Buzz Worthy News
In this week’s Buzz Worthy News: Tom Clancy dies, sports for writers, France hands Amazon their butts, and Goodreads announces more things.
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: Hot New Titles.
I hope you all realize what a sacrifice it is for me to be here this week, people. The Vampire Diaries Season 4 just came out on Netflix, and I’ve pretty much been spending all my time neglecting my children in favor of this beautiful sight before me:
That’s right, let the other girls have Stefan and Damon. I’m a Lockwood girl all the way. So let’s get this news done so I can go back to watching my show, shall we?
They Have A Kickstarter For Everything!
You know, sometimes I’ll read a novel and think, “This novel is so bad I want to give it to a homeless person to use as toilet paper.” Obviously someone else had my idea, because when the homeless people started reading those books, they were like, “Dude, I could write this in my sleep.” Well, thank goodness for Kickstarter, folks!
Painting with Purpose, a team of artists working on murals around the world, hopes to raise $7,500 to help a homeless man known as “Clean-up” write a book. After spending more than 15 years on the street in one Oakland neighborhood, he will share his story of “hope and perseverance” as well as survival secrets for living on the street.
In all seriousness, guys, this is pretty awesome! How cool is it of this organization to see this man and recognize that he has an interesting story to tell?
Clean-up has wanted to write for a long time, but because of his homelessness, he has been forced to devote his energy to strictly surviving day by day. The money raised through Kickstarter will subsidize Clean-up’s housing so he can transition inside and focus on recording and writing his many stories.
Kind of gives you the warm tingleys, huh?
John Grisham Sings And Dances
I don’t know about you, but the first thing I thought when I saw the movie The Pelican Brief was, “Gosh, they should put this to music and have Julia Roberts dance!” Actually, the first thing I thought was, “Man, Denzel Washington is so hot he should be in every movie!”
Unfortunately, my dream remains unrealized(either of them). Because even though they are, in fact, adapting one of John Grisham’s novels for Broadway, the book in question is A Time to Kill. It is also not a musical, but a serious dramatic play based on the courtroom drama surrounding the case of a black man who murders the two white men who raped his daughter.
This fall, John Grisham’s debut novel A TIME TO KILL, one of the most celebrated courtroom dramas of the last several decades, becomes the first in his iconic collection of legal dramas to be adapted for the Broadway stage.
A TIME TO KILL is the incendiary story of a Southern community torn in half by an unspeakable crime. As the shocking news hits the public, small town America becomes the center of a media storm, where innocence is the victim, race is on trial and lives hang in the balance.
Honestly, with a story line that dynamic, I’m surprised it didn’t get adapted before this.
Call ESPN, Nerds RULE!
I hate trying to watch TV at the gym because all they ever play are 24 hour news channels and sports. BORING! If ESPN decided to run something like the recent writing competition held in Peru, however, I might take an interest. That’s right, jocks. Writers can do sports, too!
New writers don masks, and head onto a stage where they’re given three random words, a laptop hooked up to a gigantic screen, and five minutes to write a short story. At the end of a match, the losing writer has to take off his or her mask. The winner goes on to the next round, a week later. And the grand prize? It’s a book contract.
Okay, how awesome is that? I would ditch Vampire Diaries quicker than you could say, “That vampire has a bare chest!” if it meant I could watch one of these competitions in English. You know, you think the US is cool until someone else totally beats the pants off us in the genius department and that’s what this idea is, genius!
France Opens A Can Of Whoop Ass On Amazon
Well, Amazon, the world wants me to let you know that they don’t want you. Well, France doesn’t want you, anyway. You lost the audition, no call-backs. Your business is NOT welcome. How not welcome? A possible new law that has made it through the lower house and is now on its way to the Senate was passed after thousands of independent bookstores complained that they couldn’t compete with the online powerhouse.
Under the proposed French legislation, companies such as Amazon are restricted from offering combined 5 percent price reductions and free deliveries.
Amazon has responded by saying that the proposed law would “reduce the French people’s spending power” and I actually, I can’t argue with that. Say what you will about Amazon (and we certainly have, haven’t we?) they are a super power because they offer consumers cheap prices. Obviously, people must like that sort of thing or they wouldn’t be as successful as they are now.
How do the French people feel? Well, the independent bookstores are certainly happy about it. And who could blame them?
