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Sunday, August 25, 2019

Second-hand books: Passing on the magic | Books and Publishing - BusinessLine

Bought at a steal or stumbled upon in a trash heap, second-hand books are storehouses of personal histories, often captured in a forgotten bookmark or a fading inscription by Lalita Iyer, The Hindu BusinessLine.  

Many uses: Long after a book you owned has left your shelf and travelled to someone else’s — handed down, stolen, lost or sold — a part of you lives in it
I don’t remember exactly when my love for second-hand books began, but I do remember scouring the footpaths of King’s Circle in Mumbai, where my aunt lived, to make my birthday money stretch — I was looking to see just how many Agatha Christies I could buy for the 100 or so I got each year. Sometimes, I came back with at least five or six; they would last me the summer vacation. I remember calculating that I could have bought just one new book with that money, and feeling smug at my smart thinking.

Like me, there are many who find joy in browsing the remnants of other people’s collections — and often accidentally discovering writing of the kind you never knew existed. This is precisely why second-hand bookshops came into being, I think. At least, that’s how I found George Mikes, John Berendt, Bruce Chatwin and Penelope Lively.

Long after a book you owned has left your shelf and travelled to someone else’s — handed down, stolen, lost or sold — a part of you lives in it.

Stand-ins for a bookmark — bus or train tickets, newspaper cuttings, leaves, pocket combs, movie tickets, twigs, hair pins (I once even found a grocery list) — lie there, cocooned, waiting to be discovered by the new owner...

My hardbound copy of Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland (my super efficient mother gave away my childhood copy when I moved out) came from Literati Bookshop in Goa — a charming old villa for all things old and wonderful. It was also here that I picked up Ursula Sedgwick’s My Learn-to-Cook Book, my son Re’s first cookbook, which had been originally gifted to a Sherry in 1973 by Aunty Banso, Uncle Keki and (perhaps their children) Ketayun and Minso. Perhaps Sherry (or her mother) had further inscribed it with “Sherry’s first cooking book”, which makes me believe they had a lot of fun cooking from this book, as did Re and I, although it was more about baking — cheesy baked potatoes, zoo biscuits, fruit crumble, tartlets and fairy cakes.  

Source: BusinessLine

Mother Foucault's Bookshop | Willamette Week

For literary romantics, a visit to Mother Foucault's is like falling in love with the written word all over again.

Mother Foucault's Bookshop
Photo: Will Spray
Located on the border of Portland’s inner southeast industrial district, Mother Foucault’s specializes in used, rare, and vintage books, spoken-word vinyl, and Not Going On The Internet.

Filled with classic titles, avant-garde poetry, and philosophy, the cozy, multilevel shop transports you to 1910s Paris, and though the shop does purchase used books, don't even think about bringing by a tattered copy of Frankenstein—unless it's in Italian.

Source: Willamette Week

It’s time to revisit Fahrenheit 451 | Opinion - Washington Examiner

One of the most commonly assigned books in American high school literature, Fahrenheit 451, hasn’t always been treated fairly by Madeline Fry, commentary writer for the Washington Examiner

First edition cover (clothbound)
Photo: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Critic Damon Knight once wrote of author Ray Bradbury that “his imagination is mediocre; he borrows nearly all his backgrounds and props, and distorts them badly.”
But the book, while easy to read, is rich with metaphor and meaning. I first read Fahrenheit 451 in high school, and I still have my annotated copy nestled amid other books in my collection. 

I would not have understood it well on my own, but thanks to my English teacher at the time, it became one of my favorite novels. Approaching age 17, I remember one line especially resonating with me...

As historian Russell Kirk put it, Bradbury wrote “mythopoeic literature, normative truth acquired through wonder.” Fahrenheit 451 doesn’t simply ring true in a way that has stood the test of time, though. It also has pores. While he’s explaining the nature of literature to Montag, Faber asks, “Do you know why books such as this are so important? Because they have quality. And what does the word quality mean? To me it means texture. This book has pores.”
Read more...    

Related link  
Fahrenheit 451 by Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 
PublishedOctober 19, 1953 (Ballantine Books)[3 

Source: Washington Examiner 

How can I restore my love of literature? | Book clinic - The Guardian

A weekly series where we ask experts in their field to answer your questions on books, publishing and reading

Reconnect through great stories, beautifully told, says Hannah Beckerman, The Guardian.

Photo: courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Great stories, beautifully told, are the best way to reconnect with the pleasure of reading.

Source: The Guardian

Books: How greed, violence and faith shaped Latin America | Books - Houston Chronicle

In “Silver, Sword & Stone,” Maria Arana distills a great expanse of history by focusing on the regions’s three big obsessions.

