- Charles McGrath evenhandedly marvels at the Kindle—”But if the Kindle isn’t the future, exactly, it’s a precursor. What it tells you, even if you are an unreconstructed book lover, is that the future will not be as hard to get used to as you imagined. Books are heavy, the Kindle reminds you, and they take up a lot of room. (I wish I’d had a Kindle last summer, when on a nearly monthlong trip to China I lugged along an entire suitcase full of books just so I wouldn’t run out of something to read.) And though we think of them as permanent, our books are slowly combusting right there on the shelves, the pages growing yellow, the bindings stiffening and becoming brittle.”
- And so does another NYT piece, by recommending against switching to a new competitor, the Cooler, making me wonder about this month’s ad sales there—”So no, you shouldn’t buy this 1.0 effort — but you should root for successors. The ideals that inspired the Cool-er are important and worth fighting for, especially those bits about sharing your e-books and publishing your own.”
Peter Balis, director of online sales at Wiley, and Brent Lewis, v-p for digital and Internet at Harlequin, shed light on how their companies have given away content as a way of generating revenue and increasing visibility for their brands. The moderator at the Thursday morning panel, Michael Norris of Simba Information, opened the panel with statistics from a recent study showing that 8% of the U.S. population have purchased at least one e-book, and 15% have read one.
Both Balis and Lewis agreed that the key to giveaways is to have a business objective, to know why you are giving content away and to be clear about where the benefit is. Wiley has three rules: free must not cannibalize paid; free must not dilute the brand; and free must have a purpose, either to generate revenue or provide advertising and PR.
Carol Ann Duffy scandal watch, month 2. Scandal count: 0. Wait! Love poetry is harder to write than kids poetry! How DARE she?! Off with her head! (I officially love Carol Ann Duffy, who is like a red red rose, in that she’d draw my blood if I tried to pick her.)
The freshly minted laureate was in conversation with national poet of Wales Gillian Clarke, who defended Duffy against herself, describing her as a “terrific” female love poet in what has been a long line of male writers – “all the John Donnes and Shakespeares”.
Duffy replied that for her, to read a Shakespearian sonnet (the sonnet, she said, is “perfect” for a love poem, a “little black dress”) is “almost to revisit being in love. You’re dragged back in not through memory, but through language.”
But really, for Duffy, “all poems are love poems. What poetry does is add something to the world. It gives, sometimes it can change the way we see the world. Poetry can offer consolation, it can be angry and potent, but all these poems, these moments in language, come from love,” she said.
Duffy, now a much-published children’s poet as well as an adult writer, also admitted that she’d never thought she’d be capable of writing for children. But, while in her daughter’s eyes at least, she hasn’t quite reached the heights of former children’s laureate and Tracy Beaker creator Jacqueline Wilson, she has “probably written more for children now than for adults. Although Ella keeps saying ‘it’s not Jacqueline Wilson, is it?’”
The Blackwell bookshop in the UK will stay an independent bookstore. Pretty much forever. I love it when the obscenely rich turn from eating Condor eggs and strapping the poor to their feet as slippers to wear around the castle to doing good.
Toby Blackwell has moved to secure the future of the Blackwell bookshop chain as a private business by setting up an “impervious” 80-year trust that will take ownership of the voting shares after he dies.
In an interview in The Bookseller this week, Blackwell said that he wanted to prevent his family from any “interference” in Blackwell’s following his death, and has earmarked £1m in case any “defensive action” is required. He stressed that he wanted the firm to remain private. In the past the family has been beset by infighting over the ownership and direction of its retail wing, as well as its publishing business, which was finally sold in 2006.
Blackwell, who is also known as Julian, said he was “as loyal . . . as a man can possibly be” to the firm, which was founded by his grandfather, Benjamin Harris Blackwell, in 1879.
Author of “lesbo historical romps”, profiled in the Independent around her decision to write a scary book. Well, scary to people other than just elderly Republicans.
The fiction picks up, historically, where Waters’ Man Booker nominated The Night Watch, left off, but without its strong female narratives or historical revisionism.
Billed as a ghost story of sorts by Waters, it combines the Gothic gloom of Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw, with the generic reference points of Agatha Christie’s country-house mysteries, with each character being “picked off” one by one, and every survivor falling under suspicion.
The book represents her most atypical work in many ways. Had it followed in the vein of her first three works, the central narrator would most likely have been the housemaid, Betty, an imaginative below-the-stairs minx, the likes of whom Waters has often given central casting. Instead, she plumped for a far duller mind in her narrative choice. She knew two years ago, when she began plotting the story, that the narrator would be male, she says.
Mine: as close as a print magazine can get to an RSS feed without licking Bill Gates’ hole. If you can’t beat them, join them? But can it work?