“It doesn’t seem to be discriminatory,” Terry Craven at the Shakespeare and Company Bookstore told the BBC. “Amazon has certain ways of looking at the free market which is simply not one that the French state takes.”
Tom Clancy Dies
My heart is melting with sadness this week. I found out that one of my favorite writers had passed away. Tom Clancy, author of Patriot Games, The Hunt for Red October, and The Sum of All Fears, died this week at the age of 66. I have a wide and varied list of book authors that I’ve read and enjoyed, and though it seems odd, I have counted Clancy in among Austen and Kristin Cashore.
More than 100 million copies of his novels are in print, and a remarkable 17 have reached No. 1 on the New York Times’s best-seller list, including “Threat Vector,” released last December.
Why do his books resonate with so many? Well, of course that’s a complicated question to answer. I’m sure a lot of readers (*cough* guys *cough*) enjoy the military and technical subject matter and descriptions. Me? I love Jack Ryan. When I was a teenager he was one of my first book crushes. There is something so appealing about a man who loves his country enough to lay down his life for it. Maybe that’s why I’ve always had a thing for a man in uniform.
Clancy, wherever you are, I hope you know that your fans are thinking of you this week.
What’s With All the E-Book Subscriptions?
Pretty much as soon as I hit publish on the news last week, yet another e-book subscription service reared its uncreative head. Honestly, I didn’t even want to cover this, but I felt like I should, so it’s gonna be short, people.
The opening chapter in Scribd’s quest begins Tuesday with the introduction of an e-book subscription service that will boast thousands of titles published by HarperCollins before July 2012. HarperCollins, which is owned by News Corp., becomes the first of the five largest U.S. publishers to join a service vying to create an alternative to buying individual titles.
So, you know, that’s a thing. They’re going to charge about the same amount as Oyster, like 99 cents less, and the books will be available on all of the same kinds of tablet devices. I don’t really care who wins the subscription e-book war, just that they do, and quick, and that they get all the other publishers on board.
Government Shut Down Means No More Reading!
I’d rather be attacked by flesh-eating hornets from China than talk about politics. No really, hornets with venom so strong it melts the flesh from your body rather than discuss those dreaded D’s and R’s. Yet, I can’t help taking notice when the National Library of Congress announces that it and its website will be shut down. I don’t know if you knew this, but the National Library of Congress website is actually very helpful. I’ve used it several times for research (their collection of period maps is AMAZING) and I’ve also used it to help me find a book if I can’t remember the title of it.
So government guys, I’ve just gotta ask… if only 18% of the government had to shut down, why did it have to be such a useful part? I mean, you guys—who put us all in this mess in the first place—still get all YOUR money. Why should WE have to suffer? Let’s just cut whatever amount it takes to get the Library up and running again from your salaries? Anyone with me?
PS- I have heard that you can access it through the Internet Archive.
Bridget Jones Has Kids?!?!
If you’re like well, no one, and you wanted yet ANOTHER Bridget Jones book by Helen Fielding, then you’re in luck! Helen Fielding, creator of the darling Bridget has taken finger to keyboard once again to bring us even more mayhem and lack of resolution. But, if you truly are a fan of the series, you might want to skip over this next part, because it has several other readers in a tizzy.
Mad About the Boy (Jonathan Cape), which is published on 10th October, was serialised in the the Sunday Times yesterday (29th September), with the extract showing Bridget is now 51, with two small children called Mabel and Billy, and a toy-boy boyfriend called Roxster. The cause of Darcy’s death is shown in a flashback in the book, and will not be revealed in advance.
Bridget is freaking 51??? Mark Darcy is DEAD?!?! Does Fielding know her audience AT ALL??? Obviously not.
Fans took to social media after the extract appeared yesterday, with some upset at the news, and the fact that it had been released ahead of the book itself. Twitter user Rachel Agnew said: “Bridget Jones is 51 and Mark Darcy is dead. Wow Helen Fielding knows how to inject the feel-good factor into the promotion of her new book!”, while Helen Furniss tweeted: “Gutted about Mark Darcy. I can’t face a world with no happily ever after for Mark and Bridget!”
Yeah, that’s pretty much how I feel. Here’s a little more about the book:
The extract also shows Jones’ new concerns, stressing over the school run and politics at the school gates, and determined to “meditate regularly, and lose weight”. She is also keen to start using social media, and stop hiding wine bottles.
