Dog-Eared and Dispatched: September 14, 2014
Heartening news this week, as it turns out that young people do read after all. There are also plenty of literary events to be interested in, and big questions are being raised, too, about how publishing plays into politics (or vice versa). Plenty of footnotes on a variety of topics (Apple, Oyster, Harry Potter) for your enjoyment, so grab your slippers and cozy up with your preferred digital reading device.
Well you can stop worrying so much about American young’uns and their reading habits (tho’ keep an eye out for the young Britons who only read texts); according to a new survey conducted by Pew Research, 88% of folks under 30 have read a book in the last year, as opposed to 79% of codgers past their third decade. That is an unsophisticated gloss on an interesting study, which also looked at library and digital book usage habits at different age ranges, and found that readers under 30 (with some variation) are more likely to use a public library and also to read a paperbook rather than use a device. One might point out that this is as likely to be a matter of funding as note (devices are expensive and libraries are cheaper than bookstores), but as the study notes: “it is important to note that age is not the only factor in Americans’ engagement with public libraries, nor the most important. Our library engagement typology found that Americans’ relationships with public libraries are part of their broader information and social landscapes, as people who have extensive economic, social, technological, and cultural resources are also more likely to use and value libraries as part of those networks. Deeper connections with public libraries are also often associated with key life moments such as having a child, seeking a job, being a student, and going through a situation in which research and data can help inform a decision.” Still, it is heartening to note that Millennials are still using libraries. [The Guardian, MobyLives!, Pew Research, The New York Times, Digital Book World]
When is a book tour not a book tour? When it’s “a campaign contribution,” apparently. Displaying an acute grasp of media and publicity, the campaign manager for George Abbott (the Texas Attorney General running against Davis in the gubernatorial race) has asked for an investigation into “any impropriety that may result from activities related to promoting the sale of books, which personally benefit a candidate, at the same time the candidate’s campaign is promoting a candidate’s candidacy for office,” according to the letter. Abbott’s team is worried about the book tour because “The goal of this advertising is nearly identical to the goal of advertising done by the candidate’s campaign; that is, to raise the candidate’s name identification, increase the public’s opinion of the candidate, and otherwise promote the candidate to the public.” One could point out that Abbott is ducking the issue of Abbott’s not being quite so charming a human being as Davis, but whatever your political views the legal basis seems a bit dodgy. We’ll keep you posted on whether your next book tour counts as a campaign ethics violation. [Galleycat, Texas Tribune, MobyLives!, The Wire]
We’re pretty pleased that Ursula K. Le Guin is the 2014 Medalist For Distinguished Contribution To American Letters. As the press release has it, she: “has defied conventions of narrative, language, character, and genre, as well as transcended the boundaries between fantasy and realism, to forge new paths for literary fiction. Among the nation’s most revered writers of science fiction and fantasy, Le Guin’s fully imagined worlds challenge readers to consider profound philosophical and existential questions about gender, race, the environment, and society. Her boldly experimental and critically acclaimed novels, short stories, and children’s books, written in elegant prose, are popular with millions of readers around the world.” Amen to that! In other award-related news, the Man Booker Shortlist has been announced, and PEN/America has announced its September events offering, which includes items at the Brooklyn Book Festival – be sure to head out to Late Night Library’s own second annual Battle of the Books at Pacific Standard on Sept. 18! [National Book Award, Man Booker Prize, PEN/America, LNL!]
- Expect a bigger Indies First campaign this year.
- Apparently, everybody should read Harry Potter – it makes you a better human being.
- Unless you have been hiding under a rock this week, you probably heard that Apple launched the new iPhone, and since of course you use your phone only as an ereader, it is naturally news you want to keep in mind. Also, Apple shareholders have decided to sue Apple as well, just to keep things interesting.
- Another novel use for Twitter: tweeting The Great Gatsby.
- On Nabokov’s Russian letters.
- Background for the Tolstoy Google Doodle.
- Ebook subscription service Oyster turns one.