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Book Blogging in Turmoil

Well, at least we can never say life in the book blogging world is dull!

This past weekend, The Guardian newspaper published a story by an author that, frankly, pissed a lot of people off. I’m not going to link to the story, because I don’t want to give it any more of a signal boost than it’s already received. But surely, if you’ve been paying attention these last few days, you know what I’m referring to. (If you don’t, I might argue that ignorance is bliss, but you could also simply Google “Kathleen Hale.”)

I honestly don’t think I have much to add to the conversation. Many other bloggers (who are much, MUCH smarter than I am) have already written about this incident (*) from a variety of perspectives, including:

(* I hate calling this Hale thing an “incident.” It’s not. It’s so much worse. But I’m also mindful and a little bit wary about what I’m writing now, so I’m being careful with my word choice. In a way, I’m self-censoring. I don’t particularly like it, but there it is.)

My mother, who is one of the smartest people I know, routinely gives me good advice; the best advice she’s ever given me is that we can’t control what other people do or say. We can only control our reactions to them. This is, of course, much easier said than done, but it’s also true for so many different situations in life. We can’t change how other people think, but we can change and take responsibility for our own actions.

So, my two cents, for whatever it’s actually worth, comes down to this: don’t be an a$$hole. Whether you’re a blogger, an author, a publisher, a marketer, a reader or any combination of the above, just….don’t be an a$$hole. I feel like that’s both an obvious statement and a naive one, but really, it should be that simple.

And if you don’t want to listen to me, listen to the Dowager Countess:

Dowager Countess Memes

[Image from Funny or Die.com]

Book News, Oct. 11th

Happy October, bookworms. To paraphrase Anne (with an E) Shirley, I’m so happy to live in a world where there are Octobers. I like October because it means changing leaf colors, cooler weather and ALL THE APPLES. (Imma let you finish, but apples are totally > anything pumpkin spice.) Today, I’m visiting Newgrange, a UNESCO World Heritage site here in Ireland. I hope you’re enjoying yourself, wherever you are. And I also hope you enjoy the book news:

  • Bad Adobe! With thanks to Dear Author and Smart B*tches for bringing this to my attention, it turns out Adobe has been spying on you while you read. Adobe’s Digital Editions 4, often used to read e-books for various sources (many libraries with Overdrive use it, for example), tracks every book you read and sends that information back to Adobe in plain text format (i.e., a wildly unprotected format). It’s simultaneously an invasion of privacy and a data security issue, one the company apparently doesn’t see as a problem. Adobe did say it was “working on an update” for Digital Editions 4, though there’s no indication that update will, you know, stop recording every page and book you read and send that information to the company unencrypted. Some companies never learn.
  • Authors United’s fight with Amazon is about to get some reinforcements. Several high-profile authors, including Philip Roth, Salman Rushdie and Ursula Le Guin, have agreed to join AU in its fight against Amazon. The organization is hoping to put enough stress on Amazon and compel it to end its dispute with Hachette Books regarding the pricing of e-books. In a statement, Le Guin compared Amazon’s tactics to censorship, saying the conglomerate “deliberately [makes] a book hard or impossible to get” and decried Amazon’s use of that censorship “to gain total market control so they can dictate to publishers what they can publish, to authors what they can write, to readers what they can buy.”
  • J.K. Rowling almost broke the Internet and she’s probably laughing about that. Earlier this week, Rowling published a cryptic tweet, which Potterheads immediately began trying to decode. Many die-hard fans were convinced the tweet heralded the return of The Boy Who Lived, while Rowling herself took to Twitter to provide some clarification. In the end, the original tweet turned out to be an anagram for a sentence relating to Rowling’s upcoming Newt Scamander “prequel.” Rowling, meanwhile, prove once again that she is indeed smarter than the rest of us. And I’m okay with that.
  • Introvert children of the world, rejoice! Susan Cain is writing a book for you. Cain, author of one of my most favorite nonfiction books (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking) signed a deal with Penguin Young Readers to publish of Quiet for children. The original was clearly geared towards adults, with discussions of workplaces and parenting choices. The children’s version will feature stories of children who have used their own introversion to their advantage. I’m certainly looking forward to this book (even having no children of my own) and I wish it had been around when I was a socially awkward young’un.
  • How do you say you’re sorry in Dothraki? You don’t! At least, according to the folks who came up with Dothraki for the Game of Thrones television show, you don’t. Now you too can become a Dothraki expert. Living Languages has released a Dothraki course, featuring more than 200 words, phrases, grammar explanations, notes and more. George R.R. Martin only created the barest foundation for Dothraki in his books; HBO hired linguists to help expand the language for use on television. At the very least, you could learn how to curse someone in Dothraki and not only would that person never know, but you also would get away with foul language in public. Sounds like a Dothraki to me!
  • Lastly, my name is Meredith and I love reading romance novels. And I’m not afraid to stand up (here in my little corner of the Internet) and admit it. If, however, you’re feeling a bit skittish about your own romance habit, Elyse at Smart B*tches has an excellent post in defense of romance novels. She aptly knocks down most of the arguments she hears against romance, pointing out that the romance genre and feminism tend to go hand-in-hand (books written about women, by women, for women = duh! feminist!) while also deconstructing the fallacious idea of “good” or “serious” literature. (I’ll take Sarah MacLean over Jonathan Franzen any day, thank you very much.) Read it. Be happy. Then read more romance!

