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Lolita Turns 60

Though Vladimir Nabokov was living in America when he wrote Lolita, the novel was first published in Paris in 1955—by Olympia Press, whose list included many pornographic titles. On the sixtieth anniversary of Lolita’s first publication, we asked ten writers to reflect on their changing experiences with the novel in the course of their reading lives. Each day for five days, we are posting two reflections, each revisiting a section of pages from the book—we are using Vintage’s 2005 edition, a complete, unexpurgated text. 

From Lolita Turns 60 | New Republic

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Why 18th century books looked like smartphone screens

The point being, of course, that the ergonomics of smartphones as reading devices are not only kind of rad, but historically so.

These small formats from days of yore also help explain the stupendous productivity of many historic authors. I’ll often be reading about a nonfiction essayist from the 17th or 18th or 19th century and the bio will mention he or she wrote 56 books or some other ungodly number, and I’ll freak out: Man alive! How can anyone generate so much?

From collision detection: Why 18th century books looked like smartphone screens

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80 Books No Woman Should Read

The list made me think there should be another, with some of the same books, called 80 Books No Woman Should Read, though of course I believe everyone should read anything they want. I just think some books are instructions on why women are dirt or hardly exist at all except as accessories or are inherently evil and empty. Or they’re instructions in the version of masculinity that means being unkind and unaware, that set of values that expands out into violence at home, in war, and by economic means. Let me prove that I’m not a misandrist by starting with Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, because any book Paul Ryan loves that much bears some responsibility for the misery he’s dying to create.

From 80 Books No Woman Should Read ‹ Literary Hub

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The big question: are books getting longer?

For Finlayson, much of this shift can be explained by the industry’s shift towards digital. “When you pick up a large book in a shop,” he says, “you can sometimes be intimidated, whereas on Amazon the size of a book is just a footnote that you don’t really pay all that much attention to.” The rise of digital reading is also a factor, he adds. “I always hold off buying really big books until I’m going on holiday, because I don’t want to lug them around in my bag. But if you have a big book on a Kindle, that’s not a consideration.”

From The big question: are books getting longer? | Books | The Guardian

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Faber boss says future of book publishing is mobile

The chief executive of publisher Faber & Faber has challenged the book publishing industry to respond to the rapid increase in smartphone use, particularly by young readers.

“Perhaps in the 21st century the zero-law of publishing will be understand mobile. Because without expert understanding of it, we may not be able to create the new audiences,” said Stephen Page, speaking at the FutureBook publishing industry conference in London.

From Faber boss says future of book publishing is mobile | Technology | The Guardian

Class of 2016: Works Entering The Public Domain

Pictured above is our top pick of those whose works will, on 1st January 2016, be entering the public domain in many countries around the world. Of the eleven featured, five will be entering the public domain in countries with a ‘life plus 70 years’ copyright term (e.g. most European Union members, Brazil, Israel, Nigeria, Russia, Turkey, etc.) and six in countries with a ‘life plus 50 years’ copyright term (e.g. Canada, New Zealand, and many countries in Asia and Africa) — those that died in the year 1945 and 1965 respectively. As always it’s a sundry and diverse rabble who’ve assembled for our graduation photo – including two of the 20th century’s most important political leaders, one of Modernism’s greatest poets, two very influential but very different musicians, and one of the most revered architects of recent times.

Below is a little bit more about each of their lives (with each name linking through to their respective Wikipedia pages, from which each text has been based).

From Class of 2016 | The Public Domain Review

Russia in marathon reading of Tolstoy's War and Peace on web

Russian film stars, a cosmonaut and French actress Fanny Ardant are among 1,300 people reading Leo Tolstoy's epic War and Peace live on the internet - a 60-hour marathon spread over four days.

From Russia in marathon reading of Tolstoy's War and Peace on web - BBC News

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When Popular Fiction Isn’t Popular: Genre, Literary, and the Myths of Popularity

There is an odd cognitive dissonance that happens in these conversations, where we are simultaneously supposed to believe that literary fiction is “mainstream fiction” and genre fiction is “ghettoized,” and also that literary fiction is a niche nobody reads while genre authors laugh all the way to the bank. Throw into the mix a recent Wall Street Journal article on the increasingly practice of giving million dollar advances to literary debut novels, and you can see that the truth of the matter is pretty unclear.

From » When Popular Fiction Isn’t Popular: Genre, Literary, and the Myths of Popularity

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Reading the world in 196 books

Writer Ann Morgan set herself a challenge – to read a book from every country in the world in one year. She describes the experience and what she learned.

From BBC - Culture - Reading the world in 196 books

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Our (Bare) Book Shelves, Our Selves

Although the study did not account for e-books, as they’re not yet available in enough countries, Dr. Evans said in theory they could be just as effective as print books in encouraging literacy.

“But what about the casual atmosphere of living in a bookish world, and being intrigued to pull something off the shelf to see what it’s like?” she asked. “I think that will depend partly on the seamless integration of our electronic devices in the future.”

From Our (Bare) Shelves, Our Selves - The New York Times

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