Monday, 24 June 2013

News: Fiery Flavours, Fonts, Flops, And Stuff

So much to ponder after the cool but hazy Cooler Lumpur Festival. I had to miss out on the Festival's closing events because of dinner at my relatives and haze-induced health problems, but what events I have attended left much food for thought.

So, more on that, and book reviews, later. For now:

  • London Review of Books has virtually no female contributors? Here's what LRB had to say about it.
  • Mary Roach on the Naga king chilli, aka the Bhut Jolokia, and a chilli-eating contest.
  • Mystery book sculptress strikes again, leaves another piece at Leith Library in Edinburgh. Speaking of libraries: Carnegie Medal winner Sally Gardner (Maggot Moon) praises books and librarians, while bashing UK education secretary Michael Gove's new curriculum in her acceptance speech.
  • Penguin introduces rewards system and chance to preview new releases. Is this the gamification of publishing?
  • Yellow person has a fit when white person enlists another white person to write a book on yellow people's street food. Yellow person's words, not mine.
  • Georgia is "sharper, more pleasing, and easier to read" than Times New Roman? It seems typefaces do influence how we read and think.
  • RIP Michael Hastings, journo who brought down US general Stanley McChrystal. News have emerged about an e-mail he allegedly sent before his death, which suggests he may have been tailed and casts a pall over his death.
  • In the Guardian, seven writers reflect on failure. They even arranged the list in alphabetical order.
  • Oliver P√∂tzsch becomes first Amazon Publishing author to sell one million copies in print, audio and Kindle.
  • As news emerges about Stephen King's Joyland being pirated, German researchers look into new DRM technology.
  • Joshua Rothman at The New Yorker remembers the time when Dan Brown visited his English class in 1998. "I, for one, assumed that [replacement teacher] Mr. Terry had somehow run out of steam, and had brought in Dan Brown in more or less the same way that, toward the end of the year, a teacher might bring in a movie." Fifteen years later, two of Brown's books were made into movies, so I guess Rothman's class got a good deal.
  • I don't know which Robicelli wrote this take on the Paula Deen circus, but I found it entertaining - and more.
  • Zounds! Papa Hemingway was a failed KGB agent? Some of us may be glad he was better at writing than spying.
  • Are political memoirs on the way out? I HOPE SO.
  • Kickstarter apologises over raising funds for an 'offensive' seduction guide. "Above the Game" sounds like a dig at Neil Strauss.

One aside: Edward Snowden, who reportedly said "I don't want to live in a society that does these sort of things", is now, according to David Wiegel at Slate, is "on a world tour" of countries with an even worse record on press and information freedom that the US. "At the moment he's less concerned with irony than with avoiding jail," Weigel adds.

While his 'disclosures' may have opened up debate on privacy and state surveillance, I wouldn't take what he says seriously anymore.

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