On expensive reading matter, from the New York Times Book Review, 12/27/2009, p. 18:
"Big Spenders: Every month, the used-book Web site AbeBooks.com releases a list of its most expensive sales. The list is often dominated by specialty items and antique works.... But in November, with the holidays approaching, things took a distinctly literary turn. Did the person who spent $12,500 for a set of Charles Dickens's works (and a signed note from the author) plan to give them to someone special for Christmas? That sale topped the list, followed by a first edition of F. Scott Fitzgerald's 'Tender Is the Night,' for $11,000, and a signed, limited-edition copy of Helmut Newton's gargantuan photography book 'Sumo,' for $10,867. The Newton book is 20 inches wide and more than 2 feet long, but for that kind of money you don't need to worry about finding a place for it on your coffee table: it comes with a custom display stand designed by Philippe Starck."
**********On the reaction to the Twilight series, from "Girls Just Wanna Have Fangs," by Sady Doyle, in The American Prospect, 11/19/2009:
"As Twilight demonstrates, not everything girls like is good art -- or, for that matter, good feminism. Still, the Twilight backlash should matter to feminists, even if the series makes them shudder."
*********On the moral teachings of Jane Austen, from "What Would Jane Do?," by James Collins, in the Wall Street Journal, 11/14/2009:
"I find that reading Jane Austen helps me clarify ethical choices, helps me figure out a way to live with integrity in the corrupt world, even helps me adopt the proper tone and manner in dealing with others. Her moralism and the modern mind are not, in fact, in direct opposition, as is so often assumed."