This isn’t a review, just a signal-boosting mention of a new book by a woman I used to know online. We haven’t been in contact for a while, but Mary Grabar has obviously been fighting the good fight. She just released Debunking Howard Zinn, a book on Howard Zinn’s influential A People’s History of the United States. From the blurb:
Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States has sold more than 2.5 million copies. It is pushed by Hollywood celebrities, defended by university professors who know better, and assigned in high school and college classrooms to teach students that American history is nothing more than a litany of oppression, slavery, and exploitation.
Zinn’s history is popular, but it is also massively wrong.
Scholar Mary Grabar exposes just how wrong in her stunning new book Debunking Howard Zinn, which demolishes Zinn’s Marxist talking points that now dominate American education.
I clicked over to the Amazon listing for The Elder King today, and was delighted to see that I already have 6 reader reviews, all glowing.
Thanks to everyone who took the trouble write a review. It
does matter, and it is appreciated.
It occurs to me that I could appeal to madness of crowds, and ask for promotional tips.
What methods would you suggest for a writer with not too much money to draw attention to his work?
We all know, of course, that the better the advice, the less
likely I am to take it. Because really useful promotional techniques generally
involve a degree of chest-puffing, arm-waving, and horn-tooting that’s simply
beyond my capacity.
Many years ago (before you were born I’m sure) Hernando Colón, son of Christopher Columbus, collected many books from around the world–close to 15,000 tomes.
After amassing his collection, Colón employed a team of writers to read every book in the library and distill each into a little summary in Libro de los Epítomes, ranging from a couple of lines long for very short texts to about 30 pages for the complete works of Plato, which Wilson-Lee dubbed the “miracle of compression”.
— Alison Flood, The Guardian
That summary, The Libro de los Epítomes, was picked up by the Icelandic scholar Árni Magnússon and donated with his collection to the University of Copenhagen in 1730. It has now been rediscovered for the gold mine into forgotten reading that it is and will be made digital next year, giving us good look into the printed material being read in those days. (via Prufrock News)
If you’d like to explore the Book of Kells, Ireland’s greatest medieval work of art (one the Vikings somehow missed), the entire work has now been made available online in digital form, thanks to the Trinity College Library, here.
Everyone is podcasting these days. Your aunt is probably planning one if she can only get Clippy and Bob to show her how to record it. There are over 630,000 podcasts available today on just about everything. True crime is a popular topic. For months I’ve daydreamed about the details of a mock crime podcast that could use the song above as a theme, present itself in the tone and rhythm of true crime shows, but actually tell a story about nothing at all. If I could find one or more colorful Southerners who tell jokes and funny stories for hours, I would have material for a great recurring segment. I’d probably be the only one who thought it was funny though.
Podcasting has been taken up by both professionals and amateurs, like anything on the Internet. A couple of my favorites are “The World and Everything in It,” the news show from World News Group. It is the best news out there. I recommend playing the show from your desktop, if you don’t do podcasts in a mobile-like devicy kind of way. (You might ask Alexa to play “The World and Everything in It” and see what you get. I have no idea.) Also I’m new to a show that has been around since 2009, “The Sporkful,” a show about food for the rest of us. It’s a ton of fun. A recent episode on southern BBQ in Chicago made me want to get out and try things (which I won’t do, of course, because budgets mean something in my house.)
That may lead you to ask, has podcasting been around ten years already? Yes, it began in 2004. The first how-to book came out in 2005. Even before that, we had audioblogging in some capacity.
The way I listen to my handful of shows is through one ear while driving. I don’t want to plug both ears in case I need to hear something, so with road and wind noise in the background I need podcast audio to be clear with a steady volume. I know I’m usually behind the tech curve, so I wonder if my listening experience is typical, but I encourage the podcasters out there who are recording their conference calls in hopes of landing a better book contract to listen to those recordings with plenty of outside background noise. If you can’t hear what’s been said, neither will I.
I raised my face to look at him. “Why have I never heard of this?”
I asked. “I’d think Augvaldsness would be a place of pilgrimage for the whole
north – for the English and the Franks as well.”
“We’ve been chary
of the great Roman church here in Rogaland,” said Baard. “They keep throwing
that Arian thing you touched on in our faces, when they notice us at all. We’d
as soon not have them looking too closely at our ways. We’ve learned that when
the Romans look for error, they generally find it, whether it’s there or not.”
“As an Irishman, I
know what you mean,” I said.
