8:59am

Thu December 12, 2013
The Two-Way

Book News: Americans Love Their Public Libraries (But Will It Matter?)

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 10:10 am

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

  • A new Pew survey has found that Americans overwhelmingly support public libraries. More than 6,200 people ages 16 and older were interviewed by phone for the study, which was released Wednesday. It found that 90 percent of those Americans think "the closing of their local public library would have an impact on their community" and a whopping 95 percent "agree that the materials and resources available at public libraries play an important role in giving everyone a chance to succeed." Despite wide agreement that public libraries are important, significantly fewer Americans (54 percent) said they have used one in the past year. And Pew didn't ask what might be the most crucial question: Would Americans be willing to pay higher taxes to keep their public libraries open?
  • For The Toast, Mallory Ortberg imagines what would happen if Shirley Jackson reviewed bed and breakfasts: "At Hill House, you are like a small creature swallowed whole by a monster, and the monster feels your tiny little movements inside. Complimentary scones and fresh-brewed coffee every day from 6-8 am. Within, walls continue upright, bricks meet neatly, floors are firm, and doors are sensibly shut; silence rests steadily against the wood and stone, and whatever walks there, walks alone. Parking difficult. Four out of five stars."
  • D.T. Max writes about grammar and David Foster Wallace: "Most writers think of grammar as uninteresting, the machine code of literature, but Wallace loved it for many reasons — because his mother did; because it was full of rules, and limits gave him pleasure; and because his mastery of the subject reminded everyone how smart he was. He was, as he would write in the piece, a SNOOT (explained in a footnote as Syntax Nudniks of Our Time)."
  • On a related note, Jason Segel will play David Foster Wallace in an upcoming movie based on Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip With David Foster Wallace by Rolling Stone journalist David Lipsky.
  • Children's author Lila Perl, who has written more than 60 books on subjects ranging from the mummies of ancient Egypt to the Holocaust, died at age 92, according to her publisher. She wrote in her author bio: "I was born in Brooklyn, New York, and had a very ordinary and uneventful (as it seemed to me) childhood. I read voraciously, but it never occurred to me that I would one day become a writer."
  • The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded 38 writers $25,000 each to promote creative writing in 2014. The grants are to help talented authors "set aside time for writing, research, travel, and general career advancement." The winners include Catherine Chung, Alex Espinoza, Patricia Engel, Peter Gadol, and V.V. Ganeshananthan.
Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.