So I’m supposed to be excited to read about a 51-year-old Bridget Jones who is 20 years later STILL talking about meditating and losing weight without the benefit of her dreamy Darcy to get me through? Uh, no thanks. Here is an opinion from some person who obviously has NO FREAKING CLUE what Bridget Jones is actually supposed to be about(with an interjected comment of annoyance by yours truly):
But The Bookseller‘s fiction previewer Cathy Rentzenbrink said her appetite for the book had been “well and truly whetted” by the published extract. “It’s fabulous,” she said. “It’s great that Bridget has children—all the original Bridget Jones fans have grown up and we need her to have grown up with us, and there is so much comedy potential around parenthood. The Hive by Gill Hornby was really successful, so it’s zeitgeisty(Are you freaking kidding me with this, Rentzenbrink??).
“And it makes perfect sense for Bridget to be a widow. She can’t be happily married, happy marriage doesn’t work in fiction because it doesn’t sustain a narrative drive. I’m not interested in reading about Bridget and Mark Darcy arguing over whose responsibility it is to get the car MOT’d or working out that the dishwasher isn’t broken, they just need to put some Rinse Aid in it… And unhappily married? Do we want an adulterous Bridget? Or a Bridget who self-medicates with chocolate and gin while Mark Darcy is off philandering with someone with whom he doesn’t have to discuss MOTs or dishwashers?”
I’m sorry, but that quote makes me want to throw my hardback copy of Bridget Jones’ Diary at her head. If you can’t give us a book about Bridget Jones with a happy marriage, then why did you write another freaking book? There is no story left to tell here, Fielding. Instead, you should have written a whole new novel with a new character. Oh, wait, you tried that and it was a total flop.
Look, I’m genuinely sorry that you seem to have been a one-hit-wonder. You had a smash hit with BJD and it’s obviously haunted you ever since. Sure, Bridget isn’t literary. THAT’S WHY WE LIKE HER. Stop trying to make her story into something it isn’t.
This is my history with Bridget: bought the first book, read the second, rolled my eyes over the third. No thanks.
Books So Sexist An 8-Year-Old Could Tell
You know you’re raising your kid right when she can tell a sexist book from a mile away. Such was the case with young KC Cooper, when she visited her local bookstore in Berkeley, California.
“We were browsing around in the bookstore, and suddenly I heard my daughter calling out, ‘Mama! You have to look at this!’” recalls Cooper. “So, of course, I thought she’d found something she wanted to buy, but it was completely the opposite. She was looking at two books that had made her so enraged she was actually in tears.”
That would have to be a pretty bad pair of books, to enrage a little girl like that. What could possibly be the content of said books?
The books, titled “How To Survive (Almost) Anything,” included a boy version and a girl version. In the boy version, the chapters covered topics such as “How to Survive a Shark Attack,” “How to Survive in a Desert,” and “How to Survive Whitewater Rapids.”
The girl version addressed such issues as “How to Survive a BFF Fight,” “How to Survive a Fashion Disaster,” and “How to Survive a Breakout.”
Say what now? You expect me to believe that girls are going to go through their entire lives having to combat nothing more serious than breakouts and bff fights? Huh, reading the news, I would think titles like “How to Survive Being Assaulted on School Property” or “How to Survive a Plane Crash and Live in the Jungle by Yourself For 10 Days” or even “How to Survive Being Shot in the Head By the Taliban” would be more appropriate, somehow.
Obviously these are extreme cases, and subjects that would be inappropriate to write about in a child’s book, but the idea that young boys need to survive shark attacks, the desert, being blasted into space, and getting stuck in quicksand is equally ludicrous.
Still, I’m sure these girls will be comforted to know that if they ever have a fashion disaster, this book has them covered! Head on over to Amazon, if you want to see the table of contents for either of these books: Girls Only and Boys Only. Honestly, the boys’ version looks way more interesting.
Are E-book Prices Discriminatory?
I’m putting on my serious pants now. It’s going to take a minute and I need you to turn around. No peeksies. Because this is a topic that I have been talking about since e-books hit the market. What I’m talking about is the cost of e-books to libraries.
Take the example of J.K. Rowling’s pseudonymous book, Cuckoo’s Calling. For the physical book, libraries would pay $14.40 from book distributor Baker & Taylor — close to the consumer price of $15.49 from Barnes & Noble and of $15.19 from Amazon. But even though the ebook will cost consumers $6.50 on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, libraries would pay $78 (through library ebook distributors Overdrive and 3M) for the same thing.
