Maud has a neat post on the shifting of vowels. It’s like continents moving about on the molten mantle of our planet, but in your mouth. For instance, if you shift the vowels, you get vewols. I like shifting consonants too. Naud Mewton. Isn’t that fun!?
America can be reduced to 29 pounds of numbers on paper. Pfft. 14% of all people know that.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune gets an award for publishing through a hurricane. Pffft. I once published through a tornado, as I was simultaneously struck by a meteor and lightning and swallowed whole by a rent in the earth that led straight to Hell. The book was called “A Million Little Pieces”. Yeah, that was me. I went there. (I would say continuous publishing through a hurricane as your office floods is material for an award… I really would. You could be putting out The Enquirer and I’d still give you a journalism award.)
More than half the 6,000 languages left in the world are endangered. This doesn’t apply to pig-Latin, does it? Because I’m just learning now so Lady Ninja and I can talk at the table without Mr. Big Ears listening in. And it would suck to have a language cancelled just as I was getting into it.
The hook at the top of this piece calls DBC Pierre an “moralist”… Yeah, and Dick Cheney is a “marksman”.
In the week that Vernon God Little picked up the 2003 Man Booker prize, its author was smoked out by the relative of an elderly American artist who years earlier had been fleeced by Pierre in a property transaction that went wrong. The morning after what should have been his greatest epiphany, the new Booker laureate found such epithets as “drug addict” and “conman” appended to his name across the global media. These, it turned out, referred back to a youth misspent charming loans out of people to help him build an array of castles in the sky. Most of the money, he freely admits, went up his nose.
Youth? Your twenties are beyond a misspent youth. That’s a misspent adulthood. Don’t forget it, people. Hands in pockets, hunched shoulders, pouted lip and kicking a leaf remorsefully don’t cut it. “Man, I sure was bad” doesn’t cut it. Not if you want to be called a “moralist”. The flight from con-man to moralist has a few more stop-overs than Pierre has made.
The successful imprint combines the best of the huge with the best of the small, the sales and marketing machine of the juggernaut company combined with the boutique (awful word) sensitivity of a small editorial, design and publicity team where the writer and the agent will know everyone involved and the taste and sensibilities of the team.
Yes, yes, but we all know this is about money and time. If you have too much of each, you go into publishing.
Should reviewers have seen through the Frey lies? This one apparently did, using a brush with a previous prisoner/author as a guage for his judgement.
Writers who have “walked the walk” have a special appeal – as long as they are also talented writers. There was never any mistaking Bunker’s authenticity, but I found his Cash story chilling: what kind of man could always guarantee a seat front of house in a maximum security prison?
It’s like the old joke: what do you call a 1,000 pound ape sitting in front of you at the theatre? “Sir”. I guess if it were Frey the punchline would be “Bitch”.
That pretty much covers it. Sad not to see ninja alum Kathryn Gray in there, but she’s such a newbie compared to the list.
I received the latest copy of the New Yorker in the mail today and laughed so hard I had to share it with all of you. Here’s the Cartoonbank link to the cover. As it turns out, this isn’t the first time a Mark Ulriksen cover has featured a little gender bending.
The New York Times considers the plight of moderates in Muslim countries since the publication of the Muhammad cartoons, and suggests the “just don’t do it” approach may not have been the wisest strategy on the part of the West:
“I keep hearing, ‘Why are liberals silent?’ ” said Said al-Ashmawy, an Egyptian judge and author of books on political Islam. “How can we write? Who is going to protect me? Who is going to publish for me in the first place? With the Islamization of the society, the list of taboos has been increasing daily. You should not write about religion. You should not write about politics or women. Then what is left?”
See also Ibn Warraq’s argument that the West shouldn’t try to appease the forces calling for beheadings of people who draw pictures.
Even publishers are starting to see the benefits of releasing material for free online. The Globe business section profiles Bruce Judson whose publisher, HarperCollins, just released his entire book for free online. Well, as a free as a glance at a Google ad.
