Archive for the ‘Books – Bio’ category

Stop Sarah Palin! The Books She Wanted BANNED!

September 3, 2008

Update to the Update: Apparently reading skills are so deficient among my fellow Americans that they cannot parse an update. Therefore this Update to the Update, to tell you I am now going to use strikethrough to emphasize that the list has been discredited. But what has not been discredited is Sarah Palin’s ominous questioning of the town public librarian about removing books. And that she shortly thereafter fired the public librarian says more than a list of banned books ever could. Don’t you get it? She wound up banning the librarian! All Comments have been moderated. None were removed.

Update: This list might not in fact reflect the books Sarah Palin wanted banned. As more than one person in Comments has pointed out, some of them were not published when Palin was in office. It is my hope that the mainstream media will not let this story drop and that at some point an actual list will surface. The very thought of having someone who once advocated book-banning possibly occupying one of the highest offices of our land fills me with profound dread. It should fill you with dread too.

Via Twitter from aboutbooks: Sarah Palin and the Case of the Banned Books — which links to where a Commenter has left a very long list of the books Sarah Palin wanted banned. Go there for the full list. I just want to highlight a few:

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Canterbury Tales by Chaucer
Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
My Friend Flicka by Mary O’Hara
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
One Day in The Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

The Bastard by John Jakes
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Living Bible by William C. Bower
The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary by the Merriam-Webster Editorial Staff

I think that makes it pretty much official that Palin is a very, very dangerous moron.

Do you really want her within a heartbeat of the Presidency?

Previously here:

Stop Sarah Palin: Part Four
Stop Sarah Palin: Part Three
Christopher Fowler Re: Sarah Palin
Stop Sarah Palin: Part Two
Stop Sarah Palin!
Sarah Palin: Book-Banning Bitch!
Revelation 17:1-5

Six Free eBook Excerpts From Penguin Books

September 3, 2008

What a shock came through via Twitter today:

Penguin Books using Twitter to announce something that’s actually book-related (unlike last time!).

Penguin eBook Tasters

eBooks are Back!
Welcome to the relaunch of Penguin eBooks. By the end of this year we’ll have thousands of titles available in the shiny new ePub format for you to buy and read on your Sony eReader, your PC or Mac and other devices soon to launch. Penguin’s own eBooks area will also be opening its doors in a few weeks, but if you can’t wait until then, we’ve got some eBooks Tasters for you to try right now.

Simply click on the title you want to read and download the file to your computer. You’ll need to have Adobe Digital Editions installed on your computer to read the sampler on your PC or Mac.

If you’d like to read it on your eReader, connect your device and add the .ePub file to your library, more information here.

Happy reading

The following are available:

God’s Own Country by Ross Raisin – 10 pages

The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope – 11 pages

The Stories of English by David Crystal – 18 pages

King Dork by Frank Portman – 17 pages

King of Swords by Nick Stone – 10 pages

Things I Want My Daughter To Know by Elizabeth Noble – 38 pages

All in glorious device-independent ePub file format!

Note: If you want to sample these on your PC or Mac using Adobe Digital Editions, I hope you have some heavy-duty hardware. It’s a bear to use on my decrepit PC (which, I’ll repeat, sings when using Google’s Chrome browser, so not everything can be attributed to my hardware!).

Anyone with a Sony Reader should be able to drop them in to read just fine. Leave a Comment and let me know how the operation went.

Click for them.

Writer Paul Auster: Early Failure

August 20, 2008

I carry a bunch of excerpts from his book Hand to Mouth: A Chronicle of Early Failure in my PDA of the moment (this moment being a rotten Palm LifeDrive). This is one of them:

In my late twenties and early thirties, I went through a period of several years when everything I touched turned to failure. My marriage ended in divorce, my work as a writer foundered, and I was overwhelmed by money problems. I’m not just talking about an occasional shortfall or some periodic belt tightenings — but a constant, grinding, almost suffocating lack of money that poisoned my soul and kept me in a state of never-ending panic.

There was no one to blame but myself. My relationship to money had always been flawed, enigmatic, full of contradictory impulses, and now I was paying the price for refusing to take a clear-cut stand on the matter. All along, my only ambition had been to write. I had known that as early as sixteen or seventeen years old, and I had never deluded myself into thinking I could make a living at it. Becoming a writer is not a “career decision” like becoming a doctor or a policeman. You don’t choose it so much as get chosen, and once you accept the fact that you’re not fit for anything else, you have to be prepared to walk a long, hard road for the rest of your days. Unless you turn out to be a favorite of the gods (and woe to the man who hanks on that), your work will never bring in enough to support you, and if you mean to have a roof over your head and not starve to death, you must resign yourself to doing other work to pay the bills. I understood all that, I was prepared for it, I had no complaints. In that respect, I was immensely lucky. I didn’t particularly want anything in the way of material goods, and the prospect of being poor didn’t frighten me. All I wanted was a chance to do the work I felt I had it in me to do.

