Stuff I Like

Screw stuff white people like. This is stuff I like:

1. With Amazon Crossing, the well-funded online bookstore is taking an active role in publishing international authors across boundaries. Good move, Amazon. Speaking of international authors, a fifth Words Without Borders anthology, Tablet and Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East, is coming out. Way to be productive, WWB!

2. Something else we like: Ghostbusters invade the main branch of the New York Public Library to protest library budget cuts. What’s really interesting about this latest effort by Improv Everywhere is that the apparently desperate New York Public Library actually allowed it to take place (though they don’t seem to have warned the people in the library). Nice! We’ve gone way beyond “ssssssh!” by now.

3. Good piece by Adam Thirwell on the literature of Central Europe. I do wonder why Eugene Ionesco doesn’t make the cut. Maybe I ought to write about him myself.

4. Back here in the good old U. S. of A., Bret Easton Ellis is publishing Imperial Bedrooms, a sequel to his 80s-trendy first novel Less Than Zero.

5. These books were neglected in 1934, according to an article published that year in the New Republic. You know what? I checked the list, and they’re all still neglected today. How bleak.

6. J. Robert Lennon is giving away his latest book of essays, oddly named Video Game Hints, Tricks and Cheats for free download.

7. A John Updike conference will take place in October at Alvernia University in Pennsylvania.

8. The biggest question of all time: why does anything exist? This article teases at a possible answer, but barely delivers. Any philosophical child or adult knows how this game is played. “How can anything exist?” “Well, the New York Times says it’s because of the unbalanced behavior of B-meson particles.” “How can B-meson particles exist?”

9. I mentioned in an early chapter of my memoir that, for me, Usenet was where the Internet began. It was invented at Duke University in 1979, and their connection to Usenet has been running on the same server since then. After 31 years, Duke is powering the box down. That server did good work and I hope it will find a home at the Smithsonian or some other worthy museum. Interestingly, though, the last line of this article indicates a misunderstanding:

Duke users can still access Usenet archives – the largest collection of posted online messages – through Google Groups.

They’ll also be able to access Usenet through Usenet. Duke is not shutting down the network (which remains gigantic around the world, and is a peer-to-peer system, so that no single party can shut it down). They are just turning off the original server.

10. Another memoir connection: here’s Daniel Okrent, who shows up in my Chapter 18, talking about his latest book of urban history, Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition.

11. Watt from Pedro takes pictures.

12. A Brief, Incomplete and Mostly Wrong History of Programming Languages. (Lots of inside jokes for techies to laugh at, like “It is a syntax error to write FORTRAN while not wearing a blue tie.”)

13. Daniel Nester asks about lyric essays and gets put on hold (via Bookslut).

14. Just because they advertise on Litkicks doesn’t mean I can’t say it looks cool: an off-Broadway musical based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise (this is the debut novel, incidentally, that made Fitzgerald a star).

15. How the King James Bible has influenced American literature.

16. From a Baha’i website: Forging alternatives to a culture of consumerism.

17. Bronte Sisters Power Dolls.

18. Didn’t Terry Gilliam give up on his Don Quixote movie already? I guess not. Quixotic.

19. Need a new attitude about writing? Check out the Proprioceptive Writing Center’s retreat in Bar Harbor, Maine, run by two good people I know named Linda Trichter Metcalf and Tobin Simon.

4 Responses

  1. “Dennis Ritchie invents a
    “Dennis Ritchie invents a powerful gun that shoots both forward and backward simultaneously. Not satisfied with the number of deaths and permanent maimings from that invention he invents C and Unix.”


  2. Eugene Ionesco wrote most of
    Eugene Ionesco wrote most of his stuff in French and lived in Paris, and is probably considered French rather than Romanian. By the way, his play, “La Cantatrice Chauve” is the longest running play in Paris. It has been playing at the Theatre de la Huchette since 1957.

  3. Hope the New York Library
    Hope the New York Library gets its funding restored really soon, or gets more help from private donations. I have fond memories of going there in my youth.

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Litkicks will turn 30 years old in the summer of 2024! We can’t believe it ourselves. We don’t run as many blog posts about books and writers as we used to, but founder Marc Eliot Stein aka Levi Asher is busy running two podcasts. Please check out our latest work!