Portrait of Montezuma II Tecnochtitlan (ca 1466-1520), the last king of the Aztecs, 1680-1697, painting by Antonio Rodriguez, oil on canvas. Mexico, 16th-17th century. Detail. Florence, Palazzo Pitti (Pitti Palace) Museo Degli Argenti (Silver Museum)
Photo: DeAgostin, Contributor / Getty Images
Peruvian-born author Marie Arana takes us directly to the mysterious and misunderstood center of Latin America in her latest book, “Silver, Sword & Stone: Three Crucibles of the Latin American Story.”

Latin America includes Portuguese- and Spanish-speaking nations to the south of the United States. They share significant similarities because they were colonized by either Spain or Portugal. Our closest neighbor, Mexico, and other countries in Central and South America make up the region.

Arana, whose previous book was the biography “Bolivar,” manages this expansive space and long history by focusing by turns on the three crucibles of the title, what she calls the “three obsessions” of silver, sword and stone, and she profiles people who are representative of each.
In the section on “Silver,” for instance, Arana, in a deeply researched and reported analysis, shows the ways in which the lust for precious metals fueled Spain’s conquest of America. It then created a system of slavery and other cruel exploitations and revolutions...

Journalist James Barrett Reston famously said, “The people of the United States will do anything for Latin America, except read about it.”

Source: Houston Chronicle 

Two New Books Have Anglophiles and Bibliophiles Covered | Books - The New York Times

“Human Relations and Other Difficulties” gathers acute, witty essays and reviews by Mary-Kay Wilmers, and “Faber & Faber,” by Toby Faber, tells the history of the venerable publishing house where Wilmers and others have worked by Dwight Garner, book critic for The Times.

Photo: Sonny Figueroa/The New York Times

Book critic’s rule No. 117: When the late-summer doldrums hit, when the city is halitotic and iced minted tea is a meager defense, turn to literary Brits to cool your spine and crisp your produce.

Mary-Kay Wilmers’s new book, “Human Relations and Other Difficulties,” is a selection of her essays and book reviews, most of them published in The London Review of Books, the sure-footed and high-minded biweekly paper she co-founded in 1979 and has presided over as sole editor since 1992.

These pieces range from considerations of writers such as Jean Rhys (“she was always incredibly lonely because in her own mind no one else existed”), Alice James and Sybille Bedford to essays about obituaries, child rearing and the nature of seduction...

In a new book titled “Faber & Faber: The Untold Story,” Toby Faber, the grandson of the company’s founder, relates this house’s story as it celebrates its 90th anniversary. He does so ingeniously, compiling it from original documents — letters, memos, catalog copy, diary entries. It’s a jigsaw puzzle that slowly comes together.

Faber & Faber didn’t make every writer happy at every moment. James Joyce once referred to the firm as Feebler and Fumbler. Hughes quoted a friend who called it Fagin and Fagin. But from the start this was a publisher with a high purpose — to publish literature as opposed to trash, at least nearly all of the time. As Eliot commented in a 1952 letter, his ambition with certain books was “not to make money, but to see that we lose as little as possible.”

This is, in many regards, a business book. You may learn more than you wanted to know about things like laminates and cartridge paper requirements. 
Read more... 

Source: The New York Times

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Five classes you should take at UMKC | Course Catalog - University News

The UMKC course catalog is 1,113 pages long and lists hundreds of classes, according to Mason Dredge, University News.

Photo: University of Missouri–Kansas City (UMKC)
That’s a lot to ponder, especially at the start of a new school year when you’ve got to navigate moving in, getting to know the layout of the campus and memorizing where Kasey the Kangaroo is at all times, so you never have to cross paths with him.

That leaves little time to consider everything UMKC has to offer when it comes to picking classes. Luckily, we’ve picked five of the many classes you might consider for future semesters...

So if you’re ever in the need of a few easy credit hours or an excuse to relax for a couple hours (you’d be hard pressed to find a college student that isn’t), give some of these classes a look. If none of them strike an interest, you could always crack open that 1,100-page course catalog.

Source: University News

The Benedictine monk who changed the way we learn music | Art & Culture - Aleteia EN

For nearly two millennia, the Catholic Church has worked to develop music and its notation from its origins in chant right up to and through the limitless beauty of polyphony, continues Aleteia EN.

Photo: Levan Ramishvili | Flickr | Public Domain
Music helps to enhance our prayers so that we may better glorify God, which makes sense considering the angels are commonly depicted as singing in a choir to praise their maker.

