Some Sites I Like and Find Useful…
For today’s beat, I want to take a break from my editorializing and instead highlight some recent happenings from other websites that I enjoy related to different aspects of the book business, technology, etc…
This is the personal website of Morgan Giles, a translator/writer whose interests and specialty is “in Taishō and early Shōwa culture, women’s literature, proletarian literature (プロレタリア文学・ルンペン文学), and diaries.” Her most recent post from March 16 is titled Read Her Now: Five Women to Translate in 2015 and features five contemporary Japanese female writers. The image here is of poet Tahi Saihate (1986–) and as Morgan describers her:
“Young, intensely devoted to her craft, and taking full advantage of the Internet as a medium for her poetry, her 2014 collection Shinde shimau kei no bokura ni (For Us, the Dying Kind) gained mainstream attention and became a popular success. Shinde shimau, largely dealing with the death of a loved one, is immediate, reflective, and unashamedly personal in a way that becomes universal. Most of her poems appear first on Twitter (where she posts gifs of her composing the poem) or on Tumblr.”
These are two are essays (interpretations of talks given) by Frank Chimero that have basically been making me rethink design concepts. Chimero is a professional designer who has written a book called The Shape of Design that is one of the best books I have found for questioning, poking and disrupting the dominant themes of the field known as design especially with regards to technology. I always find his insights to be positive and well thought out. In these two essays he advocates for many things that design (especially for the web) should do, with probably the most important thing being to try to achieve clarity. Which is not necessarily the same thing as simplicity. Here is an excerpt:
A quick example from my life: Twitter didn’t replace Facebook. The iPad didn’t replace my phone. My phone didn’t replace my TV. Now, I watch YouTube on my iPad, toss the video up to my TV, while checking Twitter and Facebook on my phone. It’s a little constellation of technology. But I keep asking myself: how many more things can I juggle? And for how long?
The answers offered are typically technological solutions. Algorithms. Automation. Tiny programs and sets of rules to filter out what bursts from the internet’s flue hole. While well intentioned (maybe), these answers only become extra points of control and influence.
3. NEXTDRAFT by Dave Pell
If you don’t have time to read much of the news, this can be your highlight version of that. Sign up to receive this email newsletter from Dave Pell that is entertaining and covers most of the “big” stories (and some smaller ones) each day. This is not a tedious thing and most days there are links to very interesting stories. He writes a few sentences introducing each story and it is all done very elegantly and with a sense of humor.
While the majority of this site is in Portuguese, there are many English versions of poems and American/European writers that write in English featured on here. Even if you don’t understand how to read Portuguese (if you can read Spanish though you should try), this is a cool site to check because it features writers from all over the world and from all different time periods and showcases their work in their original language and also translated into Portuguese. This site was started and currently curated by 4 Brazilian poets: Angélica Freitas, Fabiano Calixto, Marília Garcia and Ricardo Domeneck. If nothing else, by seeing who is featured every week, you will become more familiar with the names of poets worldwide.
Basically, I find collections like this fascinating. This one is publicly available via Pepperdine University in Malibu. Here is their blurb:
The Historic Surfboard Collection includes over thirty surfboards from the personal collection of John Mazza, surfing aficionado and local Malibu resident. The boards, on permanent loan to Pepperdine University, represent the evolution of surfing and surfboard technology in the twentieth century with examples ranging from the 1910s to the 1980s. With each board photographed from multiple perspectives, this digital collection reveals the art and ingenuity of surfboard shapers and contextualizes the boards as cultural objects with an important place in popular culture and local history. The surfboards are a part of Pepperdine University Special Collections and University Archives’ Malibu Historical Collection.
Hoped you enjoyed this interlude, next week we will be returning to our regularly featured beat of all things book business related.