Mr. Judson, a successful entrepreneur and senior faculty fellow at Yale University’s school of management, is the first HarperCollins Publishers author to put the entirety of his latest book on his website. Users don’t have to pay a penny to read Go It Alone: The Secret to Building a Successful Business on Your Own. Instead, each digital page is bordered by Yahoo Inc. and Google Inc. text ads based on keywords in the book. The new business model isn’t just a first for the author, it’s also a first for his publisher. If successful, it may be embraced as a viable new strategy by traditional book publishers, long considered the media managers with the most to lose from the Internet.
Interesting article… Mind you, the state of the Globe’s source pool for colour commentary is lamentable, wouldn’t you say?
Them blogs ain’t worth the paper they’re written on, says big media outlet.
Blogging – if you will forgive the cartoon philosophising – brought the European Enlightenment to the US. Each blogger was his, or her, own printing press, spontaneously exercising their freedom to criticise. Which is great. But along the way, opinion became the new pornography on the internet.
Blogging will no doubt always have a place as an underground medium in closed societies; but for those in the west trying to blog their way into viable businesses, the economics are daunting.
The inherent problem with blogging is that your brand resides in individuals. If they are fabulous writers, someone is likely to lure them away to a better salary and the opportunity for more meaningful work; if the writer tires and burns out, the brand may go down in flames with them.
Don’t I know it, brother. I don’t really disagree, or have anything to add here except to say yeah, yeah, but coming up on three years in I’m still doing it, for some reason. Obsessive compulsive tendencies? I guess so. Now there’s almost 2000 more people reading each day than when we started. If I were trying to monetize that, we’d be at 2000 times the $0 we started out with and life would suck. But that’s not how we think of it.
Sometimes The Onion is so wrong it’s right. Or is that so wrong it’s right? Either way: ooch.
Alex Good comments on the mechanisms behind the brouhaha around the Bigge and McLaren reviewgate.
In fact, not only do I not know any Canadian writers, I don’t even know anyone who knows any Canadian writers.
Do you see my point? Am I so unusual? Or do you think there might be a lot of people like me? People who write and review books but who don’t live in Toronto, who don’t go to award galas or readings, and who . . . well, who just don’t count.
Hear hear. But Alex, how do we know you’re even real? I sometimes worry that you’re just a web page that’s gained sentience and now takes pictures of snowy farmland and updates itself on occasion. Come to think of it, though, even if that is the case, you’re still probably better qualified….
Boing Boing points to a trailer (fairly large movie file) for Richard Linklater’s film adaptation of A Scanner Darkly, Philip K. Dick’s classic. It looks like Keanu Reeves may finally have found a role that suits him: cartoon.
Nightwood Editions, one of Canada’s best small presses, whose publisher Silas White just got some good bumpf in the Vancouver Sun (you need subscriber access to read), is making waves on the bestseller lists. Their new fiction title by young poet Alayna Munce, When I Was Young and In My Prime, has crept onto not only the BC bestseller list, but the national bestseller list. This is particularly amazing because the novel started as a book of poetry and reads half-way between the two. Nice!
New York School poet, dead at 85. I heard about this a few days ago, but no one seems to have posted their obits yet. It’s a sad loss.
The Toronto Star apologizes for Bigge’s review of McLaren’s Continuity Girl, citing a failure to arm readers with all the facts. The whole airing of this dirty laundry is cathartic and, in some ways, overdue.
Let us share one salient fact: The CanLit wading pool is far too tiny to ever guarantee three degrees of separation, never mind six — although we really should do better than one, as in Bigge’s case. In a little world of juried state-sponsored publishing, conflict of interest is never far away. Even lawyer Warren Kinsella, piling on last week in the National Post, failed to mention his own self-interest — his personal website includes a counter recording the number of days that his own fall book has yet to be reviewed in the Star.
And there’s more and more. I could tell you some stories about who reviewed who and who is who’s best pal but is also a blurber, etc. But I won’t get involved, because as you all know, I’m above such things….
And bucks, baby. Humorist Dan Greenburg profiled in the Globe.
