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Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013
Why would as popular an author as J.K. Rowling feel the need or desire to publish under a different name?

Everybody’s got a novel or screenplay or sheaf of poems stuck in their desk drawer or hard drive somewhere; and if not, they’ve got it all written out in their head. Many things keep those works from ever seeing the light of day, most particularly publisher or agent indifference, and sometimes reluctance to part with the work until it’s in perfect shape.


Bestselling authors don’t have that problem. If you’re the New York Times bestseller-list haunters like Stephen King or Malcolm Gladwell, one imagines that with few exceptions you could find a house to publish anything you damn well please. If Tom Clancy wanted to write a book of children’s verse, eventually he’d find somebody to put that one out, likely with a big bold “From the author of The Hunt for Red October” slug on the front cover, just above the watercolor picture of a kitten and puppy frolicking together.


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Wednesday, Jul 11, 2012
In a world where ethical systems, religions, and legal codes identify both gradations and scales between various crimes, is it fair to use the word “plagiarism” in association with what Jonah Lehrer did?

On 19 June journalist and media blogger Jim Romenesko posted a short piece on his website detailing how writer and author Jonah Lehrer had apparently recycled portions of a recent article for The New Yorker from an essay that had he had previously written for the The Wall Street Journal. Comparisons between “Why Smart People Are Stupid” and “The Science of Irrationality”, revealed that both pieces begin with three essentially identical opening paragraphs.


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Friday, Jun 8, 2012
Audio and e-books help fill the need to get in as much reading as possible in one's limited, mortal lifespan.

In a recent article at the Daily Beast, writer Mark Wortman made the argument that books are simply too long, and that size has become a deterring factor for him in choosing what to read in a world with countless worthy selections but a finite amount of time. While many of the books he cites are biographies and other works of non-fiction, which oftentimes (but not always) are by necessity hefty tomes, and his speculation that e-book price-per-page analysis and the ready access of massive amounts of corroborative data for author’s via Google and the Internet has led to this unnecessary increase in voluminous monographs, might strike some as unconvincing – large books are certainly not a modern phenomena – bibliophiles and armchair scholars might be sympathetic to the angst underlying Wortman’s piece: that there’s simply not enough time to read all the things one wants to.


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Thursday, Apr 19, 2012
by Michael Shermer - Los Angeles Times (MCT)
Rather than Justice’s meddling, we consumers have a much more effective tool against companies that charge a price we don’t like: Don’t buy the product.

The Justice Department filed suit last week against Apple Inc. and two major book publishers, Macmillan and Penguin Group USA, accusing them of colluding in 2010 to raise the prices of e-books. Three other publishers that were investigated — Hachette, Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins — agreed to a settlement, which Sharis A. Pozen, the acting director of the Justice Department’s antitrust division, said “will begin to undo the harm caused by the companies’ anticompetitive conduct, and will restore price competition so that consumers can pay lower prices for their e-books.”


Not likely. What this lawsuit probably will do instead is return to Amazon the power to monopolize the e-book market through predatory pricing to the detriment of publishers, authors and, ultimately, readers.


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Thursday, Mar 29, 2012
by Rebecca Keegan - Los Angeles Times (MCT)
Violence committed by and against children has a long, grisly tradition in literature — as an allegory for adult cruelty, a representation of the emotional volatility of adolescence and a tension-raiser for audiences.

Children murder one another in a multitude of gruesome and memorable ways in “The Hunger Games,” deploying spears, arrows, rocks, venomous wasps, mutant wolves and their bare hands in a televised gladiatorial death match.


The juvenile slaughterfest depicted in the film and its source material, Suzanne Collins’ trilogy of bestselling young adult novels, may give audiences (particularly parents) pause — is this what contemporary entertainment has come to? But violence committed by and against children has a long, grisly tradition in literature — as an allegory for adult cruelty, a representation of the emotional volatility of adolescence and a tension-raiser for audiences.


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