Monday News: B&N Kitchen, Twitter Lite, beautiful Dick (not what you think!), and Dashiell Hammett
Barnes & Noble continues Kitchen openings – I initially missed this story (h/t Nate Hoffelder) that Barnes & Noble is quite seriously getting into the restaurant business. In some ways I appreciate the dogged determination to make their business work (and the money they seem to have to take these risks), but do we really want people browsing for books around beer, wine, and plated food?
As part of a restaurant development program announced last year, the bookselling giant’s new store at the multi-purpose Legacy West development is the fourth Barnes & Noble Kitchen, joining earlier opening in Edina, Minn., Folsom, Calif., and Scarsdale, N.Y.
“This store is part of our ongoing effort to test new concept stores,” said Demos Parneros, Barnes & Noble CEO, in a statement. . . .
The menu offers a range of appetizers, salads, entrees, shareable items and desserts. Prices for entrees range from $14 for grilled cheese and tomato soup to $22 for plancha-cooked salmon with tabbouleh salad and basil dressing. Side vegetables are $4 to $5. Specialty coffees and other drinks are also on the menu. – Restaurant News
Twitter Lite with lower data usage becomes available in 24 new countries – With 80% of its users outside the U.S., Twitter is experimenting with a “Lite” version that can run in countries where digital infrastructure may not be well developed yet. Available in 24 countries now (Algeria, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Egypt, Israel, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Malaysia, Nigeria, Nepal, Panama, Peru, Serbia, El Salvador, South Africa, Thailand, Tunisia, Tanzania and Venezuela), Twitter Lite, according to the company, has boosted the tweet rate by more than 50%. As frustrated as I’ve been with Twitter over the last few years, I think it can be a powerful resource, especially given its real-time capabilities (you know, before they screwed with the timeline function).
Not too different from Facebook Lite, Twitter has also built a version of its app that’s optimized for developing countries. Twitter Lite minimizes data usage, which makes it more accessible in regions where data plans are too expensive.
The app is able to load faster on a slow connection. Twitter says it is “more resilient on unreliable mobile networks,” like 2G and 3G. Twitter additionally reduced the size of the app to under 3MB, so that it doesn’t take up too much space on a phone. – Tech Crunch
How two artists imagined the worlds of Philip K. Dick in Folio Society’s beautiful new book – If you have a $100 to spend on a nifty new volume from the Folio Society, this may be your book. Capitalizing on the resurgence of the “Blade Runner” films, perhaps, the volume sure is lovely, with the two novels graphically imagined by two different artists with strongly different styles. Reading definitely seems to be more of a synesthetic experience these days.
When science fiction jumped from pulp magazines to full books during the mass-market paperback revolution of the 1950s, publisher Ace Books used an innovative new formatknown as Tête-bêche. It packaged two novels back to back, so readers could finish one, flip the book over, and start the next. A number of prominent science fiction novelists launched their careers on the backs of these little books, including Ursula K. Le Guin, Samuel R. Delany, and Philip K. Dick.
Over half a century later, high-end publisher Folio Society is reviving the format, releasing a gorgeous Tête-bêche book that pairs Dick’s classic novels Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and A Scanner Darkly. As with theirotherbooks, Folio Society has included some fantastic artwork. Instead of a single person, it commissioned two artists with very different styles: Australian artist Andrew Archer illustrated A Scanner Darkly, while UK-based artist Chris Skinner tackled Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – The Verge
The nameless detective who launched Dashiell Hammett’s career – Before Dashiell Hammett became famous for characters like Sam Spade and Nick and Nora Charles (now I want to go watch a bunch of “Thin Man” movies – Myrna Loy is so fabulous!), he wrote a slew of stories featuring an unnamed detective (The Continental Op), who worked for the Continental Detective Agency. Hammett described him as “a little man going forward day after day through mud and blood and death and deceit,” and Richard Layman and Julie M. Rivett (Hammett’s granddaughter) have brought him back to life in a new volume, The Big Book of the Continental Op. Although Hammett may be more widely known for his later works, these early stories also had a significant impact on the evolution of the detective story.
Hammett wrote The Continental Op stories in the earliest years of his career, and to read them in sequence is to witness how Hammett slowly transformed the formulaic “gals, guts, and guns” action tales, the staple of pulp magazines like the Black Mask, into the stuff of literature. Even the early Op stories here give readers the chance to walk around the mythic San Francisco that Hammett created — a place of fog and furnished apartments, sinister Nob Hill mansions and Chinatown gambling dens. . . .
Also present in even the earliest Op stories are the working-class resentments and nativist politics that, like it or not, would become essential elements of the hard-boiled formula. The Op is always cleaning up messes made by the wealthy; when an heiress apparently falls afoul of kidnappers in “Crooked Souls,” Hammett stokes up 1920s nativist fears by having the Op discover a ransom note threatening to sell the girl to “a Chinaman who will buy her.” – Washington Post