Monday, November 19, 2012

News: Haters, Reviewers, and Publishers

Guy Fieri's American Kitchen & Bar put the New York Times's restaurant critic Pete Wells in an interrogative mood. Though Wells was exceptionally harsh to the restaurant, I have no patience or sympathy to any celeb who behaves and presents himself in ways that make him a target for ridicule.

I won't deny that I found Wells's fiery take on Fieri entertaining. And I do enjoy writing the occasional hate piece - which you may not see here - because there is a kind of pleasure in hating something. But it's got to be a well-written, sufficiently informed piece. Maybe I'll elaborate on this some day.

Back in the book world: Put off by what "professional" reviewers - "corrupt & paid laborers: academics & journalists", like Pete Wells - did to a book, an author subjected (or rather, "crowdsourced" reviews for) his book to "amateur reviewers" and didn't like what he got. So how lah?

Elsewhere:

  • Vietnamese publishers vent against "unauthorised books". "Unauthorised" can mean a lot of things, but I suspect they're talking about pirated books. Elsewhere, an Amazon-published author turns to a former "hotbed of piracy" to distribute his book which, under the Amazon imprint, is not being hosted by retailers such as Barnes & Noble.

  • Days ago, an article by one Michael Levin that suggests "publishers hate authors" appeared on The Huffington Post. Victoria Strauss posted a response. It should be noted that Levin runs a ghostwriting company. Based on the tone in some of the stuff he's written, would it be too subjective to suggest that some of his bile might be targeted at publishers who didn't like what he'd written?

  • Apparently, reading on a Kindle is not like reading a physical book. ...And I thought I was a paper-book romantic.

  • "Missing e-books", and how publishers' control over their digital material is keeping them from libraries. But like paper books and physical bookstores, it's getting harder to argue for the continued existence of brick-and-mortar libraries. The question is: How many of us still want them around?

  • The Nagani Book Club, an iconic Yangon-based publishing house, may re-open after being shut for seven decades. On a related note, here's some background on Burmese literature and its associations with the independence movement.

  • When you need to turn down a publishing contract.

  • Newly retired novelist Phillip Roth tries to discourage a new author and fails. "Don't do this to yourself"? C'mon, let a guy dream.

  • China's great shame, one writer's 'tombstone': the Great Famine.

  • When a son's book is used to defend his father's killer.

Last but not least: The Dulang Washer (MPH Publishing, 2011) has been longlisted for the 2013 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Other contenders include The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes, The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach, The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt, The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht and The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje. Which all start with "The".

And the crowdfunding drive for publishing Readings for Readings 2 has collected RM3,000, the "minimum" funding amount. With four days to go before the deadline, this is generally where last-minute contributions should start trickling in.

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