Critical Linking: June 22, 2013

No, his books aren’t horror, and he’s relieved that his books aren’t in the horror section. But he’s miffed that they’re in the humor section. “I would have put it in self-help. Or how-to.” He shakes his head. “I can’t think of anything less funny than dying in a zombie attack.”

And I’m pretty sure that that Brad Pitt wasn’t trying to make a comedy, either.

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But Kickstarter allowed it to proceed, calling the guide “abhorrent” but not in violation of “our current guidelines.” The campaign exceeded its fundraising goal by 800 percent.

Kickstarter wins the award for best apology this week.

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“When I discussed the project with my friends, many of them said: ‘That’s a good idea, you should make sure that no one steals it from you.’ But my main objective is different: You can take whatever you like and reprint it. I guess Leo Nikolayevich would approve of what we are doing and support the free distribution of his works. His publishing activity and refusal to accept fees prove this.”

I think she’s right. Leo would be proud of his granddaughter.

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It is widely agreed that Britain is going through a golden age of nature writing, but no one seems sure quite how to define it. Ragtag, wayward and polymorphous, it folds in aspects of memoir, travel, ecology, botany, zoology, topography, geology, folklore, literary criticism, psychogeography, anthropology, conservation and even fiction. Most distinctive, to my mind, is its tonal mix of the poetic and the scientific and analytical.

I hope this means that there will be new essays in the next edition of the Norton Reader.

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