Buzz Worthy News
This week in Buzz Worthy News: Mass pandemonium ensues after Goodreads does the unthinkable and sells its soul to Amazon, Camp NaNo starts, Casanova’s memoir to be rereleased (yay?), and movie news for Ally Condie’s Matched series. All this and more, waiting for you to check it out!
Buzz Worthy News is Cuddlebuggery’s weekly news post bringing you all the best information about the book and blogging world, particularly for the venn diagram of people who overlap between the two. For new releases and cover reveals of all the best Young Adult fiction, check out our Sunday post: How New Titles.
General Book News
There are two times of year dreaded by all family and friends of NaNo hopefuls. April-July and, worst of all, November. Well, here we go. Camp NaNo is happening to a crazy, shut-in, writerly type near you.
“What: Writing a novel from scratch in one month’s time.
Who: You! (And about 20,000 other novelists around the world.) Let’s write some perhaps-awful, but definitely lengthy, prose together.
Why: The reasons are endless! To actively participate in one of our era’s most enchanting art forms! To write without having to obsess over quality. To be able to make obscure references to passages from our novels at parties.
When: You can sign up anytime to add your name to the roster. Writing begins at 12:00 AM on April 1, and again on July 1. To be added to the official list of winners, you must reach your word-count goal by 11:59 PM on the last day of the month. Once your novel has been verified by our web-based team of robotic word counters, the partying begins.”
Use Your Words
They just don’t write ’em like they used to, that’s what my imaginary mother figure would say. Now there’s proof. When it comes to mood words today’s books just aren’t packing like they used to.
So what’s all this about? The researchers explain here:
“Within this general decrease, we identify Disgust as the emotion with the lowest final -score and Fear as having the highest final -score (Figure 2). Notably, the mood of Fear, which declined throughout most of the early century, has increased markedly since the 1970’s, in contrast to the continued decline of other moods (Figure 2).
Our third finding is that, since about 1960, American books have increased their mood contents compared to British books. This divergence between American and British English occurs within the context of the overall decline in the use of mood words. If we plot the difference in -scores between American and British word data (Figure 3a), we see a clear, steady, relative increase in American emotion-related words from 1960 to 2000. Since about 1980, books written in American have been more ‘emotional’ (in all mood figures) than the ones written in British (Figure 3a). This difference in -scores – which reflects the respective deviations from each nation’s mean value – is duplicated also by the same change in absolute emotion scores (see Methods): American and British English have similar absolute emotion scores in the first half of the century (or even British slightly more emotional), followed by a relative increase in the emotion scores for just the American English data set (data not shown).”
Casanova’s memoir, Histoire de Ma Vie, is set to be translated and rereleased to the general public.
“The book, Histoire de Ma Vie (Story of My Life), published two decades after his death in 1798, would ensure that the man whose name was to become synonymous with womanising did not vanish into obscurity. Until now, however, the range and detail of Casanova’s sexual exploits have been veiled, first by German puritanism, then in the haze of what modern experts describe as careless, even “faulty”, transcription of his writings.”
I’m not sure I will ever truly grasp the world’s fascination with Casanova. From what little I know of him, I consider his lasting achievement to be that he wore condoms at least occasionally to prevent a woman being burdened with his spawn. That’s actually a nice thing of me to say. Men weren’t necessarily always that thoughtful during Casanova’s time.
Jean-Christophe Igalens, a lecturer at Nice University and a specialist on Casanova, who co-produced the book, said it reveals the notorious libertine as “a much more complex character than the cliche he has become. Yes, he was a seducer, but he was also seduced. He loved women, the women he had affairs with. He wasn’t just a superficial character who took a woman to bed then left her. He had rich relationships with women,” Igalens told the Observer. “For the reader, Casanova is often identified with the art of reinvention. He was able to change his name, change country, reinvent himself with a different future. This idea of not giving into one destiny is something that speaks to our modern world.”
What I really want to know is this: why didn’t anyone tell me that David Tennant was in a BBC adaptation of Casanova!?
There has been controversy for years over whether William Shakespeare was indeed the real author of the plays by William Shakespeare. Or maybe it was a whole team of authors. Or maybe it was a conspiracy by the Illuminati. Or maybe it was your mother. OR MAYBE IT WAS YOU!
Well, a group of scholars have come together to say enough is enough. It was none other than Willie Shakespeare. He wrote those plays. Pretty much all of them.
“Since the 1850s, 77 people have been suggested as the likely author, with Francis Bacon, Edward de Vere – the 17th Earl of Oxford – and Christopher Marlowe the most popular candidates, and Queen Elizabeth I among the most outlandish. The academics feel the anti-Shakespeare campaign has intensified lately, and that the elevation of Shakespeare authorship studies to master’s degree status has been the final straw.
