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Poetry Friday: J. Alfred Prufrock

Mid-Week Visits

For once, I've been able to keep up with visiting other blogs during the week, instead of having to wait until Sunday afternoon. Here are a few things that caught my eye today:

  • A Fuse #8 Production links to a Guardian article by D. J. Taylor that explores the question of whether or not book reviews still sell books. The author notes that "In the 21st century - the age of the reading group, the website and the chatroom - the reviewer can sometimes look like a threatened species." Happily, he does conclude that the book reviewer "still matters in a way that many of the more exalted guardians of our culture do not." All I know is that my humble reviews have, in some cases, encouraged people to read the books that I recommend. I'm sure that it doesn't translate in any measurable way to the sales statistics of these books. But if the people who follow my recommendations enjoy the books that they read, then I think that the reviews have made a positive difference.
  • Kelly at Big A little a links to an entertaining post by Bookseller Chick about the impact on book sales of authors who behave badly at book signings. The comments thread on this post is quite extensive. It certainly seems counter-productive to me for authors to alienate booksellers, who have the power to put the books into customers' hands. But a couple of the commenters do offer defense, or at least explanation, for occasional "snarky" behavior.  There's a lot of interesting discussion.
  • Michele at Scholar's Blog has posted a call for papers for Phoenix Rising New Orleans, a Harry Potter symposium being held next May. I must admit to a certain bemusement at this news (that the phenomenon of a children's book series can spread so far), but I'm sure that there will be some fascinating discussions at the conference.
  • Emily at Swarm of Beasts has a rant about literature teaching. Specifically, she takes exception to the idea that poems must have some deeper meaning, suggesting instead that "a poem should not mean, but be." I'm not certain that I completely buy into this, but I liked what Emily said about literature: "Literature is pleasure. Literature is playfulness. Literature is twenty different games of sounds and pictures and memories. Literature is a good friend...." Very poetic indeed.
  • And finally, something that I've been meaning to mention for a couple of days now. The ever-entertaining Disco Mermaids have launched a new literary puzzle, The dePaola Code. This idea is that the legendary children's book illustrator Tomie dePaola, who once explored becoming a Benedictine monk, has a secret. The Disco Mermaids will explorer this secret through a series of clues over the coming weeks. You can read more about it here.

Cheers! -- Jen