The NYT provides this helpful tax form for “marginally employed” freelancers. Go to it! (From Lorraine’s FB profile)
Smith, who’s written on sex for much more reputable outlets in the past, writes here in the Globe about the dangers of writing graphic sex in a novel. I’ve been really digging Smith’s columns lately.
Everyone has sex, just as everyone eats, yet we talk all the time about what we eat. To talk at work about last night’s sex would be like talking about the morning’s bowel movements. So of course it embarrasses novelists as well. And novelists, when they do give it a go, are quickly mocked for their attempts: every Internet troll makes the same joke along the lines of, “I couldn’t help imagining [Author X] in every position he describes and whoa, how unwelcome an image!” It’s a curious way to read a novel, perhaps a result of the personality-obsessed media coverage of fiction these days, but it has become a knee-jerk all the same.
And then of course the Brits give a lot of press to their annual Bad Sex In Fiction Awards, a mean-spirited exercise in playground mockery and repression. It could only come from the Brits, such a powerful dismissal; indeed, the Bad Sex Awards were founded by Auberon Waugh, a political and social conservative, whose stated rationale was “to draw attention to the crude, tasteless, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel, and to discourage it”. In other words, it wasn’t bad sex writing he was opposed to, it was any sex writing; sex scenes themselves were tasteless and redundant.
It’s still interesting to see what consistently stimulates the derision of the Bad Sex judges. It’s either sex that’s scary – as in Jonathan Littell’s gruesome Nazi fantasy, The Kindly Ones – or sex that’s overblown, written in a poetic style that’s pretentious. It’s the language that’s embarrassing as much as the actions described.
And speaking of sex, Granta’s latest issue is focused on it. Check out that cover. Also check-0ut-able is the three short films (not UNSAFE for work, but not safe either… wait till you’re home) they’ve made riffing off pieces in the mag.
Just for fun, I say we dig a deep pit and put the two of them in there with a Kindle, something inconsequential from Sony, a pit viper, a razor-spurred game cock, a ham-strung mountain lion, and a colobus monkey with a vice on its nuts. Whatever emerges without a scratch on it will be declared the new international standard for tablets. (Added bonus: This may also solve the problem of my disdain for hipsters with tablets, especially if the pit viper wins…)
The Google Android tablet news comes by way of a story published in The New York Times on Sunday. The story, a piece about upcoming competition to Apple’s iPad, states that Google is currently “exploring the idea” of creating its own tablet computing device. The gadget is described as “an e-reader that would function like a computer.”
Google AndroidThe info, according to The Times, comes straight from the big dog’s mouth: Google CEO Eric Schmidt is said to have divulged the Google tablet scoop while chatting with friends at a recent party in L.A. Other insiders supposedly confirmed the concept.
“People with direct knowledge of the project — who did not want to be named because they said they were unauthorized to speak publicly about the device — said the company had been experimenting in ’stealth mode’ with a few publishers to explore delivery of books, magazines and other content on a tablet,” The Times reports.
I just got an iPhone a week ago, and I quite like the little thing. It’s pretty damn hard to stop playing with it. I went through an entire battery while tinkering on the first day, but now I’m leveling out. I also went two full days without opening my computer, which is a life changer for me. That’s reason enough to love it. But I haven’t yet tried reading a book on it. Got the Kindle app and now trying to decide to what to read on it. Not poetry. I just couldn’t imagine. But I’ve moved on from not being able to imagine reading fiction on it. Progress! This guy finds the iPhone eases the burden of his dyslexia. Anyone else out there find this? I have a long history of backwards writing and such, but am not diagnosed as anything like what he describes below and have no trouble reading (though I do read fiction slowly). That said, I find it much easier to write on a keyboard than long hand, in part because I can READ what I’ve written afterward. And I don’t mix up letters as much. And I don’t bizarrely start writing my sentences in the wrong direction from the wrong margin.
I’m reasonably well read but I read slowly; books have always been a struggle. I read one sentence, which sparks a thought, maybe causing my eyes to flicker, and I lose my place.
Recently, at the age of 57, I got an iPhone. Like many, I spent the first few hours loading up apps, including a Classics book app. Some weeks later, while mending a client’s computer, waiting for the blue line to progress slowly across the screen, I began reading. The first thing I noticed was that, while familiar with many of the books on the app, having seen a film version or been read them as a child, I had not myself read a single one. Books which would have been part of many a youthful literary diet had passed me by. Alice in Wonderland, Treasure Island, Tom Sawyer – I hadn’t read any of them (but I have now).
The first title I selected was The Count of Monte Cristo. I raced through this on my iPhone in just over a week, my wife asking why I was continually playing with my iPhone. When I’d finished I enjoyed the story so much that I went to buy a copy for a friend. In the bookshop I was amazed. It was more than 1,000 pages! Had I been presented with the book in this form I would never have read it. It would have been too much like climbing a mountain.
