags: UK, Television, San Francisco, Britain, South Africa, Linguistics, Ralph Lauren, Words, Spelling, Slang, Merriam Webster, Carson Kressley, Jasmine Masters, Naming, Pronunciation, Nancy Friedman

The Foreign Language That Shaped India For Centuries Before English Arrived

Historian Richard M. Eaton argues that there are two languages whose epic literature, poetry, and corpus of law, ethics, and philosophy molded the civilization of the subcontinent and its peoples. The first, obviously, was Sanskrit. The second was, when it arrived, every bit as foreign as English and came to be used as widely and in similar ways. In fact, by the 19th century India had produced a major body of literature in this language, as well as far more dictionaries than its native country ...
Tags: Art, India, Words, Richard M Eaton, 10.14.20

Indie Book Stores Launch Campaign To Compete Against Amazon

An ABA survey from this summer found that some 20 per cent of members could go out of business, meaning hundreds of stores face closure, especially as government aid runs out. While the overall market for books has been surprisingly solid in 2020, has apparently fared best as the public increasingly makes purchases online. According to a report issued last week by the antitrust subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee, “Amazon accounts for over half of all print book sales and o...
Tags: Amazon, Art, Words, Aba, House Judiciary Committee, 10.13.20, Compete Against Amazon

Publishing Insider Joins A Books-To-Prisons Pipeline

“When he isn’t promoting books for W.W. Norton, Peter Miller, publicity director of Norton’s Liveright imprint, moonlights as the owner of Freebird Books, a small used bookstore he operates in Brooklyn. … A year after buying the store, Miller heard that Books Through Bars, which donates books to prison inmates around the country, needed a space for its collection operations.” – Publishers Weekly
Tags: Art, Brooklyn, Words, Miller, Norton, Liveright, 10.09.20, Norton Peter Miller

Cynical Sci-Fi Imagines Cynical Stories. It Could Be So Much More

Cory Doctorow: “This is the thought experiment of a thousand sci-fi stories: When the chips are down, will your neighbors be your enemies or your saviors? When the ship sinks, should you take the lifeboat and row and row and row, because if you stop to fill the empty seats, someone’s gonna put a gun to your head, throw you in the sea, and give your seat to their pals?” – Slate
Tags: Art, Words, Cory Doctorow, 10.11.20

The Best Of D.H. Lawrence Is In The Essays We’ve Forgotten About

“What doomed Lawrence, in the long run, was not an accusation of phallocentrism but his elevation to the canon. … It is because Lawrence’s own purpose was so big that his novels make such nerve-racking reads. His writing is most at ease when … it happens glancingly. Only when he is caught off guard does he catch the essence of divine otherness.” – The New Yorker
Tags: Art, Words, Lawrence, 10.08.20

This Critic Read 150 Trump Books So You Don’t Have To. Here’s What He Learned

“From his vast reading, Carlos Lozada, who won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for criticism, has concluded that “the most essential books of the Trump era are scarcely about Trump at all.” Rather than works that focus on White House intrigue, scandals and policy disputes, he believes that the most important books today place our nation’s conflicts within the larger context of our “endless fight to live up to our self-professed, self-evident truths.” – Washington Post
Tags: Art, White House, Words, Trump, Carlos Lozada, 10.11.20, Trump Books

A Book Finds A New Audience In The Last Place On Earth It Hadn’t Gone Before

John Hersey’s Hiroshima, first a 30,000-word article in The New Yorker, became a book almost immediately, and has sold millions of copies in many different languages since. But “one of the few places Hiroshima did not appear in the year after its initial publication was Russia. That changed this past August.” – The New York Times
Tags: Art, Russia, Words, Hiroshima, John Hersey, 10.12.20

Writer Elif Shafak On Leaving, And Loving, Your Homeland

Shafak, who says she can likely never return to Istanbul, says, “We do not give up on the places we love just because we are physically detached from them. Motherlands are castles made of glass. In order to leave them, you have to break something—a wall, a social convention, a cultural norm, a psychological barrier, a heart. What you have broken will haunt you. To be an emigré, therefore means to forever bear shards of glass in your pockets.” – LitHub
Tags: Art, Words, Istanbul, Elif Shafak, Shafak, 10.09.20

Soviet Spies Targeted George Orwell And His Wife As They Fought In The Spanish Civil War

Depressingly, while fighting Franco – or not being organized enough to fight Franco – “George Orwell, whose book Homage to Catalonia became a celebrated account of fighting in the civil war, and his wife Eileen were spied on in Barcelona at the time of a vicious internal conflict on the Republican side of the war in May 1937.” – The Observer (UK)
Tags: Art, Catalonia, Barcelona, George Orwell, Franco, Words, Eileen, 10.11.20, Franco George Orwell

Hard To Believe, But Roddy Doyle Wrote A First Book That He Describes As ‘Shite’

The author of The Commitments misses Dublin pubs, says Ireland is nicer now – he doesn’t miss being denounced from the pulpit, for instance – and worries about what will happen to his writing, usually set in the present moment, if the present moment keeps changing rapidly due to the virus. – Irish Times
Tags: Art, Ireland, Words, Dublin, Roddy Doyle, 10.10.20

How Prison Shaped Writer Ngugi Wa Thiong’o

The Kenyan writer, a perennial frontrunner for the Nobel Prize for Literature, saw the committee pass him over once again. But his time in prison in Kenya changed his life. “How come that a post-colonial African government has put me in prison for writing in an African language? … I had written a few plays in English, and novels in English, and I had not been in prison for being critical of the post-colonial system. So why now? And that question is what set in motion my thinking about the uneq...
Tags: Art, Kenya, Words, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong, 10.10.20

Writing As A Material Art

A book “is a fluid path from an idea, along a stream bed whose variations, detours and eddies are unknown until the water that flows into it finds itself moved.” – LitHub
Tags: Art, Words, 10.09.20

Roxane Gay, Margaret Atwood Sign Open Letter In Support Of Trans And Nonbinary People

Who had “Margaret Atwood versus J.K. Rowling” on their 2020 bingo card? Because that’s part of what’s happened since the author of the Harry Potter series went on an anti-trans jaunt in the past few years, culminating in her latest mystery plot. The open letter reads, in part, “We are writers, editors, journalists, agents and professionals in multiple forms of publishing. We believe in the power of words. … We say: nonbinary people are nonbinary, trans women are women, trans men are men, trans ...
Tags: Art, Words, Margaret Atwood, 10.09.20, Roxane Gay Margaret Atwood