At any rate, in the course of a nearly five-decade sojourn in the writing game, he has, at various times, accompanied firemen into burning buildings (fire being one of his major fears), driven with cops in high-speed, drug-bust operations, made nicey-nice with tigers in Texas (this experience will soon become a children’s novel called Claws), been chased by a wild elephant in Africa, joined a Haitian voodoo ceremony, flown upside down over the Pacific Ocean with a stunt pilot in an open-cockpit aircraft, peeled the skin off faces in a New York morgue, and attended orgies and swingers’ clubs for Playboy magazine (okay, maybe in that case fear wasn’t the dominant physical response).
Oh, the things we do for England!
Kate DiCamillo is an REM to Rowling’s U2. And her tour bus is a riot of toppled bongs, broken and scattered high heels, and passed out publicists. Wait, not that.
Miss DiCamillo has no children and lives on her own in a tiny red 1902 house in Minneapolis. She sets herself the goal of writing two pages a day at a rickety bedroom desk made from an old fence from her childhood home, and she says she’s eager to get cracking on another novel.
Sigh. Two pages a day. Dreamy, isn’t it? It’s what we all hope for.
Two writers are flinging mud in South Africa about some alleged plagiarism. In these kinds of scenarios I always try to imagine myself from both perspectives. How would I feel if I felt someone had plagiarised my work? How would I feel if accused? Both would be shitty. But I’m not sure the best way to handle it (for either party) is to run to the press. I think perhaps pistols at dawn or a rousing game of caltrop razor jacks would be a much more civilised way of handling things.
A letter in which Faulkner is complaining about his agent just sold for $18G. It’s nice to know that, on some level, we’re all the same.
David Irving, the Holocaust denying historian, received a 3-year sentence yesterday for “denying the holocaust”. I’m torn on this. Part of me says, Throw away the key. Another part asks, You can be jailed for an opinion? It’s a frightening time for so many reasons around opinions. The Saloon has a good run down of all the issues.
An Albertan homeless person (yup, sure), on his last pogey cheque (uh huh), is soon to be transformed (if the publishing industry has its way) into the next JK Rowlings (right); now, in tatters (I see it), with a too-large tweed Tilley he picked up at the Sally Ann (drunk and bitter at the time, no doubt), Puffin has bought him a lifetime gym membership, a regular six week appointment for a hair sylist (includes lowlights, touch of grey etc.) and frequent manicures, also acupuncture for the stress celebrity brings.
The novel involves a young brother and sister from a city like Edmonton who discover a haunted book in Oxford’s Bodleian library, a medieval book of all knowledge, which requires the blood sacrifice of an innocent child to yield its secrets.
The second part of the story takes place in 1452, in medieval Mainz, the German city where Johann Gutenberg invented the first printing press.
Loyal reader Art points us to an ongoing argument in his home province of Alberta (yes, Art, I do enjoy poking you guys about living in Jesusland North, but it’s all part of the yeehaw aesthetic of in-your-face courage displayed here). Right wing newspaper, The Western Standard republished the infamous Danish Mohamed cartoons in an effort to… um… what?
Hear, hear! Do you have a newspaper press, a blog, a dot-matrix printer, an etch-a-sketch or a broken piece of sidewalk chalk? Anyone who has any kind of publishing device is morally obligated to reproduce the controversial cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad. This by decree of Alberta’s usual loud-mouthed fundamentalists, who argue that if we don’t choose to further inflame an already deadly situation, we will be surrendering to evil Muslim extremists (also known as “terrorists,” “evildoers” or, more simply, “them”).
Counter extremism with extremism, hate with hate, idiocy with idiocy. That is the way to respond, as demonstrated so perfectly this past week by Ezra Levant, publisher of the Western Standard. Canada’s more moderate media outlets – that is, every media outlet except for a handful – have declined to publish the cartoons that have sparked riots and deaths in the Middle East. Obviously, these publishers are cowards. Not the Western Standard. Not Ezra Levant. His magazine published the cartoons with what he calls “courage.”
Oh! I see, it was an effort to boost sales.
