Robert Bly, the Minnesota poet, author and translator who articulated the solitude of landscapes, galvanized protests against the Vietnam War and started a controversial men’s movement with a best seller that called for a restoration of primal male audacity, died on Sunday at his home in Minneapolis.
He was 94. The death was confirmed by his wife, Ruth Bly. From the sheer volume of his output — more than 50 books of poetry, translations of European and Latin American writers, and nonfiction commentaries on literature, gender roles and social ills, as well as poetry magazines he edited for decades — one might imagine a recluse holed up in a North Woods cabin.
And Mr. Bly did live for many years in a small town in Minnesota, immersing himself in the poetry of silent fields and snowy woodlands.
Nancy Pearl, possibly America’s best-known librarian and recommender of books, shares her thoughts on choosing what to read, and when to stop reading.
By Rebekah Denn, Correspondent, November 16, 2021
It’s not every librarian who has an action figure modeled after her. But Nancy Pearl, who was honored at the National Book Awards on Nov. 17, comes to her superhero status by her encyclopedic knowledge of books and powerfully engaging recommendations in almost every form of media.
In 1998, Ms. Pearl launched a program at the Seattle Public Library called “If All Seattle Read the Same Book,” which led to the worldwide group-reading phenomenon known as One Book, One City.
In 2009, Ms. Pearl’s ability to connect readers with the right book gained a wide following when she published “Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason,” which became a surprise hit.
More recent work includes “Book Lust” sequels, a novel, and a collection of author interviews. Known as “America’s Librarian,” Ms. Pearl received the 2021 Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community for her work in expanding audiences for reading. Past recipients include poet Maya Angelou and NPR’s “Fresh Air” host Terry Gross.
You may have heard that if you want to give books for the holidays, you should order them immediately. Or even, honestly, yesterday.
Point is, thanks to the supply chain, booksellers are slammed, so you have a great excuse to start ordering the best books to give as gifts in 2021 early (AKA right now, as soon as you finish reading my list).
A lot of these bookish gifting lists focus on the big bestsellers of the year, the buzzy seem-to-be-everywhere books. And that’s a great strategy, for many people.
But the thing is, if you’re here, you’re trying to give a book to a reader. And that’s a problem, because as any friend-of-a-bookworm knows, it’s impossible to buy us something to read, because you’re never sure what we have or haven’t read. And there is a high likelihood that we’ve already read, or ruled out, those buzzy books.
Dune the movie: Lynch vs Villeneuve vs Frank Herbert… and us.
All right, off-the-cuff let me say that, of course, the latest adaptation of Dune by Denis Villeneuve is magnificent. It is spectacularly good and supremely enjoyable, on a par with the best of Spielberg, or Zemeckis, or Cameron.
The admirable qualities are apparent to all. Still, even while enjoying great movies, there remains a part of me who keeps taking notes.
Furthermore, general approval doesn’t forbid my making a few specific comments, including comparisons to earlier versions. And so, for those of you who enjoy nitpickery – and promise you won’t let it spoil for you a great flick – buckle up and let’s get to it: SPOILERS
Kahle, Founder and Digital Librarian of the Internet Archive. Member, National Academy of Engineering, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Internet Hall of Fame
When I started the Internet Archive 25 years ago, I focused our non-profit library on digital collections: preserving web pages, archiving television news, and digitizing books. The Internet Archive was seen as innovative and unusual.
Now all libraries are increasingly electronic, and necessarily so. To fight disinformation, to serve readers during the pandemic, and to be relevant to 21st-century learners, libraries must become digital.
But just as the Web increased people’s access to information exponentially, an opposite trend has evolved. Global media corporations—emboldened by the expansive copyright laws they helped craft and the emerging technology that reaches right into our reading devices—are exerting absolute control over digital information.
These two conflicting forces—towards unfettered availability and completely walled access to information—have defined the last 25 years of the Internet. How we handle this ongoing clash will define our civic discourse in the next 25 years.
If we fail to forge the right path, publishers’ business models could eliminate one of the great tools for democratizing society: our independent libraries.