Thursday, June 21, 2012

Around the Word

Gravity's Rainbow Gets a Digital Facelift. Penguin is getting set to release Thomas Pynchon's complete works as ebooks. It seems the author, who has resisted going digital up to this point, was shown the writing on the wall (or the posts on his FB page). Editor-in-Chief Ann Godoff points out that it boils down to business: ''I think he wants to have more readers... Every writer wants to have as many readers as they can possibly get. But I don’t think this will change his public profile." Pynchon himself may be as "analog" as ever, but his catalog is definitely getting a sexy new-media marketing makeover.

Freelancing on Film. UK film-goers are about to get a glimpse into the lives of its estimated 1.6 million freelancers. This year the "7 Days in June" film project, which brings together teams of filmmakers who shoot short films over the course of one week, will open a window into the all-too-solitary world of freelancing. The films will focus on themes like the role of freelancing in shaping the economy and what it's like to be a freelancer. The films will be released one by one, leading up to the UK's National Freelancer's Day on November 23rd.

If You Love It, Let It Go. We all have them, those go-to, buzzy modifiers that we rely on a little too heavily, often without even realizing it. Last week the"After Deadline" blog posted a piece about how we let those words worm their way into our writing in a sort of collective unconsciousness. It points out that a count from the previous week revealed dozens of uses of the word "signature" as a qualifier, i.e. "Mark Zuckerberg's 'signature' hoodie." Redundancy is one of the greatest enemies of good writing, and being conscious of our linguistic crutches is a great way to fight (and win) the battle. Cliche but true, the best advice is "if you love something, let it go." What are the words you need to set free?

Confronting the "r" word in Children's lit. For better or worse, some perennial favorites in the cannon of children's lit, like Babar and the Pippi Longstocking series, are downright cringe-worthy when it comes to race. In a recent article, author Stephen Marche explores the minefield of introducing his six-year-old son to classics, as well as more modern tails, that are full of questionable stereotypes. How do you confront the "n" word while reading Huckleberry Finn with your kid? Take a cue Michael Chabon and turn it into a "teachable moment"? Stick to the "sanitized" rewrites? Avoid the tough stuff all together? It's a question that's definitely worth exploring. 


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