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David Foster Wallace on reading and commercial literature.

(via @eliseblackwell on Twitter)


This book – by Nathacha Appanah, translated from the French by Geoffrey Strachan – is reviewed by me in today’s Star Tribune, and comes to us from Graywolf Press.

Amazon customer support phone number.

After having stumbled upon a free Amazon Prime account, I’ve placed a couple of orders (not books), the latest of which never arrived. I remembered reading years ago that their customer service phone number was notoriously difficult to find. My perfunctory five second search for it at their site came up empty, so I dug a little deeper.


(Hat tip to Timothy Noah at Slate.)

Some days I make the sentences; some days, the sentences make me.

Slate has a piece regarding Stanley Fish’s forthcoming book How to Write a Sentence and How to Read One that has five of the Professor’s favorite examples of excellent sentences. The comments section is open for readers to make arguments for their favorite sentences; so far, 120 people have chimed in with their contenders. What’s yours?

Saving libraries: check out every book.

There’s a lot to love about this story.

Stony Stratford Library empty photo
Photo: Friends of Stony Stratford Library via Facebook

…Which brings us to the Friends of Stony Stratford Library (UK) who organised their ‘Wot No Books’ campaign and harnessed the power of social networking to get the word out. Following the spread of news via Facebook and Twitter, the library’s entire collection of 16,000 books has all been loaned out – at one point forcing librarians to stamp 380 books per hour. The reason for this extraordinary action was to demonstrate the void that would be left behind if the library was closed down, as is planned by the Milton Keynes Council…

Georges Perec’s manual for securing a raise.

Today’s mail brought a review copy of The Art of Asking Your Boss for a Raise. (Verso, March 2011)

A long-suffering employee in a big corporation has summoned up the courage to ask for a raise. But as he runs through the coming encounter in his mind, his neuroses come to the surface: What’s the best day to see the boss? What if he doesn’t offer you a seat when you go into his office? And should you ask that tricky question about his daughter’s illness?
The Art of Asking Your Boss for a Raise is a hilarious account of an employee losing his identity––and possibly his sanity––as he tries to put on the most acceptable face for the corporate world, with its rigid hierarchies and hostility to ideas and innovation. If he follows a certain course of action, so this logic goes, he will succeed––but, in accepting these conditions, are his attempts to challenge his world of work doomed from the outset?

Review forthcoming.