In 2008, Karam Youssef established Kotob Khan Publishing to bring out a single book: a collection produced by participants in a creative-writing workshop. The workshop, run by poet and novelist Yasser Abdellatif, was one of several hosted by Youssef’s newly opened Cairo bookshop.
If you love old movies, books and music, you’ll be pleased to know that a very large collection of copyrighted content has entered public domain, allowing you to adapt or adopt — or simply enjoy — them for your own creative purposes.
During his career in the publishing industry, Brigham Young University graduate David Miles saw that many of the books he was helping distribute were out of reach for those who needed them the most — so he and his wife, Stephanie, decided to do something about it.
Author Seth McDuffee will never forget when his novel briefly surpassed The Martian as the top-selling book on Amazon’s humorous science fiction category in mid-December. This was no small feat considering Andy Weir’s novel has lingered around countless bestseller lists since his book was adapted into the hit film of the same name in 2015. McDuffee owes much of his literary success to Reddit, where he cultivated and marketed the story that would become Good Boy, the tale of a loud-mouthed, quick-witted so-and-so who dies during a zombie apocalypse.
As our networked devices ping with global stories told from multiple perspectives, there’s a risk that certain voices might be drowned out – or lost completely in the noise. How do you maintain the storytelling traditions and the spoken literature of an oral culture in the digital era?
Very interesting. I had never heard of “Sleep Stories”. Apparently many people love them.
“It’s being able to tell a story that’s interesting enough to listen to it, but not so exciting where you can’t sleep as you’re desperate to hear the end,” she tells me. “It’s a constant balance.” They’re all about slowing the pace down and as a result, they aren’t the quickest things to write. “I’m constantly reading it aloud to make sure it all flows – trickling away like water to help people relax.”
In 1602, brothers Jean and Nicolas Oudot were printers in Troyes, and sustainably minded to boot. Using recycled paper from previously published books, the innovative printmakers created low quality, travel-sized brochures, protected with covers made from used sugarloaf packaging the color of faded denim. These updated editions of classic texts (think fun-sized SparkNotes) this small-format printing model birthed were thus named livres bleus (blue books). Blue books, and the broader Bibliothèque bleue (blue library) publishing house, were made possible through the Oudot brothers’ association with the family of Claude Garnier, who was a Renaissance-era printer of popular literature himself, primarily for the king of France.
Earlier this week, EW compiled a list of 50 books that deserve to be adapted into a TV show or movie. The list of great books that haven’t yet been adapted is, of course, even longer than that. The stories of Judy Blume, for instance, have remained on the page despite millions of sales and dozens of awards. That might change soon, however. Blume tweeted on Thursday that she was meeting with “many talented people” in Los Angeles about possible adaptations. She even asked her followers to chime in with suggestions for which of her books they would like to see on screen.
Is literature wise? In the sense, does it help us to live? And if not, what exactly is it good for?
One way into that question might be to look at how great writers themselves have benefited. Or haven’t. The situation is not immediately promising, since the list of writers who committed suicide, from Seneca the Younger to David Foster Wallace, would be long; Nerval, Hemingway, Plath, Pavese, Zweig, Mayakovsky, and Woolf all spring to mind. But I suppose you could argue that there are situations where suicide is the wise decision, or that without literature these talented people might have gone much earlier. The list of those who have driven themselves to an unhappy death would likely be longer still. Dickens, Tolstoy, Joyce, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Henry Green, Elsa Morante, and Dylan Thomas arguably fall in that category. Not to mention those forever frustrated by insufficient recognition and other occupational hazards; the gloom of Giacomo Leopardi would appear to have been oceanic. It is not that there aren’t cases of writers who have approached the end of their lives happily enough—Victor Hugo, Alberto Moravia, Natalia Ginzburg, Fyodor Dostoevsky of all unlikely candidates, even that great pessimist Thomas Hardy—simply that a few moments reflection will suffice to convince us that being a fine writer does not necessarily mean being “skilful” in the Buddhist sense of acting in such a way as to foster serenity, joy, happiness.
On July 21, Forbes published a piece by economist Panos Mourdoukoutas arguing that Amazon stores should replace public libraries. The backlash was rapid and unforgiving; library-lovers from around the world responded with angry tweets, and Forbes removed the piece two days later. Yet the article highlights a concerning fact: Too many Americans misunderstand the role of the public library.
The library is not a warehouse of books like Amazon, a tech developer like Apple or a cafe like Starbucks. It is a public institution of learning predicated on the principle that all Americans should be able to access information, education and culture free of cost. In practice, the unique mission of the public library leads to a distinct set of services, ranging from book-lending to computer- and English- language classes. The growing diversity of library activities is not a means of compensating for the rise of the Internet or a decline in the number of library users. Libraries have been re-inventing their programs for over a century in an effort to advance the same old mission: information for all.