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Updated: 2 hours 37 min ago

Where the ?no ending a sentence with a preposition? rule comes from

Mon, 06/25/2018 - 05:00
Atlas Obscura explains the history behind the, arguably nonsensical, grammar rule about not ending a sentence with a preposition which, "all goes back to 17th-century England and a fusspot named John Dryden":

There are thousands of individual rules for proper grammatical use of any given language; mostly, these are created, and then taught, in order to maximize understanding and minimize confusion. But the English language prohibition against "preposition stranding"--ending a sentence with a preposition like with, at, or of--is not like this. It is a fantastically stupid rule that when followed often has the effect of mangling a sentence. And yet for hundreds of years, schoolchildren have been taught to create disastrously awkward sentences like "With whom did you go?"

...Born in 1631, John Dryden was the most important figure throughout the entire Restoration period of the late 17th century... Dryden twice stated an opposition to preposition stranding. In an afterword for one of his own plays, he criticized Ben Jonson for doing this, saying: "The preposition in the end of the sentence; a common fault with him, and which I have but lately observed in my own writing." Later, in a letter to a young writer who had asked for advice, he wrote: "In the correctness of the English I remember I hinted somewhat of concludding [sic] your sentences with prepositions or conjunctions sometimes, which is not elegant, as in your first sentence."

Dryden does not state why he finds this to be "not elegant." And yet somehow this completely unexplained, tiny criticism, buried in his mountain of works, lodged itself in the grammarian mind, and continued to be taught for hundreds of years later. This casual little comment would arguably be Dryden's most enduring creation.

B&N Posted Loss of $125 Million on 6% Sales Drop in FY '18

Thu, 06/21/2018 - 11:09
Total sales at Barnes & Noble fell 6.0% in the fiscal year ended April 28, 2018, compared to fiscal 2017, and the retailer posted a net loss of $125.5 million last year, compared to net income of $22.0 million in fiscal 2017. Revenue last year was $3.66 billion, down from $3.89 billion in fiscal 2017.

The 2017 VIDA Count

Wed, 06/20/2018 - 11:10
Since 2009 VIDA has tracked the review coverage of major print publications to analyze how many women and gender minorities are represented.

For the 2017 VIDA Count, they looked at 15 major print publications over the course of the year. Even though many, if not all of the publications also have an online presence, they only counted the reviews in the print versions because it is "too easy to confine women, gender minorities, and other marginalized writers to cost-effective web platforms, which frequently pay differently (or don't pay at all), compared to their print counterparts."

Of the 15 publications, only 2 published 50% or more women writers: Granta (53.5%) and Poetry (50%).

Five had women representing between 40% and 49.9% of their total publication: Harper's, The New York Times Book Review, The New Republic, The Paris Review and Tin House.

The majority, 8 out of 15 publications, failed to publish enough women writers to make up even 40% of their publication's run in 2017: Boston Review, London Review of Books, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Nation, The Threepenny Review, and The Times Literary Supplement.

The New York Review of Books had the most pronounced gender disparity with only 23% of published writers who are women but it was close to gender parity in terms of contributors, with 47% women.

Atul Gawande named to head cost-cutting health-care venture

Wed, 06/20/2018 - 10:57
Renowned surgeon and best-selling author Atul Gawande will lead a major new company aimed at reducing health-care costs, a joint venture by Amazon, JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway.

The company, which will be based in Boston, was announced in January with a mission to use technology to make health care more transparent, affordable and simple for the companies' more than 1 million employees.

Gawande, a Harvard physician and writer for the New Yorker magazine, has written on issues at the core of American health care, including why it is so expensive and how to improve end-of-life care. He will take charge July 9.

Junot Díaz cleared in MIT Investigation

Wed, 06/20/2018 - 05:00
A Massachusetts Institute of Technology investigation has cleared author and creative writing professor Junot Díaz to return to the classroom for the fall semester. The Associated Press reported that "the inquiry into Díaz's actions toward female students and staff yielded no information that would lead to restrictions on Díaz's role as a faculty member at the university in Cambridge."

Oxford English Dictionary asks members of the public to submit regional words

Wed, 06/20/2018 - 05:00
Oxford University Press is asking members of the public to submit local words, phrases and expressions from around the world for inclusion in the Oxford English Dictionary:

"Whether you're in Manchester, Mumbai, Manila, or Massachusetts, the OED would like to hear from you. Please use the form below to tell us about the words and expressions which are distinctive to where you live or where you are from. We're looking forward to reading your suggestions."

Richard Powers: 'We're completely alienated from everything else alive'

Sat, 06/16/2018 - 05:00
After writing novels on artificial intelligence, neuroscience and genetics, Powers' has turned to trees with The Overstory. While on a hike through the Great Smoky Mountains, he talks to The Guardian about environmentalism and not having children.

Seattle abruptly repeals 'head tax' opposed by Amazon

Thu, 06/14/2018 - 17:40
Seattle officials repealed a corporate "head tax" on Tuesday "that they had wholeheartedly endorsed just a month ago, delivering a win for the measure's biggest opponent--Amazon--and offering a warning to cities bidding for the retailer's second headquarters that the company would go to the limit to get its way," the New York Times reported. The tax would have raised about $50 million a year to help the homeless and fund affordable housing projects in a city where the homeless population is the third largest in the country, after New York City and Los Angeles.

