♦ Kyle Bean made the London Underground map out of drinking straws (click to see larger).
♦ This post has been making the rounds, but I first found it via my friend Molly on Facebook: A Girl You Should Date by Rosemarie Urquico. My favorite line comes at the end: “If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads. Or better yet, date a girl who writes.”
♦ In New York Magazine, Rachel Friedman, in “Livelihood of the Poets,” offers some numbers about the microeconomics of poets, which is both interesting and sobering for most poets. I found the article via Kristy Bowen’s blog, who has a good response to the economics of poetry by way of her own experience. The Ivory Tower isn’t always the answer, folks.
♦ On her blog last week, Nnedi Okorafor wrote an interesting post about the statuette given out for the World Fantasy Award, which is a bust of H.P. Lovecraft (designed by Gahan Wilson), titled “Lovecraft’s Racism and the World Fantasy Award Statuette, with Comments by China Mieville.” Okorafor says, “If Lovecraft’s likeness and name are to be used in connection to the World Fantasy Award, I think there should be some discourse about what it means to honor a talented racist.” Embedded in that post is the question of whether or not the WFA award statuette should be changed, and the interwebs have been buzzing about the possibilities. Nick Mamatas suggests a statue of a chimera because “fantasy is a lot of things” (too true!), and Theodora Goss recommends “the award should be different each year, and it should be designed by a contemporary fantasy artist. Imagine winning an award designed by Shaun Tan or Charles Vess or Omar Rayyan! That would also recognize the wonderful work being done in fantasy art, which is such an important part of book publication in this ‘genre’ (a word I use for convenience, since I don’t think fantasy is a genre).” I hope this discussion moves from the realm of the theoretical and into the practical because it’s an important topic for us to consider.
♦ Jeff VanderMeer interviews Haruki Murakami over at Omnivoracious.
♦ Paul Graham has a great post about Stuff on his website (yes, he posted it in 2007, but I only just discovered it). I have a weird relationship with my stuff. On the one hand, I love stuff, love having weird stuff (I want my house to be a Wunderkammer, yo). On the other, my stuff weighs on me sometimes. I think I’m holding on to too much of the wrong stuff. However, Graham and I agree that books aren’t stuff; I love his description of books as fluid:
I’ve now stopped accumulating stuff. Except books—but books are different. Books are more like a fluid than individual objects. It’s not especially inconvenient to own several thousand books, whereas if you owned several thousand random possessions you’d be a local celebrity. But except for books, I now actively avoid stuff. If I want to spend money on some kind of treat, I’ll take services over goods any day.
♦ I’m a sucker for annotated editions, so I’m really looking forward to The Annotated Sandman, Vol. 1, edited by Leslie Klinger, which comes out in January from Vertigo and covers the first twenty issues of the series. Every good Sandman fan knows of Ralf Hildebrandt’s impressive and helpful online annotations of The Sandman; I loved reading Hildebrandt’s work, but in the end I’m a paper kind of guy. Comparing Hildebrandt’s and Klinger’s annotations will be fun. You can see some preview pages here.
♦ For Cameron, I offer “The Legend of Zelda Medley” by Lindsey Stirling. You’re welcome!
♦ A Very Calvin & Hobbes Christmas has been making the rounds. If you enjoyed Bill Watterson’s Calvin & Hobbes and/or Calvin’s snowmen creations as much as I did, you’ll enjoy this animation from Jim Frommeyer and Teague Chrystie quite a bit:
♦ Below is my all-time favorite Christmas carol, though it’s neither Christmas-y nor a carol, but there you go. “Snow,” arranged and sung by Loreena McKennitt, began as a poem by Canadian poet Archibald Lampman (the original poem can be read here). I first discovered the song on McKennitt’s album A Winter Garden: Five Songs of the Season (which is now out of print; McKennitt has since re-released the song on To Drive the Cold Winter Away, though I don’t like the arrangment on that version as much as the original). To me, this song perfectly encapsulates the season, and I can listen to it over and over again.