So why I had found it easier to read from my iPhone?
That which spreadeth from the deep tissue injury of unnoticed event to formeth a flower of info-blood under your skin.
- Dasgupta and Guest take Commonwealths
- Harlequin gathering in pseudopods, presumably for attack on Tokyo
- Boston PL neesd private investment to stay afloat, which coincidentally, is also what I need to stay afloat…
- Marvel switches distrib to Hachette, which probably means something for the Mickey Mouse/Wolverine mashup that’s coming…
- Random to release McEwan’s backlist as ebooks
- Best Buy to sell Nook reader… I kind of wish I could get my hands on one of these, because I love the idea of them. I wonder how they work, compared to the others…
Poetry, fiction, and jouralism all go unexpected.
- Overall roundup of winners
- Fiction wins goes to first timer from small press
- Online sources win for first time in journalism
- The drama winner is apparently coming to Toronto (I love how my home city can take any story and somehow make it about itself… It’s like that guy at the party who you talk to about your dog having just died and he says, “Yeah, well the thing about ME and dogs is…”)
- And Hank Williams with the posthumous award for being awesome and Hank Williams at the same time
Well, Amazon got the foot, fist, and most of the axe handle through. Time to run out to the hedge maze and hope they freeze to death in the cold Canadian winter.
Is Kelly’s unauthorized Orpah bio being shut out of A-list review/interview markets for fear of offending the Big O herself? Forget the money. This is the ultimate sign of success in the Western world: the fear of others collected like points on a credit card. Cash them in for the toaster or the destruction of your enemies.
Kelley is generally thought of as an “Uh-oh” writer. That is, when she announces she is writing a book about X, the response is “Uh-oh,” usually on the part of the subject. For the rest of us, the “Uh-oh” signifies: “This is gonna be good. It may be down and dirty, but it will be true, and it will be good.” If there is hidden history to be gotten, Kelley will get it. Some people belittle her work as muckraking that is perhaps fanciful, if not far-fetched, but that is because they can’t believe that there are facts about a famous person which have heretofore not been known. Let’s put it this way: Frank Sinatra, when she was writing her book on him, was so, um … displeased that he threatened to have her killed. And she’s never been sued successfully. For her biography about Oprah, she did 850 interviews. Eight hundred and fifty! (In my news days if I contacted four people I thought I had really worked my tail off.) Her work is that of a hybrid researcher/historian, and whatever she writes you can take to the bank. She is in no way an academic, which is probably the reason her books sell in the millions.
The second thing you need to know about this book is that most of the kingpin interviewers in the mainstream media were astonishingly up front about saying they would not help Kitty promote her book because they didn’t want to offend Oprah! They didn’t even make up excuses; they flat-out said they didn’t want to offend Oprah. It was surprising, to say the least, that interviewers such as Larry King, Charlie Rose, David Letterman and Barbara Walters all shut her out.
That which may, under pressure from within, either explode or supperate your day’s info directly into your EYES.
- Are the quota-based demands of producing iPads driving Chinese workers to commit suicide? It’s either that or the quote-based demands of Chinese life…
- UK’s Book Depository launches ebook store
- On writing from prison and PEN
- Readers’ Digest UK saved by management buyout
- Yann Martel calls my new home town eccentric… and he’s right, you know…
No, not the Newton. Earlier. Like 60 years earlier.
if you’re searching for a godfather of the reading machine, you might look past Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs to a nearly forgotten early-20th-century writer and impresario named Bob Brown.
Brown’s weapon of choice was not ideological but mechanical. “To continue reading at today’s speed, I must have a machine,” he wrote. “A simple reading machine which I can carry or move around, attach to any old electric light plug and read hundred-thousand-word novels in 10 minutes if I want to, and I want to.” The machine he described, in which a ribbon of miniaturized text would scroll behind a magnifying glass at a speed controlled by the reader, sounds a lot like microfilm, then in development. But its truest inspirations, Saper argues, lay in the ticker-tape machine and in modernist experiments like Gertrude Stein’s “Tender Buttons,” which Brown first read as a young man while working as a stock trader and hanging out with poets.
See, it’s always the poets.
The first edition of this Toronto/Montreal online journal will be out in July, and be “devoted to publishing the best in unpublishable fiction and poetry – stories that are too long, too short, too weird, too normal, basically anything that doesn’t have a home anywhere else”, according to its editor, Emma Healy.
The industry is changing for everyone. As the models shift, should we make room for book editors to receive royalties on their work? Sure. Why should only one person be potentially-making-money-on-my-books-but-not-really?
