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This piece from CBS Sunday Morning sounds familiar to me. Over the years, I’ve worked at some of the same type of niche magazines highlighted here. Magazines are indeed alive and well. I think my favorite magazine highlighted here by Conor Knighton is Manure Manager, which, as Conor says, “is quite literally full of crap.”…

An issue with magazines?

This piece from CBS Sunday Morning sounds familiar to me. Over the years, I’ve worked at some of the same type of niche magazines highlighted here. Magazines are indeed alive and well. I think my favorite magazine highlighted here by Conor Knighton is Manure Manager, which, as Conor says, “is quite literally full of crap.”
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Posted by Joel on January 22 2012 • Journalism

New Books for 2012

Malcolm Jones at the Book Beast highlights 12 books that will be published in the coming months. It’s a great list that includes a few of my favorites such as Jonah Lehrer and John Irving. I’m really looking forward to Robert Caro’s latest installment of his multi-volume biography of Lyndon Johnson. A book that I am really excited about is Edward O. Wilson’s book, The Social Conquest of the Earth, which offers up the theory that group selection, not kin selection, is the prime driver of human evolution. Here is the summary from Barnes and Noble:

“Where did we come from? What are we? Where are we going? In a generational work of clarity and passion, one of our greatest living scientists directly addresses these three fundamental questions of religion, philosophy, and science while “overturning the famous theory that evolution naturally encourages creatures to put family first” (Discover magazine). Refashioning the story of human evolution in a work that is certain to generate headlines, Wilson draws on his remarkable knowledge of biology and social behavior to show that group selection, not kin selection, is the primary driving force of human evolution. He proves that history makes no sense without prehistory, and prehistory makes no sense without biology. Demonstrating that the sources of morality, religion, and the creative arts are fundamentally biological in nature, Wilson presents us with the clearest explanation ever produced as to the origin of the human condition and why it resulted in our domination of the Earth’s biosphere.”

Posted by Joel on January 21 2012 • Books

Moveable Type

"An e-book, I realized, is far different from an old-fashioned printed one,” writes Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, in the Wall Street Journal. “The words in the latter stay put. In the former, the words can keep changing, at the whim of the author or anyone else with access to the source file. The endless malleability of digital writing promises to overturn a whole lot of our assumptions about publishing.”

Carr’s own experience with editing an e-book that has already been published allowed him to speculate on the future of publishing and what it might mean for the idea of “the book.” Text is forever maleable. “Beyond giving writers a spur to eloquence, what the historian Elizabeth Eisenstein calls “typographical fixity” served as a cultural preservative,” he writes. “It helped to protect original documents from corruption, providing a more solid foundation for the writing of history. It established a reliable record of knowledge, aiding the spread of science. It accelerated the standardization of everything from language to law. The preservative qualities of printed books, Ms. Eisenstein argues, may be the most important legacy of Gutenberg’s invention.”

How authors conceive of book topics and their approach to subject both may change in profound ways once the idea of writing for the digital page becomes fully formed. What happens to prose when it doesn’t have to be your final word? Carr writes, “Not long before he died, John Updike spoke eloquently of a book’s “edges,” the boundaries that give shape and integrity to a literary work and that for centuries have found their outward expression in the indelibility of printed pages. It’s those edges that give a book its solidity, allowing it to stand up to the vagaries of fashion and the erosions of time. And it’s those edges that seem fated to blur as the words of books go from being stamped permanently on sheets of paper to being rendered temporarily on flickering screens.”

Posted by Joel on January 07 2012 • Multimedia