Wednesday, April 28, 2010

PSR Blog on Hiatus

Hello friends of PSR! I just wanted to let you know that the Plains Song Review blog is going on a brief hiatus while we all finish up papers and finals. We'll be back soon to post some pictures of the reading.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Future of E-Books

New Yorker has a new article about the future of the e-book. It seems that Amazon's Kindle is going through some strife, but the iPad is poised to swoop in. I'm not a huge fan of the whole e-book idea, I must admit. Did you know Amazon can take back your e-book any time they want? And I love browsing at the bookstore. However, this comment made me think:
According to Grandinetti, publishers are asking the wrong questions. “The real competition here is not, in our view, between the hardcover book and the e-book,” he says. “TV, movies, Web browsing, video games are all competing for people’s valuable time. And if the book doesn’t compete we think that over time the industry will suffer. "

What do you think? Is the e-book the only way for publishing to survive?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


R-Day is upon us, friends of PSR! That's right, today is the day of our annual reading and reception! I hope you're all getting excited! Can't come? That's awfully sad, but we'll be sure to tell you all about it later on the blog.

Plains Song Review XII Reading and Reception
Wednesday, April 21st, 2010
7:00 PM

Great Plains Art Gallery
Center for Great Plains Studies
1155 Q St.
Lincoln, NE

Monday, April 19, 2010

PSR in the news!

Plains Song Review was in the Daily Nebraskan today! The story is all about our upcoming release of PSR XII and the reading and reception on Wednesday, April 21st. Check it out here.

However, I'm afraid the article says the reading is on Tuesday. It is not! It's on Wednesday!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Are the books you read at age 12 the most important?

This writer thinks that the books you read as a child are the most influential and life-changing books you'll ever read. He says:

We love these books, dearly and uncritically, the way we love the smell of our first girlfriend's perfume, no matter how cheap or tacky it might have been. Let's be honest: We all know that Ulysses and A la recherché du temps perdu are "better" books than The Velveteen Rabbit or The Little Prince, but come on--which would you take with you on a spaceship to salvage from the dying Earth?
It's an interesting point. I think people often overlook the greatness of "young adult" literature. However, I feel like if a book can't change your life when you're an adult, you must be reading it wrong.

What were your favorite books as a kid? Have you read any really life-changing ones recently?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

PSR XII is printed!

Hello friends of PSR! I just wanted to tell you all that the twelfth volume of Plains Song Review has come back from the printers. They will be available at the reading on April 21st, and after that on our website.

A few highlights:

  • An interview with Timothy Schaffert, author of Devils in the Sugar Shop, The Singing and Dancing Daughters of God, and The Phantom Limbs of the Rollow Sisters.
  • Work by: Marge Barrett, Alicia Bones, Faye Tanner Cool, Suzanne Dawson, Marilyn Dorf, Tom Hansen, Twyla Hansen, Leah H. Hebner, G. Thompson Higgins, Janet Kamnikar, Mallory Kerns, Mary Logan, Judy Lorenzen, J.J. McKenna, Madeline Moore, Molly O'Dell, Andrew Oerman, Frances Patterson, Christina Petroski, Amy Plettner, Claudia Reinhardt, Dee Ritter, Natalie Schwarz, Red Shuttleworth, Don Thackrey, Jessica Vetter, Rex Walton, Deb Walz, Marydorsey Wanless, and Don Welch.
  • Cover photo by G. Thompson Higgins

Monday, April 12, 2010

How Paperback Novels Changed Everything

Did you know that paperback novels weren't invented until 1935, with the advent of Penguin Books? One journalist explains how this great idea changed everything about the way we read. At the end of the article, he compares it to the current shift in form, the switch from print books to e-books. As much as I like the idea of saving paper, I think the print book is destined to survive, don't you?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Poets Ranked by Beard Weight

Writers and artists always seem to have really impressive facial hair, don't they? I mean, think of Hemingway and Nietzsche! But have you ever wondered, "Which poets have the very best facial hair?" If yes, (and of course you answered yes) you're in luck! The blog Journey Round My Skull has recently uncovered a curious Edwardian book called Poets Ranked by Beard Weight.

Its author, Underwood (whose previous works include Whiskers of the World), proposes that
"that there is a direct correlation between personal appearance and artistic proficiency and integrity, or what, in the case of the bewhiskered brethren of the literary fraternity, he elsewhere calls "poetic gravity" or beard weight. It might be said, in short, that Underwood's motto is the beard makes the bard."

What about it, poets? Do your whiskers keep up with your writing skills? I'm afraid I have no beard and mustache at all!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Amazon reviewers think this masterpiece sucks

Funny article from Salon about finding one-star reviews of classic books on Amazon. They look at the reviews who criticize great books like Jane Eyre, To Kill a Mockingbird, and even The Diary of Anne Frank.

Everyone's entitled to their own opinion, I suppose, but I certainly wouldn't want to associate with someone who one-starred Anne Frank. (True story: I judge people by the books they like. But really, who doesn't?)

I decided to do a little Great Plains version of the Salon story and looked up one-star reviews of My Antonia. Here's one:
This book is the worst piece of "literature" that I have ever had the misfortune of turning my nose up to. I fell asleep, 2 pages into the book. The next time, I managed a 3 page chapter, and fell asleep again. It took me several tries to read, and everytime I read this book, I felt a feeling of incredible tiredness and depression settle upon me. I hated every page of this book, and think that any good reviews given to it came from the worst lying scum to ever deface this planet we call Earth. I suggest not buying it. It isn't even worthy of the 1 star that I gave it.
Sad! I love My Antonia!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Announcing PSR's Annual Reading and Reception

We are pleased to announce that on Wednesday, April 21st at 7:00 PM, Plains Song Review will be holding its annual reading and reception. Come see our contributors read from their work, view contributor photography, and have refreshments! In addition, copies of PSR will be on sale for only $5.00!

The reading and reception will be held at:
Great Plains Art Gallery
Center for Great Plains Studies.
1155 Q Street
Lincoln NE

The reading is free and open to the public. Hope to see you all there!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Literary Critics Turn to Science

The New York Times has a truly fascinating article today about how English scholars are beginning to look at cognitive science in relation to literature. They think our preference for fiction might arise out of certain survival traits that we've evolved. The article even explains why we love Jane Austen so deeply, and why so many find Virginia Woolf to be so complex.

An excerpt:
"They say they’re convinced science not only offers unexpected insights into individual texts, but that it may help to answer fundamental questions about literature’s very existence: Why do we read fiction? Why do we care so passionately about nonexistent characters? What underlying mental processes are activated when we read?"

If anyone from the UNL English Department is reading the blog today, you should definitely make a class about this!