There has been a flurry of thoughtful and true articles lately lamenting the devaluation of the editor. But enough lamentation! We all know the publishing industry of yore is long gone. What about the future? In the Internet free-for-all book editors may become more, rather than less important. The editor is the author’s interface with the world at large; the other roles in publishing houses, as they are now configured, may become obsolete in the digital future. Publishers may devalue editors, but writers and agents don’t. As business models change, it’s time that book editors reclaim their essential place in the publishing process, and be appropriately compensated for it. It’s heartening to see the proliferation of editor imprints at the large publishing houses. Why is there not an Editor’s Guild, like the Author’s Guild?
There are two sorts of editors: those who work with writers on manuscripts, who have no desire for management or publisher positions -– let’s call them book editors. Then there those who love the limelight, love being players, who aspire to being publishers — let’s call them publisher editors. Some of us have been both, simultaneously or sequentially. Book editors have rarely been fairly compensated by their companies. Low pay has been part of the ethos, profit participation rare to unheard of. It’s time to change that. Book editors should receive a royalty.
They study loneliness now, with charts and graphs and statistical analyses. In the 1950s, Harry Harlow isolated baby monkeys and discovered that without contact with others they self-harm and grow sickly and weak. Deborah Blum’s Love at Goon Park recounts the experiments and the ideas they disproved — B.F. Skinner’s theories about childrearing, the notion that isolation somehow created self-sufficiency or that even children should be neither coddled nor kissed so that they can grow up to stride into the world confidently and independently. Writers and poets have been studying loneliness forever, experimenting only on themselves and leaving the monkeys out of it. Loneliness in fiction appears to be the territory of women. Male loneliness takes the form of a song sung in a craggy voice, but female loneliness is a Jamesian heroine, staring out a window filled with yearning. I imagine writers responded to these startling scientific revelations about the corrosive qualities of loneliness by lifting their collective head and answering back, “Duh.” Or, “Dear scientists, have you read any Henry James?”
During the question and answer session with ABA COO Len Vlahos at this week’s New England Independent Booksellers Association gathering at the University of Southern Maine in Portland, Willow Books & Cafe president David Didriksen said, “the biggest problem I have is the relationship with publishers’ credit departments. I actually had a major publisher hold up an order for $45.”
According to Vlahos, it’s not just New Englanders who are feeling the pain. “There’s a hue and cry from our membership,” he said. “Publishers are treating everybody as an identical risk.” In response, the ABA has set up a new subcommittee to work with publishers.
Six books ain’t as sexy as they used to be. Kids are apparently also becoming more frugal with their (parents’) bucks and time. How about a few good stand alone novels? Sellers? Weigh in.
The success of series including Rainbow Magic and Beastquest has lead to a strong rise in series publishing. Sarah Clarke, children’s buying manager at Waterstone’s, said: “Perhaps you can have too much of a good thing.”
She added: “Series fiction has its place, but we’d like to see more great one-off titles for this age group, such as The Great Hamster Massacre (the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize winner), to help add variety to the market.”
Series for older children may also struggle, said John Newman of independent Newham Books. “If you can’t get children hooked on the first book, you’ve lost those readers for subsequent books.”
Is it one thing to consider your art, another to consider the reader (Please, won’t someone tell me it can be both)? Mick Jackson profiled at the Guardian.
The Widow’s Tale may have started off as something Jackson was pursuing for himself, but he gradually realised that he might have hit on something with broader appeal. “I was literally two-thirds of the way through before I thought ‘Actually this isn’t the most obscure project I’ve ever written; this is possibly quite mainstream’. It genuinely did not occur to me until I was heading towards the end that it’s got a woman protagonist. I mean, who buys most bloody books in this country?”
Despite this evidence of a commercial blindspot, Jackson believes he has a much stronger idea of the sort of book an editor will like, or a publisher will get behind, than when he started writing 15 years ago. “I don’t want to sound too cynical,” he says, “but I quickly get to the pitch, or where I think ‘That would be a year’s work, I’d really like to do that,’ or ‘That’s six months’ research before I’ve even started, no one’s going to want to make a film like that.’ You end up being pragmatic.” Nowadays, he’s also more focused on his readers. When he was writing his first novel he spent his whole time thinking “how can I make this sentence more lyrical?”, but now he “takes pity on the reader”, always remembering from his own experience “that the reader wants to get the sense of what’s happening and be entertained along the way”. “I like the idea of a voice having momentum,” he adds, “and a reader picking up on that.”
Under which layeth the infocorpse of yon week.
- Human fecal stain and genetic toxic waste Glenn Beck makes obscene amount of money for writing his evil drivel
- HuffPo offers 50 best book people to follow on Twitter
- Orpah to start book show on her new cable station
- Newsweek thinks the LoA is jumping the shark
- Cheap* home office for novelists doesn’t look cheap
- Ultimate Kipling collectors edition found?
- JK sadly no longer most stolen library book in Scotland (what’s number one in Canada? America?)
