Saturday, October 31, 2020

Polish Princess: When New York’s Strand Bookstores asked for help, 25,000 online orders flooded in

“I was impressed for the ten thousandth time by the fact that literature illuminates life only for those to whom books are a necessity. Books are unconvertable assets, to be passed on only to those who possess them already.” Anthony Powell, The Valley of Bones Continue reading Almanac: Anthony Powell on... Read more

 Using an AI-based framework called Pixel2Style2Pixel and searching for faces in a dataset harvested from Flickr, Nathan Shipley made some more photorealistic faces for Pixar characters

Toonification of Pixel

The 10 Best Books of All Time Chosen By 125 Famous Authors 

Autumn brings the peak of the literary prize season: winners of the Booker, the National Book Award, the Women’s Prize, the Prix Goncourt, and the Nobel will all be announced by mid-November. American authors and books will be contenders for almost every award, large and small, for which they are eligible. That makes this an auspicious moment to revisit two persistent questions about American literature: Is it really a key part of the global literary system? And is the answer to that question the same for its “serious” and its mainstream forms? We can see the doubts behind those questions most clearly in a recent literary controversy, one that seems to have grown at once more and less relevant in the 12 years since it took place.

American authors have devoted almost 40 percent of their spatial attention to locations outside the US. Is that enough?

Washington Post – Readers rushed to the aid of the iconic bookseller after its owner called on them to #savethestrand – “…Founded in 1927 by Benjamin Bass, a Jewish Lithuanian immigrant, with $300 in cash and a $300 loan, Strand grew into one of the largest independent book houses in New York. It is one of the only surviving bookstores from Fourth Avenue’s famed “Book Row.” Fred Bass, the son of the founder, began working in the store at age 13, according to his New York Times obituary. Wyden, his daughter, worked at Strand through her childhood and officially became its owner in 2018. Wyden shut down Strand on March 16, as the coronavirus began to sweep through New York. It was impossible, she said, to keep any part of the business open, even for online shopping, without protective equipment for staff. She furloughed 188 of 217 employees, expecting to bring them back within weeks when health conditions improved. “I talked to other bookstore owners and HR people and accountants, and I was just scrambling to find out what this means,” she said. “There was no — and there is no — end in sight for this pandemic. And we weren’t sure who to furlough and who not to furlough. We all thought we’d be back to normal in June.”..

The Worst Book Endings Ever

At least, according to readers. (Yes, yes, everyone hated the end of Gone Girl.) Think of Atonement, for example: “‘I’ve never been more mad at an ending to a book, and will never read another word Ian McEwan writes as a result,’ wrote Brenda M. ‘Why would I ever trust a writer who has so much contempt for his readers?'” – Washington Post

Scientists Are Freaking Out Over The First-Ever Footage of This Bizarre Squid Science Alert

Weirdly, Monkeys Keep Domesticating Themselves. Huh. Popular Mechanics 

American Honeybees Just Can’t Get a BreakTreeHugger 

‘Like froth on a cappuccino’: spacecraft’s chaotic landing reveals comet’s softness Nature