Baard slipped the
cover back on the reliquary, and we went back out into the dark. You’d think
that that revelation would be my chief memory of that night, but it pales in recollection,
because of what followed.
As we stepped back
through the entry and into the hall, a figure filled my view, dark against the
light, haloed like a saint in some eastern icon. She sidestepped right to let
me pass, and I stepped left to let her pass, and so we did that foolish dance
you do in narrow places, each trying to make way for the other. At last we both
stopped and laughed, and by now I could see her face.
It was the
loveliest face I’d ever seen on human head. She was woman in her full bloom,
but slender. A few strands of hair that peeked from under her headcloth were
light brown, and her eyes – those eyes! I see them even now – large and blue
under dark brows slightly curved. Her face was longer than an oval, rather
triangular in shape to make room for those great eyes, and her lips were full, but not to excess.
At that very
moment I felt my stomach lurch, as if I’d stepped down a well in the dark.
I closed my eyes
and shook my head, fearing I’d eaten something bad and was about to shame
myself before this woman, through being sick. The feeling passed.
Then I looked back
in her eyes, and my stomach went whump again.
I looked away. All
I looked back at
I was lost for
words to say, but Baard moved up from behind me and broke the moment.
“I was always told that the Centurion was a Roman named Longinus,”
“You were told
wrong. The centurion was a Norseman named Vidfarna. Maybe they called him
Longinus in the army. I know not. And the proof of my story –ˮ he paused for a
lick – “is the Nail.”
“The nail…” I
“A nail from the
crucifixion?” I gaped.
I stood up from
the bench. “This has gone far enough,” I said. “I know I’m a mere foreigner, an
Irishman among the Norse and a butt for jokes, but I wasn’t born after
breakfast today. I’ll give you this, though – you tell a good tale.” I’d been
looking for the chance to take a walk anyway – I needed to drain off my
Baard stood with
me and tugged the sleeve of my robe, getting grease on it. “I’ve had priests
tell me the same thing before. But I can show you.”
Thought I’d do a snippet of the new novel tonight. Not sure how long it will take to publish it, but it’s essentially written. Probably going to my Publishing Gremlin tomorrow. lw
Part One: The Crying Stave
I recall it as the
night of two visions. One vision was for the land, the other for me. Together
they marked a turning place.
And neither was
for the better.
We were feasting at Augvaldsness. If God blessed our efforts, matters would now be less tangled in the land. Jarl Erik Haakonsson, with whom Erling Skjalgsson could never be at peace, had returned again to England to serve his lord, Prince Knut the Dane. This freed Erling to renew his friendship with Erik’s brother Jarl Svein, whom he rather liked. Svein sat now as lord of the north of the land, under Denmark. We were crowning their friendship by handfasting Erling’s son Aslak to Svein’s daughter Sigrid. The two were young, but such betrothals were common, and the young people liked each other well enough.
Baard Ossursson, steward of Augvaldsness, was a man who liked his boiled pork. It was his habit to take a chunk from the platter in his big hand, squeeze it so the fat ran out between his fingers, and slurp the greasy runnels off as they oozed out. He was playing at that as we sat side by side, just to Erling’s right at the high table in the hall.
“This is an important place, Augvaldsness,” Baard said to me between slurps. “The man who controls the strait here at Kormt Island can stop traffic up and down the North Way like a plug in a jar. The kings of Augvaldsness in olden times were the mightiest along the North Way. You can run outside the island, take the sea way to the west, but the weather out there’s chancy.”
“I’ve heard of King Augvald,” I said. “The one who worshipped his cow.”
At the start of the new year copyrighted works from 1923 will become public domain after a twenty year hiatus. That’s because Congress listened to corporate arguments for extending copyright restrictions and put a hold on anything entering public domain. The Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 attempted to say, “I’ve got you, babe,” to American artists by making 1922 the cutoff for public domain for the last twenty years.
The novelist Willa Cather called 1922 the year “the world broke in two,” the start of a great literary, artistic and cultural upheaval. In 1922, Ulysses by James Joyce and T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land” were published, and the Harlem Renaissance blossomed with the arrival of Claude McKay’s poetry in Harlem Shadows. For two decades those works have been in the public domain, enabling artists, critics and others to burnish that notable year to a high gloss in our historical memory. In comparison, 1923 can feel dull.
