Monday, 3 December 2012

News: A Reviewing Mood, Etc, A Cyclist And A Big Bad Wolf

Michiko K's review of Calvin Trillin's book - in verse - gets somebody in Salon all interrogative, though I doubt any malice was intended. Are we seeing the development of a trend? Meanwhile, the negative review wave rumbles on with Zoƫ Heller's take on Salman Rushdie's Joseph Anton, which Gawker has anointed "Hatchet Job of the Year 2012" - so soon?

Why did Gawker like it? Because, according to them, Heller's a known journalist taking on what some would consider a literary titan. So:

We want a tiger to take down a tiger, not a sleeping housecat, especially not a housecat that's generally friendly and harmless and writes books that your great-aunt likes to bring on airplanes to calm her nerves.

Also, it is very exciting to watch important British people insult each other (see the House of Lords for further evidence). They are, generally speaking, much better at it than Americans, partly because reading is a blood sport there, but also because they've had centuries of practice on us...

So eloquent and succinct.

For those who're lazy to write creative reviews, here's five rules of writing a Pete Wells-style takedown. Have I talked about this...?

And this long LA Review of Books piece on Bill Henderson's Rotten Reviews Redux and the credentials of a critic is worth poring over.

In other news:

  • Simon & Schuster dives into self-publishing with self-publishing solutions provider Archway Publishing. But, like with all "pay-to-play" publishing, one advises caution, especially with premium rates like these.
  • RIP Zig Ziglar.
  • Some notable authors join a campaign to make books part of emergency relief efforts. Because "nourishment for the mind" is just as important as nourishment for the body, clothes and a roof.
  • Is our fondness for happy endings blunting our appetite for "unhappily ever after"?
  • James Gleick’s The Information wins the 2012 Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books. I reviewed it some time ago and it's worth a look.
  • Somebody seems unhappy that EL James is Publisher's Weekly's Publishing Person of the Year. Because, apparently, "she did not" write a good book and that she just got lucky after she threw "the virginal girl and powerful man" she'd borrowed from Twilight into bed together and "tied them up".
  • Apparently, 25 million people in China only read cell phone novels. ...That's a lot of cell phones.
  • Wow. Is the world of modern art so ... awful?
  • Publishers may be in for legal tussles over rights for a bunch of books in 2013. A clause in the US Copyright Law introduced in 1978 allows authors - or their next-of-kin, I think - to reclaim rights to their works after 35 years.

Oh, yes. This year's Big Bad Wolf Book Sale is happening from 07 to 23 December at the Mines Convention Centre (MIECC), from 9am to 9pm. This year, they're kicking off the craziness with a 63-hour-long opening (for real?!) from 6.30am on Friday, 07 December to 9.30pm on Sunday, 09 December.

There's more stuff in the insanely graphic-intensive web site (never dealt with slow broadband speeds or shrinking data transfer quotas before?), including a video of how to get to the venue.

Aaaaand, Sandra Loh, author of Pedalling Around the Peninsula, will be at Kinokuniya @ Suria KLCC on 08 December from 3-4pm to talk about her book. Don't think I'll be in the audience this time around.

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