When I signed up for Mine a couple of months ago, I was mainly looking for a laugh. The new magazine from Time Inc. seemed like a gimmicky, goofy effort to save a beleaguered industry: Time wanted to print a magazine just for me! First, I had to choose several popular Time publications and answer a few odd questions about my interests. (”Which do you crave more—sushi, or pizza?”) Then, every two weeks, I would get an issue, curated just for me, filled with articles from different magazines. The process seemed hopelessly anachronistic, like if the horse-and-buggy industry decided to compete with cars by letting me pick my buggy driver. Doesn’t Time know that I already have a way to get a magazine tailored to my interests? The Web isn’t just faster and cheaper than print; it also doesn’t need to know what I ate for dinner in order to let me read exactly what I want to at any time.
Turns out my skepticism was misguided.
After finding out that his last novel burned fans with its pre-sale hype, Haruki’s publishers have decided to try the opposite strategy and have released no information on his new novel, 1Q84, other than the title and publication date. The result? Cabbage Patch Kid-like frenzy. Much deserved for a major talent, and well-played by the publicity staff.
In a clever marketing scheme, the contents of his new novel have been kept secret. Fans ordering the book know nothing but the title, “1Q84,” which can be read as “1984″ in Japanese.
Shinchosha began selling the 1,000-page, two-volume work at a handful of stores in Tokyo on Wednesday. One store sold 840 copies in just one day, it said.
It posts the news or it gets the hose.
- Archie picks the hussy
- Swedish poet on why he’s voting for the Pirate Party there
- A reminder that while things are not ideal here in terms of freedom of speech, they’re a whole f’in lot better than in some places
- …And again…
- Remains of the Day: The Musical!… I can’t even begin to speculate… (Oh, okay, I’ll give it a go: “You complete me, the way you fold so neatly, I would kiss you sweetly, but class and gender boudaries keep me from snogging you like I know you need it in your tight bun and wool stockings you naughty little monkeyyyyyyyyy….” [Fosse! Fosse! Fosse! Jolson!]
- Year of the Bible (note: not necessarily time of armageddon, though this is probably what’s hoped for by most proponents of this ill-advised idea)
- Granta gets new editor (’Ninja reader and former NBCC president John Freeman)
- Kanye West doesn’t like books… And you can hardly tell… “I am not a fan of books. I would never want a book’s autograph.” (You can hardly believe this ISN’T an Onion piece) (Thanks, Paul P.)
My other deep and abiding crush, Maud Newton, gleefully writes to tell me to look in my inbox and not ignore the publicity flack there because Lisa Loeb something something, something something childhood reads… Me like.
Moby points to this article that says the road ahead for publishing, in it’s current incarnation, is fraught with e-based potholes that lead straight to the 11th ring of hell, which until recently was reserved exclusively for the use of Judith Regan. Everyone on their toes.
People in the book business, like the readers they seek out (a minute fraction of the literate population), hate to think that books might be moribund, and signs of vigorous life in some quarters belie the grim 2009 forecasts. Also, publishers have always mournfully predicted that the end was nigh–they must share either a melancholy temperament or sensitivity to the fragility of culture–so today’s dire predictions aren’t in themselves news. (I’m speaking here not of technical books or textbooks, which are facing their own crises, but of what are called general trade books–literature, politics, history, biography and memoir, science, poetry, art–written for the general public.) When I first got a publishing job almost half a century ago, my elders and betters in the trade regularly worried about The Future of Books, even though manuscripts continued to pour onto our desks. They worried, too, when firms changed ownership. The eponymous boss of the house where I first typed rejection letters and checked proofs sold his company to Encyclopedia Britannica in 1966; The Viking Press, which I joined in 1968, was sold by Thomas Guinzburg, son of its founder, to Pearson in 1975 and went through many permutations of a merger with Penguin Books, also owned by Pearson; Alfred A. Knopf, where I worked from 1987 to 1992, was a jewel of a firm that in 1960 had become a dépendance of Random House, in turn owned by RCA, then sold to the Newhouse brothers in 1980 and sold by them to Bertelsmann in 1998; Farrar, Straus and Giroux, which I joined in 1993, lost some of its independence when Roger Straus sold the company to Holtzbrinck in 1994, and more after his death in 2004.
All told, I’ve worked in only four firms, yet for seven different owners and in eight or nine different publishing arrangements designed and redesigned to accommodate varying corporate intentions. I have seen up close how feckless management activity can change things. Of course, now we all are acquainted with truly vast corporate fecklessness, which has brought us a world-historical economic meltdown that dwarfs everything. For publishers, it comes on top of systemic difficulties they have long struggled to resolve, mitigate or ignore–difficulties only compounded by changes that the digital realm has been making in our reading culture.
