What’s J Been Reading? [First of Brumalia, 24 Nov 11]

Hey, Nelson, why didn’t you identify today as Thanksgiving?  And, what the hell is “Brumalia” anyway?

Well, I have been avoiding the use of moveable holidays to identify the dates in my daily reading.  Also, I lament the fact that we have reduced the three-day Thanksgiving feast to a single day (yeah, yeah, I realize that a lot of people take a four-day weekend) so I thought I would honor the 30-day-long Roman feast of Brumalia instead, as a sort of protest against our truncated festivity.

Now, what have I read this morning?  Well, I set off to the coffee shop first thing for some caffeination before the day’s feast, and so I could work on some background material for The Observer Tales.  Specifically, I wanted to polish up the language of the Marashid, so I have been doing a little online research into Proto-Semitic, following leads from my knowledge of Arabic and Hebrew.  I already had a fair amount of vocabulary for Marashid, and the Murshy creole derived from it, but today I firmed up the pronouns, verb conjugations, and numerals up to ten.

There, you’ve had a peek into the sausage being made.

I also took a peek into Elizabeth Spann Craig‘s writing process, specifically how this prolific author prefers to space her books.

And, although I read a bit of science news as well, most of the articles were follow-ups on old stories.  One thing I would like to say to the British science press, however: the term “boffin” is really getting tiresome.  “Scientist,” “expert,” and “researcher” are perfectly fine words. “Boffin” sounds dismissive and diminishing, like something the half-wit policeman from an English detective story might say.

BEST READ OF THE DAY: Lynne Patrick at Hey There’s a Dead Guy (where there’s always lots of good stuff to read) discusses “the insanity that is the publishing industry.”  I really like her no-nonsense take on over-looked writers and over-marketed celebrity fluff.  I commented there, but permit me to repost my take on Patrick’s gently incisive rant:

You’ve covered both sides effectively; to say Yes to more good books, the industry simply has to say No to crap books published for all the wrong reasons. Not only is this “justice” for good, overlooked writers, but it’s the only sustainable model over the long term. Blowing up false value is bubble economics, and bubbles eventually burst.

But, although the long-term economic inefficiencies of rigging the market to reward celeb-driven garbage are obvious according to principle, until a financial downside is documented for individual players and socialized throughout the industry, change isn’t likely to happen.

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