Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Book Marks: Copyright Fight And Stuff

The author of Malay-language novel Aku Bohsia is reportedly suing a film production firm for allegedly plagiarising the novel for the film Bohsia: Jangan Pilih Jalan Hitam. I was surprised this suit was filed. Because:

[...63-year-old Elias Idris] said he wrote the novel in 1995 using the pseudonym, Anne Natasha Nita, and obtained a copyright on it.

As I understand it, the term bohsia (literally, Hokkien for "no sound" or "voiceless") is usually synonymous with "slut", one that tends to hang out with gangs or prostitutes herself.

So ... yeah ...


  • Spirits Abroad (Fixi Novo, 2014) by Zen Cho won the Crawford Award (for first fantasy book) in the United States. Cho's book shared the award (full name: the William L. Crawford Fantasy Award) with The Angel of Losses by Stephanie Feldman (Ecco, 2014). Congrats!
  • From the Penang Monthly magazine, "The new wave of Malaysian Fixi-on" by Marco Ferrarese. I had no idea this publication existed. Also in the current issue (January 2015), a profile of Ismail Gareth Richards, who runs the GerakBudaya Penang bookshop.
  • "Being critical of made-in-Malaysia books is all about being supportive." Daphne Lee returns to The Star in a new column on local books.
  • So you think you know Chaucer, do you? Paul Strohm's The Poet's Tale: 1386 and the Road to Canterbury tries to uncover more about the author of The Canterbury Tales.
  • Is this the world's first gardening manual? I'm not really sure. Some of the gardening advice is just plain weird, hucksterish, even.
  • A load of malarkey (come on, who could resist?): How "The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven" came to be.
  • Fifteen words that actually came from literature. Turns out the term "unfriend" is a lot older than thought.
  • Scopes trained at apparent half-truths in the novel American Sniper.
  • Why Indian author Perumal Murugan quit writing: the furore over the translated edition of controversial novel Madhorubhagan.
  • When Oxford University Press issued a an advisory on the inclusion of pigs and pig-related things in children's books, people naturally had stuff to say, including Ron Charles. OUP has since clarified its stand, saying that it does not ban porcine material from its books but does provide "guidance to authors on a range of areas that might cause offence in specific markets. This does, amongst other things, include advice around the use of images of pigs."
  • Why John Murphy's grandfather translated Hitler's Mein Kampf. The story of "the first unabridged version in English, which was eventually published in London in 1939 - is an intriguing one. It involves worries about copyright, sneaking back into Nazi Germany to rescue manuscripts and a Soviet spy."
  • When it's time to let go of a book, how to decide what stays and what goes?

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Book Marks: The Late, Late Year-End Wrap-Up

The local social media scene was briefly set alight (as usual) when news of a wild boar in halls of the MMU Cyberjaya library emerged. The creature was said to have wandered out of the wilderness bordering the township and ended up in the library, where it was eventually subdued and carried off. A news portal had a great headline for the story, which was proven real. The fate of the boar isn't known, but things don't look good for it.


  • The religious raid and book seizure at Borders, over the Malay translation of Allah, Liberty and Love, was ruled illegal by Court of Appeal at the end of last year. Even more recently, the government failed to keep the ban on the Malay translation of Irshad Manji's Allah, Liberty and Love, published by ZI Publications.
  • Malaysian National Laureate Datuk Abdullah Hussain (1920-2014), passed on at the end of last year. Sad news.
  • Zen Cho, author of the anthology Spirits Abroad (Fixi, 2014), is interviewed by Daphne Lee on writing, SFF, Western vs Malaysian publishing and more.
  • "Making Malaysia’s literary capital work": A Q&A with the curator of the 2014 George Town Literary Festival.
  • A well-travelled food historian studying urban food culture in the Asia-Pacific is starting a new blog (h/t Robyn Eckhardt). Should be worth following as it fills up.
  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s first novel, Mycroft Holmes, written with screenwriter and producer Anna Waterhouse, will be published in fall by Titan Books. It stars Sherlock Holmes' brainy older brother.
  • UK bookselling chain Waterstones noted that sales of Amazon's Kindle ebook reader had "disappeared" after seeing higher demand for physical books. The resurgence in demand for print was also credited to Waterstones's refurbishment of some of its shops and giving managers more control over their stores to cater to local tastes.
  • Annie Proulx regrets writing Brokeback Mountain because it seems many readers wanted Jack and Ennis together - which wasn't what she had in mind. Well, if this back ain't broke, don't fix it.
  • The sad fate of a best-selling young novelist, who died alone in a house along a windswept Irish coast.
  • Mark Zuckerberg starts a book club and its first book, The End of Power by Moisés Naím, sold out on Amazon.