To this day, 25 years later, the argument goes unresolved in my mind: wouldn’t he have, like, totally crushed her or, like, popped her head off when he orgasmed? Well, creator Schuster sure had some fun dressing him up like a cartoon love doll. What was going on BEHIND all the “POW! BIFF! BAM!”? Turns out the answer is “POW! BIFF! BAM!”
The good guys never died, the bad guys always got caught or killed, and no one ever had sex. Didn’t even think about it. Never crossed their minds. In fact, no one ever got any kind of action with the opposite sex. If you wanted the saucier stuff, you bought the pulp magazines, with titles such as Spicy Detective or Weird Fantasy.
Although they hadn’t always been solely intended for kids, comic books pandered to an increasingly juvenile audience. Largely this was a result of the McCarthy-esque investigations that took place before the Senate in the early Fifties into the corrupting influence of “funny books” on young minds. This was triggered by the work of Fredric Wertham, whose book Seduction of the Innocent made the sensational claim that comic books were the major cause of juvenile delinquency in the USA. He also stated that comic books were implementing and reinforcing homosexual thoughts because Robin was drawn with bare legs and because he seemed devoted and attached to only Batman. Not only that, but Wonder Woman was giving little girls the “wrong ideas” about a woman’s place in society.
In those heady, pre-internet days, when fetishes were buried deep, mainstream comic-books artists already provided a service of sorts to those who liked their sex lives spiced up with high heels and corsets. Wonder Woman not only had the requisite sexy shoes and bountiful bust, she also had a penchant for tying up her, usually male, adversaries in her magical lasso, rendering them powerless and unable to lie. She was created by the psychiatrist William Moulton Marston, who further defied convention by living happily in a polygamous and poly-amorous relationship with two women. How many young boys growing up in the 1940s and 1950s must have longed to have Wonder Woman fly into their bedrooms in her invisible plane, wrap her sexy rope around them and force them to admit what it was they really, really, wanted?
Someone I read, sorry, forgot who already, linked to this piece on how typography affects the experience of reading a book. Does good design make for a better novel? Poem? Story of a metal band snorting coke off groupies’ pelvic bones? The answer is: Comic Sans rulz!
A typographer’s first obligation is to the reader.
This holds true for all printed media from newspapers to billboards, but nowhere is it as crucial as in a book. How many times have you picked one up, only to find yourself putting it back on the shelf and wondering why? Perhaps it was by your favourite author or had glowing reviews; maybe it was a bestseller with a gorgeous cover and a tantalising blurb on the back. But when you opened the book and began to read, you changed your mind.
More than likely it was the text design. Something about it got in the way of readability. It could’ve been an inappropriate font, not enough leading (space between the lines), or a visual distraction such as a page number halfway down each outside margin. There are numerous ways for the appearance of a book’s page to turn off a potential reader.
A book’s design (I’m talking interior page design here, not covers) has one major purpose and that is to make the words on the page end up in the reader’s mind as effortlessly and as seamlessly as possible. Doesn’t matter if the book is a novel, a textbook, a dictionary, or even a car repair manual, the principle is the same. If the reader is motivated to absorb the information but finds himself unable to do so, the design is not doing its job.
So, um… anyone want a job? A nice overview of what the recent fiasco among the ascot-and-monocle set means for “poetry” and the art of professing it.
the problem with Ruth Padel’s intervention was that it made her look like she really wanted the job. It’s a great job, especially since Auden, Heaney and Christopher Ricks have held it: why wouldn’t Ruth Padel want to follow them? She’s made a fine reputation for herself, not just as a classicist and cultural commentator, but also as someone who can speak readably about her craft – something not many poets can do. She would have been just right. But the difficulty comes when poets involve themselves in politics. Plenty have: Yeats, Wordsworth, Hugo, Neruda, but if it’s true that all political careers end in failure, then it’s all the more inevitable when poets fall. Ruth Padel’s defence of naivety is all too convincing.
This brings us back to the central problem: how can you find someone who, probably, should be at once a poet and a professor? Someone who can cope with public life and personal exploration? The clue is in the word “professor”: the duty is to profess, to make open, something you believe passionately. Although this might sound like an urgent duty, or a matter of conscience, it’s hard not to think that the candidate who could do this best is a candidate who doesn’t appear interested. After all, it’s this kind of gracious, pope-like demurring that was so graceful about the way in which Carol Ann Duffy accepted the laureateship.
- Bathroom themed horror novel printed on toilet paper, which is probably just skipping the middle man, so far as my opinion of most horror novels goes… (wonder if the publisher will come flush on this title?)
- Either a guy named James King or the Bible has won the Amazon Breakthrough Novel award—either way, that’s good fiction!