Most writers lead double lives. They earn good money at legitimate professions and carve out time for their writing as best they can: early in the morning, late at night, weekends, vacations. William Carlos Williams and Louis-Ferdinand Céline were doctors. Wallace Stevens worked for an insurance company. T. S. Eliot was a banker, then a publisher. Among my own acquaintances, the French poet Jacques Dupin is co-director of an art gallery in Paris. William Bronk, the American poet, managed his family’s coal and lumber business in upstate New York for over forty years. Don DeLillo, Peter Carey, Salman Rushdie, and Elmore Leonard all worked for long stretches in advertising. Other writers teach. That is probably the most common solution today, and with every major university and Podunk college offering so-called creative writing courses, novelists and poets are continually scratching and scrambling to land themselves a spot. Who can blame them? The salaries might not be big, but the work is steady and the hours are good.

My problem was that I had no interest in leading a double life. It’s not that I wasn’t willing to work, but the idea of punching a clock at some nine-to-five job left me cold, utterly devoid of enthusiasm. I was in my early twenties, and I felt too young to settle down, too full of other plans to waste my time earning more money than I either wanted or needed. As far as finances went, I just wanted to get by. Life was cheap in those days, and with no responsibility for anyone but myself, I figured I could scrape along on an annual income of roughly three thousand dollars. [– pgs. 3-5; Copyright © 1976, 1977, 1978, 1982, 1997 by Paul Auster]

Go get and read the book, all you writers.

Paul Auster wikipedia entry
Paul Auster: The Definitive Website

Blog Notes: Doctor Who Calls To Me

June 8, 2008

It’s a bajillion frikkin degrees in NYC and approaching a localized nova where I sit. You could carry out cremations on top of the Celeron, with the heat it’s giving off. Of course, the air conditioner is nowhere near it.

Anyway, part two of Doctor Who has been sitting on my hard drive for several hours, waiting for me to finish the Harlan Ellison post so I can see what made John Rogers post this.

Back later. Probably with screensnaps.

Reference: Google Book Preview

March 15, 2008

This is the search syntax:

inauthor:[first name] inauthor:[surname]

Example: inauthor:Ken inauthor:Bruen

Who, by the way, everyone should read.

Not every book or writer is available for preview.

More About That J.K. Rowling Lawsuit

March 2, 2008


At Slate, Tim Wu offers J.K. Rowling’s Dark Mark: Why She Should Lose Her Copyright Lawsuit Against the Harry Potter Lexicon.

Meanwhile, RDR books, the defendant, is quoted at RDR Books Files Response to JKR/WB in Lexicon Suit as stating in its defense these interesting facts:

4. The brief says it is “far too late” for JKR to be the “first to publish” a Potter companion books, citing “nearly 200 Harry Potter companion guides,” “many of which incorporate A to Z listings.” RDR provides six of these books as evidence:

a. The Unofficial Harry Potter Encyclopedia: Harry Potter A-Z, by Kristina Benson

b. Field Guide to Harry Potter, by Colin Duriez

c. The J.K. Rowling Encyclopedia, by Connie Ann Kirk

d. A Muggle’s Guide to Exploring the Wizarding World by Fiona Boyle

e. Fact, Fiction and Folklore in Harry Potter’s World, by George Beahm

f. The End of Harry Potter? by David Langford

Plaintiff’s legal brief here. Entire collection of legal briefs here.

Similar legal actions:

This Means Warcraft!, recounts that the publisher of a guide to the World of Warcraft game was sued for copyright and trademark infringement. The case was handled by Public Citizen, for a win in the publisher-author’s favor: In Settlement Victory, Software Company Allows eBay Sale of Guide to Popular Video Game.

“Beanie Babies” Collector’s Guide: Another Study in Fair Use brings up some interesting issues, especially since the Guide had to use photos of the dolls, which presented another dimension for an allegation of infringement.

Someone in the Comments for the original post pointed out:

I think J.K. Rowling is right. Creating a web site is one thing, but putting a book together to profit from her work is wrong.

No. A for-profit venture is beside the point in Copyright cases. See The Seinfeld and The Wind Done Gone Cases: Studies in Fair Use:

Nature and Purpose of the Work: TWDG was clearly a commercial venture but commercialism, in and of itself, does not rule out the defense of fair use if other elements are present.

Emphasis added by me.

Someone else in the Comments stated:

I wonder if you need to put the word “Unauthorized” in the title to be allowed to do it.

And he might be closer to the truth:

A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant

Early in the production of the musical, the president of the Church of Scientology in New York sent a letter to the producer pointing out the Church’s history of litigation. This led Timbers and Jarrow to insert the word “Unauthorized” into the title, upon the advice of legal counsel.

I’m not certain about the legal issues involved with Japan’s Favorite Mon-Star: An Unauthorised Biography of the Big G

Japan’s Favorite Mon-Star is the first complete guide to the Godzilla legend published in North America. It is also the first totally unauthorized Godzilla book to be successfully published (legal challenges from Toho Co. Ltd.have previously snuffed out two others by Fantasma Books in 1996 and Quill Publishing in 1998).

Perhaps the other two publishers simply withdrew the books from publication. Book publishers are sometimes weasels like that.

There have also been a number of books riding on the popularity of Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code. One of them is Secrets of the Code: The Unauthorized Guide to the Mysteries Behind The Da Vinci Code.

I still believe Rowling is wrong. Even if she wins this case, she’s bound to lose on appeal.

Previously here:

J.K. Rowling Is Wrong
J.K. Rowling: A Year In The Life
Quote: J.K. Rowling