- What’s the future of the BBAs?
*”Cheap” is used relatively, and with a resigned chuckle…
Some authors just can’t help themselves. It’s a terrible disease. Though quite often it’s rather murky just who it’s terrible for.
ALEXANDER McCall Smith has a terrible medical condition called serial novelism. He feels compelled to write a series of novels and there’s no cure – he has to go on until he dies.
It has led him to produce umpteen novels in five separate series, plus stand-alone novels, screenplays, radio plays, librettos, and at one stage a daily serial for a newspaper.
Fortunately, he finds writing easy. ”I can sit down and it’s almost as if I go into a trance,” he once told the ABC’s Kerry O’Brien, ”and an hour later we’re 1000 words down the road.”
Fortunately, too, he has an army of fans who devour everything he writes.
Okay, got it. All I have to do is get an army of fans who devour everything I write. I’m on it. Um, can I borrow a few bucks so I can take the afternoon off work to concetrate on that? No? Ah. Back to square one.
Wicked poster by a great designer. I’d buy it if its mere existence weren’t a constant, stabbing reminder that I’m not even able to find time to write the damn thing, much less prepare it for publication. (From Afterword)
This is the best 9 minutes and 55 seconds you will waste all day. [Site hijack by part-time 'Ninja Claire Cameron]
But, ladies and gentlemen, I’ll gladly be your patron devil. Rowr. Shelve that book, baby. No, no… On the bottom shelf. Yeah, that’s riiiiight. Aw yeah….
Jerome became the patron saint of libraries and librarians because of the one task he is most known for: the translation, editing, and assemblage of what became the standard edition of the Bible for over the Millennium: the Vulgate. Various canonical lists of the Bible had been circulating as early as the mid-third century, but only with the Council of Rome in 382 did an official council of bishops agree on the list of books to be included. Known as the Damasine List, it was so named for Pope Damasus I, who headed the council, and who had hired Jerome as his personal secretary. And so it fell to Jerome, also present at the Council, to assemble a fresh translation of this newly ratified library—known first as the “versio vulgata,” or “commonly used translation,” and later simply as the Vulgate.
For all the controversy surrounding the Bible, its apocrypha and conflicting versions, Jerome’s accomplishment had long been seen in terms of divine intervention—as with the Council of Rome, he is guided by the hand of God. Seen in this light, the Bible is perfect: there are no books missing, no books extraneous. It is a perfect library, a collection of exactly the books that God intended for humankind.
Question: Should a Toronto cop who penned a crime novel face sanctions because his book paints an unflattering picture of policing? Answer: There’s a flattering picture of policing?
A controversial crime novel written by an active Toronto police constable will not earn its author official sanction, after the Toronto Police Service reversed its original decision to censor the book for painting an unflattering image of policing in the city’s downtown.
Constable Brent Pilkey, author of the forthcoming Lethal Rage, said he was told Wednesday that he would not be charged under the Police Services Act for publishing the book, despite having permission denied by Police Services.
“I’m beginning to hear that. I haven’t heard official word,” Const. Pilkey said Wednesday. “It’s amazing what a little bit of publicity can do.”
Bummer. I wonder how my upcoming book on Tibet, Taiwan, Google, child labour, and Tianamen Square will go over…
A writer for The New Yorker no longer plans to promote his new book about Google during a China visit after being warned the media are restricted from writing about the company, which angered the government by moving its search engine off the mainland to avoid censorship.
In a phone interview late Wednesday, Ken Auletta said the book’s China-based publisher told him his visit next month no longer made sense, because even if Chinese media show up for his events, they won’t be able to report anything.
E-mails from Auletta’s publishing contacts for the China book, seen Wednesday by The Associated Press, point out the restrictions with concern.
“It’s disappointing, not to mention outrageous,” Auletta said. He said he wouldn’t know where to begin to appeal to the Chinese government. “It sounds like a faceless decision. It doesn’t sound like one person you appeal to … It just sounds like ‘1984.’”
I would expect this is an issue for all displaced cultures, but it’s a terribly under-recognized problem facing the indiginous peoples of North America.
As far as the records show, no one has spoken Shinnecock or Unkechaug, languages of Long Island’s Indian tribes, for nearly 200 years. Now Stony Brook University and two of the Indian nations are initiating a joint project to revive these extinct tongues, using old documents like a vocabulary list that Thomas Jefferson wrote during a visit in 1791.
The goal is language resuscitation and enlisting tribal members from this generation and the next to speak them, said representatives from the tribes and Stony Brook’s Southampton campus.
Chief Harry Wallace, the elected leader of the Unkechaug Nation, said that for tribal members, knowing the language is an integral part of understanding their own culture, past and present.
“When our children study their own language and culture, they perform better academically,” he said. “They have a core foundation to rely on.”
