Article: The war on Amazon is Big Publishing’s 1% moment. What about other writers?

The war on Amazon is Big Publishing’s 1% moment. What about other writers?

More people are buying more books than ever, and more people are making a living by writing them. Why do millionaire authors want to destroy the one company that’s made this all possible?

Article: Amazon v Hachette: Don’t Believe The Spin

Amazon v Hachette: Don’t Believe The Spin

Book Review: Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking by Anya Von Bremzen

Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: A Memoir of Food and Longing by Anya von Bremzen

Interesting at first, but it wasn’t quite the food memoir I was expecting from the descriptions. It was nice to have the historical context, but this often overtook the more interesting stuff about food and the author’s experiences and family, and I felt like I had to slog through a lot of dull history to get to the (dwindling) good stuff.

My Library by Tom Gauld

My Library by Tom Gauld

Cartoon for The Guardian Review

Article: Readers’ Night Out

Readers’ Night Out

This was New York’s third monthly silent-reading party. … Partiers bring whatever books they like, stay as long as they want, and aren’t allowed to speak to the other people in the room.

(From The New Yorker Page-Turner Blog, May 24, 2014)

Video: The Classic Bookshop – A Bit of Fry & Laurie

Sketch from A Bit of Fry & Laurie (1992) about Jane Eyre and classic novels.

(NSFW for mild language)

Exactly how I feel about Jane Eyre! ;)

Article: You Should Seriously Read “Stoner” Right Now

You Should Seriously Read “Stoner” Right Now

As a fictional hero, William Stoner will have to dwell in obscurity forever. But that, too, is our destiny. Our most profound acts of virtue and vice, of heroism and villainy, will be known by only those closest to us and forgotten soon enough. Even our deepest feelings will, for the most part, lay concealed within the vault of our hearts. Much of the reason we construct garish fantasies of fame is to distract ourselves from these painful truths. We confess so much to so many, as if by these disclosures we might escape the terror of confronting our hidden selves. What makes “Stoner” such a radical work of art is that it portrays this confrontation not as a tragedy, but the essential source of our redemption.

(From New York Times, May 11, 2014)

I read Stoner back in 2009, and here’s the review I wrote at the time:

“A moving story, but also awfully depressing. I had a hard time continuing on at points, especially when the author made it so clear that better things could have happened. After following the main character through his life though, I was sad to see how it all came to an end.”

Perhaps I’ll re-read it sometime, especially after reading this piece about it. I just don’t know if I need something potentially depressing right now.

Book Review: Orley Farm by Anthony Trollope

Orley Farm by Anthony Trollope

The first Trollope novel I’ve read, this book kept making me think back to Dickens’ Bleak House, which I read at the end of last year. Both deal with a major legal case, though each very different in nature.

It may not be a fair comparison, but I definitely preferred Bleak House, for the style and overall feeling of the story. Orley Farm felt too drawn out for much less of an overall story — though it certainly had some of the same complexities — and it didn’t have the cozy feeling Bleak House had. I didn’t feel all that attached to most of the characters, who didn’t seem quite as well developed or defined, and my interest in the story waned as it dragged on.

Article: Scanner for ebook cannot tell its “arms” from its “anus”

Scanner for ebook cannot tell its “arms” from its “anus”

A technical problem with optical character recognition software creates some awkward moments in romantic novels

(From The Guardian Book Blog, May 1, 2014)

Oops!

Article: The Not So Horrible Consequences of Reading Banned Books

The Not So Horrible Consequences of Reading Banned Books

A new study of Texas teens found no connection between reading edgy books and mental health issues or delinquent behavior.

From The Catcher in the Rye to The Color Purple, countless books have been banned from school libraries over the years, usually because parents or administrators fear they somehow could be harmful to kids. Well, new research suggests these volumes may indeed have an impact on young, malleable minds.

A positive impact.

(From Pacific Standard, April 10, 2014)