Critical Linking: April 17, 2014
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee. 

Read Hundreds of Free Sci-Fi Stories from Asimov, Lovecraft, Bradbury, Dick, Clarke & More

I’m not exactly sure how these are all available for free, but I’ll bite.


Chloe Grace Moretz will star in the studio’s YA adaptation The 5th Wave that Graham King and Tobey Maguire are producing.

Are we going to get sick of comic book movies or YA dystopia movies first?


The 2014 Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction has been awarded to E. L. Doctorow, the author of“Ragtime,” “The March,” “World’s Fair” and several other works of fiction.

Other winners include Philip Roth, Toni Morrison, John Updike, Isabel Allende, and Don DeLillo. Kinda like an American Nobel. Without the money.


Almost half (46%) of the men asked are reading fewer books now than they did in the past; a third prefer the internet and 30% engage more with film and TV. One in five men confessed that they have pretended to have read a specific title in order to appear more intelligent. It also emerged that almost 30% of men admit that they haven’t really picked up a book since they were obliged to at school.

One way to spin this: that 46% who said they read less now than they once did, 30% said they haven’t picked up a book at school, so somewhere around only 16% of men who have read a book since school are reading less than they once did. How many do you think, then, might actually be reading more?

Critical Linking: April 16, 2014
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee. 

If you’re reading this, you almost certainly use Oxford Dictionaries Online, and if you use Oxford Dictionaries Online, you’ve probably used the search box – and have you ever wondered which words receive the highest number of search requests?

I guess we are all just looking for love.


That was fast! Your 2013 National Book Award winner is already getting its film adaptation: Liev Schreiber and Jaden Smith are both attached toThe Good Lord Bird, based on the novel by James McBride.

Live Schreiber as John Brown is inspired casting.


“As Amazon has exploded with growth, hiring thousands of tech workers at its downtown headquarters and helping bolster the Seattle economy, local bookstore owners have seen a surprising new side of the company they loved to hate,” writes Kirk Johnson.

It’s almost like everyone who works for a giant company aren’t all the same.

Critical Linking: April 15, 2014
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee. 

The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck’s landmark novel of The Great Depression in the US, is 75 years old this week. Have you saved up enough knowledge to get through our quiz?

Take a shot at this quiz, okie.


Of course, this kind of luxury experience will set you back: the plays are $545 apiece, with a complete set weighing in at $21,335.

There are luxurious editions. Then there are head-scratchingly precious editions. And then there are these.


Dave Eggers’s latest novel will be published on June 17, just eight months after the appearance of his last, the social-media cautionary tale“The Circle.” The new book’s title is a two-sentence mouthful: “Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever?”

You know you write novels fast when Joyce Carol Oates is all “Slow your roll, son!”

Critical Linking: April 14, 2014
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee. 

So Kahn decided to read them, 100 years of No. 1 bestsellers, from 1913 to 2013, and post reviews on his blog, Kahn’s Corner. As of the time of this writing, he’s up to 1966 and Jacqueline Susann’s “The Valley of the Dolls.”

As reading projects go, this is a compelling one.


There’s not enough information on just how much this pilot has increased ebook loans, but there is some early data to show that pilot is generating sales. In Derbyshire, for example, 464 ebooks were loaned in the first monitoring period, leading to about 20 sales to library patrons.  According to Cox, many of the patrons bought the ebook while they were  still only part of the way through reading the loaned ebook.

Only problem with this is there is no way to know how many ebooks library patrons would have bought had the ebooks not been available from the library.


Catchphrases, jokes and expressions of outrage spring up, gain currency and become outmoded in the blink of an eye. How can a novelist capture a conversation that moves so fast, that seems to boast almost superfluous linguistic versatility? How can fiction reflect the subtle hierarchies and allegiances of the constantly mutating online crowd?

Good long piece on fiction and the internet.

Critical Linking: April 11, 2014
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee. today announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire comiXology, the company that revolutionized the digital comics reading experience with their immersive Guided View technology and makes discovering, buying, and reading comic books and graphic novels easier and more fun than ever before.

Big wheel keeps on turning.


Your reviewer writes, “Claire Bloom, after her divorce from Philip Roth, said Updike’s negative review of Mr. Roth’s ‘Operation Shylock’ (1993) so distressed Mr. Roth that he checked himself into a psychiatric hospital.”

For the record, in the weeks and months immediately after Updike’s March 15, 1993, review of “Operation Shylock” in The New Yorker, I was teaching two classes in literature at Hunter College, giving readings from my book “Patrimony” in Lansing, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Cambridge, South Orange and at the New York “Y,” and completing work on the first chapters of “Sabbath’s Theater.”



A month after turning to fans for the first time to propose a new word for its Official Scrabble Players Dictionary, Hasbro revealed the winner: geocache.

Good choice.