- Another first novel award also thinks it’s important and relevant to the creation of art
- Trillium Award shortlists announced
- Michael Ondaatje’s Billy the Kid reviewed in the LAT, where they call it a “novel”, perhaps in order to give it a fighting chance, but really, people, it’s a poem (in fact, this is one of those gateway poems for young men in the bloom of idiot youth, like I once was (idiot midlife now), macho and horny and ready to slay the world… between MO’s TCWoBTK, Hughes’ Crow, and Cohen’s Spice Box, it was like being hung with an arsenal of sharp weapons and Spanish Fly… But that said, it’s one wicked piece of writing and I still love it, so buy it, America, no matter what they call it)
- What’s good for the poetic goose is good for the poetic gander
Daily Dose of Digital
- On-demand publishing apparently also in-demand
- Ingram survey finds half of respondents would use e-catalogue (I can’t applaud this enough… people, I throw your calendars out after a quick breeze through. If you emailed them to me, I’d have them archived and would probably give them more attention)
- EU to investigate the Goog
- “Web story promotion” to promote book
Go to this site and click on the “Larger View/More Images” link below the image on the left. Then click on the address label to zoom in so you can read it. Someone is having some fun at Avery. Not only a Chuckhead, but presumably also a pothead. Get it before they change it!
A Turkish author has questioned whether his novel can be considered blasphemous, given that it’s fiction that was extensively researched with the help of religious leaders.
A Turkish author on trial after being charged with inciting religious hatred in a novel based on the birth of Islam said that his book was a work of fiction but the result of extensive research and consultation with religious leaders, and therefore could not be called blasphemous. An Istanbul court on Tuesday adjourned the trial of the author, Nedim Gursel, until June 25. He faces up to a year in jail if convicted.
Would le Carré beat Fleming in a race over flat ground? Is the proof in the adaptation?
There may be readers who identify with James Bond. For me, though, the brand of escapism Ian Fleming offers is too glib and flash to have more than an ironic, half-hearted appeal: far more satisfying to escape into a dream of Smiley.
In The Spy Who Came In from the Cold – in which Smiley has a walk-on role – le Carré laid down the rules for getting the enemy to swallow your misinformation: tell him what he wants to hear, but make him work for it and don’t make it too enticing. He applied the same rules to his fiction.
That’s funny. Seems to me like juvenile poetry is everywhere these days.
A decline in the amount of children’s poetry being published has reached “crisis point” according to Chris Holifield, director of the Poetry Book Society.
Holifield claims that it has become harder for poets to have collections published, and backlist titles are going out of print more quickly. She added that it was increasingly difficult for the Children’s Poetry Bookshelf, a book club that is part of the Poetry Book Society, to find new titles to recommend to its members. Holifield said: “This shows how far the shortage of children’s poetry has gone without anyone noticing.”
Israeli author, dead at 82.
Daily Dose of Digital
Okay, no lengthy, rambling post from me today. But here are a couple links in which Padel explains herself and the tabloids rub their greasy fingers in glee.
Alice Munro has won the International Booker. Congratulations, Alice!
The Man Booker International Prize, worth £60,000 to the winner, is awarded once every two years to a living author for a body of work that has contributed to an achievement in fiction on the world stage. It was first awarded to Ismail Kadaré in 2005 and then to Chinua Achebe in 2007.
Best known for her short stories, Munro is one of Canada’s most celebrated writers. On receiving the news of her win, she said, ‘I am totally amazed and delighted.’
A super-secret sneak preview of The Kindle 3.
How cool is this?
Contained on this 3″ nickel disk is the key to all our languages. Now please remove your probes from our collective colorectal cavities. And I want my fillings back.
Should kids be protected from violent images in the books they read? Hard to tell from my POV. My instinct is to over-protect, but then I remember my own youth and think of what I read and drew. I don’t know that from age 5 to 19 I ever drew anything that didn’t have blood and/or entrails in it. And look how I turned out. Oh, wait. Protect the kids. Recently ‘Ninja Boy showed me a picture and said, “I’m sorry, Dad, but this may disturb you. See these guys with x’s for eyes? They’re dead.” He looked at me with wide significant eyes as though waiting for me to throw my hands to my face and run away in terror. What I wanted to say was, “That’s cause someone carved x’s into their faces,” but I needed him to sleep that night.
There have been many calls to protect the young from violent images, but it’s not often the opposite case is argued, that there aren’t enough aggressive pictures in children’s books.
But award-winning children’s author Ted Dewan is conscientiously putting scenes of mayhem and destruction into his latest book, not drawn by an adult but by the children themselves.
Children, particularly boys, often produce violent images in their drawings, he says. But when it comes to children’s books, this becomes a taboo. They’re often fluffy and fleecy, but there’s rarely room in the children’s section for the scenes of slaughter that many boys like to draw.
Calvino was brave because he sat down to write what interested him – not what might interest other people. He had a day job in a publishing house, and he sought neither celebrity nor wealth. He was the extreme other of the creative writing course wannabe.
