What And How We Read

How do Britons read? And what? A survey asks the questions. “Those who study the bestseller lists with bewilderment each week can take comfort from the fact that the sales of new books don’t necessarily reflect what the nation is reading. Seventy-three per cent of people buy new books, but 41 per cent borrow library books, 42 per cent borrow books from friends and family, and 41 per cent buy from secondhand shops.”

Here’s Your Trophy, Now Hit The Road

The musicians who win the top prizes at major international competitions are, of course, some of the best players in the world. You would think that such prizewinning talents would immediately find themselves with a full schedule of recital dates and solo appearances in the world’s top venues. But in fact, most prizewinners quickly find that their careers get only a minimal boost from even the most celebrated competitions. Case in point: Van Cliburn gold medalists Olga Kern and Stanislav Ioudenitch, currently touring such classical music meccas as, um, Kansas City.

Art, Not Gangs

“While research has found that arts education can improve overall academic performance, the studies are preliminary on whether the arts can contribute to peace among youth. But encouraging evidence can be gleaned from personal observations. In cities around the country, corrections staff, nonprofit organizations, and individuals are putting together arts education programs for at-risk youth, with city and state arts commissions. In Boston, a nonprofit group called Artists for Humanity has apprenticeships for economically disadvantaged urban teenagers.”

What Happens When The Definition Of “Classic” Changes

Classic movies aren’t what they used to be. That’s not a judgment – more of an observation. “The canon has been changing over the last decade, and what makes a classic of cinema is now drastically different to discerning young moviegoers than it has been to their teachers or to the critics or to Leonard Maltin. The implications of the new canon are vast, much bigger than the specific films themselves, and they speak to the ways in which a new generation perceives history, reality, and even perception itself.”

Plagiarism Charges Haunt Stegner’s Legacy

Did Wallace Stegner, the “dean” of American Western writers, get “more credit than he deserved for a book he wrote based on the life of fellow Western writer Mary Hallock Foote? Stegner had lifted large amounts of Foote’s writing nearly verbatim from her lifetime of correspondence for his most famous novel, ‘Angle of Repose.’ Stegner’s biographers and others long ago conceded his heavy reliance on the Foote material, but for the most part they dismissed the concerns as misplaced. Recently, though, the issue has again begun seeping into public debate. Many new voices are not so forgiving.”

Denver Center Cancels Premiere

The Denver Center Theatre cancelled its opening show of next season – “Diner Stories” – with book, music and lyrics by Nancy Shayne. “It would have been the only musical in the new season and, more important, the only world premiere. Apparently, the author withdrew the show, and it’s unlikely she will take it to another company. Denver Center, which has eliminated its literary department, has few resources for discovering new works by new talent” for a replacement.

Try To Remember…

“Trying to be important is a zero-sum game for artists,” writes playwright Jon Robin Baitz. “To be a blocked artist is to have a disease: Almost blind, often numb, you don’t stop wanting to make art. And you don’t want to find yourself staring at others’, riven with rage like Rumpelstiltskin tearing himself asunder. I have seen that loss of direction and rage imprinted into the visages of so many artists I admire; this strange admixture of terror and bluster, the need to be loved, in combination with the need to dominate.”

Return Of The Blacklist?

Can the blacklist live again? Absolutely, writes Linda Winer. “Lest anyone think I overstate the danger to artists who use their media access to penetrate the drumbeats of war, consider what already exists on the Internet – ironically, a phenomenon that thrives on the gift of free speech.”

Bollywood Works To Become Profitable

India’s Bollywood is the largest film industry in the world, but it hasn’t been profitable for years. “Although revenue in Bollywood has increased during the last five years, losses have also increased, reaching three billion rupees last year. The number of films made annually is expected to fall from 1,200 to below 1,000, leading to an increase in the average revenue per movie.”