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There is a piece on NPR about Penn Jillette's new book God, No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales
Excerpt from NPR piece that mentions libraries:
His discussion of libertarianism is similar: He doesn't believe government has the right to do anything you wouldn't enforce at gunpoint, so (for instance) stopping crime is a legitimate government function, but public libraries are not, since he wouldn't hold a gun on anyone and force them to create a library. Again, some will agree and some won't, but his commitment to this principle is at least something he's prepared to defend.
An employee of the Mark Twain House and Museum in West Hartford, Conn., has admitted in court to embezzling $1 million from the organization that maintains the author's historic home. The Mark Twain House, like the homes of some of America's other best-known writers, has faced financial difficulties. Most, however, were not systematically plundered. Report from LA Times Jacket Copy.
Longtime (and now former) staffer Donna Gregory regularly raided the organization's coffers for eight years; she pleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud and filing a false tax return, Reuters reports.
According to court documents, Gregory submitted false information over the Internet to the Mark Twain House payroll vendor between 2002 and 2010. The misinformation allowed additional pay to which she was not entitled to be deposited into her bank account, classified as payroll advances.
She then adjusted the ledgers to cover up the advances by reclassifying the amounts as utilities, maintenance and similar items. She also falsified the Mark Twain House's bank statements to hide the advances, authorities said. Gregory used the Mark Twain House's check-writing system to write checks payable to herself and forged her supervisor's signatures on those checks, authorities said.
Scorn in Toronto, acclaim in Hamilton
Literary icon Margaret Atwood has accepted an invitation from Hamilton Mayor Bob Bratina to tour the city’s newly renovated central library. The invitation is a tongue-in-cheek jab at the Rob Ford administration’s refusal to take closing libraries off Toronto’s list of potential cost-cutters.
Fiscal Woe Haunting Baltimore Poe House
For a second year city leaders have chosen not to subsidize a museum in the tiny house where the impoverished Poe lived from around 1833 to 1835, a decision that means it may have to close soon.
Since the city cut off its $85,000 in annual support last year, the house has been operating on reserve funds, which are expected to run out as early as next summer.
Funny Comic: Snacks of the Great Scribblers:
"When I sit down to work, I keep a small bowl of garlic croutons on my desk. These are little rewards for good ideas and strong lines, Pavlovian pellets to keep my spirits up. Recently, I began to wonder what fuel writers have relied on, and the answers turned out to be all over the culinary map. Walt Whitman began the day with oysters and meat, while Gustave Flaubert started off with what passed for a light breakfast in his day: eggs, vegetables, cheese or fruit, and a cup of cold chocolate. The novelist Vendela Vida told me she swears by pistachios, and Mark Kurlansky, the author of “Salt” and “Cod,” likes to write under the influence of espresso, “as black as possible.” For some writers, less is more. Lord Byron, a pioneer in fad diets as well as poetry, sipped vinegar to keep his weight down. Julia Scheeres, the author of the memoir “Jesus Land,” aims for more temporary deprivation. “When in the thick of writing I minimize food intake as much as possible,” she told me. “I find I work better when I’m a little starved.”"
So, why aren’t books dead yet? It helps that e-books are booming. Kindle and Nook have begun to refashion the economics of the medieval publishing industry: no trucks, no paper, no returns or remainders.
But that does not explain why writers write them. Writers write them for reasons that usually have a little to do with money and not as much to do with masochism as you might think. There is real satisfaction in a story deeply told, a case richly argued, a puzzle meticulously untangled. (Note the tense. When people say they love writing, they usually mean they love having written.) And it is still a credential, a trophy, a pathway to “Charlie Rose” and “Morning Joe,” to conferences and panels that Build Your Brand, to speaking fees and writing assignments.
A digital pioneer questions what technology has wrought
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Book by Lanier mentioned in article: You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto (Vintage)
You can purchase this issue on Amazon for $3.99.
See: The New Yorker
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Glimpses of Salinger Tucked Inside ‘Catcher in the Rye’
His views on many topics and his sensitivities to modern urban life, which were reflected, in part, in Holden Caulfield, the hero of the novel, peeked through in occasional letters to his friends.
The latest batch of snippets, cited above, come from the correspondence he shared over several decades with E. Michael Mitchell. Now deceased, he was the illustrator whose runaway carousel horse graced the first cover of “Catcher.”
Hemingway, Hounded by the Feds
Decades later, in response to a Freedom of Information petition, the F.B.I. released its Hemingway file. It revealed that beginning in the 1940s J. Edgar Hoover had placed Ernest under surveillance because he was suspicious of Ernest’s activities in Cuba. Over the following years, agents filed reports on him and tapped his phones. The surveillance continued all through his confinement at St. Mary’s Hospital. It is likely that the phone outside his room was tapped after all.