He loved the short fictional form, which was a kind of mathematical equation to him, but he liked to go on playing with the same ideas, so the Cosmicomics themselves are short, but the whole series, reprinted in full here for the first time, is several hundred pages long and was written on and off through most of the 1960s. In Cosmicomics the splendid and boisterous anarchy of Cervantes and Voltaire couples with the stripped-back beauty of the double helix.
Here’s a punter’s guide. In my experience, foxes do better in competition than hedgehogs, and book prizes tend to go to mores, not differents. Occasionally, a prize jury will surpass itself and take a chance on a hedgehog, but more usually it settles for the foxy compromise. This is partly self-preservation. As Joanna Lumley pointed out in the Observer as long ago as 1985: “To be a [book prize] judge you don’t have to know about books, you have to be skilled at picking shrapnel out of your head.” Too often, the job is less about critical acumen than damage limitation.
Makes more sense if you read the whole article.
Latin classes are making a comeback. But why study a dead language?
Who’d want to study Latin? A dead language, good only for Caesar attacking the ditch with arrows (an old Molesworth joke) or honking like a pig as you decline your pronouns (hic haec hoc; hunc hanc hoc). Well, here’s a simple, utilitarian point: because Latin is a dead language, because it is taught to be read, not spoken, because it is taught entirely through its grammatical rules not through its demotic use, as you learn it you gain an understanding of the mechanics and structure of language streets ahead of any you will gain from the study of a modern tongue. Any other language – not just Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, but German, Russian, Arabic – becomes easier for a child with a grounding in Latin. A student can use Latin to grasp the bones and sinews of any language.
- BBC is bringing a poet to Afghanistan… yyyyeah, that oughtta do it… But wait! It’s Simon Armitage! Maybe he’ll kick some ass over there… Be careful, Simon!
- Indigo reports sales rise, no word on whether candles or picture frames led the charge
- Dick is latest to get rich off penetrating look into Bush
- Student runs library of banned books from her locker… GO!!
- Jessa’s leaving and it made the news in Chicago… so sad to see you go!
- Pasha Malla wins Danuta Gleed award
- New Auden poems!
- Gaspereau Press in danger… this really sucks (for a number of reasons) because stellar poet Amanda Jernigan was about to take over some editorial there and had left St. John’s ostensibly for this position. Come home, Amanda! Come home!
- Former eBay executive launches auction on her book
- Benigni does Dante
- Publishing types heaviest drinkers, probably with good reason
- Borders goes with kids, cooking, but presumably not in a Hansel und Gretel kind-of-way
- Borders also launches e-book store
- Increasing number of educators found to be suffering from teaching disabilities
Wow. You thought things were ugly and complicated before? Well, now Ruth Padel, Oxford Professor of Poetry for less than a week, has resigned since it came to light that the emails seemingly intended to cripple the campaign of her main competitor Derek Walcott were written by none other than herself. I’ve seen a lot of commentary on this, and a good deal of it seems to hover around the divide at the feminism v. patriarchy watercooler. And with good reason. There are questions that need to be asked. Some of them can be answered somewhat definitively, but some can only create more questions, or spark arguments based on worldview.
The main problem is this: we were prepared to overlook the failings (in fact, possibly criminal behaviour) of Walcott because of his massive genius, yet Padel, also a genius, is being crucified for forwarding on a few notes by email—is this a case of misogyny? Historically and sociologically speaking, I’d normally say Yes. And given the sputtering and glee of her critics, it seems rather likely. Yet…
As someone who’s somewhat controversially forwarded on a few emails in the last year (ahem), I have no problem with Walcott’s past coming to light and being considered in the context of an election for a position with great influence (such as it is) over the public. And largely he survived it, character-wise, but his “career” is another matter. So the question isn’t whether the info was intended to smear, it’s who did the smearing? Was it a concerned citizen? A voting member of Oxford? A journalist with a particularly sensitive nose? No, it was another candidate. Does that change things? Further, what does it mean that the info passed on was to some a smear, and to others helpful information? Like it or not, believe it or not, there are certainly going to be gendered differences here in how we respond to a person with an alleged past of sexual impropriety. I would expect that this was considered pretty important information to more than a few voting members.
So, now I ask: did Padel resurrect and send the seedy past of Walcott with the intent to influence the election? Seems pretty likely, regardless of what the other reasons were. She should have let someone else forward it, frankly. Would this revelation have forced her to step down if she were a man? That’s debatable. I certainly would have called for anyone’s resignation if these kinds of tactics were employed, regardless of gender or issue. It’s dirty pool. And the original revelation certainly forced Walcott’s hand so that he lost the position before the contest was even decided. But dirty pool aside, forwarding emails of publicly available information is NOT a crime. And it’s certainly not comparable to a past of sexual harrassment.
