Of broad interest to readers working in that Venn diagram space where writing, publishing, and cyberspace come together.

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THE DIGITAL CRITIC

LITERARY CULTURE ONLINE

A gathering of mostly accessible academic pieces on the changes wrought on literature and criticism by the internet.

“There is more to the online literary debate than ‘if you liked that, you’ll love this,’ ” writes University of Cambridge professor Kasia Boddy in her foreword. There surely is: the internet can be a place of bots awarding points to dubious books and haters tearing a book’s ratings down; it can be an echo chamber or a wind tunnel, useful or useless. Online critic Scott Esposito, who has been at it since nearly the beginning of blogs, charts the recent evolution of the Web as a means of literary communication, noting, for instance, that he scarcely reads New York Times book reviews anymore, since digests are so readily available online: “why bother, when a tweet will tell you everything you need to know about said review?” One suspects that as a stalwart of literary culture—and he’s a little self-congratulatory there—Esposito is not entirely serious, but he does make the significant point that he and others first learned of the likes of Knausgaard, Ferrante, and so forth via social media. Jonathon Sturgeon writes ruefully of being an “online hack,” pushing out copy for hits and “moving worstward,” while, more reassuringly, Will Self assures the writers in the audience that it’s OK to live in isolation: “you cannot write while you’re having a conversation.” Of the more noteworthy pieces, essayist Lauren Elkin considers the positive effects that reaching for a broader audience might have on academic criticism (“criticism wants to go outward”), while theoretician and publisher Michael Bhaskar proposes that publishing itself is a form of criticism (via gatekeeping, editing, promoting, and so forth). Interestingly, many of the contributors, though fully part of the system, worry about the “overproduction of content,” as writer Orit Gat puts it—though Gat herself suggests that still more platforms are wanted for digital production.

Of broad interest to readers working in that Venn diagram space where writing, publishing, and cyberspace come together.

Pub Date: Nov. 30, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-682190-76-0

Page Count: 224

Publisher: OR Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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