“I am stricken with the peculiar curse of being a 21st-century woman who makes more than the man she’s living with — first with a husband for 13 years and now with a new partner. It’s an increasingly common situation, according to a recent Pew study that found that the proportion of American marriages in which the wife makes more money rose to 22 percent in 2007 from 4 percent in 1970.”—My So Called Wife
“Mr. Bowe, a perpetual bachelor, had been in love twice before — in high school and as a graduate student — but it had been so long and this new feeling was so profound that it shook him to the core. Rather than making him happy, he said, it confused him.”—A Bachelor’s Effort to Understand Love
“It pains me to no end to see my smart, educated, lovely female friends remain single, alone and lonely in spite of their best efforts. These are amazing women! Surely there is something wrong with the world if they remain single for so long. That’s what compelled me to write The Tao of Dating: The Smart Woman’s Guide to Being Absolutely Irresistible.”—Why do the smartest women have the toughest time dating?
“Nationality is right up there with religion and professional sports teams as one of the most annoying things that one-dimesional, weak-minded people use as a substitute for an actual personality.”—Dear Coke Talk
“I’ve met some people who are very dismissive and even hostile of YA, as if it’s nothing more than fluff. They assume that every vampire novel is a Twilight knockoff, or that it would appeal more to their daughters or nephews than to them. Or they postulate that because it’s easier to read, then it must be easier to write than adult fiction. Actually, writing YA is not much different than writing adult novels. The pacing may be faster and the language may be simpler for the intended audience (even though there are many YA books that appeal to adult readers), but the elaborate plot structure is still there to hook the reader in. Writing well for any age group requires skill and talent.”—Defending YA
“Nowadays of course, being a nerd can mean big money. Everything from Tolkien to comic books to video games is finding its way into mainstream America’s fast food blood stream. Along with it seems to be the rebellious streak that goes along with being the kid who gets picked on for knowing how to write in Tolkien’s Dwarven – a certain righteousness about being the odd person out, the strange smug martyrdom that comes from knowing that painting miniatures and possessing a dice bag marked you as being a freak and an outsider.”—Bao Phi, “NOCs (Nerds of Color)”
“Inevitable or not, no one understood all the ramifications of having a super-grandmaster on your laptop, especially what this would mean for professional chess. There were many doomsday scenarios about people losing interest in chess with the rise of the machines, especially after my loss to Deep Blue. Some replied to this with variations on the theme of how we still hold footraces despite cars and bicycles going much faster, a spurious analogy since cars do not help humans run faster while chess computers undoubtedly have an effect on the quality of human chess.”—Garry Kasparov On ‘Chess Metaphors’: The Chess Master And The Computer
“Although the Bible doesn’t specify the fruit that was at the heart of so much trouble in the Garden of Eden, we assume it to be an apple — even though it was probably a pomegranate due to geographic restrictions on where apples grow best. Then there’s the rather fascinating discussion of Johnny Appleseed, whose real motivation was to bring alcohol (via hard cider) to pioneers, rather than tasty sweet apples.”—Botany of Desire Documentary
“Online culture, he goes on, “is a culture of reaction without action” and rationalizations that “we were entering a transitional lull before a creative storm” are just that — rationalizations. “The sad truth,” he concludes, “is that we were not passing through a momentary lull before a storm. We had instead entered a persistent somnolence, and I have come to believe that we will only escape it when we kill the hive.”—A Rebel in Cyberspace, Fighting Collectivism
“Getting plucked from the slush pile was always a long shot—in large part, editors and Hollywood development executives say, because most unsolicited material has gone unsolicited for good reason. But it did happen for some: Philip Roth, Anne Frank, Judith Guest. And so to legions of would-be novelists, journalists and screenwriters—not to mention “D-girls” and “manuscripts girls” from Hollywood to New York who held the hope that finding a gem might catapult them from entry level to expense account—the slush pile represented The Dream.”—The Death of the Slush Pile
“How does a writer gauge his success? Or, at least, how does he or she do so in a manner that makes it possible to carry on? (We’ll say ‘he’ and ‘his’, if that’s alright, as I’m the one that’s most on my mind). If you are Dan Brown or, here in Canada, Margaret Atwood or—all kudos to him—Lawrence Hill, then the question may not even occur. If, however, you are in the wilderness of the middle ground along with most of the rest of the writing community (and where even Larry Hill languished for many years), then you are likely to do so by two barometers.”—The Writing Life: Gauging Success
“On a Sunday night in early November 2007, Coleman sat down at his home computer and started to write the 967 words that would launch the third. “It is the greatest scam in history,” he began. “I am amazed, appalled and highly offended by it. Global Warming: It is a SCAM.”—Global Warming? Oh please…
“There is a sentiment among people close to the Wizards organization — few of whom spoke on the record, given the sensitive nature of the situation — that the team’s upper management, team President Ernie Grunfeld in particular, covered for Arenas and coddled him for too long. “There are a lot of people responsible for this, other than” Arenas, one person familiar with the situation said on condition of anonymity because the individual could not speak on behalf on the Wizards organization.”—Oh Gilbert
“Our ability to take any pleasure, or even interest, in shows like this—in which participants are depicted as energetic but essentially aimless, oblivious of their own deficits, and delusional about their attractiveness and their importance in the world—hinges not on our ability to identify with them but on our ability to distinguish ourselves from them.”—New Yorker on the Jersey Shore
“The system of his delusions had been the subject of an elaborate paper in a scientific monthly, but long before that she and her husband had puzzled it out for themselves. “Referential mania,” Herman Brink had called it. In these very rare cases the patient imagines that everything happening around him is a veiled reference to his personality and existence. He excludes real people from the conspiracy - because he considers himself to be so much more intelligent than other men.”—Vladimir Nabokov, “Signs and Symbols”
“Critical theory is the examination and critique of society and culture, drawing from knowledge across the social sciences and humanities. The term has two quite different meanings with different origins and histories, one originating in sociology and the other in literary criticism. This has led to the very literal use of ‘critical theory’ as an umbrella term to describe theoretical critique.”—What is critical theory?
Maybe you believe that book publishing hasn’t changed in a long time and won’t change now. Maybe you think the way we read, and the way we find things to read, will continue to change slowly. Sure, you’ve gotta pay lip service to social networking, but kids are still kids, and books are still books.
You might be right. The apocalypse may yet be distant. But consider this: the stock market, which is fairly good10 at valuing things, thinks the overall value—or market capitalization—of Amazon is around $50 billion. The combined market cap of Barnes & Noble and Borders is around $1.1 billion. If you add all the other bookstores in America to that total, the entire bookstore business in the United States is currently worth about six percent of Amazon’s book business. At least according to the stock market.
Well, you may say, so what? I’m a librarian, not a bookseller. What’s any of this have to do with my library?