In this week’s Buzz Worthy News: Aristotle’s naught-no-no book gets auctioned, Steinbeck noble controversy is to be examined by the Swedish Academy, Doctor Who is about to get a bajillion times more amazing (pfft – like that’s even possible. BajillionXinfinity doesn’t work – You can not multiply an obscure mathematical concept, peoples!), there’s talk of paying to read blogs (who wants to pay to read Cuddlebuggery?) and Wil Wheaton is being extremely Wil Wheatonly. All this and more! Click to read on.
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 news of releases and cover reveals for Young Adult fiction, check out our Sunday post: How New Titles.
Aristotle’s Sex Book up for sale
Okay, so it was almost certainly not ACTUALLY Aristotle’s, probably just attributed to him for reasons that only Victorians would understand. Besides, Aristotle? That old geezer who thought the badass Spartan women were horrible? As if he would pen anything as awesome as a book that encourages women to orgasm, or draw pictures of a baby’s mouth where its navel is because… it’s funny, I’m guessing?!
Aristotle’s Compleat Master-Piece first appeared around 1680. It sets out ideas on sexual relationships and how to conceive. It was banned in the mid-18th century and remained a forbidden text until the prohibition was lifted in the 1960s.”
Whilst the book was banned for sale all the way until 1961, this doesn’t mean that there was anything so awesomely indecent about it that one is forced to avert their eyes. Mostly it seems like it’s just funny and awkward.
“There’s nothing in it that would really be considered dirty in our society now. It’s funny more than anything,” Marsden said. “There are various things which warn parents about what could happen to their children if they sinned whilst conceiving them, perhaps by having sex outside marriage. It would say that your baby would be born all hairy or it would suggest that conjoined twins were the result of the parents’ sins.”
Our sins cause twins? Funnily enough I don’t have that much trouble believing that… Seriously, though, it’s easy to laugh but this isn’t that bad compared to some modern parenting manuals that condone whipping your children with a willow branch or freaking out pregnant mothers with conflicting, horrible advice that makes them terrified to eat anything but toast, or emotionally traumatize children with impossible-to-meet expectations.
Relegated to things I was distinctly unaware of is the controversy surrounding Steinbeck’s Nobel prize for literature because I personally dislike Steinbeck, Nobel prizes, and most things that can’t get me intoxicated.
But here’s the thing. 50 years ago Steinbecky got a Nobel prize and everyone was like, “Waht! For realz!?!?!?!” or, more accurately, “one of the Academy’s biggest mistakes” and the New York times wonder why The Beckster would get the big award when his “limited talent is, in his best books, watered down by tenth-rate philosophising… We think it interesting that the laurel was not awarded to a writer … whose significance, influence and sheer body of work had already made a more profound impression on the literature of our age”.
Did Steinbeck even think he’d deserved the Nobel prize for literature? In his own words: “Frankly, no.”
But nobody knew what happened because Nobel committees lock up their records for fifty years. This year happens to mark that fifty year gap and now we get to discover that the committee dedicated to overseeing one of the most lauded and famous prizes in existence – is really kind of a bunch of gossipy, pretentious wankhards. Which actually shocked nobody. Ever.
“The newly declassified documents show he was actually chosen as the best of a bad lot.
“There aren’t any obvious candidates for the Nobel prize and the prize committee is in an unenviable situation,” wrote committee member Henry Olsson, according to a piece today by Swedish journalist Kaj Schueler in Svenska Dagbladet. Graves was rejected, reveals Schueler, because even though he had written several historical novels, he was still primarily seen as a poet. Olsson was reluctant to award any Anglo-Saxon poet the prize before the death of Ezra Pound, believing that other writers did not match up to his mastery; he further dismissed Pound in response to his political stance.
Blixen, author of Out of Africa, rendered herself ineligible by dying that September, and it was decided that “Durrell was not to be given preference this year” – probably, Schueler told the Guardian, because “they did not think that The Alexandria Quartet was enough, so they decided to keep him under observation for the future”. Also a candidate in 1961, Durrell had in the previous year been ruled out because he “gives a dubious aftertaste … because of [his] monomaniacal preoccupation with erotic complications”.
It is not clear why Anouilh was passed over, but the French poet Saint-John Perse had taken the Nobel in 1960, meaning that France was well represented on the roster of winners, and Svenska Dagbladet reveals that Jean-Paul Sartre, who would win the prize in 1964, was starting to be seriously considered as a candidate.
Steinbeck, therefore, remained.”
So basically, Steinbeck got the award by default that everyone else sucked – well everyone that the academy would actually consider, that is. So there you have it. A mystery I never knew existed has now been solved.
11 Doctors, 11 authors and 11 short stories that they will pen to be released once a month from January to November. The numbers are swirling in my head! By who? Your junky whovian brain screams as you clutch at your computer mouse desperately, sweat from your hand slicking the top of it. Okay! Okay? Back off. I’ll tell!
Alright. I lied. I don’t know. But you can find out today!
“The 11 tales, known as “eshorts”, will each be written by a well-known children’s author.
