The Paris Review Interviews Now Online

From Open Culture:

The Paris Review, the great literary journal co-founded by George Plimpton, unveiled last week a new web site and a big archive of interviews with famous literary figures. Spanning five decades, the interviews often talk about the “how” of literature (to borrow a phrase from Salman Rushdie) – that is, how writers go about writing. Rummaging through the archive, you will encounter conversations with TS EliotWilliam FaulknerRalph EllisonErnest HemingwaySimone de BeauvoirSaul BellowJorge Luis BorgesNorman MailerMary McCarthyVladimir NabokovJohn SteinbeckJoan DidionKurt Vonnegut,Eudora WeltyRaymond CarverRussell BanksDon DeLilloToni Morrison,Paul Auster, etc. And, amazingly, this list only scratches the surface of what’s available.

Note: These interviews are separately available in book format: The Paris Review Interviews, Volumes 1-4

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Book review: What's Mine Is Yours--The Rise of Collaborative Consumption

Review by Ruth Suehle

We live in a consumer culture in the most literal sense of that word. We aren’t just making purchases. We are consuming. And more than just consuming, we are obliterating our world’s resources at an alarming rate. We’ve become accustomed—and hungry for—changing styles with the change of seasons. But what we must do now is change not clothing, nor electronics, nor cars. We must change our culture. The hardest change of all. And that’s what Rachel Bostman and Roo Rogers’ What’s Mine Is Yours is about.

Book review: What's Mine Is Yours--The Rise of Collaborative Consumption

Literary guerrillas take Barnes & Noble

The chilly expanse of pavement in front of the Union Square Barnes & Noble megastore was still empty last Tuesday at 6 PM. The tall security guard inside was unaware that the author Lisa Dierbeck was supposed to be reading in 25 minutes. The old male employee at the information desk was also unaware. At 6:15 people with red flowers pinned to their hats or lapels started entering the store. They took posts waiting in front of display tables. They asked clueless staffers about a Lisa Dierbeck reading. They scanned for others like themselves. Soon small clusters of flower wearers started sprouting all over.

The flower wearers were following the instructions of a message posted online the night before by the newly formed publishing collective and imprint Mischief and Mayhem. It was titled, “M+M Takes B&N!" At 6:25 supporters were to mobilize outside of the store to witness a guerrilla reading meant to “reclaim literature from soulless retailers."

M+M is five peeved writers responding to the commercial publishing industry, which they feel values marketability over content and greedily grants most writers only measly returns. They hold particular scorn for mega retailers, such as Barnes & Noble, which stock only commercially viable books on their shelves, thus influencing publishers and editors to provide them. The imprint will sell “adventurous, strange, disturbing fiction" directly to customers throu

gh e-books or print-on-demand paperbacks: a process that cuts a multitude of costs (the bookstore’s cut, the distributor’s cut, shipping, pulping) so that the writer can stand to make a 50 percent profit.

Read more.

Los mejores libros del 2010 según The Guardian

El 11 de diciembre el diario inglés publicó la lista de los mejores libros de ficción del año realizada por su editor literario, Justine Jordan. Al igual que sucede con la selección de New York Times, encabeza la lista la novela Freedom de Jonathan Franzen y One de David Nicholls.

Completan la lista:
It was a great 12 months for the comic novel, with Howard Jacobson’s uproarious investigation of grief, friendship and British Jewishness, The Finkler Question(Bloomsbury, £18.99), a Man Booker winner that surprised and pleased in equal measure. Reviewer Alex Clark found it “a terrifying and ambitious novel, full of dangerous shallows and dark, deep water", bringing knockabout humour to bear on the most serious themes. Surely the year’s most pleasurable read and now a Costa contender, Skippy Dies by Paul Murray (Hamish Hamilton, £13.99), charted teenage highs and lows at an Irish boarding school: Patrick Ness called it “a rare tragicomedy that’s both genuinely tragic and genuinely comedic".

Christopher Tayler applauded Ian McEwan’s “elegant and surprising" response to global warming in Solar (Jonathan Cape, £13.99): “instead of applying doom and gloom, he reaches for a lighter, more comic mode than usual". Meanwhile, Alfred Hickling fell in love with Tiffany Murray’s Diamond Star Halo (Portobello, £12.99), a “glam-rock Dodie Smith" extravaganza about coming of age in a rural recording studio in the 70s. Moving from Wales to San Francisco, later in the year he found Armistead Maupin back to his “rapturous best" with Mary Ann in Autumn (Doubleday, £17.99), revisiting the Tales of the City cast 20 years on.