That which you find in the cage one morning a few months after you accidentally left two stories in overnight.
- Poets and Writers prize (used to be near Griffin for prize money)…
- eBook sales outpacing audio book sales
- Boston libraries d-day
- UK publishers ready for iPad
- Oh no! Motoko!
- Tom Clancy plans Clancy all-star book to address insatiable public appetite for all things Clancy (should also cure Bookninja’s insatiable appetite for ridiculing all things Clancy)
- Entertainment Weekly doesn’t dig the new Martel novel… I didn’t think it was that bad…
- Nominate the Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere… I’ve long thought this dubious, but there are a lot of good poets blogging now
- 10 songs for English majors (thanks, Dana!)
- And for fun: Republicans, Leukemia Team Up To Repeal Health Care Law
JK won’t rule out the possibility of further subsidizing her $4,500 a day makeup habit. I can just see it now: “Harry Potter and the Day Job Eternal Fire”. Or “Harry Potter and the Proctologist’s Finger”. Or “Harry Potter and the Living Will”.
Though she said she doesn’t plan to write any offshoots of the Potter series, she didn’t rule it out “maybe 10 years from now,” depending on how she feels. But she told one child she does want to write more books.
“Yes, I do, and I am,” Rowling said. “I’m quite sure in the not-too-distant future I will bring out another book.”
Unfortunately, I mean this figuratively. Below a linguist delves into the whacky, laffy-daffy world of America’s favourite retarded sweetheart, Sarah Palin. It’s not yet apparent whether he emerged with his sanity.
“We realize that more and more Americans are starting to see the light there and understand the contrast. And we talk a lot about, OK, we’re confident that we’re going to win on Tuesday, so from there, the first 100 days, how are we going to kick in the plan that will get this economy back on the right track and really shore up the strategies that we need over in Iraq and Iran to win these wars?”
Just forty years ago people would be shocked to read something like this as a public statement from someone even pretending, as Palin pretty much had to have been by the time of this quote, that they were going to be serving in a Presidential Administration.
It’s not quite Bushspeak, which, with the likes of “I know what it’s like to put food on my family,” was replete with flagrantly misplaced words with a frequency that made for guesses, not completely in jest, that he might suffer from a mild form of Wernicke’s aphasia, interfering with matching word shapes to meanings. (Bush the father wasn’t much better in this regard—there just wasn’t an internet to make collecting the slips and spreading them around so easy.)
Rather, Palin is given to meandering phraseology of a kind suggesting someone more commenting on impressions as they enter and leave her head rather than constructing insights about them. Or at least, insights that go beyond the bare-bones essentials of human cognition — an entity (i.e. something) and a predicate (i.e. something about it).
You know, add wings and take away the appearance of never having eaten a dark green in all his 90 years, and that kid could do angel. I mean, he’d need a comb and a personal trainer, but he could do it. Blood-sucking, soul-sucking… Everything but cock-sucking. I mean, the tropes of safely-dangerous sexuality are all so interchangable nowadays.
“Angels are all around us,” reads the publisher’s blurb for Angel, the first of a British trilogy of books for teenagers. “Their beauty is intoxicating, their presence awe-inspiring, their energy irresistible. Angel fever is spreading.”
And this spring an angelic host does seem to have taken over a key sector of the book industry, with at least seven new literary series about angels targeted at young adults published here and in America, and two further bestselling titles dominating the European market.
The NYT’s “Ethicist” columnist says that if a publisher withholds an ebook version while it releases the hardcover that God won’t make the Devil play razor pool with your nuts if you download an illegal copy.
An illegal download is — to use an ugly word — illegal. But in this case, it is not unethical. Author and publisher are entitled to be paid for their work, and by purchasing the hardcover, you did so. Your subsequent downloading is akin to buying a CD, then copying it to your iPod.
Buying a book or a piece of music should be regarded as a license to enjoy it on any platform. Sadly, the anachronistic conventions of bookselling and copyright law lag the technology. Thus you’ve violated the publishing company’s legal right to control the distribution of its intellectual property, but you’ve done no harm or so little as to meet my threshold of acceptability.
In which we shallowly bury the corpse of today’s infobits.
- LibreDigital gets into bed with iPad, finds app for that
- Alec Baldwin bought a bookmobile, presumably to store McDonald’s refuse in
- First quarter looks bad… 2006 bad…
- Signed Emma goes for half a mil
- Latest group to sue Google? Visual artists
- Be still your beating hearts: a “Georgian” erotic pamplet display is not what you’re hoping… Though for a price, we can arrange a private audience, knowmysayin?
- The family that reads together, blogs together (but presumably still lives in isolated bubbles of barely concealed regret and resentment)
- China Mieville wins BSFA
- Bloomsbury’s Arabian list gets the royal stamp of approval, which presumably doesn’t involve beheading
- Keith Richards gets his satisfaction from books… aaaand coke-fueled groupie orgies, but books are in there somewhere totally fer shur
- Will agency model for ebooks run into tax fubar?
