Susan Orlean

On Tuesday, Susan Orlean posted a piece on her New Yorker blog about the publishing world, in which she identified everyone involved by letter instead of name (e.g. Editor A, Publisher W). The Observer thinks it has solved the puzzle, but is there a letter—or a number—missing?

The Authors Guild versus Google case continues to drag on, more than five years since it began, and four months since a final settlement was supposed to be reached. With so much time on their hands, the litigants may find diversion—if not solace—in reading Bleak House, available for free—and in full—on Google Books.

Abraham Lincoln was a gifted poet. At Slate, Robert Pinsky analyzes Lincoln's "My Childhood-Home I See Again." 

Tony Judt, a writer and scholar suffering from ALS, is "fast losing control of words even as my relationship with the world has been reduced to them . . . Though I am now more sympathetic to those constrained to silence I remain contemptuous of garbled language." In this essay on words, he recalls his early memories of listening to his relatives' articulate talk, laments the garbled professionalism of academic writing, and notes his children’s observation that today "people talk like texts." But Judt doesn't see language slipping into Orwellian newspeak, rather he worries over what he calls nospeak: "we speak and write badly because we don’t feel confident in what we think and are reluctant to assert it unambiguously."

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