Whatever else is going on, make sure that you keep buying typewriter ribbon.

In the February issue of The Believer there’s a fantastic interview conversation. Neko Case shares an exchange she had with Sherman Alexie “a couple of winters ago.”

SA: I tell them, “I write this shit for you!” But a lot of writers won’t admit to that, a lot of artists won’t admit to that. They’ll get artistic, or pretentious, or, you know, talk about some “higher calling.” The fact is, I want to move rooms full of people. I want to move someone sitting alone under a reading lamp. I want to move someone sitting on a beach. I want to make them laugh and cry. I want them to see me and come running up to me and tell me how the books made them feel. I love that!

The Future of Reading

Tim Carmody’s keynote speech at the O’Reilly Tools of Change conference. Beautifully articulated.

Ark Codex ±0 launch

For those near NYC, I’ll be coming soon to launch the newest Calamari book, Ark Codex ±0:

• on February 28, from 7-10 pm, there will be a launch mixer/exhibit in NYC at Lolita Bar  &
• on March 3 at 8 pm there will be a launch party, featuring Tempers, at Collab (304 Hudson st, 6th floor)(please RSVP to this one)

For those not in NYC, the (physical) book is now available (at 25% off) on Amazon or as a pay-what-you-want digital book.

I’m also getting this tattooed on my belly for the occasion:

The Art of Urban Sketching

The Art of Urban Sketching is both a comprehensive guide and a showcase of location drawings by artists around the world who draw the cities where they live and travel. This beautiful volume explains urban sketching within the context of a long historical tradition and how it is practiced today.

Among the artists featured: Wil Freeborn.

Update: See also the Urban Sketchers blog. Really good stuff.

not just to sell Field Notes

This made me happy.

Decoding the Decodex (to the Codex Seraphinianus)

For those interested in Luigi Serafini’s Codex, I posted a hack translation of the accompanying «Decodex» that came with the most recent edition.

dueling banjos

Lydia Davis’s Twitter Feed

Friend of clusterflock Mike Topp retweeted a Lydia Davis tweet yesterday, which prompted me to hope she was a regular on Twitter. Alas, this is the entirety of her Twitter feed:

Of course, there are other ways to read Lydia Davis.

Ark Codex ±0 video

Video object for the Ark Codex ±0 book object which is forthcoming from Calamari Press.

Photographers pose with their most famous photographs

Tim Mantoani took photographs of famous photographers holding their most iconic images:

The Tank Man of Tienanmen Square. Muhammad Ali standing over Sonny Liston in victory. The portrait of the Afghan Girl on the cover of National Geographic. Many of us can automatically recall these photos in our heads, but far fewer can name the photographers who took them. Even fewer know what those photographers look like.

Tim Mantoani hopes to change that by taking portraits of famous photographers holding their most iconic or favorite photos in his new book Behind Photographs: Archiving Photographic Legends. Mantoani has shot over 150 of these portraits in the last five years, most of which are contained in the book.

The photograph above is Neil Leifer holding his photo of Ali and Liston taken on May 25, 1965.

Apple’s New Authoring Platform

I’m a little slow on this this morning, but Andrew sent me the AllThingsD overview of Apple’s iBooks 2, iBooks Author, and Digital Textbooks announcement this morning. I’m particularly excited about iBooks Author.

Update: Tim has a good analysis of what it all means over at Wired:

Now both individual authors and trade and textbook presses can be drawn into a development and publishing ecosystem that begins and ends with Apple. Amazon may offer more eyeballs, but Apple offers an easier workflow. And the multimedia enhancements baked into the new iBooks will tempt everyone creating an e-book to add bits that will be specific to Apple’s platform — creating accidental exclusives.

A Five Minute Interview with Maurice Sendak

As part of their TateShots series of artist interviews, the Tate Galleries spoke with Maurice Sendak about his books and career. I love this bit about his subject matter:

I do not believe I have ever written a children’s book. I don’t know how to write a children’s book. How do you write about it? How do you set out to write a children’s book? It’s a lie.

Also, he’s obsessed with William Blake and comic books.

Via: Papertastebuds

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Christianity and the Future of the Book

Alan Jacobs writes a beautiful exposition on the importance of understanding technology and theology, underscoring what makes books so incredible:

Consider the moment in the Confessions when, after hearing and obeying the voice telling him to “take it and read,” Augustine sees the words in what he calls “the book of the apostle” that changed his life. Note first that he can open the book to a random place, something that would have been difficult with a scroll; then, after reading the momentous passage, he closes the book, with his finger inserted to mark the place. He goes, “with a face now at peace,” to tell his friend Alypius what has happened, bringing the book with him, and when Alypius asks to see the passage, Augustine simply opens the book to the place marked by his finger and shows it to his friend. To us such a set of movements is absolutely natural — and yet not so many generations before Augustine the incident could not have played out in anything remotely resembling this famous scene. Nor, to anticipate a later stage in this exposition, would it have played out in the same way had Augustine been using a Kindle.