But something to keep in mind here is that both poets resigned because of APPEARANCES of impropriety. No one actually forced them to. We can debate endlessly whether what they did was wrong or worthy of discussion in the context of the election, but THEY knew the appearances were likely to damage the OxProPo position itself. They realized that their own critical errors in judgement from the past (recent or relatively distant) had precluded them from holding a position that can’t sustain the scabs and scars that would come with their election.
The main problem with Walcott was his inability to admit there was an issue. In a position of immense public importance, an ambassadorial position of sorts, there is more to consider than genius. If we wanted genius plugging away at poetry we’d pay him to stay in his room and not talk. Padel may have thought she did nothing out of line and Walcott may have thought the past was behind him, but both have realized that in today’s world of instant forwarding and information retrieval, there’s no controlling the flow bad news. Once it’s out there, it goes where the prurience of the audience wills it. And just as one side in this debate was likely satisfied to see Walcott “punished” for past crimes, another will likely be content to see Padel punished for hers. At least Padel has realized what she did was wrong. Give her that.
Me? I think it’s all sick and sad. Since when did poets start acting like backstabbing academics? Oh. Right. It’s always been that way. We just didn’t have the internet to broadcast it to a world that already doesn’t care but is now also snickering. I do think Padel is being unfairly treated here, and largely because there are certain men (and women: misogyny has plenty of double agents) in the academy and the press glad to see her fail. But I suppose I’m mostly disgusted that a gaggle of great poets and academics were turned into gangs of sneering courtiers with hatpins and poisoned pens at the ready over what should be a position of mutual celebration and joy.
The fact is, there are plenty of people who could do this job, and two of them, no matter how great, have been weeded out. Whether by fair or foul means is for you to decide. (But would anyone want it now?) Natural selection at work is always an ugly business, but on a sociological scale, and with gendered biases added in, it gets downright nasty.
Man cold. Bad one.
The original plan for teh internets involved a different kind of sexism. Weh-heh-helll, little lady… let’s see what shopping mischief you’re up to today.
Sleezebag politician Blagowhateverthefuck won’t be able to profit from a book about his life in politics. A long series of burnt bridges and covered asses will ensure that.
The Elected Officials Misconduct Forfeiture Act would prevent the former governor from collecting his advance, the Chicago Sun Times reports. If the governor is convicted, he must “forfeit any monetary rights derived from any book, movie, television, radio program, or Internet depiction or detailing of the crime for which he or she was convicted.”
A Toronto printer cites tolerance differences between an author and their other clients, apparently mostly religious types, in their note turning down the business of printing his new graphic novel. The Torontoist has extensive coverage.
Local author Adam Bourret recently wrote a 126-page graphic novel, I’m Crazy. It’s autobiographical and, to quote his website, deals with “histories, secrets, obsessive compulsive disorder, drugs, gay romance, hallucinations and insanity.”
Though Bourret—the boyfriend of a Torontoist staff member—is serializing the novel online, he wanted to make a few hundred print copies. He approached Harmony Printing for an estimate, but it balked after looking at his sample pages:
Unfortunately due to the content I am going to have to respectfully decline. The reason is we have a lot of long standing clients who are religious organizations. They are in our facilities all of the time and cannot risk having this content out in the open during production. Please understand that this is not a slight against your artwork or the message that you are trying to convey to your audience. I wish you all the best and I hope you can understand our position.
- You said you’d buy 10,000 copies of my book and you didn’t… so I’d like you to meet my lawyer…
- The Goog will stay out of newspaper game, which probably doesn’t bode well for newspapers…
- Mystery writers: inspiring the psychos of the day
- British publishers apparently shit… of the chicken persuasion
- Would bundling print books with e-books save print books?
- B&N squeaking through
- Dave Eggers says calm the fuck down
- UK releases most-powerful in publishing list
Whack-a-kitty. When you combine banjos with kittens, you can never, ever lose.
Yadda yadda yadda another vampire novel. At least someone who doesn’t try to look like a goth pornstar is getting published in the genre.
The formula of small-town life regularly disrupted by the supernatural world — and some mind-blowing sex with vampires — has propelled Ms. Harris through nine Sookie novels. For her latest three-book contract, of which “Dead and Gone” is the second, Ms. Harris was paid a seven-figure advance.
The books have also spawned “True Blood,” the HBO adaptation created by Alan Ball, the maestro of “Six Feet Under.” The first season of the series, which roughly followed “Dead Until Dark,” concluded last fall as the cable network’s most popular show since “The Sopranos” and “Sex and the City.” The new season, based on the second novel in the series, “Living Dead in Dallas,” begins on June 14.
This heady brew of success has allowed Ms. Harris, 57, some luxuries: earlier this year she hired her longtime best friend as her personal assistant. She bought a diamond ring. And this year, because of Julia’s graduation, she could afford the ultimate indulgence: she refused to go on a book tour.
