Friday, May 28, 2010

The Week In Books: Joyce Quoted Quoted By Goat Cell, Bookexpo America Concludes, Penguin & Amazon Makeup, Free Book Contest Still Running

“To live, to err, to fall, to triumph, to recreate life out of life.”

Terribly sorry for failing to put up the Front List / Back List Post this week. I will do two next week: a double Front List on Monday and a double Back List on Tuesday.

That said, let's get to what happened in the book world this week.

Bookexpo America Has Come And Gone

90% of Bookexpo news coming over the wire concerns itself with the delightful appearance of Barbara Streisand.

For those of you that want something a little more, well, literary you can read this New York Times piece. It's somewhat better than discussion of just how classy Babs is.

Penguin and Amazon Sitting In A Tree

Amazon and Penguin had a bumpy April, with both sides failing to reach an e-book agreement and both sides claiming all they want to do is have readers and writers united, after a small transaction of course. Well, swords into plowshares and all that.

Scientists Attempt To Confound Evolution With Line From Joyce

I kid. Actually, one of the things I most disdain is the pomposity that people approach Joyce's most famous work, Ulysses. I find that if you don't pre-intimidate people concerning a work of fiction then they will not have as much difficulty reading it. Metap-theory placed aside, this story is awesome.

Scientists have inserted a line from Joyce's noble pen into a strand bacterium. They placed the line there (quoted at the top of this post) as a mutable watermark that will display changes as the cell mutates. This of course also gave the story legs as literary minded journalists grabbed it and ran.

Here are two fine articles on the project and Joyce's place within it. The first is from Discover Magazine and the second, and by far more engaging piece at Why Evolution Is True by Dr. Jerry Coyne.

He quotes Mencken, slams naive deism and explains the science so that even a passable education can grasp the concepts. Check it out and enjoy.

I hope you all have a good Memorial Day weekend, those of you celebrating and or not working (like me) that is.

Also, the Guess The Back List contest is still open.

Clues: Dystopic science fiction thriller that has been dubbed a "self-denying prophecy" for its astounding prescience concerning the environment. I will answer one question on facebook if you want additional clues. First come, first served.


Chris Schaeffer said...

Nothing I've read about the Joyce thing mentions Christian Bok's Xenotext project ( which seems functionally very similar.

I guess it never got off the ground, but you'd still expect for it to at least get a nod as having come up with the idea first.

The Devil's Accountant said...

I was unaware of that project.

I am kicking off Lost Books Month tomorrow, so feel free to champion something once again.