Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Book Marks: MH370, Scripture, And Putting One's Foot Down

Perhaps reacting to an event called "Let's Read the Quran", the Home Ministry stated that it is a crime to publish or read the Quran in languages without the accompanying Arabic.

(Well, it's book-related, isn't it?)

The chairman of the Home Ministry's Al-Quran Printing, Control and Licensing Board also said that "Translations of the Quran without the Arabic text are prohibited and it is feared that they may be misunderstood and that spiritual rewards cannot be gained by reading them."

Uhm ... interesting. Has the Home Ministry also heard about The Study Quran? If they have, then I suppose we won't have troublesome belated bannings of this book because we're not getting it anyway.

I don't think I'm qualified to comment, so I'll just leave a couple of opinion pieces on the matter by social activist Azrul Mohd Khalib and Malay Mail Online journalist Zurairi AR here.

A marketer created a fake best-seller by "putting his foot down" - and got a real book deal. Brent Underwood "uploaded a satirical book and turned it into a 'No. 1 best seller' ... to reveal how hollow the claim 'best seller' is by 90 percent of all the gurus and experts)," according to Ryan Holiday in Observer.com.

Underwood's stunt seemed to be a protest of sorts against "all sorts of cringy infomercial-like sites that promise secrets, hacks, summits and webinars to make you an overnight 'best seller.' I found that, more often than not, the people running these sites have no clue when it comes to creating or marketing books. Because they know they can crank out a best seller by way of gimmicks, they do it, and they prey on an aspiring author's desires for status and success."

It's an interesting interview. Speaking of such...

Anybody know Steve Alten? Well, seems the the guy who wrote novels about a kind of "dinosaur shark" recently chummed the writerly waters by dipping his toes into book publishing. Author Chuck Wendig was among a few who had a look at the pay-to-publish service and thinks, well, "you shouldn’t pay anything to get published." But Wendig might have tripped a nerve when he stated that "It smacks of a vanity press."

Alten has responded to Wendig's post several times, but many of the other commenters are, for clear reasons, firmly on Wendig's side of the fence.

It's been two years since Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370. Prior to this, many news agencies have released commemorative features and op-eds. But a new book on the mystery plane?

So, CNN's "aviation correspondent" (is there such a thing?) Richard Quest has come up with a book, which, according to The Daily Beast, "shines less light on the mystery of MH370 and more on CNN."

The Vanishing of Flight MH370 pretty much chronicles how the 24-hour news network went "all in" - seemingly building a weeks-long media circus around the tragedy to boost ratings. Some of those antics can be seen here in this Daily Show segment.

And in that clip, Quest himself (looked like him, anyway), prompted by a featured tweet, suggested employing PSYCHICS to help find the plane. "It sounds incredible, but they have been used before." Stewart then sarcastically recommended the services of Paul the Octopus. Or did they forget about the bomoh and his coconuts?


  • In this Q&A with Tom Bissell, author of Apostle: Travels Among the Tombs of the Twelve, he speaks to National Geographic about whether Christ's twelve apostles were real(!). "There was probably a Peter and a John, definitely a James (the brother of Jesus), and probably a Thomas. Beyond that, there's nothing historical that verifies their existence other than the gospels themselves. So I think they're a mixture of fact and fiction."
  • "Anonymity lets me concentrate exclusively on writing." Italian author Elena Ferrante (a pseudonym) is interviewed in The Guardian. Would this work here?
  • Singapore-based publisher Epigram Books is in the running for the Bologna Prize for Best Children's Publisher of the Year. Congrats!
  • The self-published The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers makes the Baileys prize longlist, along with works by Kate Atkinson, Geraldine Brooks and Anne Enright.
  • "Some of these diets are really just political (or religious) manifestos with the word 'diet' stuck on them," argues Carrie Arnold in The Daily Beast. "Many people turn to diet books when they need to shed some weight. If that's their goal, they should probably look elsewhere."
  • These thirteen "self-published books you won't find at a book store" sound interesting.


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