“It was just a huge relief that I finally hit on the right character and the right publisher,” said Ms. Harris, who had previously written two mystery series that never quite took off. Or, as she put it more succinctly, with a cackle that evoked a paranormal creature: “I had this real neener-neener-neener moment.”
You go, girl. Have that moment. LIVE IT.
Would Bill have published his sonnets? Not according to this. Apparently he was just doodling. And probably fawning privately over some sweet young thing. And back in those days, you didn’t really want that to get out. Luckily, the Judith Regan of the Elizabethan era got his filthy hands on things and fucked poor Willie over in the most non-iambic way possible. To our cultural benefit.
As Heylin tells it, publishing was a murky, anarchic business during the Elizabethan age. It wasn’t hard for an enterprising publisher to get his hands on a manuscript without the author’s approval, and Heylin believes that Thomas Thorpe, the man who published the sonnets, did just that.
“[Thorpe] was a man who lived on the very periphery of the London publishing world … who was constantly in trouble with the Stationer’s Company for publishing books that flagrantly breached the copyright of other publishers,” says Heylin. “This is somebody who, if he got his hands on Shakespeare’s sonnets, must have done so in some underhanded, slightly questionable way.”
But why was Shakespeare so intent on keeping the sonnets private? That gets to some of the most controversial questions about the poems.
Most of the sonnets are addressed to a “fair youth” whose identity has been the source of endless academic debate. Heylin believes it was William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke.
- Twitterature… coming soon whether you like it or not
- But like blogs before it, most Twitter accounts are abandonned
- U of Mich signs Google agreement that gives it control over pricing
- Five dimensional discs with 2000 times the storage capacity of DVDs are here to boggle your mind and turn your conversation into that of your grandparents’… “Think of the TECHNOLOGY that had to go into that dimension thing!”
- Customizable Obama title will stretch the capabilities of colour POD
Who’s the most famous fictional character of all time? Ahem? People? James Frey?
This November, Penguin is bringing out a new edition of its Complete Sherlock Holmes to coincide with Guy Ritchie’s adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s beloved detective stories. “Sherlock Holmes,” it is claimed on the promotional material, “is not only the most famous character in crime fiction, but arguably the most famous character in all fiction.”
Ever since Iron Man, I can’t help but want to hang out with Robert Downey Jr. Even when he’s party to eviscerating and feasting on the entrails of a great fictional character. He just seems like he’d be so cool. And where the hell did those pipes come from, bro? I’m starting to feel slightly uncomfortable at your display of intellectually stimulating personality coupled with new muscles and scruffy facial hair… And how sweet are you with your love interest Jude Law? Who not only provides the film with at least one authentic accent, but also one more actor for whom I might be convinced to switch teams. But I digress…
My cranky old grandpappy, Moby, asks why the Guardian keeps fluffing Walcott while barely mentioning the accomplishments of new Oxford PoProf, Ruth Padel.
Days after the conclusion of the race for Professor of Poetry at Oxford University, during which The Guardian ran numerous articles by reporter Alison Flood calling discussion of candidate Derek Walcott’s history of sexually harassing his students a “smear campaign” and quoting Oxford professors implying eventual winner Ruth Padel was behind it all (see the earlier MobyLives reports here, here, here and here), The Guardian has decided it can’t abide by the public refutation of their stance.
You may think it’s the closet upon closet full of tan blazers and black turtlenecks, but you’d be wrong. And it’s not his sparkling prose either (the sparkle being caused by reflections off the crushed glass of grating cliche). It’s because his version of faith is more in tune with a homogenous religious modernity. And by that I mean, he’s deliciously blasphemous and the power of single religions are on the decline.
In the Brownian worldview, all religions — even Roman Catholicism — have the potential to be wonderful, so long as we can get over the idea that any one of them might be particularly true. It’s a message perfectly tailored for 21st-century America, where the most important religious trend is neither swelling unbelief nor rising fundamentalism, but the emergence of a generalized “religiousness” detached from the claims of any specific faith tradition.
The polls that show more Americans abandoning organized religion don’t suggest a dramatic uptick in atheism: They reveal the growth of do-it-yourself spirituality, with traditional religion’s dogmas and moral requirements shorn away. The same trend is at work within organized faiths as well, where both liberal and conservative believers often encounter a God who’s too busy validating their particular version of the American Dream to raise a peep about, say, how much money they’re making or how many times they’ve been married.
Please shoot this columnist for using the term “Brownian” in the paper of record while not referring the once-baffling jiggling of supposedly still molecules.
- Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz kiddie book awards handed out (Libertad looks great and we love Melanie Watt in our house)
- IT’S THE RAPTURE!!! While (good?) Christians may be immune to Christ’s eye-melting and head-exploding of heathen come Judgement Day, Christian books are apparently not immune to the current economic apocalypse
- Agatha Christie complete collection with 4000 pages provides questionable, painful reading experience
- Signature forger online goes lowbrow to make eBay lucre
- Dylan poem not Dylan… or poem
- Frank McCourt is ill
- Wodehouse with sex?