As always, happy reading.

Book News, Sept. 27th

Holy blog posts, Batman! I opened up WordPress to write today’s book news and saw that, as of my last post (found here), I’ve written 1,000 blog posts on this blog! ONE. THOUSAND. And this week coming up is my sixth anniversary of LND! I can’t believe I’ve kept this up for six years – or for 1,000 posts. It’s incredible to think about. So here’s to 1,000 more! Enjoy the book news:

  • We’ve got Jane Austen news in spades this weekend. First up, never underestimate the power of Austen fans. Earlier this month, hundreds of Janeites descended upon Bath to celebrate the annual Jane Austen Festival. At the festival, 550 Janeites dressed in their finest Regency clothes and set a new Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of people dressed in that type of costume. This event reclaimed the record from one set in 2009 in the U.S. – because of course the record should belong to England. It is Jane’s home, after all.
  • Meanwhile, a new kind of Austen adaptation is headed our way. After many changes in writers and directors, it looks like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies will finally become a movie. (Yay?). Lily James will portray Liz Bennet, while Doctor Who alum Matt Smith will take on the role of Mr. Collins. And in other casting news, Game of Thrones father and daughter Charles Dance and Lena Headey will also join the cast, though there’s no word yet on who they will be portraying. The movie will follow (more or less) Austen’s plot, with the add twist of a zombie invasion in the English countryside.
  • And in even more adaptation news, Hilary Mantel’s Tudor epic Wolf Hall is hitting another milestone. The Royal Shakespeare Company developed an interpretation of Mantel’s novels (the aforementioned Wolf Hall and it’s sequel, Bring Up the Bodies) for the stage. Now RSC is bringing the play to Broadway. Parts 1 and 2 will begin previews in March 2015 and open to the public in April 2015. Both of Mantel’s books won the Man Booker Prize, making Mantel the rare author who has won the Man Booker twice, and for two linked books. A television miniseries of the first book is also being produced by BBC and Masterpiece.
  • Since we’re on an adaptation role here … earlier this month, Book Riot had a post that explored movie adaptations of literary works, specifically those that “got it right” – movie versions that were as good, if not better, than the book version. While Book Riot’s list includes one of my favorite book-to-screen translations (Atonement, in case you were wondering), I do wonder at their inclusion of High Fidelity. I take issue with the “Americanization” of Nick Hornby’s original story. And the lack of Lord of the Rings seems glaring, because I personally though Peter Jackson and co. did a very admirable job adapting what is fairly tricky material. What say you, bookworms? What are your favorite adaptations?

As always, happy reading.