Monday, 16 December 2013

News: Books, Lawsuits, And Stuff

  • A book on being a 'submissive' wife becomes a hit in Italy and Spain, except with feminists (anybody remember our own Obedient Wives' Club?). A sexist "joke" book published by a Spanish company, meanwhile, was pulled off the shelves.
  • A best-selling Saudi sci-fi book pulled off the shelves in Kuwait and Qatar, due to djinns. As we all know, djinns are bad news, which is perhaps why local publications such as Mastika occasionally warn readers about them. But the big question is: Can sci-fi as a genre exist when imagination is curtailed?
  • Did an "evangelical celebrity machine" force a radio host to retract her claims that a Seattle pastor could be a plagiarist?
  • A bunch of famous authors have condemned the amount of state surveillance as revealed by the world's biggest whistleblower of 2013, and are calling for the creation of a UN bill to protect civil rights for the Internet age. The list of authors petitioning for this bill is formidable. But will anything come out of it?
  • A federal judge has tossed a lawsuit, filed by independent booksellers, that said Amazon and the big six publishers are trying to lock down the bookselling trade via Amazon's proprietary DRM in Kindle. And this little nugget from TIME seems to suggest that Amazon's apparent money-losing strategy with its Kindle e-reader is working.
  • "Long-form, on the Web, is in danger of meaning a lot of words," writes James Bennet in The Atlantic. Time to rethink the terminology for 'long-form' journalism?
  • Guilty pleasures: What's so guilty about them? "...the guilty pleasure seems to me the distillation of all the worst qualities of the middlebrow—the condescension of the highbrow without the expenditure of effort, along with mass culture's pleasure-seeking without the unequivocal enjoyment," writes Jennifer Szalai in The New Yorker. "If you want to listen to Rihanna while reading the latest from Dean Koontz, just go ahead and do it."
  • "My education began in the library, where I read every book I could get my hands on. Before long, I wanted to be--among other things--a writer. I read books about it, and I learned that the chance of making a living writing novels was remote. But I also learned that if I got a job on a newspaper they'd have to pay me every week." Sir Terry Pratchett talks about his first job.
  • Crowdfunded anthologies: what you need to know before jumping in.
  • Hikaru Su- sorry, George Takei, a top 1000 reviewer on Amazon? Oh my.
  • "Call me a defeatist, but honestly I'd be happy if a plurality of American college students could discern even the skeletal plot of anything they were assigned." Rebecca Schuman at Slate wants an end to college essays.
  • "If a story is viral, truth may be taking a beating." So it seems nothing is too good to be true on the Internet - until it is.

    Speaking of viral: Did this blog publisher actually write this awful pitch? Because nobody can possibly be this daft. And multiple exclamation marks? Red flag!
  • Whoa. Is THIS the state of our National Library now? Some of the pictures look a little old, though.
  • Oh, yes ... Groupon's great idea for 'combating' the delivery drone scheme? Catapults. This thing just got ancient. Google, on the other hand, just bought a robot-engineering company. Retail Robot Wars, anyone?

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