From Publishers Weekly, here is their annual best books list. From The New York Times, here are the 100 notable books of 2009. From Amazon, here are their Best Books of 2009. From THES, on the "giving it away" argument: Matthew Reisz assesses what open access means for book authors. The future of bookselling: Borders has gone belly-up, Amazon thrives, and doom-mongers are proclaiming the death of literature on the high street — but this could be the opening of a fine new chapter. A look at why Borders's demise is not the end of the book world. The point of diminishing returns: Publishers are beyond risk-averse, they are decision-averse — and we are all suffering from the lack of variety. Meet publishers' enemy No. 1: Sci-fi novelist Cory Doctorow is shaking up the traditional book-selling model, and apparently getting rich doing it (and more). A review of A Better Pencil: Readers, Writers, and the Digital Revolution by Dennis Baron. Is the term "out of print" now an anachronism? Scott McLemee eavesdrops on planning for a brave new world. A review of The Case for Books: Past, Present, and Future by Robert Darnton. Michael Wolff on why books are bad for you. From The Awl, here's a graphic history of magazine income over the last decade (and newspapers). ZineWiki is an open-source encyclopedia devoted to zines and independent media. The airline industry is struggling, and so is magazine publishing, but a British company is profiting by combining the two. SkyMall, a catalog with altitude: The airplane publication has become an institution, a subject of mockery and fascination.


The Political Fictions Project: New York invites seven writers to submit short stories featuring contemporary political figures (and from Bookforum, Morris Dickstein writes on fiction and political fact, and more). From TNR, is John Boehner a character from Mad Men?; and the accidental politician: How Sarah Palin resembles Joe McCarthy. Beauty queens, sex tapes and the Christian Right: Lasciviousness and hypocrisy have embarrassed Carrie Prejean and her supporters, but in every problem dwells an opportunity. The disastrous politics of Rapture: An excerpt from Patience with God by Frank Schaffer. How the Religious Right stole Christmas: Sectarian grinches and persnickety pundits have turned the season of peace into a festival of carping. From Salon, an article on Glenn Beck's white nationalist fans (and more). Much like the Depression-era demagogue Father Charles Coughlin, Glenn Beck is promoting a mass movement — should his bosses be pulling the plug? Tea-party style activism has taken some nutty turns before — the Hitler references, the Holocaust pictures — but Walter Fitzpatrick III may be about to push anti-Obama activism to new heights. Doing "Right" in Vegas: Nevada's James Edward McCrink funds hate and denial groups. A major defection in the conservative blogosphere: Charles Johnson, founder of Little Green Footballs, announces a final break. Changing the tone: Most citizens want to be heard, but we can't let an angry minority speak for them. All isn't fair: E.J. Dionne Jr. on how to fight extremism with civility. Political Science: A look at the psychological differences in the U.S.'s red-blue divide.


Can the polis live again?: The modern world has withered public space and its virtues. Serious information used to be relayed in words, graphs and charts, while pictures were just pretty window dressing — that's all changing. Opening of world's tallest tower marks end of Dubai era. Armchair Travelers: The Renaissance writers and humanists Petrarch and Boccaccio turned to geography to understand the works of antiquity. 60 Minutes and Vanity Fair team up for a new monthly national survey. A memory study looks at why we repeat ourselves. From NYRB, Timothy Garton Ash on Velvet Revolution: The Prospects. A look at the psychedelic secrets of Santa. The FP Top 100 Global Thinkers: From the brains behind Iran's Green Revolution to the economic Cassandra who actually did have a crystal ball, they had the big ideas that shaped our world in 2009. Jonathan Littell is this year's winner of the Bad Sex in Fiction Awards (and from Bookforum, Leland de la Durantaye reviews The Kindly Ones) Why do authors find it difficult to write about sex? Peter Singer on how it's not whether we ration health care, but how. Could world finance be on the brink of cataclysmic change?: A review of The Future of the Dollar. It bleeds, and yes, it leads: In Hong Kong and Taiwan, yesterday's gruesome crime is today's digital cartoon. Cornel West's latest book is a memoir; Scott McLemee thinks it marks the end of the line. Sounding board, sage on foreign policy, twister of senatorial arms: Joe Biden could be the second-most-powerful vice president in history. Safe to say: Language indicates a shift in our thinking about sex, pain and death.


From Vanity Fair, questioning C.E.O. Lloyd Blankfein, C.O.O. Gary Cohn, and C.F.O. David Viniar, Bethany McLean explores how Goldman Sachs navigated the collapse of September 2008, why it has already set aside $16.7 billion for compensation this year, and which lines it’s accused of crossing. The new AIG report reveals how the Treasury secretary — and U.S. taxpayers — were fleeced by Wall Street banks. Arnold Kling on the root of the financial crisis: A dearth of knowledge at the nexus of decisions. Martha Coakley and Elizabeth Warren on the right way to regulate: Why we badly need a federal agency that protects consumers. Thomas Frank on how we hear much less nonsense about the wisdom of markets these days. New consensus sees stimulus package as worthy step. How to do a second stimulus: Another vast, sprawling package, including every spending measure anybody ever thought of, is out of the question. Fed up with federalism: How America's commitment to states' rights is undermining our economic recovery. Going beyond short-term fixes: We need massive, permanent federal investment in infrastructure and public services, not symbolism like a new WPA. John Judis on the case for deficit spending: How the Obama administration is misreading the recession. Give us fiscal austerity, but not quite yet. William Greider on how deficit spending is a cure for our troubles, not the cause — if Obama reduces the red ink, the Great Recession could be born again. Hey Obama, here are 9 big ideas to beat unemployment. So much gasbaggery, so little time: Why Obama is obsessed with summits.

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