Someone is finally taking a proactive stance against bird flu and encouraging people to learn. Know how to bury your dead, they say. I think I need a cleansing aneurysm.
But the pope wants to be paid for spreading the word of God (as filtered through the bodies of white men concerned with maintaining power over the bodies and souls of others and amassing massive fortunes). Then again, I guess Osama has copyright, doesn’t he? And he’s kind of doing the same work from the other side of the video monitor.
The demand by the Vatican to respect copyright on the pontiff’s writings and pay for their use has triggered hot debate: Should an institution which exists to spread the word of God be putting a price on papal writ?
Unthinkable, say some authors. Not so, counters the Vatican; the authors are being paid for their efforts, so why not the church?
Dude, I’ll pay him to stop writing. (That oughta fire up the discussions a bit. And kill my chances of running for office one day…) (discuss)
“Since I became an atheist, I think any kind of restriction on picturing or making fun of or commenting on deities or prophets just rubs me the wrong way,” says Rees, talking quickly, and seeming to figure out what he’s going to say as he says it. Which, by the way, is one of the reasons he created his comic: to figure out how he felt about things.
Rees knows what it’s like to get hate-mail. He got a bunch of it when he started Get Your War On, mostly from people enraged by his irreverent response to 9/11 and war, which was then isolated to Afghanistan. But he didn’t get as much as he thought he would, and no one ever beat him up for it or burned his effigy, even when he visited small conservative towns on his book tours. Having been raised by very liberal parents in conservative North Carolina, he was prepared for more reaction.
I have an old article about the early days of the GYWO movement on Maisonneuve’s website. (First link from Bookslut)
Well, a book. A brief flash of a Flann O’Brien title on a television show called “Lost” has shot up demand for the obscure book. Hey, I caught about 30 minutes of this show while sitting in the waiting room at my mechanic’s. I was totally confused. Is this because after years of no television my ability to follow narrative has atrophied or because I couldn’t figure out what Pippin was doing with a statue of the Virgin Mary packed with heroin?
I sincerely hope whatever guardians are involved here will provide this kid with good clothes, an iPod and whatever other accoutrements are required to keep her appearing as visibly cool as possible to other kids. Otherwise, she’ll be lecturing to a class full of children pounding one fist into the other palm, waiting for recess…
Adora Svitak loves to read and write. Over the past 18 months she has had a 296-page book published and written 400 short stories and nearly 100 poems. Typing at 80 words a minute, she has produced 370,000 words while reading up to three books a day. The last novel she finished was Voltaire’s Candide. Not bad for an eight-year-old.
As if that wasn’t enough, the child prodigy has also made it her mission to persuade other youngsters to ditch their computer games and pick up a book or a pen.
Pretty impressive. They say she has the reading ability of a 20-year-old. Um, I hate to ask, but is that a 20-year-old from today or a 20-year-old from yesteryear? Because there’s a difference. (Also, where is the Dragonlance Saga in all of this?)
Is turning 200! And she looks remarkably spry. As, apparently, does her poetry, which is enjoying a revival.
‘How many other poets’ work can be combined with Shakespeare’s in a single sentence without seeming embarrassingly inferior?’
See, man, that’s your, like, problem, man. You’re comparing poetry to “good” poetry from dead guys, man. You should be out on the street corner reading to strangers, man. Open some ears, open some eyes. Maybe your own. I mean, what is “good” anyway?
Michael Crichton, previously just a mostly-harmless hack writer, now an environmental crackpot/conspiracy theorist as well, met with Wubblewoo in 2004 to talk about their shared dream of a planet-wide carbon monoxide level constituting 90% of the atmosphere. Oh, and like so much else done by the administration, the meeting was kept secret from the public.
I am a little late on this one, but the February supply zepplin was attacked by polar bears and, with its walrus hide canopy ripped, didn’t make it to meet the James Bay pony until late this week past. So I just found this pdf today.
Under Pinasuaqtavut’s priorities, the Department of Culture, Language, Elders and Youth is building a stronger cultural foundation based on Inuit Societal Values and the protection of Inuit languages. The department launched the annual literary prize in 2003 to increase the amount of Inuktitut literature for adult readers. This year over 70 entries were received.