Lloyd Jones followed his 2007 hit Mr Pip with a novel that Joanna Briscoe described as “extraordinary". Hand Me Down World (John Murray, £14.99), charting a woman’s quest for her child from Africa to Berlin and told through a series of unreliable testimonies, shows that “Jones is becoming one of the most interesting, honest and thought-provoking novelists working today". A mother’s journey also features in one of the most internationally acclaimed novels of the year, Israeli author David Grossman’s To the End of the Land (Jonathan Cape, £18.99). The story of a woman who sets off on foot from her home in Jerusalem, desperate to avoid the officials who might arrive at any time to inform her of her soldier son’s death, it was described by Jacqueline Rose as “one of the most powerful and moving novels I have read". All the characters, living through the Israel-Palestine confict, “are in some sense escapees. The novel is a tribute to their resilience as well as to the precarious vitality of family life".

For Michel Faber, it was a German novel that really stood out. Jenny Erpenbeck, he wrote, “is one of the finest, most exciting authors alive", and Visitation (Portobello, £10.99), the story of a grand house and its occupants in eastern Germany throughout the 20th century, “allows us to feel we’ve known real individuals, experienced the slow unfolding of history, and bonded unconditionally with a place". Blogger Sam Jordison, meanwhile, recommended Johanna Sinisalo’s Birdbrain (Peter Owen, £9.99), a Finnish wilderness thriller that takes its inspiration from Heart of Darkness: it promises “a sense of lurking horror that will leave you troubled for weeks".

There were compelling debuts on our First Book Award shortlist, including Maile Chapman’s wintry tale of a Finnish sanatorium, Your Presence Is Requested at Suvanto (Jonathan Cape, £12.99), and Ned Beauman’s riotous Boxer, Beetle (Sceptre, £12.99). For our first novels columnist, Catherine Taylor, shortlistee Nadifa Mohamed’s Black Mamba Boy (HarperCollins, £12.99) created “a compelling account of the refugee experience" out of the raw material of her father’s epic, unlikely journey from Somalia to postwar Hull. She also acclaimed Amy Sackville’s The Still Point (Portobello, £12.99), recent winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys prize, which contrasts an early polar expedition with the present day. “The two worlds of ice and heat, a century apart, are carefully balanced by the exquisitely restrained prose."

Thriller columnist John O’Connell recommended Peter Temple’s Truth (Quercus, £7.99), a thwarted murder investigation set in Melbourne, as “an unflinching examination of the way money buys power", along with Stuart Neville’s Collusion (Harvill Secker, £12.99), a tale of dirty politics in post-ceasefire Belfast. For Steven Poole, Robert Littell’s The Stalin Epigram (Duckworth, £16.99), which follows turbulent poet Osip Mandelstam into the Lubyanka, was a “masterclass" of paranoia. Maya Jaggi was impressed by Red April by Santiago Roncagliolo (Atlantic, £12.99), since named one of Granta’s Best Young Spanish-Language Novelists, which uses the serial-killer genre to lift the lid on Peru’s bloody recent history.

Crime columnist Laura Wilson was an early fan of Belinda Bauer’s debut Blacklands (Corgi, £7.99), told from a child’s point of view, which went on to win the Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger; she also recommended Zoë Ferraris’s City of Veils (Little, Brown, £11.99), a murder mystery set in Jeddah. Well-written horror novels are a rare breed: Eric Brown applauded Joe Hill’s Horns (Gollancz, £9.99), in which supernatural devilry and all-too-human evil mingle in smalltown America. Meanwhile, blogger Damien G Walter enjoyed the literary fantasy of the year, finding in China Miéville’s Kraken (Pan, £7.99), a tale of cops and apocalypse in an alternative London, “a prodigious imagination letting rip".

Turning to short stories, Alex Clark called Yiyun Li’s second collection, Gold Boy, Emerald Girl (Fourth Estate, £16.99), which explores the changes in Chinese culture and society, “hugely impressive". Amy Bloom’s sharp eye was cast on American family life (Where the God of Love Hangs Out, Granta, £10.99), and Helen Simpson’s on the global betrayals of climate-change apathy and the personal privations of middle age (In-Flight Entertainment, Jonathan Cape, £14.99). Hermione Lee acclaimed Colm Tóibín’s collection The Empty Family (Viking, £17.99), stories of “yearning, exile and regret" that range from 1970s Barcelona to troubled present-day Ireland.

Finally, Steven Poole was entranced by Padgett Powell’s The Interrogative Mood (Profile, £9.99), a novel composed entirely of questions, from ""Are your emotions pure?" to “Do you have any friends?" to “Are you for or against canals, in principle?" “Is this the most bloody-mindedly brilliant new work of fiction I have read this year?" he wondered. If Freedom seems too predictable a literary gift, why not take a chance on this?

Los mejores libros del 2010 según New York Times

NYT presentó la lista de los mejores libros de ficción del 2010. La lista es encabezada por la novela Freedom de Jonathan Franzen.

By Jonathan Franzen. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $28.
The author of “The Corrections” is back, not quite a decade later, with an even richer and deeper work — a vividly realized narrative set during the Bush years, when the creedal legacy of “personal liberties” assumed new and sometimes ominous proportions. Franzen captures this through the tribulations of a Midwestern family, the ­Berglunds, whose successes, failures and appetite for self-invention reflect the larger story of millennial America.