Amazon comes under fire for removal of book reviews

Thu, 06/14/2018 - 06:12
Amazon has come under fire for removing reviews from its online book listings, with some customers having had all their reviews removed or being blocked from posting further reviews on Amazon.

Authors, bloggers and publishers have criticized the development, with many sharing their frustration through the #giveourreviewsback hashtag. Amazon has blamed temporary "technical issues".

Mike McCormack wins International Dublin literary award for Solar Bones

Wed, 06/13/2018 - 05:00
Mike McCormack has won the International Dublin literary award for his novel Solar Bones.

The judges hailed it as "formally ambitious, stylistically dauntless and linguistically spirited". It is written in a single sentence that flows over 270-odd pages, and spans a single day: All Souls' Day, when, according to superstition, the dead can return to the land of the living. Solar Bones is narrated by Marcus Conway – husband, father, civil engineer, a man gripped by "a crying sense of loneliness for my family" – and a ghost, a factor that, for McCormack, explains the experimental form. ("A ghost would have no business with a full stop," he once argued. "It might fatally falter and dissipate.")

The Strange Case of the Missing Joyce Scholar

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 14:18
In an extensive article in the New York Times, John Kidd reports on "The Strange Case of the Missing Joyce Scholar."

Two decades ago, a renowned professor promised to produce a flawless version of one of the 20th century's most celebrated novels: "Ulysses." Then he disappeared...

Jean-Claude Arnault, photographer in Nobel prize scandal, charged with rape

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 11:49
A French photographer at the heart of a scandal that saw this year's Nobel Prize for Literature postponed has been charged with rape. Jean-Claude Arnault, who was charged with two counts of rape dating back to 2011, denies the allegations.

The Swedish Academy, which handles the prize, last month postponed it amid criticism of its handling of the case. Swedish prosecutor Christina Voigt said the evidence against Mr Arnault "was robust and sufficient for prosecution".

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie wins PEN Pinter prize

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 11:47
Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has been awarded the 2018 PEN Pinter prize. She was hailed by Harold Pinter's widow, the biographer Antonia Fraser, as a writer who embodies "those qualities of courage and outspokenness which Harold much admired".

Groundbreaking historian of slavery, Ira Berlin, is dead at 77.

Sun, 06/10/2018 - 17:53
Ira Berlin, a historian whose research and acclaimed books helped reveal the complexities of American slavery and its aftermath, died on Tuesday in Washington. He was 77.

5 Anthony Bourdain quotes that show why he was beloved around the world

Sun, 06/10/2018 - 17:51
Anthony Bourdain, the legendary chef and tv personality, died on Friday morning — and people around the world are mourning. Bourdain was a best-selling author and was known for various TV shows, but he'll be remembered for more than introducing Americans to regional cuisines in far-flung places due to his willingness to stray from the confines of mainstream media norms and highlight the struggles of marginalized people everywhere.

Vox gathers together five Bourdain quotes which show why so many considered him a true citizen of the world...

Poetry Reading on the Rise

Fri, 06/08/2018 - 11:10
Poetry reading in the U.S. has increased, according to new data from the National Endowment for the Arts' 2017 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts. Nearly 12% (28 million) adults read poetry in the last year, the highest on record as a share of the total U.S. adult population over a 15-year period of conducting the SPPA. The rate is five percentage points up from the 2012 survey period (6.7%) and three points up from 2008 (8.3%).

Chef and author Anthony Bourdain dead at 61

Fri, 06/08/2018 - 09:32
Anthony Bourdain, the gifted chef, storyteller and writer who took TV viewers around the world to explore culture, cuisine and the human condition for nearly two decades, has died. He was 61.

CNN confirmed Bourdain's death on Friday and said the cause of death was suicide. Bourdain was in France working on an upcoming episode of his award-winning CNN series, "Parts Unknown." His close friend Eric Ripert, the French chef, found Bourdain unresponsive in his hotel room Friday morning.

Kamila Shamsie wins Women's prize for fiction

Thu, 06/07/2018 - 12:26
Kamila Shamsie's Home Fire, which reworks Sophocles' tragedy Antigone to tell the story of a British Muslim family's connection to Islamic State, has won the Women's prize for fiction. The book was acclaimed by judges as "the story of our times".

A story of survival: New York?s last remaining independent bookshops

Sun, 06/03/2018 - 18:45
With small traders struggling to stay afloat, writer Philippe Ungar and photographer Franck Bohbot travelled across New York to meet 50 indie booksellers in their habitats...

NPR says that a 1980s study on early childhood education that has been cited 8,000+ times is not valid

Sun, 06/03/2018 - 18:44
NPR's All Things Considered calls into question a 1980s study on early childhood education that has been cited more than 8,000 times:

Did you know that kids growing up in poverty hear 30 million fewer words by age 3? Chances are, if you're the type of person who reads a newspaper or listens to NPR, you've heard that statistic before.

Since 1992, this finding has, with unusual power, shaped the way educators, parents and policymakers think about educating poor children.

But did you know that the number comes from just one study, begun almost 40 years ago, with just 42 families? That some people argue it contained a built-in racial bias? Or that others, including the authors of a new study that calls itself a "failed replication," say it's just wrong?

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