Sunday, January 16, 2022

How many books does it take?

 This New York Times article "How many books does it take to make a place feel like home" has generated a lot of attention among book lovers online. It's a compelling question. One number that gets mentioned in the article is 1,000. But of course, there are a lot of considerations to take into account for each of us in coming up with our own number. But on the other hand, how many books is too many? The photos in this article of luxurious, commodious, and even ostentatious shelving remind us how book ownership not only implies the resources to amass the books themselves but the resources needed to shelter and display them. How many of us have boxes of books that we may nominally own, but since they are packed away, we don't have easy access to them, nor can we really derive much pleasure from their presence. Perhaps the worst sign of too many books is when one must go to the library to get a book because our own personal copy is submerged in archived boxes instead of being available on our shelves. That very thing has happened to, ahem, some of my best friends. One thing that many of us agree on, though, is that our books on display on our shelves can reflect back to us who we are, what flights of the imagination give us pleasure, and what books have woven themselves into the fabric of our lives. 

Friday, May 25, 2018

Latino 247 podbean features Woven Voices Authors

Latino 247 recently posted this short video featuring the late Anita Vélez-Mitchell, her daughter Gloria Vando, and her granddaughter Anika Paris, authors of the Scapegoat Press anthology Woven Voices: Three Puertorriqeña Poets Look at Their American Lives, edited by Linda Rodriguez.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

St. Louis publisher loses 200,000 books in fire

Reedy Press, which publishes books on St. Louis and regional history, lost its warehouse in a five-alarm fire that consumed 200,000 books, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. It is hard to imagine a worse catastrophe for a book publisher to face. The article reports that the venerable Left Bank Books has offered to help with an event to support the publisher as it works to get back on its feet. 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

The Afterlives of Discarded books

This article in The Millions ("Books Out of Place"by Rajat Singh) is a lovely meditation on discarded books. The author mentions the reverence for books in the Hindu tradition. I was reminded about how Jews perform burial rites for a Torah scroll when it wears out and can no longer be used. Here in Kansas City, BooksKC has collection boxes that accept donations of used books that go to benefit Ability KC's programs for individuals with disabilities. What to do with books one can no longer keep can be an agonizing decision, especially if they are not pristine and popular. The Friends of the Kansas City Public Library also accepts donations of used books, as do several other charitable causes. But Singh's reflections about book spirit are poignant.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Linda Rodriguez speaks about plotting, based on her new book

This video features Linda Rodriguez speaking about plotting, in a talk based on her new book Plotting the Character-Driven Novel. Patrick Balester recorded her talk at a meeting of the Border Crimes chapter of Sisters in Crime earlier this year. 

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Interview with Houston Poet Laureate on NPR

Weekend Edition today aired an interview with Gwendolyn Zepeda, Houston's poet laureate, about her perspective on the flood and its aftermath. As a general rule, I've found that if you want to know what's going on someplace, talk to a poet there. Zepeda makes some good points.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Dictionary of regional English may suspend research

A great dictionary doesn't write itself--it takes a team of trained and committed researchers. The Dictionary of American Regional English is facing a possible end to its funding, and that will be a loss to an entire branch of linguistic knowledge. That will be a loss to everyone who cares about the dynamic and diverse ongoing evolution of the English language.