EU Rules That E-Books Are Services, Not Goods, And Can’t Be Taxed At Book Rates

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“Electronic books cannot benefit from the same reduced rate of value-added tax as paper books, the top court of the European Union ruled … the court argued that a reduced rate can apply only to physical books and that even though e-books can be read on tablets and computers, they should be considered ‘electronically supplied services,’ not goods.”

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Why Lawyers Object To Making Legal Briefs Briefer

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The federal judiciary plan “would pare back the word-count limit from 14,000 to a svelte 12,500. The idea has gotten a thumbs-down verdict from some lawyers … but it won cheers from dozens of bleary-eyed appellate judges.” (Mind you, for the attorneys, it’s not just about billable hours.)

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Mario Vargas Llosa And His Peru

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“His books ignore none of Peru’s clashing, kaleidoscopic elements, but his vision, sometimes explicit and more often artistically indirect, is at bottom a gentlemanly, non-millenarian one … Humans, to him, are just another type of ‘fauna,’ a word that Vargas Llosa went on to use in novel after novel, not with detachment or revulsion but, rather, with a sort of zookeeper’s tenderness for his charges.”

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“Abandon Literary Dignity” And Write Two Versions Of Your Novel, Says Fay Weldon – Artsy For Printed Books And Quick-N-Dirty For E-Readers

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“Writers have to write now for a world where readers are busy, on the move and have little time for contemplation and reflection. The writer has to focus on writing better, cutting to the chase and doing more of the readers’ contemplative work for them.”

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The World’s Most Eccentric Library

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It is a library like no other in Europe—in its cross-disciplinary reference, its peculiarities, its originality, its strange depths and unexpected shallows. Magic and science, evil eyes and saints’ lives: these things repose side by side in a labyrinth of imagery and icons and memory. Dan Brown’s hero Robert Langdon supposedly teaches “symbology” at Harvard. There is no such field, but if there were, and if Professor Langdon wanted to study it before making love to mysterious Frenchwomen and nimbly avoiding Opus Dei hit men, this is where he would come to study.

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When Grownups Read Their Teenage Diaries Aloud In Public

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“Real teenage diaries are becoming a form of public entertainment – often self-deprecating – in a number of places, as brave souls divulge details of unsatisfied crushes and lost friendships. Ruminations that now seem ridiculous had once seemed profound to those who had written them down.”

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Translating ‘The Hobbit’ Into Hawai’ian

THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG

“The closest matches in Hawaiian mythology were forest-dwelling creatures called the mū, but they are unsophisticated creatures who make screechy noises in the mountains. NeSmith decided to adapt the mū, which are like the Eldar in the sense that they’re shy and sing in a haunting way, and added ‘wao,’ or ‘wilderness.’ Now elves are mūwao.”

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‘The Letter That Encapsulates The Millennial Age’

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“BuzzFeed is the hottest entertainment/news/advertising/whatever property on earth right now. Everyone is talking about it and everyone (even the celebrities) reads it. Even the fact that you might answer this is a testament to how popular they are. Would you answer this if I was having an existential breakdown over Mother Jones or the Washington Post? How can you feel good about yourself if you don’t work for such a massive, popular, successful company?”

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Why That “Things I Can Say About MFAs” Essay Struck Such A Nerve With Writers

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Laura Miller: “Not much of ‘Things I Can Say‘ offers a fresh take on the endless MFA debate. More at issue is the swashbuckling, bridge-burning and sometimes contemptuous tone Boudinot adopts and the implication that, as a one-time MFA instructor, he is speaking the secret thoughts of every creative writing teacher to whom a student has entrusted her fledgling work.”

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Kazuo Ishiguro Thinks His Fantasy Novel Is Not A Fantasy Novel – Does That Matter?

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“Another day, another argument about whether a book about dragons is fantasy or not. … Well, if it walks like an orc, quacks like an orc, and generally behaves like an orc, it’s fantasy, right? The author isn’t so sure. … It is an argument that resurfaces every time an author with ‘literary chops dips a toe into the waters of SFF.”

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The 1906 Novel That Imagined New York In 2015

1906 Novel That Imagined Present-Day New York

“Set ninety years after the cataclysmic Terror of 1925, Sutphen’s book imagines that the world of 2015 has devolved into three tribes: the Painted People, the House People, and the marauding Doomsmen. Keeps, drawbridges, archery, and Sirs and Ladies have grown back as thickly as vines over the ruins of American civilization. At the center of it all is the city of Doom, ‘gigantic, threatening, omnipotent,’ and ruled by the post-apocalyptic godfather Dom Gillian.”

