‘Now Reading’ is a daily collection and sharing of online stories and is meant for minimal consumption by the few readers of this blog. Topics will include books, food, matters of culture, photography, media and technology … there are no rules. Have a story to add? Share it in the comments.
In the Oct. 1 issue of The New Yorker, Ian Parker’s piece “Mugglemarch” appears, a profile of author J.K. Rowling. Rowling, of course, is known worldwide for her Harry Potter series (since dishonesty on a personal blog seems to be the ultimate form of hypocrisy, I’ll admit up front I’ve read three pages – total – of the Potter series), but this piece focuses on the release of her first adult novel, “The Casual Vacancy.”
There are interesting nuggets in this piece that I didn’t know about Rowling – specifically, how some definitions of her former years of poverty may have been a bit overblown – but what I find fascinating about Parker’s piece is the battle between Rowling’s desire to graduate from tales of teenage wizardry and the attempts of her Potter audience to retain her brilliance, as if one of the most gifted contemporary authors should be eternally confined to the land from which her career sprouted.
“There is no part of me that feels that I represented myself as your children’s babysitter or their teacher,” Rowling says in the piece. “I was always, I think, completely honest. I’m a writer, and I will write what I want to write.”
In David Carr’s “The Media Equation” column in The New York Times, he writes about the launch of Quartz (www.qz.com), Atlantic’s digital business news site that launched Monday. David G. Bradley, owner of Atlantic Media, speaks about his vision behind the site and that, despite his love for The Atlantic’s print product, it quickly became an economical vortex. “I love the romance of print, but after I took over The Atlantic, I began losing $8 to $10 million a year,” Bradley says in the piece. “It was not a sustainable business, no matter how much I loved it.”
As you can see upon first visit to the site, Quartz was designed for mobile platforms (and specifically, the iPad, it appears). This correlates with Bradley’s decision to keep the product non-premium, as opposed to The Economist and WSJ.com, publications that have opted to put content behind the pay wall, because The Atlantic is anticipating the majority of Quartz’s traffic to pour in from social media tools. Sponsored content will appear on the site, but ad revenue will primarily be tied to the ubiquitous social sharing of free content.
I check in at The New York Times’ ‘Dining & Wine’ online section a few times a week to check its Diner’s Journal blog and other pieces, and I ran across this Ligaya Mishan review of Boukies, a new Greek restaurant in town. The description of the food and atmosphere are superb, and while I can’t comment on the food itself, it seems the execution of Boukies’ dining experience – smaller plates, smaller portions, more time for conversation and socializing – is authentically Greek.
Having spent time in Greece with relatives – let alone the weekend summer meals we indulge in at home – that’s an aspect lost on American dining that I’ve come to appreciate. Greek eating is an exercise in slow grazing more than quick gorging. “The food does not need to be perfect,” Mishan writes. “It is a backdrop for conversation, an excuse for drinking wine …”
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