Archive for May, 2013

Book Links 5-20-15

May 20, 2013

Apple is still fighting.  I think the government going after Apple and publishers for the agency pricing model is ridiculous considering how  Amazon was allowed to develop a strangehold on the ebook market before that. It might have forced people to spend a few more bucks in the short term, but I think it was providing for a more robust publishing industry in the long term.  While the publishers have caved, Apple continues to fight, and I applaud them and wish them luck. Also, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this bit about their tax haven practices is coming out now. Considering the big banks were allowed to skate after tanking our economy, politicians complaining about Apple gaming the tax system (legally, as they admit) rings hollow.

On the flip size, Amazon wants to profit by the government going after Apple/publishers, but they don’t want to lose any blood over it. They are fighting to keep their data/info out of the public eye, and out of the courts. I think they are wrong. they are clearly a major player in this, and they deserve  to be pulled into the fight.  They are the only major interest that will greatly benefit by the government winning their case.

Stephen King’s next book, Joyland, won’t be released as an ebook. I like this, except it’s not really his next book. It’s his next book published by the small, independent press Hard Case Crime. I still applaud the move, but it’s not like it’s his next, big publisher release. And you can still buy the physical book off of Amazon.

Not book related, but David Carr’s new article about telecom giants giving us crappy, overpriced cable is a must read.

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Book Links 5-9-13

May 9, 2013

Stuck in an elevator with Rushdie (and a host of of other interesting people)

Barnes & Noble is considering selling Nook to Microsoft. I think this is B&N getting ahead of the curve here, actually.  It’d be nice if they could keep getting some sort of share of sales of ereaders, but I don’t think there is a huge future in them. With tablets becoming more ubiquitous and more powerful, and the screens getting better, needing a dedicated reading device is going to become more and more unnecessary. At that point, does B&N have the infrastructure to be a player on the global tablet market against the likes of Apples, the various PC tablet makers, and Amazon? I don’t think so, and I’m guessing they are seeing that writing on the wall. They have been able to use Nook to keep afloat, to weather the storm of the initial push into the digital age, and now they need to find a way to establish themselves as booksellers in this market rather than technology sellers.

It’s at this point that finding some sort of partnership with MS makes a lot of sense. MS is big enough to run with the hardware end, and the software end comes naturally.  Also, B&N can become a bit of  a gateway to content for MS, depending on where B&N wants to take itself I’m a bit under the weather and my head is still pretty cloudy from lack of sleep, sickness, overmedication, and coffee, so it is a bit difficult to get my thoughts organized about this. However, it seems MS wants the next xbox to be even more of a media hub. Part of that is print – books, magazines, whatever. B&N seems to be a natural gateway for that. If they can find a way to scratch eachother’s needs, it could be hugely beneficial to them.

Haruki Murakami translated The Great Gatsby into Japanese, and here is something he wrote about it. I’m a Murakami fan and a Gatsby fan, so this was pretty much up my alley. A good read.

Okay, I don’t have as much to talk about as I thought, so I think I’m ending it here.

 

Book Links 5-6-13

May 6, 2013

A combination of a lack of sleep and illness is doing a number on me today. My throat hurts, I’m running a fever, and I’m lethargic as all hell. And there is a ton of work to be done around the house.  Awesome.

CNet has a quick article up about Tor’s success with digital books with no DRM.  I think the proliferation of DRM has helped give Amazon a leg up on the digital world, and the publishers have been making a huge mistake in not moving away from DRM. They have fears that if their digital books aren’t protected in some way, that there will be rampant piracy of their works. But it hasn’t happened with Tor. And it shouldn’t have been expected to happen.  You just have to look at the music industry to see how successful DRM is. Or the movie industry. With the piracy of media, I think it’s more a question of desirability. I just don’t see a big market for pirated written works. There is something about music and movies that are like the soft drinks of cultural consumption. You get them, you devour them, you move on. now, sometimes you will re-watch a movie, or listen to an album a few times in a row. If you’re dedicated to those forms, maybe you write a blog about them, or you post at a message board dedicated to them, but there isn’t a huge time investment with either of them. It is a bit different with the written word. It takes time to work your way through a novel, or a collection of stories, or even a lit mag. It’s a sort of investment that I think lends more readily to people investing monetarily in it rather than pirating it, because the time/effort investment is higher. Maybe piracy is less of a problem for books because people who are interested enough in books to invest in an ereader, and to find them online, are more okay investing their money into something they feel they get adequate value from.

More international titles are being published in the US. Not surprisingly, the rise of digital media is paired with this. I’m a fan of international literature, I try to read what I can, when I can and what I enjoyed most about attending AWP a couple of years back was buying some international titles I wouldn’t have otherwise seen. And it’s always a good thing to see literature crossing more lines.

Finally, 45 fan designed covers for The Great Gatsby. I liked the novel, I’m not a fan of what I’ve seen of Luhrmann’s upcoming movie (wasn’t a fan of Moulin Rouge or Romeo + Juliet, either, so maybe I’m just not a Luhrmann fan).

Mr. Peanut by Adam Ross – Review

May 2, 2013

This is going to be short, but I feel like I need to get back on the horse a bit with this blog. It’s supposed to be about books, writing, etc., and I think the last two or three posts is about me wrestling with a toilet. This is probably going to continue, as my life changes my interests and responsibilities shift, but I’m not going to abandon the lit thing entirely. so, on to Mr. Peanut.

For one, it’s a good novel, especially a first novel. At the same time, I couldn’t read the whole thing. It bogs down in the middle where I just lost interest. I ended up literally skipping pages because nothing was really happening. This sounds horrible, and I know it might turn people off entirely, and that I don’t like giving negative reviews (and sort of promised not to, especially for new authors, etc.) but it’s still a good read. It’s still worth picking up, and it might just not be up my alley as far as style and genre goes.

So, what is it about? It’s about a husband and wife, the trials of being married, and each trying to find happiness, purpose, etc. The husband tries it through secretly writing a novel about a husband secretly wishing his wife was dead and devising ways for it to happen but not be culpable. The wife eats a lot, and then tries to change that. there’s also a story about a detective whose past mirrors that of the main character’s current life in many ways.  The wife, of damn near everyone, ends up dead, and unraveling the hows and whys make up the last 3/4 of the novel.

As I said, I just got tired around halfway through and started skimming/skipping. Part of the problem was the novel, but part of the problem has also been the amount of time I’ve been able to allocate to reading.  It was read in twenty minute bursts, and it made reading it drag out. at the same time, I feel that probably a hundred pages or so could have been cut off and it would have been all the stronger for it.  It drags. It repeats. The bit with the detective/doctor is labored. There are times where it feels like Mr. Ross had two ideas for where the novel could go, and instead of picking one and running with it, he tried to fuse them together. it just didn’t work for me.

anyway, not a glowing review, but I encourage anyone to check it out.  It at least tries to do something, it’s a bit risky with its form, and it’s a decent read.

Go buy Mr. Peanut from Barnes and Noble.