- Two-old uses iPad for first time, proving Apple users generally smart as two-year olds:
Borders pays massive severance to executives that ran the fucking place into the dumptster. Nice. Ladies and gentlemen? I give you: Western Civilization!
Borders is paying out approximately $869,000 in severance to two departed executives. According to its proxy statement, Borders is paying $585,464 to Anne Kubek who resigned as executive v-p for merchandising and marketing in September, and $383,708 to Stephen Davis who stepped down as senior v-p for Borders Stores in January.
The world of anyone I want to hang out with was rocked yesterday when news broke that Scrabble would be changing its rules to allow the play of proper nouns. Not so, claims Slate. It’s a different game altogether. So what we have here is a gaming ghetto for stupid people. I can totally see and support that. And with “support”, I just bingoed your ass!
Put a sock in it. Here’s what’s actually happening. Mattel, which owns the rights to Scrabble outside of North America, is introducing a game this summer called Scrabble Trickster. The game will include cards that allow players to spell words backward, use proper nouns, and steal letters from opponents, among other nontraditional moves. The game will not be available in North America, where rival toy company Hasbro owns Scrabble. Hasbro, I’m told, has no plans for a similar variation.
What!! Waff waff waff! In my day there WEREN’T proper nouns, but we made do! And there was no crime and no ebooks and you could buy a bicycle for a dime! Seriously… brand names? What’s going to happen to dear old Scrab when we abandon the alphabet for the series of icons and logos our children can recognize?
The rules of word game Scrabble are being changed for the first time in its history to allow the use of proper nouns, games company Mattel has said.
Place names, people’s names and company names or brands will now count.
Mattel, which brings out a new version of the game containing amended rules in July, hopes the change will encourage younger people to play.
Until now a few proper nouns had been allowed which were determined by a word list based on the Collins dictionary.
I have spies on the inside at the Griffin shortlist announcements (and by that, I mean I watch Twitter). Women have swept the Canadian list with the late, great PK Page getting a nod along with Karen Solie (2nd nomination) and Kate Hall. The international list is Jonn Glenday, Louise Gluck, Eileen Ni Chuilleanain, Susan Wicks. Very well done, all. And a prize increase as well? Sweet!
An aspiring author left her manuscript on Richard and Judy’s doorstep and got a major publishing deal. In related news, Richard and Judy have contracted Blackwater Worldwide to provide security and anti-insurgency sniping services at their country house along the coast…
The college tutor sent the manuscript to several publishing houses but had no reply and was on the verge of giving up.
But when her mother-in-law mentioned that Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan had a country retreat nearby she decided to take them a rough copy.
Mrs Saberton drove to their secluded house and placed a 400 page manuscript on the doormat and a note through the letterbox asking them to read it.
She was then stunned when Richard – who along with his wife hosted a regular book club on their TV show – phoned her and said he loved the novel.
Richard, 53, offered to write a foreword and allowed her to use their name when approaching potential publishers – and she soon secured her first deal.
The ever-vigilent Moby has his Eagle Eye of Deadly Reportage (+3 vs Sleazy Corporations) trained on Amazon and their seemingly daily attempts to worm their way to deeper rings of Hell.
This guy nearly had Salinger in the bag, but a series of unfortunate incidents ruined it all. That’s got to be heartbreaking.
Hapworth is Salinger’s great mystical not-quite-lost work. It takes the form of a digressive 26,000-word letter sent home from summer camp by the breathtakingly precocious 7-year-old Seymour Glass. The novella took up more than 50 pages of The New Yorker in the issue of June 19, 1965; I was 18 then, and I still have my copy. It’s the last writing that Salinger released to the world, apart from court documents blocking assaults on his privacy, and it never appeared again.
I had the idea that Salinger might find my company attractive for its smallness. (Orchises is based in Alexandria, Virginia, and at the time had about 50 titles in print, mostly poetry and reprints of classics.) I had addressed my pitch to “J. D. Salinger, Cornish, NH,” figuring that the post office would know what to do. They did. Two weeks later, a short note arrived, signed “J D S,” and saying that he’d consider my proposal. I was ecstatic, even if I doubted that he’d proceed. And then, silence.
Eight years went by. In 1996, Harold Ober Associates, which represented Salinger, asked for a catalogue and some sample books. It had been so long, I didn’t make any connection, but I now see that I was being vetted. That May, I came home from vacation to find a letter from Phyllis Westberg, Harold Ober’s president. She began, “It might be wiser to sit down before reading the rest of this … ”
The Smithsonian profiles how the Penguin paperback changed the publishing world. Maybe 70 or 80 years from now someone will be writing this about the Kindle… Oh, wait, I meant 70 or 80 minutes from now. The news cycle and sweeping-proclamations-couched-as-historical-perspective haven’t been taking their Ritalin lately.