By Ann Beattie. Scribner, $30. 
As these 48 stories published in The New Yorker from 1974 through 2006 demonstrate, Beattie, even as she chronicled and satirized her post-1960s generation, also became its defining voice. She punctures her characters’ pretensions and jadedness with an economy and effortless dialogue that writers have been trying to emulate for three decades, though few, if any, have matched her seamless combination of biting wit and mordant humor, precise irony and consummate cool.

By Emma Donoghue. Little, Brown & Company, $24.99.
Donoghue has created one of the pure triumphs of recent fiction: an ebullient child narrator, held captive with his mother in an 11-by-11-foot room, through whom we encounter the blurry, often complicated space between closeness and autonomy. In a narrative at once delicate and vigorous — rich in psychological, sociological and political meaning — Donoghue reveals how joy and terror often dwell side by side.

By William Trevor. Viking, $35.
Gathering work from Trevor’s previous four collections, this volume shows why his deceptively spare fiction has haunted and moved readers for generations. Set mainly in Ireland and England, Trevor’s tales are eloquent even in their silences, documenting the way the present is consumed by the past, the way ancient patterns shape the future. Neither modernist nor antique, his stories are timeless.

By Jennifer Egan. Alfred A. Knopf, $25.95.
Time is the “goon squad” in this virtuosic rock ’n’ roll novel about a cynical record producer and the people who intersect his world. Ranging across some 40 years and inhabiting 13 different characters, each with his own story and perspective, Egan makes these disparate parts cohere into an artful whole, irradiated by a Proustian feel for loss, regret and the ravages of love.

Wade Davis @ Massey Lectures 2009, “The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World"
The Wayfinders is a profound celebration of the wonder of human genius and spirit as brought into being by culture.

Of the 7,000 languages spoken today, fully half may disappear in our lifetimes. This does not have to happen. The other cultures of the world are not failed attempts to be modern, failed attempts to be us. Each is a unique and profound answer to a fundamental question: What does it mean to be human and alive? When asked that question the peoples of the world respond with 7,000 sources of knowledge and wisdom, history and intuition which collectively comprise humanity’s repertoire for dealing with all the challenges that we’ll face as a species in the coming centuries. Every culture deserves a place at the council of the human experience.

Wade Davis publicó un libro con este material. Link a Amazon.

The fairy-tale of the five pencils

Pequeña historia sobre la gestión de la diversidad en el lugar de trabajo escrita por Peter Høgsted, CEO de IKEA UK y Elisabeth Plum. Forma parte de la politica de inducción del departamento de recursos humanos de la empresa inglesa. Es una verdadera lección de los desafíos que presentan la gestión de la diversidad y el trabajo en equipo en las organizaciones del siglo XXI. Imperdible!!!

Dice el prefacio:
This is a short story about five pencils who are asked to work together.

It’s a simple story that can be used as the basis for discussions, and for learning about our individual prejudices and each other’s differences.

We believe it is important to have the courage to point out our differences. We believe we can develop ourselves, our teamwork and our workplace through mutual honesty and curiosity. Only by acknowledging our prejudices and discussing them openly can we learn to accept and use each other’s strengths to eliminate those prejudices.

We talk about diversity in the workplace. A workplace where we use each other’s differences and strengths to achieve our common goals.

But showing consideration does not mean that we should avoid conflict: we need to discuss how we can create better results all the time for ourselves, our customers and our company.
Baje el documento aquí.

Free as in Freedom ~ Biografía de Richard Stallman

 Richard Stallman pertenece a la clase de personas que despiertan sentimientos extremos: es amado u odiado, y rara vez su presencia pasa desapercibida. En esta biografía “autorizada” del fundador de la Fundación Software Libre, el autor logra plasmar con frescura las circunstancias personales e históricas que convirtieron a Stallman en una figura enigmática y trascendental del movimiento de software libre.

Intercalando capítulos históricos y descriptivos, y haciendo uso de información exclusiva recopilada a través de diferentes entrevistas y su participación en eventos de la comunidad de Software Libre, Williams logra reflejar la compleja personalidad de Stallman, caracterizada por su firmeza y agresividad.

A lo largo del libro se encuentran anécdotas e información histórica sobre la cultura hacker y el origen de emblemáticas herramientas y librerías de software libre, así como una pequeña reseña del origen de GNU/Linux. Como menciona el autor, mucha de esta información no puede ser encontrada en Slashdot ni Google. Esta biografía es fresca y rápida de leer. Recomendada para todos aquellos interesados en la historía de la computación y el movimiento de software libre.

El libro fue publicado en 2002 por O’Reilly Media. Existe una versión digital publicada bajo la licencia GNU Free Documentation License  (GFDL) disponible aquí. Stallman impuso como única condición para cooperar de este proyecto la publicación de una edición digital disponible libremente en internet.

Más información: