Citeşti mult, trăieşti mult

Book up for a longer life: readers die later, study finds By Alison Flood

Flaubert had it that “the one way of tolerating existence is to lose oneself in literature as in a perpetual orgy”. It turns out that reading doesn’t only help us to tolerate existence, but actually prolongs it, after a new study found that people who read books for 30 minutes a day lived longer than those who didn’t read at all.

The study, which is published in the September issue of the journal Social Science & Medicine, looked at the reading patterns of 3,635 people who were 50 or older. On average, book readers were found to live for almost two years longer than non-readers.

Respondents were separated into those who read for 3.5 hours or more a week, those who read for up to 3.5 hours a week, and those who didn’t read at all, controlling for factors such as gender, race and education. The researchers discovered that up to 12 years on, those who read for more than 3.5 hours a week were 23% less likely to die, while those who read for up to 3.5 hours a week were 17% less likely to die.

Şi-a găsit naşul

Pulp Friction- If Barnes & Noble goes out of business, it’ll be a disaster for book lovers. By Alex Shephard

Even by the standards of the ailing book publishing industry, the past year has been a bad one for Barnes & Noble. After the company spun off its profitable college textbook division, its stock plunged nearly 40 percent. Its long-term debt tripled, to $192 million, and its cash reserves dwindled. Leonard Riggio, who turned the company into a behemoth, has announced he will step down this summer after more than 40 years as chairman. At the rate it’s going, Barnes & Noble won’t be known as a bookseller at all—either because most of its floor space will be given over to games and gadgets, or, more ominously, because it won’t even exist.

There’s more than a little irony to the impending collapse of Barnes & Noble. The mega-retailer that drove many small, independent booksellers out of business is now being done in by the rise of Amazon. But while many book lovers may be tempted to gloat, the death of Barnes & Noble would be catastrophic—not just for publishing houses and the writers they publish, but for American culture as a whole.

Bio

Biographies and Timelines by Frances Wilson

No books are as body-conscious as biographies. Those formally “two fat volumes”, as Lytton Strachey described the Victorian double-decker, have reshaped themselves and emerged dexterous, slimline and superfit. To avoid what Michael Benton, in Towards a Poetics of Literary Biography, calls “the death march of chronology” we now have taut and muscular “micro-histories” casting a spotlight on months or moments, the new vogue of “object biographies” by which a life is examined synecdochally through a brass button or a bowl, plus a bionic squad of biofictions, biografictions, autonarrations and autobiografictions (no other genre has spawned more, or uglier, neologisms). And while biographical subjects have been democratized to include not only the expanded CVs of dead statesmen, but equally God, cod, and fog (London Fog: The biography, was published last October), autobiography has become the fiefdom of millions in the form of blogs, tweets, Flickr, social networking sites and selfies. Even the smartphone, apparently, is an autobiographical instrument.

Cartea academică

University Presses Under Fire By Scott Sherman 

In the intervening 136 years, the network of university presses has become a vibrant part of the publishing ecosystem. It encompasses giants such as Oxford University Press, which has fifty-two offices around the world, as well as Duquesne University Press, which specializes in medieval and Renaissance studies. University presses publish a vast range of scholarship, but they also publish a dizzying array of books that are unlikely to find a home at Manhattan’s large commercial publishers. Consider some recent offerings: Jean Drèze and Amartya Sen’s An Uncertain Glory: India and Its Contradictions (Princeton); Rebecca Solnit and Rebecca Snedeker’s Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas (California); Two Prospectors: The Letters of Sam Shepard and Johnny Dark (Texas), edited by Chad Hammett; and Warren Hoffman’s The Great White Way: Race and the Broadway Musical (Rutgers). University presses don’t just publish books: they keep books in print and rescue out-of-print books from obscurity. Thanks to the University of Minnesota Press, there is an attractive new edition of Gary Giddins’s Celebrating Bird: The Triumph of Charlie Parker (1986). “People sometimes dismiss university press publications as low-selling, but that underestimates their cultural importance and influence,” says Doug Armato, director of the University of Minnesota Press. “When you look at the endnotes of bestselling serious books—Robert Caro’s biographies of Lyndon Johnson are a good example—you see how much they are built on work published by university presses.” And occasionally there is a runaway success: Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century is published by Harvard University Press.

But the digital age complicates and threatens the mission of the country’s approximately 100 university presses. Ellen Faran, who has an MBA from Harvard and is the director of MIT Press, recently told Harvard Magazine: “I like doing things that are impossible, and there’s nothing more impossible than university-press publishing.”