Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

SHAUN SMITH'S SUNDAY SUNDRIES

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A WEEKLY ROUNDUP OF INTERNET CURIOSITIES FROM THE BOOK WORLD

The Book Brawl of the Century
Znet, the NYT's Bits blog and Bloomberg (amongst others) are reporting that battle lines are being drawn for what is shaping up to be the biggest, ugliest "book" brawl ever. On one side we have Google Books, the Sony Corporation, the Association of American Publishers (AAP), and the Authors’ Guild (amongst others). On the other, we have the Open Book Alliance, representing Amazon, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses, the Internet Archive, Microsoft, the New York Library Association, Small Press Distribution, the Special Libraries Association, and Yahoo! These groups are about to square off in court over the Google Book Settlement, and if you are involved in the business of books or writing, it behooves you to educate yourself about the ramifications of said settlement.

Barbie vs Barbie
In the LA Times, M.G. Lord, author of Forever Barbie: The Unauthorized Biography of a Real Doll, takes rival Barbie book author Robin Gerber to task for apparently ripping off quotes wholesale from Lord's book without attribution for her own book Barbie and Ruth: The Story of the World's Most Famous Doll and the Woman Who Created Her.

Trees vs Coal
Lucy Siegel at the Observer tries to untangle the question of whether it is more environmentally sound to read paper books or electronic books. It is a fascinating question. One immediately thinks, "We'll save thousands of trees by switching to e-books." But it is not so simple. Paper is recyclable and trees are renewable. E-readers are dependant on server farms that draw enormous quantities of power, which may well be fueled by nasty coal-fired power stations. Sadly, Siegel doesn't provide a definitive answer, but it is a fascinating subject worthy of further study.

Meth Nerds vs The Man
It's like something out of a comic book. CNN reports that two kingpin drug lords from Denver — exceedingly creepy looking brothers Aaron and Alfonso Castro — are currently in the slammer on $1-million bail each after having been busted for allegedly leading a meth amphetamine ring. The two, CNN reports, were apparently bringing upwards of $2-million worth of meth a month in from Mexico. What's this have to do with books? Well, turns out they were trying to launder their ill-gotten greenbacks through the sales of rare comic books. States CNN: While arresting the alleged ringleaders, brothers Aaron and Alfonzo Castro, law enforcement officers seized about 100 boxes of first-edition collectible comic books. Investigators say one title alone is worth $3,500 and the total collection of comics is worth half a million dollars.

Writers vs The Slush Pile
Robert McCrum writes on the Observer's book blog about how manuscripts by the likes of William Golding, Norman Mailer, George Orwell, Steven King and JG Ballard all faced rejection from publishers' slush piles. Guess which novel, later to become a classic of 20th century literature, was described by one slush reader as: "Absurd & uninteresting fantasy about the explosion of an atom bomb on the Colonies. A group of children who land in jungle country near New Guinea. Rubbish & dull. Pointless."

Martin Amis vs The Clock
Martin Amis has turned sixty. Hooray! Who cares? Anyway, the Guardian has documented some bits of his life in a photo gallery and I have one question: What is that he's smoking in picture 9?

The fight is over...
for Dominick Dunne, frequent Vanity Fair contributor, crime writer, and novelist. Vanity Fair announced that the venerable author passed away last week. They offer an obit with a photogallery. The LA Times has a more lengthy tribute.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Shaun Smith

Shaun Smith is a novelist and journalist living in Toronto. His young adult novel Snakes & Ladders was published in January 2009 by the Dundurn Group.

Go to Shaun Smith ’s Author Page