The first ten Penguin titles, including The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie, A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway and The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by Dorothy Sayers, were wildly successful, and after just one year in existence, Penguin had sold over three million copies.
Penguin’s graphic design played a large part in the company’s success. Unlike other publishers, whose covers emphasized the title and author of the book, Penguin emphasized the brand. The covers contained simple, clean fonts, color-coding (orange for fiction, dark blue for biography) and that cute, recognizable bird. The look helped gain headlines. The Sunday Referee declared “the production is magnificent” and novelist J. B. Priestley raved about the “perfect marvels of beauty and cheapness.” Other publishing houses followed Penguin’s lead; one, Hutchinson, launched a line called Toucan Books.
With its quality fare and fine design, Penguin revolutionized paperback publishing, but these were not the first soft-cover books. The Venetian printer and publisher Aldus Manutius had tried unsuccessfully to publish some in the 16th century, and dime novels, or “penny dreadfuls” –lurid romances published in double columns and considered trashy by the respectable houses, were sold in Britain before the Penguins. Until Penguin, quality books, and books whose ink did not stain one’s hands, were available only in hardcover.
- iPad sales insanity will surpass best estimates
- iBooks wants no part of your filthy seed, Mr. Whale
- Gore Vidal, never one to be left out, was also “interviewed” by the guy who made up all the celebrity interviews
- Stephen King pens baseball novellayaaaaaaaaaaaaaahwn… sorry
- RIP: Harper Studio, we hardly knew ye… and I guess that was part of the problem…
- Hugo nominees include a couple books I want to read!
Forget ebooks. Kobo is preparing for a world in which EVERYTHING is digital. What do they know that we don’t? Intrepid cub reporter Beattie is on the case.
April 1, 2010 is the deadline for Kobo, the digital books company spun off from Indigo Books & Music, to complete its agreements with publishing companies moving from the wholesale model of pricing to the agency model, which effectively means that publishers will be responsible for setting prices on their e-book titles, and Kobo will not be allowed to offer discounts, 2-for-1 promotions, or specials. Writing on the Kobo blog, Michael Tamblyn, vice-president of content, sales, and marketing comments, “When the dust settles, it’s going to be a different world, whether you’re an e-book reader, industry watcher, publisher, or retailer.”
“A different world” may turn out to be an understatement. TSR has learned, through a source close to Kobo who spoke on the condition of anonymity, that the company is preparing for a world in which life itself is digital. “This is no longer the realm of science fiction,” the source said. “It’s quickly becoming science fact.”
In the same way that Indigo decided it couldn’t survive by selling only books, and began to stock its stores with everything from scented candles to Pilates balls and yoga mats, the digital side of the business is looking to expand its suite of offerings in preparation for a world lived 100% online. “We’re thinking totally outside the box,” said the source. “This ain’t your grandma’s Second Life.”
- Publishing Perspectives talks to three recently under employed publishing professionals
- A slideshow of film’s greatest writer villains
- Borders is going to make it, afterall, somehow… Are we sure this isn’t an April Fools joke? Yesterday they were at death’s door…
- British publishers support idea of Waterstone’s still selling their books
- Last year I announced on April 1 that I was shutting down the blog. Didn’t seem to work out… Of course, it was an April Fools joke, and I am pleased to report that I nailed a whole BUNCH of people, including some authors so prominent you’d call me a liar if I said they’d written me expressing regret about (and good wishes on) my “decision”, but you probably call me a liar behind my back most of the time anyway, so I won’t give you an opportunity to air your vendetta in public, you bastard. Seriously, I won’t try to fool you again this year, but I will point to this piece by Alison Flood, who is a self-admitted literary fool for Charlie Stross…
One thing’s fur shur, ebooks are totally going to ruin my nosey-parker browsing at parties. Once you can’t even judge a book by its cover anymore, how will irrational hatreds and half-baked assumptions of authorial/reader intelligence be immediately formed?
“So often when you’re thinking of a book, you remember its cover,” said Jeffrey C. Alexander, professor of cultural sociology at Yale. “It’s a way of drawing people through the visual into reading.”
In the bookstore, where a majority of sales still take place, covers play a crucial role. “If you have already passed that hurdle of having a customer be attracted to the cover, and then they pick up the book,” said Patricia Bostelman, vice president for marketing at Barnes & Noble, “an enormous battle has been won.”
But it’s a victory that will be harder to eke out if no one can tell whether you’re reading “War and Peace” or “Diamonds and Desire.”
