Back When Morocco Was A Haven For Gay And Bisexual Men (Especially Writers)

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“The Americans who turned up in the 1950s were escaping from a repressive society where homosexuality was outlawed. In Morocco, attitudes were much more relaxed and, provided they were discreet, Westerners could indulge their desires, without fear of harassment, with a limitless supply of young locals in need of money, and smoke an equally limitless supply of the local cannabis.”

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Copyright Attorney Chosen To Lead Authors Guild

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“Mary Rasenberger is a partner in the law firm Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard and has an extensive background in intellectual property and technology. The Guild has been involved in numerous copyright battles, including a lawsuit against Google over the search engine’s program of scanning snippets of published material.”

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Where Do I Start With Patrick Modiano, The New Nobel Laureate?

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“You might have experienced Modiano’s work without realizing it: He co-wrote the scripts for Louis Malle’s Lacombe, Lucien (1974) and Jean-Paul Rappeneau’s Bon Voyage (2003). But Modiano’s novels are worth reading as well: subtle, rhythmic, and hypnotic investigations into the self and its memory – the perfect thing for the mournful indoor months.”

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Nonfiction Writing Deserves A Nobel Every Once In A While, Too

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Philip Gourevitch: “It has been more than a half century since any such recognition – a half century that has seen an explosion of great documentary writing in all forms and lengths and styles, and yet there is a kind of lingering snobbery in the literary world that wants to exclude nonfiction from the classification of literature – to suggest that somehow it lacks artistry, or imagination, or invention by comparison to fiction.”

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An Interconnected World Needs A Common Language

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“In an ideal world, we’d all learn to use one language for science, technology and business, and learn, respect and use others for cultural identity and a sense of community — especially in our polyglot nation. That requires some flexibility in how languages themselves are developed. We need to be more adaptable and sensitive to other cultures as we use language.”

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Publishers Simplify, Sanitize For Lucrative Young Reader Market

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“Prominent nonfiction writers like Ms. Hillenbrand, Jon Meacham and Rick Atkinson are now grappling with how to handle unsettling or controversial material in their books as they try to win over this impressionable new audience. And these slimmed-down, simplified and sometimes sanitized editions of popular nonfiction titles are fast becoming a vibrant, growing and lucrative niche.”

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Lost Stories By Truman Capote Published

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“A Swiss publisher was searching for chapters of Truman Capote’s unfinished final novel last summer when he stumbled upon a different find … a collection of previously unpublished short stories and poems from Capote’s youth.” Four of the stories (in translation) are being published this week in a German magazine.

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How Google Is Killing Our Relationships with Books

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“Certainly, digitization and searchability have had an effect similar to that produced by earlier reproductions of the image, that of encouraging the fetishization of the original, and I confess now that my feelings toward manuscripts are beginning to approach something like fetishism. I have begun to feel this even more strongly because comprehensive searchability has introduced a rupture into my relationship with the book.”

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The Much-Maligned Adverb Finds Refuge, And Even Power, In The Law

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“No part of speech has had to put up with so much adversity as the adverb. The grammatical equivalent of cheap cologne or trans fat, the adverb is supposed to be used sparingly, if at all, to modify verbs, adjectives or other adverbs. … Not everybody, however, looks askance at the part of speech. Indeed, there is at least one place where the adverb not only flourishes but wields power – the American legal system.”

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Are These Canada’s Best Books Of 2014?

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“In a wide-ranging list that culls from across Canadian regions, the fiction finalists include Michael Crummey, who was expected to be among the major prize winners this fall for his latest novel, Sweetland, but failed to place on the Giller and Writers’ Trust lists; Thomas King for The Back of the Turtle; and Claire Holden Rothman for My October.”

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Robert Pinsky’s Poetry MOOC Gets 12,000 Students

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The former U.S. Poet Laureate’s eight-week massive open online course, “The Art of Poetry”, began last week. It’s free, but not easy: the syllabus says the work will be “demanding, and based on a certain kind of intense, exigent reading, requiring prolonged in fact, repeated attention to specific poems.”

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Lots Of Cities Have Historic And Cultural Districts, But Who Else Has A Literary District?

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Boston hopes that its newly-designated literary mecca – which features everything from the homes of Thoreau, the Jameses, and Plath to the hotel where Malcolm X and Ho Chi Minh once worked to menu items like “Mel-Ville Chowder” and the “Poe-Boy Sandwich” (really?) – will “promote business and job growth and enhance property values in [its] own eclectic, well-educated way.”

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Ten Tips To Being A Bestselling Author

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“Writers are very fragile, they’re like butterflies or perhaps moths; they can be easily crumpled. If you’re very sensitive, which I am, it only takes a raised eyebrow or a chance remark about an idea for you to lose confidence.”

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Russia’s Latest Refusenik Writer/Heroine (It’s Just Like Old Times)

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“In recent years, as Russia has grown politically repressive and culturally conservative, [Lyudmila] Ulitskaya’s fiction, which addresses both religion and politics, has moved in for a confrontation. Increasingly, Ulitskaya has also become a public intellectual. … She has amassed many of Europe’s most prestigious literary prizes, even as she has come under attack at home.”

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Why Poetry Matters

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“Poetry belongs to us all. We started speaking by reciting poems and everyday we plug ourselves in to our phones and listen to music with lyrics that are made up of poetry. It is everywhere. And it is ours. Perhaps the university professors would like us to believe that poems belong to them, but we mustn’t let this happen.”

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The Unexpected Rise Of Indie Bookstores

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“In 2009, the number of independent bookstores in the nation stabilized at around 1,400, and then slowly began to grow. As of last May, the number of indie bookshops in the U.S. was 1,664. Why the turnaround?”

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The Fight To Save Paris’s Oldest Bookstore

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“It’s difficult to imagine the shuttering of a bookstore causing a similar outcry anywhere else—not to mention direct government involvement in the matter of a private lease. This has something to do with what the French call l’exception culturelle.”

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Why Is Academic Writing So Dreadful?

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“The familiarity of bad academic writing raises a puzzle. Why should a profession that trades in words and dedicates itself to the transmission of knowledge so often turn out prose that is turgid, soggy, wooden, bloated, clumsy, obscure, unpleasant to read, and impossible to understand?”

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Carol Ann Duffy: My First Five Years As Poet Laureate

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“When Carol Ann Duffy was appointed poet laureate in 2009, the first woman to hold the post in its nearly 350-year history, she set herself several goals that included setting up new prizes, giving support to new festivals and helping to generate commissions for poets.”

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Now The Big Guns Are Joining Writers’ Fight Against Amazon

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“Andrew Wylie, whose client roster of heavyweights in literature is probably longer than that of any other literary agent, said he was asking all his writers whether they wanted to join the group, Authors United. Among those who have said yes … are Philip Roth, Orhan Pamuk, Salman Rushdie, V. S. Naipaul and Milan Kundera.”

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