Critical Linking: June 4, 2012

The show, which bills itself as “The Unauthorized Harry Experience” is a fast-paced, tongue-firmly-planted-in-cheek romp through Rowling’s seven books about the boy wizard and his adventures. . . . There’s a near-constant patter between the two men, and even some audience participation in the form of an attempt at a game of Quidditch, the popular sport in Harry’s wizarding world.

If you are in New York for BEA this week, and you go to see this show, I expect a full report.  And I hope it is a good one.

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If you were attacked by pirates, who would you want by your side? A loyal horde of head bangers, gangstas and hard-core punks? Or a brainy clutch of bookish types? I’d generally advise you to go with the former group. But it turns out that in the swashbuckling arena of digital piracy, the publishing world is acquitting itself far better than the brash music industry.

It is not often that publishing is given credit for learning from the mistakes of other industries.  There is probably a good reason for that.

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These new library projects might seem to emerge from a common culture and uphold a common mission — a flurry of press coverage in late 2011 represented them as a coherent “little library” movement. But in fact they don’t. They have varied aims and politics and assumptions about what a library is and who its publics are; their collections and services differ significantly; and their forms and functions vary from one locality to another.

Books seem to be taking new forms all the time. It only makes sense that libraries do the same.

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“By day, they’re authors. Really famous authors. But once a year they shed their pen- and-pencil clutching personas and become rock stars, complete with roadies, groupies and a wicked cool tour bus.”  The Rock Bottom Remainders band includes some of today’s most shining literary lights. Among them, they’ve published more than 150 titles, sold more than 150 million books, and been translated into more than 25 languages.

And this show, at the ALA annual conference later this month, will be their last.

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