Critical Linking: The Most Read Stories, December 9 – 14, 2012

Here are the most popular stories from the last week in Critical Linking…


And yet, here we also have the fallacy of the adaptation, for literature is an interior art. This is its power, that only in a book can we enter another person’s imagination so directly, animating his or her language even as we are inhabited by it. That’s the reason landmark fiction rarely makes good drama; it is already self-contained.

Actually, I think the reason that landmark fiction rarely makes good drama is purely statistical. Most dramas are bad to start with. I’d wager, actually, that landmark fiction makes for better drama than non-landmark fiction.


“For a new author, we want to avoid anything that might cause a reader to put a book down and decide, ‘not for me,’ ” Ms. Sowards says. “When we think a book will appeal to male readers, we want everything about the book to say that—the cover, the copy and, yes, the author’s name.”

An understandable move, given male prejudice against women authors. But a damn shame.


An incredibly rare first edition of Jane Austen’s novel Emma is tipped to sell for 200,000 pounds after being discovered. The three volume presentation copy is the only one from the original print run of 12 known to exist today.

You can’t get any rarer than the only one.


Shipments of ebook readers by year-end will fall to 14.9 million units, down a steep 36 percent from the 23.2 million units in 2011 that now appears to have been the peak of the ebook reader market. Another drastic 27 percent contraction will occur next year when ebook reader shipments decline to 10.9 million units. By 2016, the ebook reader space will amount to just 7.1 million units—equivalent to a loss of more than two-thirds of its peak volume in 2011.

I’ve got just one word for you, Benjamin: tablets.


Tolkien’s world may not be the same as our own, Auden wrote in a 1956 review of the author’s work for the New York Times, but it’s a world “of intelligible law, not mere wish,” that represents our own reality. 

And to think, there was a time when The Hobbit was nothing more than a kid’s book.

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