Monday, 27 February 2012

News: New Village, (Maybe A) New Book, Peter Mayle and Libraries

After weeks of trawling the web, finally! Some big book news from home.

Headman of New Village
Feeling upbeat for See Tshiung Han (is that how it should be written?) and his New Village project. Check out their web site here.

Masthead for the New Village zine (Issue 0, July 2011), and one of the pages

It's definitely not your... usual kind of fiction. Given the risk-averse nature of the mainstream publishing industry, maybe it's a good idea to strike it out on your own. Self-publishing is becoming the rage, after all.

Congratulations to the New Village team and all the best with the project. ...Wonder if they're taking (literary) contributions?

Coming soon?
The distributors have informed me that they'll be distributing a book by artist Boey Cheeming. He'd e-mailed us sometime back to see if we can help him get what appears to be his illustrated childhood memoir into the local market. Would be thrilling if this comes to pass. In the meantime, read Ah Boey's (sorry, couldn't resist) graphic-heavy journal.

So-called "sex book" banned
One not-so-great news is the ban on Peter Mayle's Where Did I Come From?, a book that's been around when my age was still single digits. I remember reading an ex-neighbour's copy and... well, if the book makes you horny, I think you have some serious issues.

Sex sells, but put sex and Malaysia in the same sentence and you have a legion of news agencies who I presume want to bump up page hits by reporting on the same ban.

When will we ever get into the news for all the right reasons?

Other news
  • Meanwhile, Kenny Mah sussses out some book caf├ęs in Japan. Reminded me of Hoxes at Damansara Perdana, a little hideaway that eventually closed just as soon as I got comfortable.
  • The Librotraficante (Spanish for "Booktrafficker") Movement is opening "underground libraries" in the face of an alleged ban on books on Mexican-American culture.

    Some time ago, the city of Tucson, Arizona banned the teaching of allegedly divisive, ethnically-biased Mexican-American studies in schools. Some see it as part of a wider plan to marginalise the Hispanic community by a state that's increasingly hostile to immigration, specifically Latino immigration.

    Why am I following this? It's just so... suspenseful! I want to know what happens next. And I do hope that there would be no book ban - or any ban whatsoever.
  • Mercer County libraries add e-books to their shelves - but not without hiccups. As reported days ago, some of the big name publishers have stopped selling e-books to libraries. And some old fogies still aren't used to e-readers.
  • New York payphone booths turned into "guerilla libraries". Would it work in Malaysi- no, it won't. But I guess it depends on what kind of books you'd put there....
  • Survivors of the Bosnian war in pictures: The literary treasures of Sarajevo's centuries-old Gazi Husrav Beg Library. Pretty books, pretty pictures.
  • Amazon does it again. The firm that's shaping up to be the Death Star of publishing and bookselling has pulled 5,000 titles by Chicago-based distributor Independent Publishers Group from its catalogue over sales terms. It's Amazon vs Macmillan all over again.

    Meanwhile, another boycott - by Barnes & Noble on Amazon titles - hits a number of books, including Penny Marshall's My Mother Was Nuts. It just means that it won't be displayed at B&N's network of brick-and-mortar shops, where new books are usually showcased. But is this a smart move?
  • Satire, serials and shorts: Publishers are trying out variations of the e-book. Okay, e-books may be democratising publishing, but I still think you need people to make them better.
  • Did you hear about Paramount Studios suing the Puzo estate to prevent more "Godfather" books? The suit claims that a previous Godfather novel "tarnished the legacy" of the film and "misled consumers in connection with advertising, marketing, and promotional material related to the first and second sequel novels".

    Just so happens that I have one of these books on a list of tentative titles to review later. Now I really want to get my hands on it.
  • Speaking in tongues: Aravind Adiga's lingusitic journey. " was common for a boy of my generation to speak one language at home, another on the way to school, and a third one in the classroom. ... Kannada, which I spoke at home, and Hindi, which I had to learn in school, belong to different linguistic families and are as dissimilar as, say, Spanish and Russian."
  • A shortlist for the Diagram prize for oddest book title of the year. Gotta love the standfirst.
  • Oh, and Anthony Bourdain's book imprint Ecco announces new authors and books.

Yes, yes, JK Rowling is writing a book for adults (whatever that means) and US comedian Stephen Colbert is coming up with a children's book. Like I care a whole lot about either.


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