February 15, 2004

Sunday link laziness

Here are some of the links that have interested me most this weekend:

  • The Guardian reviews a new book on the London Monster. It sounds like a really fascinating (and fun) look at crime and society in 18th-century Britain.
  • The New York Times profiles Dalton Conley, a sociologist whose latest work focuses on families as a source of economic inequality. (Among his findings: middle-born children are "less likely to receive financial support for their education and may do less well in school than their older and younger siblings. The chances that a second child will attend private school drop by 25 percent with the birth of a third.")
  • Why has Samuel Huntington's 1996 book The Clash of Civilizations suddenly become an Israeli bestseller?
  • This is a great weekend for historical bookreviews. In The Washington Post, David Garrow looks at a new book arguing that "revivalist religion" was a driving force in the Civil Rights movement, John D'Emilio reviews the memoirs of Stokely Carmichael, Pauline Maier reviews David Hackett Fischer's new book on Washington's Crossing, and Eric Foner looks at a new book on the parallel lives of Lincoln and Whitman. In The New York Times, Drew Gilpin Faust examines the life of Harriet Tubman and Joseph Ellis reviews Fischer's new book. It would be wonderful if every Sunday featured this many book reviews by prominent academic historians...
  • New York Times film critic A.O. Scott hails a new "golden age of acting."
  • Why do some generals succeed in politics while others fail? The historian Jean Edward Smith discusses this question in The New York Times.
  • The Economist looks at the science of love. (via ArtsJournal)
  • A new website is being designed to save the Cornish accent from extinction.
  • Michael Wood thinks we need to remember the historical aspect of William Shakespeare's life, and Frank Kermode thinks we should focus on his writing, according to this fascinating Globe and Mail article. (via ArtsJournal)

And, if you're in the mood for something a little fluffier:

  • Emily Nussbaum looks at the TV show H.F. Pufnstuf with new eyes in a New York Times article called "The Evil Geniuses of Kiddie Schlock."
  • Michael Dirda reviews the latest fantasy novel by Gene Wolfe.
  • According to this San Francisco Chronicle article, a publishing house associated with Viggo Mortensen has just published a footnoted, semi-scientific fantasy novel for teenagers involving lost Vikings, a Greenland valley full of pygmy mammoths, and Inuit mythology. The author is a non-fiction writer and MacArthur fellow named Mike Davis. Sounds cool.

The science fiction writer Orson Scott Card once wrote that "The highest praise I ever received for a book of mine was when the school librarian at Farrer Junior High School in Provo, Utah, told me, 'You know Ender's Game is our most-lost book.'" I thought of this line after reading several articles describing a series of newly released statistics on the authors whose books are most often borrowed from British libraries. (The children's author Jacqueline Wilson is ranked first.)

Posted by Ed at February 15, 2004 03:07 PM

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