Monday, September 29, 2014

The Free Bin: Silly Putty, Golden Girls, and Lowly Worm

I’m still in the midst of working on my film book, and I’m at the stage where I have enough content to start sending out sample chapters for my pitch. While my posts may have slacked off, I’m still collecting interesting links to share (and I have some reviews on the way—I swear!).

The title of this installment of The Free Bin may sound like it’s not focused on books, writing, and publishing, but that’s not the case, as you’ll find if you check out any of these links.

Silly Putty: print's latest victim? (Steve Berry/Creative Commons License)

  •  Sadie Stein at The Paris Review laments some of the smaller things we could lose along with newspapers. "What will people use to clean up after their dogs?" she asks. "Where will they get rubber bands? Will “train-style” folding become a lost art? And what about Silly Putty?" It's the latter that she focuses on for this piece, remembering the retro plaything that picked up newsprint. (I had great fun using it on the comics pages, then stretching the faces into mutant shapes.) 
  • At Book Riot, Rita Meade has watched every single episode of The Golden Girls and noted the literary references. It's the sort of undertaking that defies logic, yet I'm glad someone did it. If you've ever wondered how often the ladies reference Shakespeare, now you'll know (it's more than you'd think). The citing of what's being referenced at the end of each entry sucks a little of the joy out of the list—especially because it's often obvious, and when it's not, it's neat to figure it out— but it's still a lot of fun. 
  •  Can a book change a reader's life for the worse? In two well-written New York Times essays, Leslie Jamison and Francine Prose address the idea of books having a negative impact on someone's life.
  • I don't cover a lot of children's books at Book Dirt, but my childhood self is thrilled that a lost Richard Scarry manuscript has just been published (by his son), and it concentrates on the best Scarry character ever: Lowly Worm. Any kid who cut his teeth on Scarry's picture books knows the worm, dressed in his weird sleeve of a suit and wearing one shoe. Picking him out of the heavily-illustrated pages was delightful. Details at NPR
  •  Publishers Weekly has come up with a list of the top ten Patricia Highsmith books to coincide with the release of the film based on The Two Faces of January. Whether or not you agree with the ranking, it's nice to see some good Highsmith content (outside of the great stuff at Existential Ennui).
As always, if you've checked out any links, please weigh in and let me know what you thought.