Somehow the “e” in ebooks changes the pricing game, and drastically. How else does one explain libraries paying a $0.79 to $1.09 difference for a physical book to paying a difference of $71.50 just because it’s the electronic version? It’s not like being digital makes a difference for when and how they can lend it out.
In another wrinkle: Random House jacked up its ebook prices to libraries 300 percent last year, and HarperCollins limits the number of check-outs per ebook. This means libraries have to lease another “copy” when they reach a certain threshold … as if the ebook had died or something. In fact, that’s the problem some authors have with ebooks — not just that they earn less money on them, but that “They never degrade. They are perpetual. That harms writers directly,” as historian and novelist David O. Stewart has observed.
Guys, this is seriously ridiculous. There are a lot of low income readers out there, that could have access to e-books through a device (also lent by the library) and they can’t get them because of these limits to libraries. Why have libraries become such an anathema to the publishing world? Libraries help authors. They introduce readers to new literary loves. I can’t tell you how many books I’ve purchased because I was introduced to the author first, at the library.
It would put ebooks within the reach of many more people through libraries (which also lend e-readers); through subscription services like Scribd’s newly launched one; through lower prices that resale books would bring; and through simple borrowing or even donating of books.
When we think of most e-enabled technology, we think of creative destruction, a kind of disintermediation that removes extra steps from common activities. With ebook technology, however, all we’ve got is extra layers — in pricing, in lending, in access — essentially, the destructive without any of the creative. Except maybe for a privileged few.
Recognizing the problem, the Connecticut state legislature passed a law requiring a study of pricing of ebooks to libraries. My local jurisdiction of Montgomery County, Maryland, also passed a resolution calling for county libraries to have “equitable access at fair prices” to ebooks. But such efforts have not been taken up in many places yet.
If we can have healthcare “for everyone”, why can’t we have books, as well? Healthcare is good for the body, books are good for the mind.
Guess Who’s Back, Back Again?
Sorry, I’ve had that Eminem song stuck in my head since I saw the preview for Despicable Me 2 yesterday. Hey, guess what, gang? Goodreads is back again, and with more crazy capers and hilarious mix-ups than every before!
Remember when they deleted Steph’s bookshelf “due-to-author” because it went against their policy, even though it didn’t mention badly behaving authors? Well, that’s all in the past, apparently, because they’re giving it back to her again. With some sort of garbled explanation that I can’t really understand, see what you can make of it:
“Feel free to import your due-to-author shelf, but please note that the content that violated our guidelines cannot be re-posted on Goodreads.”
Let’s talk about this content, shall we? Because several of the users whose reviews were deleted have commented that either the review space was empty, or it said, “see comments” or “reason in comments”. None of which is against the GR policy, which says:
In the past, if we found a review that was an ad hominem attack or an off-topic comment about a reader or author, we removed it from the community reviews section of the book page, notified the reviewer, and kept the review on the reviewer’s profile. Now, these reviews will be deleted entirely from the site.
The problem is that some of the reviews you deleted didn’t violate your policy. “See comments” isn’t inflammatory or an ad hominem attack. Neither is a blank review. So there couldn’t possibly have been a reason to delete those reviews based solely on the words in the review.
Many of those reviews might have said inflammatory things in the comments section, sure, but it has always been your policy BEFORE not to curb discussion unless there are extreme circumstances. And I’ve read your policy. Nothing has indicated a change to comments—only that, as before, you can’t be abusive, threatening, etc.
So, for these reviews that are blank, but have comments that discuss author behavior, what are we to do? Do we, as reviewers, have to police our own comments section and flag every person that comments on an author’s behavior? Maybe you should give us an option to block all comments or make all comments private. I hate to say it, but this new policy of yours is really hard to follow, something which you’ve admitted yourself.
At one point we also mistakenly deleted a shelf called “Due-to-author”. We know that this caused confusion to people and we were not clear in our previous response about this.
I think all of us will be very interested to see what new applications of the policy we’ll be introduced to next.
Look, I’d love to write a never-ending stream of news, but I have other things I have to accomplish during the week(see above). So here are some stories that I thought were interesting, but I didn’t have time to write about. Enjoy!
PS- I know you guys don’t know me very well, yet, but I’m not really neglecting my children to look at Tyler Lockwood. Even though I might want to. Ahem.