To this end, countless composers have devoted their lives to writing sacred music, but they learned early on that they would need a way to disseminate their tunes. Thus musical notation was born, allowing for the widespread performance of hymns that would otherwise be trapped in the cathedral or monastery where the composer was stationed...

It was in the early 11th century that Guido of Arezzo, an Italian Benedictine monk and music theorist, began to work on developing a method for teaching the singers to learn chants in a short time. This method was most likely the Guidonian hand, a mnemonic system where note names are mapped to parts of the human hand. Although sources suggest Guido was not the original designer of the system, his work popularizing the hand led to his name’s attachment to it...

Today, solfège allows singers to easily read new music by ignoring the key — aside from the tonic tone (ex: in the key of G, G is tonic) — and determining the pitch based purely on the intervals between notes. This allows singers to face music in a variety of keys with the same method.

Source: Aleteia EN

Taking the Classroom on the Road | Academic - Millikin University

When it comes to learning about the music industry and touring, sometimes there is no better teacher than the road, and for Millikin University faculty member Martin Atkins, he's taking this approach and developing it into his boldest project yet, inform Dane Lisser, Dir/Media Rel & Publications.

As an educator, it's no secret that Martin Atkins enjoys incorporating his experiences into his teachings at Millikin as coordinator of music business. But this fall, he will be taking things a step further with an immersion course called Tour:Smart Bus Edition where students get to join a real live rock tour.

Designed by Atkins and inspired by his best-selling book, "Tour:Smart," Bus Edition embeds students on a U.S. concert tour for four to five shows throughout the country. Students can learn tour management in real-time with real people, with real outcomes. As Atkins says, "the tour is the classroom," where students learn, live and work on the tour bus, behind the stage, in the green room, on the road and at the merchandise booth...

According to Atkins, the class already has 93 people waitlisted. "It's an opportunity for students to network with the next wave of people who are going to be doing this. That's how the music business works – it's who you know, who can you call. It's an instant network with a common experience," he said.

The first leg of the tour begins Nov. 12 in Chicago with pre-production and dress rehearsal. The tour will include stops in New York, Dallas, Austin and Atlanta. The last show of the tour is scheduled for Dec. 1.

Source: Millikin University

How ‘Sesame Street’ Started a Musical Revolution | Music - The New York Times

Fifty years ago, the television show united children’s education, puppetry and songs. Pop stars have been singing the Muppets’ tunes (and vice versa) ever since, as New York Times reports.

Henson designers making instruments into Muppets consider what kind of eyes (and what kind of attitude) they want each piece to have.
Photo: Vincent Tullo for The New York Times

How many ways can you sing about the letter B? On “Sesame Street,” that question has many furry answers.

Since its inception in 1969, the public television show has redefined what it means to teach children through TV, with music as its resounding voice. Before “Sesame Street,” it wasn’t even clear that you could do that; once the series began, as a radical experiment that joined educational research and social idealism with the lunacy of puppets and the buoyancy of advertising jingles, it proved that kids are very receptive to a grammar lesson wrapped in a song.

Big-name stars lined up to make guest appearances that have become the stuff of legend (Stevie Wonder and Grover; Loretta Lynn and the Count; Smokey Robinson and a marauding letter U). And long before inclusion was a curriculum goal, “Sesame Street” made a point to showcase Afro-Caribbean rhythms, operatic powerhouses, Latin beats, Broadway showstoppers and bebop alongside its notably diverse cast.

“Sesame Street is one of the earliest examples of a musical I experienced,” said Lin-Manuel Miranda, who grew up adoring “I Love Trash” and called its singer, Oscar the Grouch, “a character so singular that he changes the way you see the world at large.” 

“I learned from ‘Sesame Street’ that music is not only incredibly fun, but also an extremely effective narrative and teaching tool,” he added in an email. “On top of that, their songs are the closest thing we have to a shared childhood songbook.”...

And as the “Sesame” universe expanded, it pulled more and more major musical talent into its orbit. The jazz musician Toots Thielemans, who performed with Benny Goodman, Ella Fitzgerald and Charlie Parker, played harmonica on the theme song. Grace Slick provided vocals for animated counting sequences. The guitarist in the first “Sesame” traveling band was Carlos Alomar, who toured with James Brown and then wrote the riff for David Bowie’s “Fame.” Alomar’s replacement, who was 19 or so and showed up at his audition with a Muppet-esque green-tinged Afro, was Nile Rodgers. It was his first real paying gig as an artist.

“Sesame Street” was “part of my musical development,” said Rodgers, the Chic frontman and Grammy-winning producer.