Recent Articles

February 3, 2007

The Ghosts in Chicago’s Political Machine 0

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“Why is it that members of the same family get appointments in several sections of government and only large firms seem to get representation on boards dealing with zoning and construction?” Sound familiar? This question was posed in 1971 by the newly elected alderman of the 44th Ward, Dick Simpson, to the “‘Boss’ of all […]

February 2, 2007

The Corey Vilhauer Book of the Month Club: February 2007 1

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“Dostoevsky was a sick man. He was spiteful, intolerant, and irritable. Turgenev once described him as the nastiest Christian he had ever met.” – Andrew R. MacAndrew, Translator of Notes from Underground. I’d like to think that, 200 years from now, I’ll be immortalized with a Penguin Classics edition of my life’s work – a […]

January 31, 2007

A Future for Fragile Books 2

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My last post, on Google adding maps to its Google Books pages, generated some interesting discussion about digitizing books in the comments. I can think of many reasons why digitizing books is a good thing, while the motivations of the publishing houses and the Authors Guild in suing Google seem confused at best and craven […]

January 30, 2007

Maps Added to Google Books 8

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The result isn’t that flashy, but Google’s addition of Maps to its Google Book Search points to the promise of digitizing books. As we have seen with the layers of data that Amazon has added to its database – things like Statistically Improbable Phrases and Capitalized Phrases – digitization of books makes it easy for […]

January 30, 2007

Demon Theory Week at the LBC 0

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Over at the LBC, this week’s topic of discussion is Stephen Graham Jones’ post-modern horror novel Demon Theory. It’s a must read for anyone who likes footnotes with their hockey masks and chainsaws.

January 29, 2007

Weird Tales of the Unexplained… 0

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Buzz Poole’s Madonna of the Toast documents the mysterious appearance of icons sacred and profane, in rock formations, housewares, and foodstuffs the world over. A potato chip shaped like Bob Hope? It’s here. Vladimir Lenin on a shower curtain? Likewise. And it wouldn’t very well be Madonna of the Toast without the titular grilled cheese, […]

January 28, 2007

Four-Star Films 0

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Fire up your Netflix queue. The blog Chewing Pixels has compiled a list of all the films ever given four stars by the vaunted Halliwell’s Film Guides. According to Chewing Pixels: By Halliwell’s standard, all films by default receive a zero star rating. Only exceptionally interesting and important films manage to receive a one or […]

January 28, 2007

The Fabulist: Ryszard Kapuscinski 0

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At Slate, media critic Jack Shafer cuts through the effusive eulogizing of Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski (here at The Millions and elsewhere) to point out that it was “widely conceded that Kapuscinski routinely made up things in his books.” As a trained journalist, I recognize and respect Shafer’s insistence on this point (though the essay’s […]

January 28, 2007

Trillin On Parking 0

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Millions contributor Garth pointed me to a funny little piece by Calvin Trillin in the New York Times in which the New Yorker writer is asked to test out the new Lexus “Advanced Parking Guidance System.” Perhaps you’ve heard of this; it supposedly enables the car to park itself. Trillin, as he indicates, believes that […]

January 25, 2007

Let’s hope the publishing industry doesn’t get any ideas 3

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Soon after learning that books are, quite literally, cool, we now find that reading may become a more popular pastime in Thailand, but not because of a sudden interest in all things literary. Bomb worries help book sales: After New Years Eve bomb blasts put Bangkok on edge, “Thailand’s book market looks likely to grow […]