Friday, 10 October 2014

Book Marks: ZI In Court, And Evening Mists In Film?

So this happened yesterday:

"In a landmark case that will determine the extent of the freedom of expression in Malaysia, the country's top court will weigh today the constitutionality of a state Shariah law to ban "religious" publications deemed against Islam," The Malay Mail Online reported.

This is related to the Selangor's religious authorities' raid on the premises of ZI Publications and seizure of the Malay-language version of the book, Allah, Liberty and Love, by Canadian writer Irshad Manji two years ago. A ban on the book was overturned by the High Court in September 2013.

Meanwhile, the Court of Appeal lifted a ban on Perak Darul Kartun and 1 Funny Malaysia, two books by cartoonist Zunar, on the grounds that they did not threaten national security or disrupt public order.

"Thanks to Aunty, a local film studio has set itself the ambitious task of turning an international bestselling novel into a movie." Ya meh? Apparently, yes.

So an article by June Wong on how Tan Twan Eng's Man Asia winner The Garden of Evening Mists would make a great movie managed to catch the eye of Henry Tan, Astro's chief operating officer for strategy, content and marketing.

"Fascinated by how Psy's Gangnam Style video brought South Korea world attention and 'adoration', I suggested this highly acclaimed novel set in Malaysia written by a Malaysian could be our ticket to fame if it was turned into a movie by a Hollywood or British studio," Aunty wrote.

No, "Aunty", you SO DID NOT compare a Man Asia literary prize winner with a human joke magnet, did you?

Ben Yagoda wonders if the long novel is still relevant.

So many door-stopping novels would find their best form as novellas ... They do not, for two main reasons. The first is that authors generally like to hear themselves talk, and editors, with so much on their minds, especially these days, aren't sufficiently ready and willing to pare the extraneous.

...Also, since the market, as it's been defined for a pretty long time, doesn't have a place for novellas and 25,000-word nonfiction works, ideas that would work best at such length get artificially bulked up, like an offensive lineman on steroids. E-books are a promising receptacle for shorter texts, but the form has a ways to go before authors and readers alike are comfortable
with it.

Martin Scorsese made a film about The New York Review of Books and Laura Miller over at Salon thinks it can teach us a thing or two about the true worth of writing and editing.

"Consumers who demand that the price of e-books be slashed to less than half the hardcover list price reveal a belief that the work and expertise of a writer are worth less than a handful of paper and cardboard," Miller writes. Also:

Even readers who claim to value non-automated editing have little sense of a editor's actual responsibilities. The familiar grouse that "no one edits anymore" is usually followed by lamentations over the typos, grammatical errors and misspellings someone has found in traditionally published works. But correcting that kind of micro-mistake is the job of a copyeditor (or in some cases a proofreader), not the editor. So if the editor is not in charge of fixing "spelling, etc," then what does an editor do?

"Have we fallen out of love with e-readers?" asks The Independent, which then links this with findings that suggest people retain more of what they read on print rather than the screen.

Publisher Scott Pack seems to concur. "I retain a very physical memory of a book for some time after reading it," he says in the report. "I can recall whether a particular scene or quote appeared on the left- or right-hand page, towards the top or bottom, and sometimes the page number, too."

He also highlighted some related sentiments from a bookbuyer on Twitter about buying e-books: "From a letter I received today 'Occasionally I do buy a digital book but it feels a bit like getting takeaways instead of cooking dinner'."

In Zimbabwe, a writer bids farewell to book writing, no thanks to "book pirates, photocopying technology and weak copyright infringement laws".

Ignatius T. Mabasa's novel, used as a national school set text for studying the Shona language, was pirated by bootleggers, leaving him and his publisher high and dry. But it's not just authors:

During the 2014 National Arts Merit Awards, I shared a table with Enock Chihombori and when he was announced winner for his film -- Gringo the Troublemaker, instead of rejoicing, Chihombori wept uncontrollably before telling the nation that he had used family savings to produce the film, but he never benefited at all from his creative talents. The film was pirated and available on the streets before it was even launched.

Beware of "popular" self-published books on Ebola being sold on Amazon. Seems they're written by quacks aren't doctors - and they're part of the problem, not the solution, says WHO and the UN.

"Both the World Health Organization and the United Nations have said [misinformation has] contributed to the spread of the disease, says the Washington Post report. "In fact, per the WHO, one of the most persistent obstacles to fighting Ebola is 'rumors on social media claiming that certain products or practices can prevent or cure' it — when in fact, they can't."

This is one reason why the industry still needs gatekeepers.



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