Sunday, 6 November 2016

Book Marks: Indonesia at Frankfurt, Aspirational Bookshelves

This piece on Indonesia's success at this year's Frankfurt Book Fair pretty much makes the case for continued government support for future appearances there, considered to be one of the world's major book fairs.

But I wonder if this is accurate:

Indonesia's success, he said, also made neighboring countries envious — since, unlike Indonesia, they do not have big-name writers.

"We have a long list of world class and award-winning writers — from Pramoedya Ananta Toer, Andrea Hirata, Ayu Utami to Laksmi Pamuntjak and Eka Kurniawan," [literary agency director Thomas Nung Atasana] said.

"They probably have lots of money and support from their governments, but do not have strong content like ours."

Hmm.



"Is there something just a little bit gauche about displaying books in one's home that one isn't actually reading, and has no intention of reading?" someone asks in Slate. "I have no intention of consuming The Bront√ęs at Haworth or The Woman's Day Book of American Needlework cover to cover, but nor are they fraudulent representations of my interests. Is it acceptable to treat books as decor, a representation of one’s aesthetic aspirations rather than one's intellectual biography?"

Apparently, to the last question, yes. "Books have always played both roles. They are not just stories and information, they are badges of identity and, yes, ornamentation. A book on a shelf faces inward and outward at the same time."

Then it also has to be asked: "Are book collectors real readers, or just cultural snobs?" Or is it just a really bad case of tsundoku?



"His book clout is all the more impressive when you consider that he neither writes his own books nor does he likely read the ones by others that he helps turn into bestsellers with his tweets. ...But since when has Trump needed practical knowledge of an industry before getting into it? One of his greatest strengths is his unabashed, unashamed, total pimpage, and he's brought it to the publishing industry in full force."

Of course, the article is talking about Trump's "startling" ability to sell the books he's pimped, including The Art of the Deal and the late conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly's The Conservative Case for Trump.

With regards to the latter:

...The Conservative Case for Trump ... was published on September 2, 2016, literally the day after she died at age 92. Trump, who spoke at Schlafly's funeral, tweeted on the book's publication day: "As a tribute to the late, great Phyllis Schlafly, I hope everybody can go out and get her latest book, THE CONSERVATIVE CASE FOR TRUMP." Schlafly's book has sold nearly 500 percent more copies than her previous tome, Who Killed the American Family?

Perhaps this is what Trump wanted from his presidential run.


Also:

  • "Queerness has always existed between the lines in novels about teenagers," writes Mitchell Sunderland in Broadly. Now, it seems that queerness is now stepping out of those lines and into the forefront. That's gotta be good, right?
  • "It's hard to hide the stretch marks in a book this pregnant with meaning, which is why I wish [the author Daniel] Menaker had strained far less to trace the word origins undergirding his 'meaningful mistakes.' ' Who knew that a book with typos and malapropisms can be interesting? I'd pity the editors, though.
  • The kind of subjects in these digital novels this guy writes sound like the light novels or cellphone novels in Japan, some of which are being adapted into animated features or games. Haughtiness aside, the bits about hard work, franchising and staying true to your vision are pertinent.
  • For evangelical cartoonist Jack Chick, "the Devil was literally everywhere." "Women, witches, gays and lesbians, teachers, Dungeons and Dragons players, atheists, Muslims, Jehovah's Witnesses, and worst-of-all, Catholics (just to name a few)...".
  • "Books were also magically portable. I could drop them into a bag and take them back to the Ministry and they would still work even when I was there. In their pages I could sneak out into the world but still remain in the sure circle of my higher calling." How Flannery O'Connor's books led a man out of a religious commune and back into the world.
  • In Rwanda, writers and publishers are cultivating reading habits among children, particularly where local languages are concerned. Some of the obstacles to that goal sound familiar and seem to be facing other publishing circles in Africa.
  • LitReactor lists top ten ways writers annoy their Twitter followers. That's nine ways too many.

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