Starting next year we’ll see more works on Google Books and other digital libraries for use in rebuilding western civilization, reviving our sagging economy, colonizing Mars, and making shepherding great again, and other worthy goals long held by the readers of BwB.
The best musical composers are men. The best art in our local Philadelphia Art Museum and Barnes Foundation is by men. The best writers are men. The best chefs are men. And to be honest, who wouldn’t rather watch men’s hockey than women’s hockey? In other words, everything that lifts the dreariness of life is by and large a man’s idea.
Men cut to the chase. (Except William Faulkner, who was wordy.)
We at Brandywine Books recognize the honesty in which this column was written and deny any hint of comic exaggeration. Bully for us!
In other news, World offers their books of 2018, noting some changes in Christian publishing over the last several years.
World News Group’s Emily Belz writes, “The short answer is ‘No,’ but a couple of examples of minor plagiarism should give authors and publishers new determination to take great care in attributing stories and wordings to their creators.”
She notes that an anecdote in Voskamp’s The Broken Way reads almost exactly as it was written in social media by Cynthia Occelli, so all sides acknowledged the copying, but this passage did not throw a flag when run through the publishing industry’s plagiarism detector. That puts the responsibility for writing your own words back on the author.
The New York Public Library has begun to distribute full novels on Instagram Stories, you know, meeting the kids where they’re at and stuff. They announced it this way: “Introducing Insta Novels. A reimagining of Instagram Stories to provide access to some of the most iconic stories ever written. And to bring over 300,000 more titles straight to your phone.”
Perhaps someone will read something sometime. (via Prufrock News)
People still buy printed books in 2018 and appear to prefer them to all other media. The growth of e-books sales appears to have plateaued, but audiobook sales have been climbing rapidly. All other media sales have been disrupted by comprehensive subscriptions offering large libraries of movies, shows, or music for a monthly fee. E-books have these plans too, but they haven’t taken off with readers possibly because the selection isn’t good enough yet.
“There’s another factor that continues to support the sale of physical books: the stubborn survival of booksellers, especially the independents that have endured a series of onslaughts.”
Those booksellers–standing behind Hadrian’s wall against the rest of the world–you have to love ’em.
New Hampshire professor Seth Abramson has put in many hours following the news on President Trump, updating his readers with tweets like these:
[Aug 15, 2018, 2:55 PM] (NOTE) As to Bruce Ohr, who is currently employed by the federal government, Trump’s THREAT to revoke his security clearance—which would make him doing his job impossible, and might lead to his termination—is, given the “grounds” Trump has spoken of on Twitter, WITNESS TAMPERING. [93 replies 2,191 retweets 4,133 likes]
(NOTE3) A key national security expert for MSNBC just said on-air, “This is quite clearly designed to send a chilling effect to all of those who would criticize Donald Trump or his administration that this will not be tolerated.” Do people realize that, as to Ohr, that’s a CRIME? [28 replies 677 Retweets 1,801 Likes ]
Seth Abramson Retweeted Donald J. Trump
(NOTE4) This tweet is now evidence of a federal felony: @realDonaldTrump [link to this tweet]
<<Bruce Ohr of the “Justice” Department (can you believe he is still there) is accused of helping disgraced Christopher Steele “find dirt on Trump.” Ohr’s wife, Nelly, was in on the act big time – worked for Fusion GPS on Fake Dossier. @foxandfriends>>
[35 replies 1,028 retweets 2,240 likes]
(NOTE5) People do not yet realize—but soon will—that Trump has just made as big a mistake as he made in firing Comey. You *cannot* threaten the job of a witness against you in a federal investigation and SAY ON TWITTER that your reason is that he will offer testimony against you.
According to the proposal, the book will be based off of edited and rewritten versions of his Twitter threads—a conceit, Abramson declares, “whose time has come.” The book will create a “comprehensive, chronological review of the Trump-Russia case by transforming my Twitter ‘threads’ into prose.”
“A book of this sort is daring,” he writes. “Few if any have leveraged the advantage that books offer in collating, organizing, and amplifying in narrative form an intensely followed Twitter feed.”
This looks like an incredible waste of every resource devoted to it, but I think I’ve seen similar wasted efforts in printed books. Not that there’s anything daring about it, except that writing any book believing people will buy or read or both feels daring. Of course, there’s the daring of the carefully planned tightrope walk over Niagara and the daring of the spur-of-the-moment motorcycle jump into the Grand Canyon. [via Prufrock News]