That’s over half the eligible population, I think. (From ArtsNews)
In 1921 H.L. Mencken, in ”The American Language” (1921), observed that the initial whom had all but disappeared from everyday speech. H.W. Fowler, in the 1926 Modern English Usage, said that was fine; ”no further defence than ‘colloquial’ is needed.” Theodore Bernstein, the Times’s mid-century language maven, predicted in 1977 that who would ”completely displace whom standing at the head of a sentence or clause.”
Next up: Dangling modifiers now OK.
If:book travels to Paris and notes a few minor differences between U.S. and French culture.
Wandering around the Sorbonne, my friend & I came upon the Librerie Philosophique J. Vrin and went in. It’s a good-sized bookshop that’s devoted entirely to used and new philosophy books, mostly in French, although the neatly categorized shelves are noticeably peppered with other languages. On the Saturday evening I was there, it was full of browsing customers: it’s obviously a working bookstore. We don’t have philosophy book stores in the U.S. One finds, of course, no end of religious bookstores, but unless I’m tremendously mistaken, there’s none dedicated solely to philosophy. (And as far as I know, there’s only one poetry bookstore remaining in the U.S.)
A. Philosophy. Bookstore.
Is central buying good or bad for booksellers? I have no idea, as I rarely buy books in stores these days. I can never find what I want (granted, the books I look for are usually a bit older, but still!).
Willie Anderson, Deputy Chairman at John Smith, argued for the motion, saying: “Central buying sends out several messages, some of them may even be unintentional. Here’s a selection: One: this is what you are going to sell whether you like it or not. Two: we don’t trust you in your shop to know what you should be selling. Three: we know your local market better than you do. Four: we know your local solicitor better than you do. Five: we can manage your stock better from the centre. Six: we can organise the promotions better than you can from the centre. Seven: you’re a manager, yes, but you are really only there to switch the lights on and off and to relay the team messages to your team. Eight: if the books don’t sell, it is your fault because you weren’t committed to them.
Apple embedded a poem deep in it’s code for OSX Tiger to warn hackers away from
tinkering. Sillies. Nobody listens to poets.
Your karma check for today:
There once was a user that whined
his existing OS was so blind
he’d do better to pirate
an OS that ran great
but found his hardware declined.
Please don’t steal Mac OS!
Really, that’s way uncool.
(C) Apple Computer, Inc.
Two things scare me about this: 1/ Apple felt the need to copyright the poem and 2/ compared to some I’ve read lately, this ain’t half bad.
Britain’s new law banning the “glorification” of terrorism has a few people worried about freedom of speech issues.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair said the new law would help authorities counter those who advocate violence. The ban on glorification of terrorism is part of a larger anti-terrorism bill which lengthens the period suspects can be detained.
That’s right, pretties, look at this hand I’m waving here… never mind what the other one’s doing…
Two Homeland Security cops get stonewalled by a librarian with big cojones and then escorted out of a library by small town cops. Niiiiiiice. I didn’t realize the HS were in every small town down there. Things are worse than I thought. And me thinkest pretty worser than mosts.
Two uniformed men strolled into the main room of the Little Falls library in Bethesda one day last week and demanded the attention of all patrons using the computers. Then they made their announcement: The viewing of Internet pornography was forbidden.
The men looked stern and wore baseball caps emblazoned with the words “Homeland Security.” The bizarre scene unfolded Feb. 9, leaving some residents confused and forcing county officials to explain how employees assigned to protect county buildings against terrorists came to see it as their job to police the viewing of pornography.
After the two men made their announcement, one of them challenged an Internet user’s choice of viewing material and asked him to step outside, according to a witness. A librarian intervened, and the two men went into the library’s work area to discuss the matter. A police officer arrived. In the end, no one had to step outside except the uniformed men.
It’s in the people’s hands, if they want it to be. (Thanks, Steve)
With the deaths of Friedan and Wasserstein still on her mind, Jessa Crispin wonders which writers have potential to be the next generals of the gender war.