Three eminent experts on Bacon, Oxford and Marlowe are among the Shakespeareans who demonstrate in a series of essays precisely why only Shakespeare could have written his plays and poems, apart from his collaborations.”
The next time someone tries to baffle you with knowledge of how Shakespeare was really written by six acrobatic mice dressed in a man suit, maybe land the whammy on them that Shakespeare actually did write all of his plays while being a ruthless and highly succcessful businessman who refused to pay his taxes.
Amazon Buys Goodreads and Everyone Freaks the Fuck Out
So in case you’ve been living across the universe, don’t speak English and have no discernible digits (like you’re an alien being that has no physical form and can’t generate one) in order to enter a WiFi password – Goodreads has been purchased by Amazon. I will allow you a moment to react.
At least that was my approximate reaction. It seems I wasn’t the only one.
The decision was announced in a press release this week and Goodreads CEO Otis Chandler wrote about the decision both on the Goodreads blog cleared up some concerns in the Feedback section on Goodreads.
Some have remarked that this may result in Goodreads not crashing all the fucking time. But most seem to recognize that the deal may result in less positive outcomes as well. Goodreads’ benefit had always been its neutrality and getting in bed with Amazon seems kind of sudden since Goodreads and Amazon publicly fought and went their separate ways last year, meaning Goodreads switched all its data services to Ingram. This meant many hundreds of hours of work provided pro bono by volunteer librarians who rushed to save books from being lost from Goodreads’ database. This fight was sparked by Amazon’s insistence that it’s data couldn’t be linked to another retailer.
As a neutral entity, Goodreads had always linked to multiple purchase sites. When questioned about whether a partnership with Amazon would interfere with this, Chandler responded with:
“Let me further reinforce that one of the most important things about Goodreads is that it’s a place for readers of all kinds (print, digital, audio, etc), and that is something incredibly important to us, and one that I think would hurt the site to remove. I have no plans to change that, and the guys at Amazon feel the same.”
Tim Spalding from LibraryThing (of whom Amazon owns a 40% share) had this to say:
“Now that Goodreads is just Amazon, the time and money publishers spend on Goodreads is like everything else they do with Amazon–good in the short term, but suffocating them in the long-term. The same goes for many other players. With Amazon in the drivers’ seat, you can bet that B&N, Kobo and Indies are going to drop and be dropped by Goodreads like a hot potato. If any non-Amazon “buy” buttons remain, they’re going to be buried deep. And B&N is hardly going to encourage people to use Goodreads now that every item of data Goodreads get goes to build Amazon and the Kindle features Goodreads is promising. In short, we gained a lot of friends today.” SOURCE
Other concerns for Goodreads came due to Amazon’s spotty record on how they treat their literary acquisitions as anyone familiar with Shelfari and Lexcycle would have cause for concern over Goodreads’ fate.
Chandler also had an answer for this:
“Shelfari was a totally different story. It was six people, and my understanding is Amazon has used it for the meta-data – they even call it “A community powered encyclopedia for book lovers” – which is very different from what Goodreads is. Goodreads is focused on helping people find books through their friends, through community, and through our recommendation engine. We are currently 40 people, hiring fast, and excited about building a bigger and better service.”
Well, I’m very glad Amazon found Shelfari useful for its meta-data. Shelfari users might feel differently about having their information mined and the site they loved left to rot.
It is very likely that Amazon will allow Goodreads to operate somewhat independently as Chandler has repeatedly said. The decision has still angered many including the Authors Guild, Goodreads users and many in the publishing sector.
“Amazon’s acquisition of Goodreads is a textbook example of how modern Internet monopolies can be built … The key is to eliminate or absorb competitors before they pose a serious threat. With its 16 million subscribers, Goodreads could easily have become a competing on-line bookseller, or played a role in directing buyers to a site other than Amazon. Instead, Amazon has scuttled that potential and also squelched what was fast becoming the go-to venue for on-line reviews, attracting far more attention than Amazon for those seeking independent assessment and discussion of books. As those in advertising have long known, the key to driving sales is controlling information.” SOURCE
Matched, a YA novel by Ally Condie has a spanking new Two Book Deal.
“Matched trilogy author Ally Condie has inked a deal to publish two new novels with Dutton Children’s Books. The Penguin Young Readers Group imprint will release the first book in fall 2014.
Writers House agent Jodi Reamer negotiated the deal for North American rights with publisher Julie Strauss-Gabel. Strauss-Gabel will also edit the books.”
I have no idea what this means. I never read the series. Should we be excited? Should we be intrigued?
“Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander’s face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate… until she sees Ky Markham’s face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.
The Society tells her it’s a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she’s destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can’t stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society’s infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.” Goodreads