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Archive for March 7th, 2009

citylightsFrom The Nation archives, reviews of a dozen vintage films reflecting “the hardships and aspirations of Americans in the first Great Depression”:

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books“In Woody Allen’s clever 1983 mockumentary ‘Zelig,’ the title character lies about having read ‘Moby-Dick’ so he can fit in with the crowd – kicking off a career as a face-changing human chameleon.

“Turns out there are a lot of Zeligs around: a recent survey found that more than two-thirds of respondents admitted to lying about having read classic books, with George Orwell’s ‘1984’ topping the fib list.

“The survey of more than 1,300 readers by the UK-based organizers of World Book Day, placed Leo Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace’ and James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’ at Nos. 2 and 3 of the book that inspired the most lies.

“Breaking at least one commandment, 24 percent of those surveyed said they had lied about reading The Bible, which placed No 4. People didn’t only pretend to read old-time tomes: President Obama’s ‘Dreams from My Father’ made the list, at No. 9.” (more @ NBC New York)

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“For the best part of a decade, the heirs of German writer and Nobel prize laureate Heinrich Böll worked on hammering out a deal with the city of Cologne over the transfer of his private papers to the state archives.

“Three weeks ago, city officials held a special ceremony to mark the historic handover: for €800,000 (£712,000), the Cologne archives took possession of hundreds of boxes containing items ranging from Böll’s school reports to scripts of his radio plays, novels and essays by Germany’s most popular post-second world war writer, who died in 1985 at the age of 67.

“But his papers and unpublished works may have been lost for ever after the collapse of the archives building this week. . . .

“The Böll documents are just a small part of the losses to the archives which contained almost 30km of files, including articles written by Karl Marx, letters by Georg Hegel, writings by composer Jacques Offenbach and edicts issued by Napoleon Bonaparte, as well as the minutes of city council meetings going back to 1376, which offer a fascinating portrait of medieval Cologne.” (more @ The Guardian)

A video of the post collapse excavations can be viewed here. (via Books, Inq.)

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digestReader’s Digest Association Inc., the closely held magazine publisher, hired law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP to explore restructuring options including a possible bankruptcy filing, a person familiar with the situation said.” (via Bloomberg)

[While I have never been a reader of the Digest, and have always scoffed at their library of “condensed books,” Reader’s Digest was my father’s magazine of choice — my father-in-law still swears by it — as well as a ubiquitous presence in every doctor’s and dentist’s waiting room visited during my childhood.]

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