Tuesday, 7 August 2012

News: Courts, Copycats and Come-Lately Jennys

Books in the dock
The High Court rejected Borders's application to stop further action by Jawi over the raid and book seizure at its premises at The Gardens, Mid Valley City. The Appeals Court, however, granted Borders that order. The case will be heard in the Syariah High Court on 19 September. More on the case can be read here.

Elsewhere: Suaram's chief lost the appeal over the banning of a book on the 2001 Kampung Medan riot. And the arrest of political cartoonist Zunar was ruled lawful, but not the seizure of his books. Nope, not sure how this works, either.

Copycat controversy
Alleged self-plagiarist Jonah Lehrer quit The New Yorker for Imagine-ing Bob Dylan quotes. Disgraced New York Times journo Jayson Blair wonders why Lehrer didn't learn from his (Blair's) mistakes. Owie.

Lehrer now joins a list of people who made things up or passed off the work of others as their own. But it seems they left out QR Markham on this list.

On a related note: While plugging his own book, a veteran journalist asks whether the increasing vigilance over journalistic fraud is improving journalism in general.

Meanwhile, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is offering refunds (probably just for the US) for those who bought Lehrer's Imagine: How Creativity Works because, well, I guess copying is not how creativity works. Not sure if it'll be worth it - better to keep the book.

Shady spin-offs
After Fifty Shades, another series about a steamy professor-student relationship rises from the depths of Twilight fanficdom. They'll be doing all kinds of fetishes before the current wave starts losing steam. Can I call the next one - train passenger and groper?

Also coming: an erotica series (ho hum) coming from author of a teen werewolf YA series. Team Jacob finally gets something. Elsewhere, someone asks whether EL James's commercialisation of her fanfic is a betrayal of the Twilight fanficdom.

Earthsea revival
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Simon & Schuster are to reissue the six-book Earthsea series. The joint project where HMH contributed to the editorial process appears to signal better things for the publisher, who has to deal with imminent bankruptcy and the more recent Lehrergate.

Other news
  • Flipping the bird at literature: the strange story of Richard Bach's Jonathan Livingston Seagull.
  • Why readers pirate e-books. Take note, everybody.
  • Writer who met his wife at Borders wonders if bookstores will still exist when his kid is old enough to enjoy them.
  • "You hear all this whining going on, 'Where are our great writers?' The thing I might feel doleful about is: 'Where are the readers?'" RIP Gore Vidal.
  • "I screwed a lot of girls here." That and other untweetables from the graffiti of ancient Pompeii suggests that there was no moral decline in US or, for that matter, the world.
  • "Why is my work so upsetting for people?" An interview with former Booker winner James Kelman.
  • On Amazon, e-books selling more than print. Will print-buying diehards be discriminated into picking up e-readers?
  • A freelance journo shares some money tips.
  • New Zealand's publishing sector is banking on gains from the Frankfurt Book Fair.
  • Mark Billingham says pint-sized book prices devalues books, harms (self-)publishing industry.
  • Are these the ten most difficult books of all time?
  • Dr Sleep, sequel to The Shining, coming around January 2013?
  • James Gleick, author of The Information, struggles with that "impish god" called Autocorrect.
  • The history of "Zzz...". When did we start associating sleep with sawing logs?
  • Is social media blunting honest (and edgy) literary criticism?
  • Blurbing books with hip-hop lyrics. They picked 50 Cent's for Fifty Shades.
  • No desert rose: How to avoid writing flowery profiles of dictators' wives.


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