The Year of Opening Up the Library

(Cross-posted from Medium.)   For all the hopes heaped on it, 2016 hasn’t gotten off to a promising start. David Bowie left us. Alan Rickman left us. Crises at home and abroad threaten the geopolitical order. I could go on. If you need a shot of optimism to get you through the dark days, look to… Continue reading »

Reading the Commute

Like most writers, I have a day job (a new one that I’m quite enjoying–see previous post). And while I do sometimes work remotely, many days I shuttle back and forth to the office via public transportation. I live two blocks from a Metro stop, which means I spend a lot of time on DC’s… Continue reading »

Books and Birds

Some news! As of Nov. 20, I’m no longer with the Chronicle of Higher Education. It’s been a good 10-year run, and I am forever grateful to have had the chance to dive deeply into humanities research, the digital humanities, libraryland, archives, and publishing/scholarly communication/open access. Why am I leaving? I got a chance to… Continue reading »

How Not to Begin a Book Review

…or almost any piece of writing, really: “In the age of…” [Oh, THAT age.] “We live in an age when…” [Of course we do.] “It’s hard to know what to make of [Title] by [Author]…” [It’s your job to make *something* of it.] (Filed under “Reminders to Self, or Things to Leave on the Editing-Room… Continue reading »

Books in the Wild

This introduces a personal experiment in documenting how we interact with books. First, the context. Literary critics, book historians, publishing types, and cultural spectators and speculators have spent a lot of time of late kicking around “the book” as an idea and as a phenomenon: its past, its hybrid e-and-print present, whether it has a future… Continue reading »

This and That, or Where I’ve Been

I haven’t been anywhere, to tell you the truth, not in the real world anyway. What have I been doing? *I moderated a Google hangout on collaboration in scholarly publishing with several university-press directors. You can help make it go viral on YouTube (or just watch it–up to you).   *Then I wrote a story… Continue reading »

Coding and “Computhors”

Is this internet killing books? What do poetry and software have in common? Can computers write literature? The Times Literary Supplement asked me to write about three books that take up those questions: The Edge of the Precipice: Why read literature in the digital age?, edited by Paul Socken; Geek Sublime: Writing Fiction, Coding Software,… Continue reading »

What I Did With My Summer Vacation

Bought a car, drove to Niagara Falls and wore disposable ponchos (see pic, left), drove to Canada, saw a moose and two black-bear cubs, went canoeing, saw some stars (celestial, not Hollywood), wrote a short story and a long review-essay, did some reading, and came back ready to tackle some big projects this fall. Hope… Continue reading »

Friday Linkage: Read Whatever YA Like Edition

It’s Sunday, which means I’m late getting to the links of the week. In the spirit of better late than never, here goes: * Writing in Slate, Ruth Graham endeared herself to legions of YA fans with an essay about why grownups ought to be reading More Serious Books. …even the myriad defenders of YA… Continue reading »

Boxed In

Look what the Post did with the layout of my latest review (I wrote about Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace, by Nikil Saval). Nifty! And slanty. The online version might be a little easier to read. What did I think of the book? It’s well and dutifully researched, stylishly written, and ultimately something… Continue reading »