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Wordnesia: When You Forget How To Spell Or Pronounce The Simplest Of Werds

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In the 1996 movie Black Sheep David Spade, “glances at a fold-up map and realizes he somehow has become unfamiliar with the name for paved driving surfaces. ‘Robes? Rouges? Rudes?‘ Nothing seems right. … ‘Rowds. Row-ads.‘ … Row-ad-type word wig outs similar to the one portrayed in that movie are things that actually happen, in real life, to people with full and total control over their mental capacities.”

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Workers Of The Word Unite! – Language And Class At The Copy Desk

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“The truth is that the work of the copy editor is largely disdained. And because their work is so undervalued, copy editors (and fact checkers) routinely work significantly longer hours for much less money … The popular image of the copy editor as a usefully malfunctioning person justifies the natural order of things: In the Calvinistic world of magazines, maladjusted grammar weirdos simply fall to their natural station.”

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Survey: What Men Are Reading (And Why)

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The “survey showed that 39 per cent of adult fiction works and 56 per cent of non-fiction were for males, suggesting men are not so keen on keeping up-to-date with storytelling, but slightly ahead of women when it comes to reading history, politics and biography.”

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Are These The Five Best Bookstores In America?

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“Before the winner is announced in early April, each of the five finalists will submit a portfolio to impress the judges. The reward — publicity in Publishers Weekly and at the Book Expo convention in May — is certainly valuable, but this is a distinctly cordial competition.”

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Turns Out Fiction Is (Just) Slightly More Complicated Than ‘A Stranger Comes To Town; Someone Leaves Town’

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“To the aficionado, Jockers’s sheep/goats, wheat/chaff division of imaginative fiction sounds about as sophisticated as dividing the world of music into the up-chord and the down-chord. It sounds, indeed, like the lady in the Monty Python sketch explaining her theory about the brontosaurus (it starts off thin, becomes very thick, then thin again).”

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The Essay About Teaching In MFA Programs That Has Writers Freaking Out Across The Internet

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“Anyone who claims to have useful information about the publishing industry is lying to you, because nobody knows what the hell is happening. My advice is for writers to reject the old models and take over the production of their own and each other’s work as much as possible.” (Now, search Twitter for “MFA” or “MFA essay” and see what writers are saying about this piece.)

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How Alice Munro Learned About Stories – And Books

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“If I wanted a story, the thing to do was to get my grandmother to read it to me. Then listening to her voice, her story-reading voice which always sounded a little incredulous, marvelling, yet full of faith, bravely insistent, and watching her face, its meaningful and utterly familiar expressions — lifted eyebrows, ominously sinking chin, brisk little nods of agreement when, as sometimes happened, a character said something sensible — then I would feel the story grow into life and exist by itself.”

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Children Are Reading ‘Diary Of A Wimpy Kid’ Instead Of Tolkien – Is That Supposed To Be A Bad Thing?

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“Every generation thinks that standards are slipping – in my childhood it was Enid Blyton in the line of fire, for my sister it was the Sweet Valley High series, and today it’s The Hunger Games. All have been roundly condemned for stopping children reading good books. And yet children keep reading. “

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The Immortality Of The Written Word (Yeah, All That Is Changing…)

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“In making the transition from an age of scarcity to an age of glut, the nature of fame itself undergoes a change. One sign of the difference is that it would be hard to find a poet, in the 21st century, who openly claims to write for glory, fame, or immortality. Yet the idea that great poetry was the surest way to achieve fame and outwit death has been very long-lived.”

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Writing On The Web, A Deeply Cynical Take

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“Remember that first question: What is web writing in 2015? Is it still based on the author model? If you enjoy watching a writer’s mind work over time (or you enjoy having that freedom as a writer), is there still a way to do that? Or is the writer’s-voice-driven Internet over, forever, everything’s atomistic now and it’s no longer possible to scrape an audience together that way even if you want to?”

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How A Book Club Is Helping To Keep Ex-Offenders From Going Back To Jail

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“They were all teenagers then, charged as adults for their violent crimes. At the D.C. jail, they found solace in a book club, reading memoirs and reciting poems they had written. Over the past year, they finally came home. They see themselves as reformed men who did dumb things as kids but who know that others may have trouble forgiving.”

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