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Link Roundup: Obscenity and Cooking

PUBLISHED: February 18, 2009

1. The Espresso book machine will print, bind, and trim a 300-page book in just under four minutes. The video of it in operation is a bit mesmerizing.

2. In our Autumn 1976 issue, Forrest McDonald really, really hated Page Smith’s A New Age Now Begins: A People’s History of the American Revolution:

One might sum this up merely by saying this is the worst book I have ever reviewed, which is true enough. But one cannot let it go at that. […] Had such a work appeared anonymously in an underground newspaper, no one would have a right to be offended, but for it to appear under the imprint of a respectable publisher and a reputable historian is nothing less than prostitution.

The Supreme Court has defined an obscene book as one that is offensive to ordinary standards of decency and contains no redeeming social value. By that criterion, A New Age Now Begins is on a par with the movies of Linda Lovelace.

I kind of want to read it now.

3. Cecily Parks is giving a reading at New York’s KGB Bar on the 26th. We published a collection of her work, Field Folly Snow, as a part of the VQR Poetry Series.

4. Harper’s Index is now online in its entirety, back to its 1984 beginning, complete with a clever Ajax-y interface. Here are some facts about monkeys:

  • Percentage of Americans who say they approve of using monkeys in medical experiments: 69
  • Number of pygmy monkeys seized from a traveler’s pants last December by L.A. customs officials: 2
  • Number of mine-detecting monkeys erroneously reported to have been given to the United States by Morocco in March: 2,000
  • Number of monkeys fed a nine-course meal at last year’s Chinese Banquet for Monkeys in Lopburi, Thailand: 3,000

Since you were wondering.

5. VQR used to review cookbooks, unusually, and lots of them. Walker and Claudine Cowen reviewed a dozen or so cookbooks at a time from the mid-1970s through the mid-1980s. Check out the Summer 1976, Autumn 1982, or Spring 1985 installments for some samples. I wonder if similar publications have ever been in the habit of reviewing cookbooks en masse.

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