…with my freedom fries, please. Iranian union of confectioners has renamed Danish pastries in protest to the depiction of Mohammed in a Danish newspaper; Iranian bakers and coffee shop owners scramble to cover up any trace of the now banned word on their signs and menus. Meanwhile sugar/butter addicts shrug their shoulders, say, “Isn’t this the flakiest thing you’ve ever experienced?”
“Given the insults by Danish newspapers against the prophet, as of now the name of Danish pastries will give way to Rose of Mohammad pastries,” the union said in its order.
“This is a punishment for those who started misusing freedom of expression to insult the sanctities of Islam,” said Ahmad Mahmoudi, a cake-shop owner in northern Tehran.
I had no idea, incidentally, that the Danes got a kickback for every Danish sold worldwide. If the Iranians eat as much pastry as this article suggests, Denmark is going to suffer economic collapse in a hurry. Those wily bakers.
Latour confirms that crime novels have been one of the few venues to explore the unofficial history of post-revolution Cuba, its idealism and its hypocrisies. Crime writers can “make references to reality with a little more freedom,” he says.
But just a little. Latour, who had a career in the Cuban Treasury and the Central Bank before quitting to write full-time, is considered a counterrevolutionary for his 1994 novel, The Fool, inspired by a real case of corruption at the Ministry of the Interior.
I wish he’d extrapolated on why crime novels have more leeway in terms of making reference to Cuban reality. Is it because they aren’t supposed to be (sotto voce) serious?
Almost half of all US presidents are mentally ill, says NYT. Hm. Not a word. I won’t say a word.
All told, almost half of American presidents from 1789 to 1974 had suffered from a mental illness at some point in life, according to a recent analysis of biographical sources by psychiatrists at Duke University Medical Center. And more than half of those presidents, the study found, struggled with their symptoms — most often depression — while in office.
See, I said nothing.
What do you do when your kids get old enough that they start reading your books? I don’t know. I’ll probably just lie. That wasn’t me, that was your grandfather. He’s the one with all the angst. (Meh. Kathryn will tell me when I get there. That’s why I’ve cultivated a friendship for her. She’s like a familial minesweeper for me. If it doesn’t happen to one of her three boys, it’s probably not going to happen to mine.)
My 17-year-old daughter reads an old novel of mine called Goodness: just recently the older kids have started nosing round my work. In this book she will have read sentences such as: “For a while I surrendered to the most vivid erotic images, my tongue pressed against the blue cotton swell of a girl’s plump panties, that sort of stuff.”
She says: “I really like the bit where the narrator beats the shit out of his miserable old grandfather.” “Yes,” I say, “that probably was the strongest moment in the book.”
Okay, that’s the juicy bit, but then it gets meaty:
Why do I – why do writers – insist on putting so much that is potentially compromising into their work? The lives of public figures, politicians and football stars are put under the most terrible scrutiny. Who could deal with it? Nobody, on the other hand, troubles to spy on a writer, and all the same he seems determined to arouse the most morbid curiosity.
Romance writing always gets shafted. No matter how hard it heaves and swells, no matter how breathlessly it opens its inner gardens, no matter how often it beats its tiny fists on literature’s massive, rippling chest, it can never truly be a proper member.
Yet romantic fiction is not only one of the most popular forms of fiction we have, it is one of the oldest and most distinguished. If you count the medieval verses of courtly love, it pre-dates the novel by several centuries; if you count Classical literature, then the poems of Catullus and Sappho, Virgil’s Aeneid and even the Odyssey could count.
And if you count the Harlequin Romance line, you’re a mathematician with some time on your hands.
Okay, not excited? Try saying it like this: Travel Writing! No? Try it with a bit of an olé! flourish to your hands. Travel Writing!! Still not there? Well, apparently it’s quite good. Or it was a slow news week.
Just received the CD version of Mary Dalton’s Merrybegot. It’s a lovely thing in a DVD case. Rattling Books is just awesome, in production and roster. Dalton, particularly, gains something in the listening. You should nab this now.