“Some Canadian writers, mindful of the 2015 copyright changes, are musing about the prospect of taking 007 for a spin” – especially if they could sell their books outside of their genre-loathing country.
“Most of the coverage of Zuckerberg’s book club has taken the perspective of the publishing industry and invokes the hallowed name of Oprah. Will the Facebook founder become the book business’ new Prince Charming, bestowing instant fame and bestseller status on some obscure but deserving author twice a month? But far more intriguing is the emerging portrait of Mark Zuckerberg as a reader.”
“Many scientists and engineers acknowledge that science fiction helped to spark their imagination of what was possible in science (immersion in the genre from a young age might help explain why I now research unconventional computers). And science fiction authors are inspired by future science possibilities. But how do novel scientific ideas get into SF authors’ heads in the first place?”
A laid-off electrician at the Spanish city’s cathedral is accused of having stolen the 12th-century Codex Calixtinus, considered the world’s first tourist guide (for pilgrims to Compostela) and one of the most important surviving sources for medieval music. The manuscript was stolen in 2011 and was found (along with other manuscripts and €1.2 million in cash) in the electrician’s garage the following year.
“The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven” was first published in 2010 and told of a 2004 auto accident which left Malarkey in a coma. According to the book, co-written by Alex’s father, Kevin Malarkey, he had visions of angels and of meeting Jesus. In 2014, Tyndale reissued “The Boy,” which on the cover includes the billing “A True Story.” As reported by Nielsen BookScan, which tracks around 85 percent of the print market, the book has sold nearly 120,000 copies.
“Despite the embrace of e-books in certain contexts, they remain controversial. Many people just don’t like them: They run out of battery, they hurt your eyes, they don’t work in the bath. After years of growth, sales are stagnating. In 2014, 65 percent of 6 to 17-year-old children said they would always want to read books in print—up from 60 percent two years earlier.”
“Now Merriam-Webster is pushing into the future by making an audacious nod to its past. More than half a century after it was published, the company’s landmark book—Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged, known in lexicographic circles as Webster’s Third, W3, the Unabridged, or the Third—is getting an overhaul. The Third is a behemoth—4 inches thick, 13½ pounds, 2,700 pages—that falls like a crashing wave when opened. A fourth edition, by contrast, might never exist as a physical object.”
“Teleny, anonymously published in 1893, describes the erotic relationship between two men – Camille Des Grieux, who has ‘always struggled against the inclinations of my nature’, and Rene Teleny. Its prequel Des Grieux was published in 1899. The authorship of Teleny was first attributed to Wilde decades later by the French bookseller Charles Hirsch, who had opened a London shop in 1889, and who counted Wilde among his customers.”
Adam Gopnik: “Houellebecq is, simply, a satirist. He likes to take what’s happening now and imagine what would happen if it kept on happening. … The principal target of the satire [in Submission] is not French Islam – which is really a bystander that gets, at most, winged – but the spinelessness of the French intellectual class”
“Movie and TV studios can count on ticket sales and advertising dollars even as they offer their content on Netflix. Musicians can still sell concert tickets even if streaming services like Spotify cannibalize CD sales. But for book publishers and authors, the main source of revenue is still selling books. So why would they agree to participate in what amounts to an always-accessible lending library with an infinite number of copies?”
“At the end of World War Two, when the US Army seized the Nazis’ publisher Eher Verlag, rights for Mein Kampf passed to the Bavarian authorities. They ensured the book was only reprinted in Germany under special [and controlled] circumstances – but the expiration of its copyright in December 2015 has prompted fierce debate on how to curb a publishing free-for-all.”
“For the time being, the data being gathered concerns general patterns of behavior rather than what happens between each of us and our personal E-readers. But we have come to live with the fact that anything can be found out. Today “the information” is anonymous; tomorrow it may well be just about us. Will readers who feel guilty when they fail to finish a book now feel doubly ashamed because abandoning a novel is no longer a private but a public act?”
“The 28 authors, including [Margaret] Atwood, [Andrew] Motion, Michael Morpurgo and Robert Macfarlane, warn that the decision to cut around 50 words connected with nature and the countryside from the 10,000-entry [Oxford Junior Dictionary] is ‘shocking and poorly considered’ in the light of the decline in outdoor play for today’s children.”
“Many of the most popular items from 2014 aren’t conventional news stories at all — they’re contributed content (Dylan Farrow’s open letter about Woody Allen), quizzes (2013′s “How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk was on the list for two years straight), and question-and-answer sessions (The Times’ Q and A on the Ebola crisis made the list).”
All of these novels point to a new future wherein the self is considered a living thing composed of fictions. Although critics will endlessly retread tired discussions concerning fiction vs. reality (and therefore the exhausted conversation about “realism”), that isn’t really what’s at stake here. What’s happening is that new novels… are redistributing the relation between the self and fiction. Fiction is no longer seen as “false” or “lies” or “make-believe.” Instead it is more like Kenneth Burke’s definition of literature as “equipment for living.” Fiction includes the narratives we tell ourselves, and the stories we’re told, on the path between birth and death.
“After four previous appearances on the shortlist for the TS Eliot prize for poetry, David Harsent has finally taken the honour for his 11th collection of poems, Fire Songs. He was described by the chair of the judging panel, the poet and novelist Helen Dunmore, as ‘a poet for dark and dangerous days’.”