Q: When approaching a piece of short fiction, where do you begin?
A: Writing one: totally varies story to story, but most of the time coffee is involved; reading one: the title, then the first sentence, and remarkably the rest almost always goes from there, all the way to the final word.
Fairy tales may not come from oral tradition. Fascinating, Capta…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
In the 19th century, Scottish author and clergyman George Macdonald said that he “should as soon think of describing the abstract human face” as attempting to describe a fairy tale. More than 100 years later, scholars are still disputing their origins, with the latest clash arising over a new claim that, far from being passed down through an oral tradition, fairy tales actually have their history in print.
Ruth B Bottigheimer, a professor at Stony Brook University in New York, disputes the idea that fairy tales were handed down orally through generations until “19th and 20th-century folklorists hearkened to peasants’ words” and they were transformed into literature by the likes of the Brothers Grimm. “It has been said so often that the folk invented and disseminated fairy tales that this assumption has become an unquestioned proposition. It may therefore surprise readers that folk invention and transmission of fairy tales has no basis in verifiable fact,” she writes in her new book, Fairy Tales: A New History. “Literary analysis undermines it, literary history rejects it, social history repudiates it, and publishing history (whether of manuscripts or of books) contradicts it.”
I’m not sure if it’s the mention of fairy tales or the mind-numbing content of this article, but I’m feelin’ sleepy!
- Commonwealth Prize shortlistees detained in New Zealand for crime of being inconveniently brown and coming from countries other than New Zealand
- Theodore Sturgeon award shortlist
- Wodehouse prize shortlist
- Salinger’s lawyers looking into Catcher in the Rye “sequel”
- HC sues failing ad guru for unwritten book
- Undergrad wins [choke] $69G creative writing prize… Nooses on left, cyanide capsules on right—let’s form two straight lines here people
Sometimes our perspective on language isn’t exactly rational: we love some words and absolutely despise other ones. What inspires such deep feelings, and why does word hate often seem to run hotter than word love? In the case of words like impactful, discussed in yesterday’s Red Pen Diaries, the bad vibes may arise because of an association with vacuous management-speak or other institutional jargon. But other times a word is disliked because it just sounds, well, icky. A look at some of the favorite and least favorite words selected by Visual Thesaurus subscribers offers some insight on verbal attractions and aversions.
Your centre for daily news on the spread of e-clamydia through the book world. Hey, once we all have it, there’ll be no sense protecting against it, will there?
- Britannica coming to your phone, for those moments of mobile encyclopedic emergency
- 140 characters? Too fucking much work! What I need is a way of typing with three buttons… Dear laziness and instant gratification driven market forces: Thank you for all your work
- Hyperion doing something with popcorn… or e-books—not sure which
- More people getting news online… ahem
Maybe I’m wrong, and I’d like to be proven so, but I blanche at the mere thought of newly minted British Laureate Carol Ann Duffy writing a poem about a parlaimentary expenses scandal involving fat white guys in wigs. I quite like her work and my knees are trembling slightly at even the possibility of it. But that’s just me.
“What did we do with the trust of your vote? Hired a flunky to flush out the moat,” recited the Glasgow-born poet.
After the special assembly at Withington Girls’ School, Duffy described the verse as an “off-the-cuff couplet” which was not meant to be taken seriously.
Phew. Disaster averted. Now someone smuggle her out of the UK before the royal family gets her to write something about Harry’s latest Halloween costume.
Will these stats one day be seen as the point of no return, when POD and self-published titles finally grew big enough to hold the head of traditionally edited and published books under the sludge of unchecked mediocrity until it stopped struggling? The Magic 8-Ball says [jugga jugga jugga], “That depends”. Hm. I guess it’s a perspective thing. I have no problem with POD being used as a publishing strategy by edited houses (esp if they manage to up the quality of the product), but I do like my literary gatekeepers in place. Yes, I said it. Think about it: given that editors quite often fail in their choices even under the traditional gatekeeping model, we can only assume that an editor-less world run by impulse, vanity, and self-congratulation would be even worse…. like some kind of… of… of… creative writing program. [GASP!] Ew. Guess who won’t be sleeping tonight.
U.S. book production rose and fell in 2008, according to preliminary statistics released this morning by Bowker. The number of new and revised titles produced by traditional production methods fell 3% in 2008, to 275,232, but the number of on-demand and short run titles soared 132%, to 285,394. The on-demand and short run segment is the method typically used by self-publishers as well as online publishers. With the decline in the number of traditional books released last year and the jump in on-demand, the number of on-demand titles topped those of traditional books for the first time. Taken together, total output rose 38%, to 560,626 titles.