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David Foster Wallace's undergrad thesis to be published

Christ he would have hated this. David Foster Wallace's student thesis to be published posthumously | Books | guardian.co.uk
Most university graduates would shy away from the thought of their undergraduate dissertation being shown to anyone other than an examiner, but a US publisher is promising that the late David Foster Wallace's thesis, due for publication later this year, will "restore logic and language to their rightful places". Author of the acclaimed novels Infinite Jest and The Broom of the System, and praised by Don DeLillo for sentences which "shoot rays of energy in seven directions", Wallace committed suicide in 2008. His unfinished final novel, The Pale King, is lined up for publication next year; now, academic publisher Columbia University Press has announced that it will bring out his undergraduate thesis, a critique of Richard Taylor's argument for fatalism, in December. The publisher said the writing would allow readers to experience "the developing perspective of this major novelist, along with the beginning of his lifelong struggle to establish solid logical ground for his soaring convictions". It is publishing Wallace's essay as Fate, Time, and Language: An Essay on Free Will, alongside Taylor's original article and other works on fatalism that Wallace refers to in his critique.

May 25, 2010

Happy Towel Day!

Towel day: Douglas Adams remembered across the globe | Books | guardian.co.uk
All over the world today fans of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy are heeding Douglas Adams's words that a towel is "about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have" and are conspicuously carrying one with them for the day in honour of the writer who died nine years ago. Towel Day events are taking place around the world, and include a pub lunch in Brisbane, flashmobs in Brazil and Berlin, a picnic in Budapest, a Vogon poetry slam in Portland, Oregon, a beer party in Zagreb and a "nice cup of tea" event outside the Pompidou Centre in Paris. Many more people have simply pledged to carry a towel. A further twist on the day is provided by Terry Pratchett fans, who "wear the lilac" on 25 May in honour of the events in the novel Night Watch and in support of Alzheimer's research, who are combining the two events by wearing lilac towels.

May 24, 2010

Mark Twain's auobiography to be published after hundred-year wait

Twain is one of the Almanack's patron saints. I am excited to check this out. Century-long wait for Mark Twain's autobiography is over | Books | guardian.co.uk
"It will be unparalleled in the history of literature," predicted the Times in 1899 of Mark Twain's autobiography. "A bequest to posterity." Now, 100 years after the author died, his complete memoirs will be made public for the first time. Twain had specified that his autobiography remain unpublished for a century after his death, to ensure that he felt free to speak his "whole frank mind", knowing that when his "Final (and Right) Plan" for relating the story of his life was eventually published, he would be "dead, and unaware, and indifferent". The author passed away on 21 April 1910, and this November, the University of California Press will publish the first volume in the "complete and authoritative edition" of his autobiography, promising that the book would present Twain's "authentic and unsuppressed voice, brimming with humour, ideas, and opinions, and speaking clearly from the grave as he intended". "When people ask me, 'Did Mark Twain really mean it to take 100 years for this to come out?', I say, 'He was certainly a man who knew how to make people want to buy a book'," editor Dr Robert Hirst told the Independent yesterday. "There are so many biographies of Twain, and many of them have used bits and pieces of the autobiography. But biographers pick and choose what bits to quote. By publishing Twain's book in full, we hope that people will be able to come to their own complete conclusions about what sort of a man he was."

May 19, 2010

Barnes & Noble to launch self-publishing ebook system

Barnes & Noble to open 'PubIt!' self-publishing portal this summer -- Engadget
Barnes & Noble has just announced its intentions to open up a self-publishing portal this summer. We wouldn't say that the PubIt! name is the greatest of all time (for a variety of reasons, frankly), but the world's largest bookseller is hoping to expand its importance in the digital realm by giving wannabe authors the ability to upload and sell their material through B&N's website and eBookstore. Details on the compensation model (read: profit split) will be announced "in the coming weeks," but the real kicker here is this won't be limited to the Nook; pretty much any e-reader, tablet or PC will be able to tap in and make purchases, so the potential audience is quite large.