Perhaps no other element of the book-making process receives as much input from as many different people as the jacket. First, a creative director comes up with an idea. (How about this image of an apple?) Then the book’s editor, author and agent have a look. (Can we enlarge the font size on the author’s name? And wasn’t an apple used for that book about vampires? This book isn’t about vampires.) The publisher of the imprint gets involved. (Vampires sell. I like the apple.) The sales force makes comments. (Isn’t there an economics angle? How about an apple with an orange inside? That’s worked before.) Even booksellers have an opinion. (What I really love on a cover is a pair of high heels.)
A good jacket is unlikely to save a bad book, of course. But in a crowded market, a striking cover is one advantage all authors and publishers want. To get a sense of the odds, in a random analysis of 1,000 business books released last year, Codex Group, a publishing consultant, found that only 62 sold more than 5,000 copies.
I guess for this Poetry Month-thing I heard about, Publisher’s Weekly has popped up a longish (for them) article on poetry reviewing, and why we even bother. Does it sell books? Does it make better poets? Is it for writers or readers? What of negative vs. positive? It’s all covered here in a nice survey.
“The purpose of poetry reviewing is to keep the art of poetry alive,” says Kevin Prufer, an editor, poet, and prolific reviewer for various literary magazines. “It’s vital for our culture that we not only publish good poetry, but that we continue to sort out for ourselves what exactly good poetry is. Much of this sorting out should take place in reviews of poetry books.” According to Prufer, reviews help keep the art form healthy.
Matthew Zapruder, who selects and edits much of the poetry published by Seattle’s Wave Books, and who is also a poet, sees reviewing as a way of helping readers better understand poetry. “The most valuable thing about a review of a book of poetry is its potential to deepen the reader’s experience of the work under consideration,” he says. “The thoughts and insights of a perceptive, educated, interested writer who has spent a significant amount of time with the poetry can be of great help to someone who is new to the poems.”
Nickole Brown, who has worked as a publicist for poetry books for almost a decade, has a more practical take, but acknowledges that when it comes to poetry, practicality is not the top priority. “The sale of a book, while the obvious goal, isn’t the ultimate aim” of a poetry review, she says. “It’s healthier for a title when that review stimulates public conversation, meaning that the reader then writes and publishes another review, a letter to the editor, or does something on a smaller scale, like mentioning the book in a status update or blog,” she says.
There has been much gum flapping (some good, some comically self-righteous) about this on blogs maintained by poet types recently, but poet Sina Queyras of Lemon Hound has gone a step further and asked an impressive bunch of poets and reviewers for their opinions on the subject. I declined to participate, in part because I don’t consider myself a reviewer of any significance, and in part beceause I don’t really have time to think up answers to the questions, but pretty much anything I’d have said is already up there from a wide variety of my betters. Go take a look.
Ah, biological essentialism. We meet again… Apprently, literary studies, like the production of X-ray goggles and Flubber, are now the domain of SCIENCE and can be illustrated with a MRI scan fo the brain! Great, just frigging great. How long till they figure out how to weaponize fiction (I mean, killing bodies, as opposed to how Dan Brown does it by killing your soul)? I bet DARPA’s already in there with a grant to turn Joyce Carol Oates into a space mounted laser system. Is nothing sacred?
(Follow closely now; this is about the science of English.) Phoebe and Rachel plot to play a joke on Monica and Chandler after they learn the two are secretly dating. The couple discover the prank and try to turn the tables, but Phoebe realizes this turnabout and once again tries to outwit them.
As Phoebe tells Rachel, “They don’t know that we know they know we know.”
This layered process of figuring out what someone else is thinking — of mind reading — is both a common literary device and an essential survival skill. Why human beings are equipped with this capacity and what particular brain functions enable them to do it are questions that have occupied primarily cognitive psychologists.
Now English professors and graduate students are asking them too. They say they’re convinced science not only offers unexpected insights into individual texts, but that it may help to answer fundamental questions about literature’s very existence: Why do we read fiction? Why do we care so passionately about nonexistent characters? What underlying mental processes are activated when we read?
Moby rounds up some iPad links suggesting that market domination will take upwards of five years. Not if Stephen Fry has his way—his lifelong boner for Apple products and a red carpet tour of Apple ending with Jobs audience overcomes his skepticism and he gets jiggy with an iPad at Time.
After he leaves, I am finally left alone with an iPad. Finally I get some finger time. I peep under the slip holder, and there it is. When I switch it on, a little sigh escapes me as the screen lights up. Ten minutes later I am rolling on the floor, snarling and biting, trying to wrestle it from the hands of an Apple press representative.
That is not strictly true, but giving up the iPad felt a little like that. I had been prepared for a smooth feel, for a bright screen and the “immersive” experience everyone had promised. I was not prepared, though, for how instant the relationship I formed with the device would be. I left Cupertino without an iPad, but I have since gotten my own, and it goes with me everywhere.