Poetry Archive Celebrates First Anniversary

The Guardian has a story about the Poetry Archive and the rare and growing list of recordings of poets reading their work (everyone from Siegfried Sassoon to Langston Hughes to Margaret Atwood). This is a very cool and fascinating project that can be found here. But you need RealAudio to listen to the recordings. If you don’t have RealAudio, then it is of course a royal pain to get the free player.

If Book Award Winners Were Covered Like Sporting Event Winners,

it might go something like this…

“The New Literary King”
by Avery “the Angry” Blueblood,
November 17, 2006

The Reign of Richard Powers (RP) has officially begun.

With his National Book Award win for his novel The Echo Maker, RP has ascended to the Literature Throne.

All that fancy book-flipping and time-traveling couldn’t stop the machine that is RP. As in: R.I.P. Mark Z. Danielewski! Your only consolation is that you were nominated.

As for the rest of the competition…

…Jess Walters got a big fat zero.

…Ken Kalfus has a disorder peculiar to losers.

…Dana Spiotta can eat her own document.

Powers got his Word on and didn’t give it up. Now there isn’t anyone who can say they’ve written the novel better this year. It takes strong-plotting, character-driving, deep-meaning, and oh-so-careful-wording.

Not necessarily inventive word-play, dear reader. Take note all you young writers: just because you use fancy words in fancy ways, it doesn’t mean you’ve got anything behind it…like, say…oh…a STORY…with DEPTH…that means something! Ya hear?

Or in the words of The Powers That Be himself: “It’s been a long-time coming. Hey, I didn’t start writing yesterday, you know. This is my ninth book…I thank God Himself for all my talents and blessings. I just sit down at my desk and do what I do best. At the end of the day, all you can do is put one word after the other. But no one is doing it better than me right here right now, as this award shows it for everyone to see. I said it before and I’ll say it again: You never know when RP is going to go all the way. When RP turns it on, everybody else is left behind in my trail of ink. Read it and weep!”

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

So people, just sit back, relax, take up The Echo Maker, and bask in King Richard’s Powers.

More About the Web Killing Bricks and Mortar

Here’s a story about how the internet is putting second-hand bookstores out of business in the U.K. I thought I had seen the last of these types of articles. There were so many during the dot-com boom and the dot-com bust, that this kind of thing seems rather dated.

I love to wander through bookstores (new and second-hand) looking for books I did not know existed or wanted. As much as I hate to see any bookstore go out of business, the internet has made it very easy to track down just about any book. For books that are out-of-print, it’s often the only way to find them.

Sites that sell used books like Alibris, Bookfinder, Powell’s, and even Amazon have helped me feed my book habit. They have fed my habit so much that I recently increased my To Read pile high enough that I won’t allow myself to buy any books in the near future until that pile has shrunk a bit. No matter how enticing a title might look to me whether it’s on a store shelf, in a book review, or in an online bookstore.

Iraq in a Civil war

NBC News has officially deemed the conflict a “civil war.” You can read about it here.
I’m still not sure why most of the MSM refuse to call it what it clearly is. Over 600,000 civilian deaths in three and a half years (according to a study at Johns Hopkins University) during which time our soldiers are less and less the target of violence, and Sunnis and Shiites most often are, sounds like a civil war to me.
That the Bush Administration continues to attempt to define and control reality by insisting on the use of certain terminology that bears no relation to reality is pathetic at best and madness at worst.

Blogger Creed

With this new blog I hereby promise to:

  • post at least once a day Monday through Friday, giving polite notice when such a schedule is not possible
  • rant at least once a week
  • never post a picture of any pets I might have
  • admit, when proven, that I am wrong
  • reserve the right to change my judgment about a given book, movie, or work of art when time and personal tastes dictate such a change

If I find that I can not live up to these minimal standards, then I will quit the blog.
Enjoy.