Weekend Edition: 2-28

Random Rant

I don’t wish ill on people. But I may consider an exception for spammers. For grins and giggles, I kept track of how many e-mails sent me last week were caught by the spam filter at work — more than 1,600. Of those, four — .002 percent — were legit e-mails inadvertently caught by the filter.

Bookish Linkage

Philadelphia’s One Book program reaches and deals with homelessness with The Soloist, the story of a reporter’s involvement with a homeless man playing Beethoven on the street.

SF author Charlie Stross gives us his FAQ on the 21st Century.

Philip José Farmer died this week at the age of 91. I thoroughly enjoyed his Riverworld series in the 1970s. The first book in the series, To Your Scattered Bodies Go, won him the 1972 Hugo Award for best novel.

Book Awards Linkage

The longlist for this year’s Independent Foreign Fiction Prize was announced this week. I haven’t read any of 16 books on the list, although I read last year’s winner. I found it interesting but not superlative by any means.

I’m also an 0-fer for the 18 books on the longlist for The Orwell Prize, which says it is “the pre-eminent British prize for political writing.” The organization also has an award for political blogs but they all appear to be UK-based.

Joseph O’Neill’s Netherland won the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. I read it last year after having seen various favorable reviews and, again, while interesting I did not find it superlative.

The finalists for the Nebula Awards have been announced. I’ve actually read two of the best novel nominees.

Nonbookish Linkage

Mmmmmm, good?

Roger Ebert: “Snarking is cultural vandalism.”

Proof we’ve moved from a recession into a depression? Even with all the bad economic news, alcohol sales plummet.

Apparently even UFOs aren’t all that interested in “flyover country.”

While I don’t know if there’s scientific support for work driving you crazy, it may lead to dementia.

Man knows so much and does so little.

R. Buckminster Fuller, Time magazine, Jan. 10, 1964

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