The New York Times to Begin Charging for Online Content

The New York Times is going to begin charging for online subscriptions as of March 28. Read the notice below and tell us what you think about this move – a move that will surely change all online news content in the future.


An important announcement from the publisher of The New York Times

Dear New York Times Reader,

Today marks a significant transition for The New York Times as we introduce digital subscriptions. It’s an important step that we hope you will see as an investment in The Times, one that will strengthen our ability to provide high-quality journalism to readers around the world and on any platform. The change will primarily affect those who are heavy consumers of the content on our Web site and on mobile applications.

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3Quarks Finalists Are In

For those of you following the 3Quarks Arts & Literature prize, the finalists are in! Congratulations to the authors of the blog posts that made the grade. You can check them out here:


  1. 3 Quarks Daily: Joothan: A Dalit’s Life
  2. Accidental Blogger: The Leopard _ Giuseppe Tomasi Di Lampedusa
  3. Chapati Mystery: The Stay-at-Home Man
  4. Jadaliyya: The Poetry of Revolt
  5. Millicent and Carla Fran: Why Don’t Women Submit?
  6. Sepia Mutiny: Letter to a Young Islamophobe
  7. The Millions: Her Story Next to His: Beloved and The Odyssey
  8. The Millions: Reading and Race: On Slavery in Fiction
  9. Writing Without Paper: Consider the Pomegranate

The Line

Kathryn Stockett is being sued for her portrayal of a real-life person in her award-winning novel The Help. The suit, according the Times article, was encouraged by none other than Stockett’s brother and sister-in-law for whom Ablene Cooper, the maid portrayed in the novel, works. What is most distressing is the fact that Stockett’s family are the impetus for the legal action. The question is: why?

I was talking the other day with a friend about this case, and she told me a story about a woman she knows who wrote a book and was threatened with legal action if she published it. The threat was made by her father. And the truth is, these stories are more plentiful than we’d like to believe.

It seems that family members can be a writer’s worst enemy. This is not news. Anyone who has been seriously in the writing game for any length of time has heard these stories. Stories of families being torn apart, mothers refusing to speak to daughters, estranged children and siblings. All because someone felt compelled to write it down and publish it. More often than not, these rifts are created by the writing of memoir – the real-life story of an event as told through one person’s perspective, though it happens in fiction and even poetry as well. The question is: where’s the line?

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The New Radiation Recipe Book & Other Oddities

The shortlist has been released for The Diagram Prize for the Oddest Book Title of 2010.  What is perhaps the oddest thing about the list is how, well, normal most of the titles seem:

  • 8th International Friction Stir Welding Symposium Proceedings, Various authors (TWI)
  • The Generosity of the Dead, Graciela Nowenstein (Ashgate)
  • The Italian’s One-night Love Child, Cathy Williams (Mills & Boon)
  • Managing a Dental Practice the Genghis Khan Way, Michael R Young (Radcliffe)
  • Myth of the Social Volcano, Martin King Whyte (Stanford University Press)
  • What Color Is Your Dog?, Joel Silverman (Kennel Club)

Granted, there are a couple of pretty good exceptions. But, really…ho hum!

Forget 2010, what are the oddest book titles you’ve ever encountered?

National Book Critics Circle Picks

In case you need yet another list of books to read before March (see the other list HERE, 4 books actually make both lists), the NBCC announced the shortlist for this year’s awards on January 22. Taken from the always awesome Poets & Writers magazine, here’s what the critics were saying about these finalists before they were, well, finalists:

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If I Wasn’t Scared Before… Writing Memoir in Genzlinger’s Age

Neil Genzlinger has dropped the bomb. In a supposed review of four memoirs, he goes off on what’s really eating him: the fact that people are writing memoirs at all:

A moment of silence, please, for the lost art of shutting up.

There was a time when you had to earn the right to draft a memoir, by accomplishing something noteworthy or having an extremely unusual experience or being such a brilliant writer that you could turn relatively ordinary occurrences into a snapshot of a broader historical moment. Anyone who didn’t fit one of those categories was obliged to keep quiet. Unremarkable lives went unremarked upon, the way God intended.

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Dude. Chill.

I used two spaces after the (very) short sentence in this title: Dude.  Chill. This little fact would infuriate Farhad Manjoo who recently went on a full-out rant over the use of two spaces instead of one after a period in the January 13th issue of Slate:

Can I let you in on a secret? Typing two spaces after a period is totally, completely, utterly, and inarguably wrong.

And yet people who use two spaces are everywhere, their ugly error crossing every social boundary of class, education, and taste.* You’d expect, for instance, that anyone savvy enough to read Slate would know the proper rules of typing, but you’d be wrong; Continue reading

I’ve Always Wanted a Rooster

It’s funny.  But if you have the time to actually read all the stuff you ask to be sent to your inbox, you’ll discover there’s a whole world of literary activity taking place out there.  I have, for years now, been getting the Times in my inbox.  Unless the headline was really something spectacular, the vast majority of those emails went directly into the trash, unread.  Lately, I’ve been reading it instead.  And, surprise of all surprises, there’s interesting stuff going on in the world.  Imagine that.  Since I have a little more time than usual these days, I’ve also been reading The Millions pretty religiously.  And I’ve discovered that I’m a new convert to a very old, very established movement.  Okay.  So I’m late to the party.  What of it?  Just in case some of you are also late the party (or missed the party altogether), I like to include some of the more interesting information gleaned from my reading here.  Today’s tidbit involves a rooster.

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The Adventures of Huck Finn, revisited

For the record, I completely agree with Kathleen Parker’s stance on Alan Gribben’s new edition of Twain’s novel in which Gribben changes every instance of the word “nigger” to “slave.”  The way I see it, literature chronicles society – past and present.  Ideas change.  Language evolves.  It’s not our job to do “something constructive by simply eliminating a word that’s a clear barrier for many people.”

Sorry, Mr. Gribben, there’s nothing “constructive” or “simple” about it.

Still, Tim Rutten says it best when he remarks, “The offensive idiocy of vandalism masquerading as sensitivity need not be belabored here.”   Continue reading