In terms of the canon, 81% of respondents claimed they’d read “Pride and Prejudice” and 73% “Moby-Dick” — but only 29% had taken on David Foster Wallace’s “Infinite Jest.” (However, 40% admitted that they’d lied about reading “Infinite Jest.” Even authors experience peer pressure.)

Even pro writers lie about reading Infinite Jest. A lot of them.

Critical Linking: April 10, 2014
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee. 

Before Game of Thrones, no one named babies “Khaleesi.” In 2012, it beat the name ”Betsy.”

Also, Draco has seen a real surge in popularity. Life imitating art.


What is particularly sad about this state of affairs is that the literary world and the video games world could greatly benefit each other. Even a conversation, let alone the beginning of real collaborations and dialogues, would help each contend with their respective shortcomings.

Compelling argument for more interplay between books and video games.


It is being billed as the most comprehensive visual survey of American libraries ever published. Since 1994 Robert Dawson has been photographing the public libraries of America. Over the years he has traveled to 48 states and imaged hundreds of them.

What an incredible project.

Critical Linking: April 9, 2014
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee. 

This weekend marks the 40th anniversary of Carrie, Stephen King’s first novel, published on April 5, 1974. Gilbert Cruz spoke to actor, comedian, and King fan Patton Oswalt for this as-told-to piece.

Patton Oswalt is on the Mt. Rushmore of celebrity geeks, right?


Top 10 Words to Win at Scrabble

The #1 word on this list is “qi” and is apparently the single most played word in Scrabble games.


Publisher Jeremy Trevathan acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Barbara Follett at the Follett Office, with the novels being published over nine years from 2017. The first of the three books will be a sequel to 1989-published The Pillars of the Earth, set in the world of Tudor espionage in Kingsbridge. The second and third books will be “sweeping historical epics”.

The working title for this probably isn’t “Let’s Build Another Cathedral!” but it should be.

Critical Linking: April 8, 2014

‘English Is Crazy’ Poem Proves The English Language Makes No Sense Whatsoever 

fun video about this bizarre language of ours.


This beautiful life-sized bronze of Edgar Allan Poe with an enormous raven is Stefanie Rocknak’s competition-winning entry for the Edgar Allan Poe Foundation of Boston’s Edgar Allan Poe Square Public Art Project.

Whoa….that is one cool sculpture.


The collection, which the company announced on Monday, will include “Carrie,” “’Salem’s Lot,” “The Shining,” “Night Shift,” “The Stand” and “Pet Sematary,” to be published in oversize editions on heavy paper, with newly commissioned artwork for the dust jackets, new introductions by Mr. King, and other features.

I love this idea. Wish it happened for more authors.


Debut novelists Eimear McBride, Audrey Magee and Hannah Kent join Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Donna Tartt and Jhumpa Lahiri on the shortlist for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Very strong list of finalists.

Critical Linking: April 7, 2014
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee. 

We also invite you to tell us: which books, freely available or otherwise, do you consider essential reading for the intelligent?

To be honest, I can’t think of one book that is required reading for the intelligent. Maybe a handful from a larger group, but not one book strikes me as a necessary condition of intelligence.


During the Cold War, the CIA loved literature – novels, short stories, poems. Joyce, Hemingway, Eliot. Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Nabokov. Books were weapons, and if a work of literature was unavailable or banned in the Soviet Union or Eastern Europe, it could be used as propaganda to challenge the Soviet version of reality. Over the course of the Cold War, as many as 10 million copies of books and magazines were secretly distributed by the agency behind the Iron Curtain as part of a political warfare campaign.

Well, the pen is mightier and all that.


Peter Matthiessen, a roving author and naturalist whose impassioned nonfiction explored the remote endangered wilds of the world and whose prizewinning fiction often placed his mysterious protagonists in the heart of them, died on Saturday at his home in Sagaponack, N.Y. He was 86.

great one gone. And with a new book out this week, no less.


BiblioNasium, the book-focused social network for children, has added a new feature in response to user demand. Children will now be able to post reviews, in addition to the site’s other features, which, like Goodreads, include the ability to create a virtual bookshelf, get free stuff, and compare your reading accomplishments to those of friends.

Kids read. If they want to write reviews of what they read for their friends, then have at it.

Critical Linking: April 4, 2014
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee. 

26 Types Of English Majors: you probably morphed from one to another at various stages of your college career. Bonus points if you were several at once!

As BuzzFeed lists go, this one is pretty good.


A few days ago, I wrote about how much I hate April Fool’s Day, but NPR played a prank I can totally get behind. They posted the above headline to their Facebook page, a story about “Why Doesn’t America Read Anymore?”

I’m pretty over April Fool’s Day, but this was an excellent gag from NPR, as it satirized behavior, rather than penalizing people for trust.


Reaching back to 1984, education spending has nearly doubled as a share of the richest quintile’s budget. Health care spending and housing has also grown. By contrast, the portion of spending dedicated to things like reading, smoking, and clothes has declined rather significantly. 

Spending on reading (books, newspapers, magazines) saw the biggest percentage decline of any category. Internet, man.