(thanks, Josh)

There’s no law that says you can’t ask anything you want

Yesterday I posted Errol Morris talking about Believing Is Seeing. Here’s Miranda July talking about It Chooses You.

Because, there you are

One of my favorite parts of Hillman Curtis’s book on Creating Short Films is that as soon as you turn the camera on, the person you are interviewing is there. You don’t have to do anything. They will show you who they are. I may not be remembering that part exactly right, but I’m not going to look it up, because it’s true.

Photographs are neither true nor false

Errol Morris talks with The Guardian about his book, Believing Is Seeing.

Guy Laramee, Carved Landscapes

Guy Laramee carves landscapes out of books. He says about his work:

Mountains of disused knowledge return to what they really are: mountains.

Many more examples at the link.

(via marginal revolution)

from the comments

Cooper Renner:

As some have noted, it’s an interesting distinction as to which books we enjoyed as children and which as adults. Nowadays I think Owl Service, for example, is just about a perfect book, but the ending perplexed me when I was a teenager. And maybe there’s a difference too between what we read as “children” and what we read as teens. I loved Heinlein’s ’50s science fiction novels for boys (especially Tunnel in the Sky) in probably 6th and 7th grades. When I was younger than that I loved Phyllis Whitney’s mysteries. I too read Wrinkle in TIme, probably in 6th grade, but I’m not sure I read anything else by L’Engle for several years. I guess I started reading Arthur C Clarke and Ray Bradbury in 8th grade (or maybe 9th) and read a zillion science fiction books in high school. It was summer after 10th, I think, when I read Lord of the Rings; Gormenghast would have followed that in 11th; and maybe in 11th also came along Ballantine’s new “adult fantasy” series, playing off Tolkien’s popularity. It was probably 6th or 7th when I read Call of the Wild and loved it, and I guess it was about the same time when I read some of Kjelgaard’s animal books too. (Daryl’s Big Red may be a Kjelgaard — I can’t swear to it.) Probably before I went into science fiction, I went through a biography period, reading mostly from a series of highly fictionalized books about the childhoods of famous people, many by Augusta Stevenson. (I particularly enjoyed the Knute Rockne book.) I think I read Alice in Wonderland in high school, and loved it, and never read Winnie The Pooh until high school, when I read it because I played Christopher Robin in 11th grade: we did the short Pooh play for several elementary schools.

As an adult — as a retired librarian — what books have I loved? Well, gee whiz, even though I absolutely despise talking animals, I think Charlotte’s Web is one of the premier books of the 20th century, far superior to most “classics” for adults. It works because EB White is a superb writer — and yet its existence has never moved me to read Stuart Little or Trumpet of the Swan. The Book Thief, published within the past decade, I think, is a first-rate book for junior high-ish kids. Louis The Fish by Arthur Yorinks may be my favorite picture book. Where the Wild Things Are is classic of course. L’Engle’s Arm of the Starfish is a fine fine thriller. There are probably more good books for the under-18 crowd than for adults.

The Typographic Desk Reference

This looks beautiful. It’s meant to be an instant reference for all things typographic. You can order one from Amazon or Oak Knoll.


Stephen King interviewed by Errol Morris about his new novel on the JFK assassination:

It’s a little bit like the blind man describing the elephant. One’s got the trunk and says it’s a snake. And one’s got a leg and says it’s a tree. One’s got an ear and says it’s a banana plant. They all say different things because none of them can see the whole thing.

David Milch + HBO + William Faulkner = Television Heaven

David Milch is extending his relationship with HBO. Milch, whose latest series for the pay cable network, Luck, launches in January, has inked a new multi-year deal with HBO where he has been based for the past eight years. Under the new extension, in addition to executive producing Luck with Michael Mann, Milch will develop series and movies based on books by Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winner William Falkner. Milch’s Redboard Prods has inked a deal with the literary estate of the iconic American writer who penned novels, short stories, a play and screenplays as well as poetry and essays. The pact covers all of the 19 novels and 125 short stories in the estate, as well as other works, with the exception of those currently optioned by other parties.

This is pretty much my sweet spot. Here’s a quick glimpse into Milch’s new HBO series, Luck:

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dear clusterflock

To quote my friend, Rich, “let’s talk about all the things that are wrong with these two lists.”


Just watch it. (via Austin Kleon)

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