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

Schlachthof Fünf
Did you know that, during WWII, Kurt Vonnegut was a POW in the horrid Slaughterhouse Five that he immortalized in his novel of the same name? Although it is one of my all-time favourite novels, I didn't know this fact until I was introduced last week to a remarkable letter written by Vonnegut to his family upon release from that camp in 1945, published on lettersofnote.com.

Your "Cease and Desist" is in the mail
A children's picture-book version of David Bowie's classic rock song Space Oddity has been published for download on the web by illustrator Andrew Kolb. Great idea, if you want to read your kids a story about a man dying alone in the cold vacuum of outer space. Oh and there's one other little glitch: Kolb apparently didn't ask permission to use Bowie's lyrics. Here's what he writes on the ebook's "copyright" page: "I appreciate all the legal bits as it’s that part that helps make this all happen. Except that you have this book and this page is still relegated to my ramblings. That’s part of what I love about the internet, it’s a chance to SHARE with others! I suppose some of the content that is shared out there wouldn’t pass my content filter, but for the most part I’ve discovered a lot of great work and met a lot of wonderful people because of this new fangled technology. Well done, internet. Well done." Interesting use of the word "share". Could be I'm way off, but I would not be surprised if Mr Bowie's lawyers were licking a stamp with Mr Kolb's name on it right about now.

Books to die for
Because they've been die cut, as gathered on abebooks.com.

DIY for books
I went out and bought a $5 pipe wrench to use as a book weight, but if that's too rich for your blood, a bit of duct tape and a few pennies can substitute, as shown on instrctibles.com.

The Condé Nast building in NYC has a cartoonists' lounge?
So you want to be a cartoonist for The New Yorker, eh? "Graphic novelist" [his quotes] James Sturm (who has never published a cartoon in The New Yorker) explains on Slate how it is, and isn't, done.

Editing "Lolita"
No, not Nabokov's famous and controversial novel, but rather, the entry about that novel on the user-maintained encyclopaedic website Wikipedia (hence the quotes). Emily Morris at The Awl explains that "In the past ten years, the entry has grown from the four-sentence description...to the detailed, 6,000-plus-word monolith of today." (And that does not include the two film adaptations, which have their own Wikipedia entries.) She then provides a fascinating dissection of the evolution of that entry.

Font porn
Enjoy, c/o houseind.com.

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