Monday, 1 July 2013

News: Serious Stuff, Borders, Coffee, And A Keynote Speech

  • "As a native of Burma or Myanmar, the title 'Freedom and Literature' seemed surreal to us in the recent past. However, for me, literature itself, either creating or reading it, always relates to freedom." Burmese writer Dr Ma Thida's closing keynote speech for the Edinburgh World Writers' Conference at #Word: Cooler Lumpur Festival. On that note, here's some coverage of the event.
  • JAWI's raid on Borders over Irshad Manji's Allah, Liberty and Love was is still unconstitutional and illegal, and the High Court has asked that the charges against store manager Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz be dropped. Doesn't look like JAWI can appeal the decision, but I don't expect this to end with a whimper.
  • "It's not that we should include things that are 'frivolous,' necessarily, but we should include things with male and female bents, and even things that are not serious in subject, but serious in terms of the work they entail—the seriousness between the writer and his or her subject, and the reader and the page." Jen Doll's thoughts on gender, publications, and 'serious journalism' in The Hairpin.
  • He is legend: RIP Richard Matheson.
  • Barnes & Noble to stop making its own colour e-readers.
  • Over at The Economist, some thoughts about Alice Munro's retirement. But do writers ever retire?
  • Coffee cramps creativity? Not really. "Idleness and willfully unrealized potential, though, are," says James Hamblin in The Atlantic. In this article (looks like an ad, doesn't it?), ambient noises in a coffeeshop can boost creativity.
  • Potong stim: Ballantine Books decides to cancel Paula Deen's book, Paula Deen’s New Testament: 250 Recipes, All Lightened Up, despite pre-orders taking it to number one on Amazon. The support for Deen is as pointless as the circus surrounding her use of the 'N-word'; it's not the worst thing she's done. But I guess the publishers didn't want to risk having the books gather dust due to all that negative publicity.
  • Despite changes in demographics, children's books in the US "stay stubbornly white".
  • Chef Jamie Oliver, author of numerous cookbooks and articles, manages to finish a whole book: Suzanne Collins's Catching Fire. Quite a feat, since he's dyslexic. But shouldn't he have read the first Hunger Games novel first? Prob'ly too much t'ask o' him. But way to go, chef.

    Meanwhile, here's a possible key to reading more: "Carry a book with you at all times. Every time you get a second, crack it open. Don’t install games on your phone – that’s time you could be reading. When you’re eating, read. When you’re on the train, in the waiting room, at the office – read."
  • If someone reviewed beer a la Gertrude Stein, will he be dubbed a 'beer stein'? I know, I know, lawak tempang. That being said:

    Left-Hand Black Jack Porter (6.80% ABV): Spiritous in spirit, tea like in tea. All this and not extraordinary in heft, hefted. A little sweetness is so ordinary. Very likely there is no cream that is present, yet inside the milk is a shade. Life and limb for an age aged for darkness. Herbaceous yet what is an herb to the hereby untenable mouth.

    Hmm.

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