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March 03, 2009

David Foster Wallace's final novel to be released in 2010

David Foster Wallace's unfinished novel to be published | Books | guardian.co.uk

An unfinished novel by David Foster Wallace, the American author who committed suicide in September 2008, has been discovered and is due to be published next year, 14 years after his last novel Infinite Jest.

The 200 or so draft pages of The Pale King were found two months after Wallace's death by his wife, Karen Green, when she was sorting out the garage where Wallace worked. The book is set in a tax office in the American midwest and features a cast of bored Internal Revenue Service agents who seek to transcend the tedium of their jobs.

. . .

The work expands on the concept of the virtues of mindfulness and concentration that Wallace tackled at a 2005 commencement speech at Kenyon College, when he declared that true freedom "means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed."

First They Invent the Novel, then They Put a Stake through Updike's Heart

Quoth Mojonaut Milt: "GAWD! Get a laptop, Japanese people! You're...

Continue reading "First They Invent the Novel, then They Put a Stake through Updike's Heart" »

February 25, 2009

Authors Guild upset over Kindle reading books aloud

Op-Ed Contributor - The Kindle Swindle? - NYTimes.com

This is by Roy Blount, jr. from NPR's "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me."

The Kindle 2 is a portable, wireless, paperback-size device onto which people can download a virtual library of digitalized titles. Amazon sells these downloads, and where the books are under copyright, it pays royalties to the authors and publishers.

Serves readers, pays writers: so far, so good. But there’s another thing about Kindle 2 — its heavily marketed text-to-speech function. Kindle 2 can read books aloud. And Kindle 2 is not paying anyone for audio rights.

True, you can already get software that will read aloud whatever is on your computer. But Kindle 2 is being sold specifically as a new, improved, multimedia version of books — every title is an e-book and an audio book rolled into one. And whereas e-books have yet to win mainstream enthusiasm, audio books are a billion-dollar market, and growing. Audio rights are not generally packaged with e-book rights. They are more valuable than e-book rights. Income from audio books helps not inconsiderably to keep authors, and publishers, afloat.

College admissions giving preference to the rich

Economy lifting college prospects of the well-heeled - The Boston Globe

As colleges and universities provide more financial aid to families hit by the recession, they are also more likely to give wealthier students preference in admissions and scholarships to help offset that extra cost, according to college administrators and consultants.

"The full-pay kid this year is going to be at a premium," said Frank Vellaccio, senior vice president at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, which does not consider finances in admissions decisions. "Those students are going to have a lot more choices now and will get into schools that they might not have normally."

To widely varying degrees, colleges consider students' financial means when they assemble incoming classes. But the dismal economy and problems in the credit market have complicated these calculations and renewed questions about economic disparities on campuses.

*Thanks, Julia!*

February 24, 2009

Obama and "I"

The Grammarphobia Blog: Grammar, Usage, Etymology, and More: Is Obama an object lesson in bad grammar?

Since his election, the president has been roundly criticized by bloggers for using “I” instead of “me” in phrases like “a very personal decision for Michelle and I” or “the main disagreement with John and I” or “graciously invited Michelle and I.”

The rule here, according to conventional wisdom, is that we use “I” as a subject and “me” as an object, whether the pronoun appears by itself or in a twosome. Thus every “I” in those quotes ought to be a “me.”

. . .

For centuries, it was perfectly acceptable to use either “I” or “me” as the object of a verb or preposition, especially after “and.” Literature is full of examples. Here’s Shakespeare, in “The Merchant of Venice”: “All debts are cleared between you and I.” And here’s Lord Byron, complaining to his half-sister about the English town of Southwell, “which, between you and I, I wish was swallowed up by an earthquake, provided my eloquent mother was not in it.”

It wasn’t until the mid-1800s that language mavens began kvetching about “I” and “me.” The first kvetch cited in Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage came from a commencement address in 1846. In 1869, Richard Meade Bache included it in his book “Vulgarisms and Other Errors of Speech.”