spliced comma

a blog about books and their desire to be loved

Tag: Books

Listening to Good Writing: The Case of Zinsser and This American Life

We can love a book for so many reasons, but one of them, maybe the essential one, is good writing. But good writing does not necessarily have to be printed in a book, and it does not even need to be read. William Zinsser, author of On Writing Well, an acclaimed book that was mentioned in an earlier post, has come to learn this truth at the age of 90. The New York Times recently published an article about Zinsser, whose eyesight has now been significantly damaged from glaucoma. Although no longer able to read himself, Zinsser now meets writers in one-on-one sessions in order to listen to works in progress. Read the rest of this entry »

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Criterion Collection: Film Adaptations

fearloathingcriterion

Criterion Collection, the distributor of both old and contemporary films, has compiled a list of its films that are adaptations from novels: Novels on the Big Screen.

There’s a long-held and widespread feeling that a movie adaptation of a novel is never as good as the source. It’s easy to see how this became received wisdom, given the sheer difficulty of translating a plot that unfolds over hundreds of pages to a feature-length film’s running time, the immensity of the passions and mysteries that a novel can hold. The challenge for the film version is to function as its own work of art while at the same time reflecting a previously established perspective. But there have been many films that brilliantly interpret the literary universes they take on.

Definition of artistic representation?

Ireland’s central bank misquotes James Joyce’s Ulysses on its new commemorative 10 euro coin, and this is somehow an artistic representation of the author and text and not intended as a literal representation.

Thoughts? – [via The Guardian]

Reasons to Read The Works of Lewis Mumford

To me, Lewis Mumford is a lot like Stefan Zweig. When he was alive, Stefan Zweig was one of the most popular German language writers–his amazing autobiography, The World Of Yesterday, reads like a who’s who of early twentieth century European literature. Today, Zweig is relatively unknown. He is certainly not remembered and admired in the same way as Hermann Hesse, Gunter Grass or Thomas Mann (yes, a Nobel Prize is the common denominator of their lasting fame). Lewis Mumford, when he was alive, was prolific: he was a columnist for The New Yorker and he wrote over two dozen books, many of which are over four hundred pages in length. Mumford is today, in comparison to Herbert Marcuse and Marshal McLuhan, a lesser known theorist of technology and modern society. Read the rest of this entry »

Sláinte

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From Flann O’Brien’s At Swim-Two-Birds:

When things go wrong and will not come right,
Though you do the best you can,
When life looks black as the hour of night —
A PINT OF PLAIN IS YOUR ONLY MAN.

When money’s tight and is hard to get
And your horse has also ran,
When all you have is a heap of debt —
A PINT OF PLAIN IS YOUR ONLY MAN.

When health is bad and your heart feels strange,
And your face is pale and wan,
When doctors say that you need a change,
A PINT OF PLAIN IS YOUR ONLY MAN.

When food is scarce and your larder bare
And no rashers grease your pan,
When hunger grows as your meals are rare —
A PINT OF PLAIN IS YOUR ONLY MAN.

In time of trouble and lousy strife,
You have still got a darlint plan,
You still can turn to a brighter life —
A PINT OF PLAIN IS YOUR ONLY MAN.

David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas (2004)

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While I don’t always follow it, I have a simple rule when choosing to read an unfamiliar novel. I will read an unfamiliar book if it has been independently recommended by two people. Like all rules, it has an arbitrary quality. Yet, I have to admit, by following this rule, I have had the good fortune of a long streak of good novels.* Read the rest of this entry »