Tuesday, August 27, 2013

News: RIP Elmore Leonard, Public Speaking, And Learning English

The really huge news last week was the passing of Elmore Leonard. I'm not qualified to write my thoughts on this because I haven't read any of his stuff, other than "RIP Elmore Leonard". His son Peter reportedly said he hopes to finish his dad's last novel.

  • More JD Salinger books coming our way beginning 2015?
  • "Like a person who dislikes the outdoors but tries to be into camping, or who isn't fond of large parties but goes anyway for fear of missing out, it was something I thought I was supposed to want. Teachers and speech therapists and career counselors and even stupid Gwyneth Paltrow movies had convinced me that it was shameful not to want confidence and charisma to display in front of a crowd. As though everything worth doing required sparkling speaking skills and an outgoing personality." Public speaking may not be for everybody, even if it's said that you can learn how.
  • How hard is it to learn English? Short answer: "It depends." Long answer: "A native speaker of German or Dutch—Germanic languages closely related to English—will find English relatively straightforward. Learners whose first language is Chinese (completely unrelated) or Russian (distantly related) will find English much harder. ... If you learn a language geographically close and from a common ancestor of your first language, there will be fewer nasty surprises, at every level from sound to word to sentence."
  • "It's not just the value of certain books; it's also the time and place when they happen to fall into our hands." When it come to books, sometimes it's all about the moment we find them.
  • Problems pitching your novel? Check out 23 query letters that worked, one for each (sub)genre.
  • In pictures: the sixth Hargeisa International Book Fair in Somaliland.
  • Board of a Japanese school restricts access to Keiji Nakazawa's ten-volume manga Barefoot Gen "because of the manga's graphic violence". Right.
  • "Cats now face possibly more hostility than at any time during the last two centuries." Says John Bradshaw, author of Cat Sense: The Feline Enigma Revealed.
  • Is Samantha Shannon, author of the hyped-up dystopian YA novel The Bone Season, "the next JK Rowling"? Shannon doesn't think so. "...it is kind of uncomfortable for me, because if you say that someone is the new something, it suggests that there is something wrong with the old. We don't need a new J. K. Rowling, so, you know, I'd rather be the first Samantha Shannon." Also: "...The Bone Season is violent. There's sex."
  • In the wake of an author's alleged bullying on Goodreads, a group of authors are calling for an end to such behaviour. Goodreads is owned by Amazon, which also - unintentionally - hosts a similar kind of bloodsport in the review section.
  • Someone actually compiled "the collective wisdom of Chris Rock". His "bullet control" idea is genius.
  • This piece on brewing the perfect coffee will only send you to the nearest barista.
  • Now that Batffleck looks set to spread his wings, he won't be helping out with the silver-screen adaptation of Stephen King's The Stand.

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