• September 16, 2014

    White dudes

    White dudes

    At New York Magazine’s blog, Annie Lowrey criticizes the tendency to imagine “media disruptors” as always white and male. Why does it happen? “First, founders are disproportionately white dudes. Second, white dudes are disproportionately encouraged to become founders. Third, white dudes are disproportionately recognized as founders.” We seem to associate management with maleness; whiteness, too. Lowrey suggests combating the problem from the bottom up, by sourcing a more diverse pool of people when hiring interns and populating panels. (While we’re at it, can we stop calling people, male and female alike, “media disruptors”?)

    In the 98.33 hours it would take to read Game of Thrones, you could read The Age of Innocence (5.62 hours), The Odyssey (6.62 hours), Madame Bovary (8.43 hours), Anna Karenina (19.43 hours), Don Quixote (21.72 hours), and War and Peace (32.63 hours). An infographic illustrates the time it takes to read popular books.

    E-books of poetry are finally better able to preserve the formatting of printed books. John Ashbery, upon learning three years ago that four e-book versions of his poetry had lost the appropriate formatting, withdrew the titles. Now he’s giving digital publishing another shot: Last week, Open Road published seventeen of his titles electronically. Ashbery says they are “very faithful” to the original layouts.

    Ben Lerner will be appearing tonight at the New York Public Library. Christian Lorentzen reviewed Lerner’s new book, 10:04, in the fall issue of Bookforum; Alexander Benaim recently interviewed the writer. “I’m increasingly aware that the story I tell about how a book comes to be is just another fiction,” Lerner told Benaim. “I mean it’s something I invent, however involuntarily, alongside the book or after it.”

    It’s difficult to organize an event for a writer who insists on staying anonymous, as the celebrated Elena Ferrante has. Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, the most recent installment in the Italian writer’s Neapolitan series, has just come out. Manhattan’s Center for Fiction brings Ann Goldstein, Roxana Robinson, and Stacey D’Erasmo together to discuss Ferrante’s work.

    At the NYRB blog, Tim Parks describes being driven mad by the task of preparing footnotes for the book he is working on. Footnotes are still necessary for books that only exist in paper (and about which no information appears online), but such books are now few and far between. “Why not wipe the slate clean, start again, and find the simplest possible protocol for ensuring that a reader can check a quotation,” he pleads. “Doing so we would probably free up three or four days a year in every academic’s life.”

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