Reading collapse

From The Good Library Blog, by Tim Coates:

"The public library service in London has virtually collapsed. It costs £230m each year; less than 5% of the funds are spent on books. London is the great Student and Learning Centre of the World- which shows the extent of the need for public libraries. The service is operated individually separately and expensively by each of the 32 London Boroughs."

For what Tim and others are trying to do about it, please go to the link.

Frank Wilson interview

The Sir Galahad of the Blogosphere, Frank Wilson, provides a link on his blog, Books, Inq. , to an interview in the "Critical I" series on the blog Critical Mass (the scarily subtitled blog of the "board of directors" of the US national book critics’ circle). Incidentally, scary they may be, but they aren’t any good at apostrophes, unless Jenny D can explain that word "critics" away as a noun in some way that had escaped me.

The interview in question features Frank himself, and a truly lovely photo of him which I do urge you to look at. Frank’s answers to the questions are interesting too. He thinks about his reviews whatever he is doing — that’s what academics do too, Malcolm thinks about how muscle crossbridges might work everywhere, I am always finding bits of equations written on pieces of paper or backs of train tickets, chequebooks, and so on .

Frank also gives his views on writing poetry, what bloggers can learn from "print" reviewers and vice versa (good answer, Frank), and what it’s like being a book review editor of a "mainstream publication." Not enough clerical help — couldn’t agree more with Frank’s experience and sentiments in that department! I was excited at one point to see a link at Dave Lull’s name, clicked it eagerly, but it went nowhere. Mystery continues.

Please read the interview, Frank is a great subject; his courteous self yet rigorous thinking are strongly evident.

(Irrelevant aside: interesting that the Critical Mass house style is to spell the backside the English not the US way.)

The interview is at: Critical Mass: Six questions for Philadelphia Inquirer Book Review editor Frank Wilson.

To send Frank a comment on the interview, please go to this post on Books, Inq.

Polygon 3 August

Polygon puzzle
Using the given letters no more than once, make as many words as possible of four or more letters, always including the central letter. Capitalised words, plurals, conjugated verbs (past tense etc), adverbs ending in LY, comparatives and superlatives are disallowed.

How you rate: 13 words, average; 18, good; 22, very good; 27, excellent

Source: The Times

Answers on the continuation page.

Continue reading

Wikipedia ping-pong

The Librarian’s Place today features two excellent articles about Wikipedia — one largely positive (from the New Yorker), the other largely the opposite (the transcript of a speech by Jason Scott). A lot has been written about the accuracy and reliability of Wikipedia, a free, web-based encyclopaedia of knowledge to which anyone can contribute and anyone can edit, compared with traditional reference sources. These two articles are readable, thoughtful and considered. Highly recommended; my thanks to the OWL (omnipresent Wisconsin librarian, a title courtesy of Patrick Karp of Anecdotal Evidence) for sending these links.