Each story will feature one of the various regenerations of the Doctor, starting with William Hartnell, who played the character from 1963-1966.
A paperback of the stories will be published by Puffin in November.
The first children’s author will be revealed on the BBC Worldwide Doctor Who Facebook page on Monday 7 January, followed by the first story on Wednesday 23 January.”
From Galleycat: “Hypable speculates that the following authors could be on board: Harry Potter series author J.K. Rowling, His Dark Materials trilogy author Philip Pullman and Alex Rider series author Anthony Horowitz.”
Quick! Think of the best way to both torture yourself and relive all your most pathetic preteen traumatic memories (provided you’re an 80’s child)! What do you come up with? That’s right! The Baby-Sitters Club!
Voted as the #1 way to overdose on tragic 80’s nostalgia, The Baby-Sitters Club came out as #1. To be honest I once owned about 50 of these books and I’m pretty positive I actually owned Mary Anne Saves The Day. I STARTED MY OWN BABY-SITTERS CLUB! And we scored exactly zero jobs, but kept meticulous records of our weekly meetings.
Anywho, a blogger has actually dedicated this year to reading 131 of the original titles. I both salute her and weep for her. I don’t know what depressive and traumatic life event led her to committing to this unhealthy lifestyle. I have so many questions. So many, many questions. Why are you doing this to yourself? Have you thought about not doing this to yourself? Have you thought about not doing this to humanity?
But I truly admire Melanie Leeson for trying and for encouraging others to do so! We salute you in the traditional Cuddlebuggery fashion which comes fresh from the 90’s because that’s just how we roll!
But still, Melanie has a goal for this year. And it’s an interesting enough goal to warrant a mention in Galleycat. Strangely they didn’t mention my goal to be AWESOME AS ALL HELL in their archive so I have to bow to Melanie’s goal as being superior and more noteworthy.
Wil Wheaton. For some of you, he’s going to be, “That funny guy from The Big Bang Theory!” Others will know him from Star Trek or Stand By Me or as that dude who says funny stuff on twitter.
And his latest gig, involves narrating a Book Trailer because, why not? Also, he’s Will Wheaton, so who’s going to argue?
The book trailer is for comic-book writer Ellis’ novel, The Gun Machine.
“Author and actor Wil Wheaton narrated the trailer, Jim Batt directed and Ben Templesmith drew the illustrations. Without actors or expensive location shoots, the trailer conveys the surreal scene that inspired the story.”
This dude, you may not of heard of him, his name is Andrew-fucking-Sullivan-damnit! Left this small publication called The Daily Beast and decided to go Independent. Solo. Mano-a-Mano with the feckless internet. His idea was that, maybe, he could get people to pay to read his blog. This as opposed to what the rest of us do which is try to cover blog costs with advertisers. It’s an interesting concept except it requires me to part with my money! This isn’t entirely new, though. Such a long time ago that I’m too lazy to go back and look for, Supreme Agentess of the Apocalypse and All Things Awesome, Pam Van Hylckama, tweeted about a book blog site that require pay-per-read for their reviews. Unfortunately, I don’t recall which blog that was.
Still, it’s an interesting concept to think about if only because I own a blog and wouldn’t it be great if people loved it enough to pay to read it? Also: money.
“So for the next month, we’re going to offer you advance membership of the Dish for $19.99 a year, which translates to $1.67 a month, which is around a nickel a day. The meter won’t start until February, and the price won’t change then, but by pre-subscribing, you give us a crucial financial bridge to get to independence – and you’ll never notice a thing when the transition happens. To be honest, we didn’t know where to set the price – we have almost no precedents for where we want to go – but $19.99 seemed the lowest compatible with a serious venture. We wanted to make this as affordable as possible, while maximizing revenues.”
Konrath Offers Annual Writerly Advice
Are you an author who is heavily involved in social media, message boards, and author signings? Basically, anything that resembles interacting with your fans and the outside world. Well, J. A. Konrath, a thriller novelist, has very practical advice for his 2013 resolutions for writers: Get Over Yourself.
Now, a part of me can see where he comes from when he says to spend more time writing your books instead of googling yourself and reading your reviews. I can think of a handful of people who could have applied that advice and avoided embarrassing internet meltdowns last year.
But the part that gets me is when he also includes author appearances in the lump and basically admits to being a hobbit.
I’ll never do another book tour. I doubt I’ll ever do another official booksigning. I’ve stopped speaking in public, stopped attending events. Once it was important to meet fans and network with peers. Now I can do that just fine via email.
O relly? Too good to come out and meet your fans, huh? Now, of course, there are some authors that do limited amounts of appearances, but that’s usually after they have an *extensive* fan base like J.K. Rowling, or even Neil Gaiman, who just last month announced he was doing his last book tour. But every once in a while even Rowling comes out of her McMansion to promote her books and other popular authors *do* interact with their fans in some fashion. Has anyone seen Gaiman’s or John Green’s twitter stream? They are hilarious!
But for new authors starting out? It is an unrealistic resolution.