Amazon Must Be Stopped? OK. Any Volunteers?

Originally posted on Polishing Your Prose:

amazoncom_logo_RGBRe: Amazon Must Be Stopped: It’s too big. It’s cannibalizing the economy. It’s time for a radical plan. (Franklin Foer, New Republic, Oct. 9, 2014)

All humans are self-serving and short-sighted to some degree; most humans are self-serving and short-sighted to a large degree. Wal-Mart’s Sam Walton and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos understand this; thus, their business models thrive, and despite all the whining, more and more consumer products are Made in China or other enclaves of cheap labor, while our employment base evolves from manufacturing and production jobs to comparatively lower-paying service jobs.

We, as consumers, reward these business practices when we buy their products.

Pogo’s celebrated quip come’s to mind.

In terms of the book biz, I laughed out loud at the comment about “dilettantism.” Let’s see, dilettantes E. L. James and Amanda Hocking (among others) pen best-selling ebooks that take Amazon by storm, then the “antediluvians,” who…

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His Name Was Ben Amazon Rank: #8 Best Seller Kindle Store

roomsofourown:

My good friend Paulette Mahurin’s new book stats (all proceeds go to dog rescue!):

Originally posted on The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap:

Screen Shot 2014-10-11 at 6.15.48 PM

A huge thank you to everyone who has purchased the book, written a review, or spread the word about this book. The first check was mailed to help rescue dogs.

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Is Literature Disappearing Up It’s Own A-Hole?

roomsofourown:

Via one of my favorite bloggers, the always fascinating A.M.B., at The Misfortune of Knowing:

Originally posted on The Misfortune Of Knowing:

Horace Engdahl seems to think so.

In comments to Le Croix, Horace Engdahl (of the Swedish Academy responsible for the Nobel Prize) criticized the “professionalization” of writing through financial support from foundations and educational institutions that allow writers to leave their “day jobs” to devote more time to writing. Noting that it’s particularly a problem for the “western side” of the world, he said:

Even though I understand the temptation, I think it cuts writers off from society, and creates an unhealthy link with institutions… Previously, writers would work as taxi drivers, clerks, secretaries and waiters to make a living. Samuel Beckett and many others lived like this. It was hard – but they fed themselves, from a literary perspective.

If we set aside Engdahl’s hypocrisy — he’s a literary academic linked with an institution — there’s a kernel of truth in his words: experience matters. Real-life experiences inform…

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A Review of Two Lovely Berries on Words For Worms!

roomsofourown:

Sharing a review of Two Lovely Berries, a just-released novel by my favorite blogger, A.M Blair. I’m reading the novel now and enjoying it.

Originally posted on The Misfortune Of Knowing:

Two Lovely Berries_Cover August 2014I can’t express the excitement I felt when I saw the first review of my novel, Two Lovely Berries, on one of my favorite book blogs, Words for Worms. I’ve been following Words for Worms for a long time, and I’ve also participated in her Fellowship of the Worms.

In her review of Two Lovely Berries, Katie wrote:

I don’t know what to say other than this book was excellent. I found the story engrossing from the start. Books that focus on interpersonal relationships sometimes turn a corner into a weird introspective place, but I thought Two Lovely Berries stayed grounded firmly in reality. Everything was realistically portrayed, and even the dramatic bits avoided abject melodrama. Tales of infidelity, workaholics, family violence, and sibling rivalry all blend together with refreshing glimmers of humanity that make the whole thing just work.

I am so glad that Two Lovely…

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Typos: Condemnation for Common Mistakes

Originally posted on The Misfortune Of Knowing:

Miss Steaks from Spell Checker Poem

Once, after filing a 49-page appellate brief in a case, I received the following email from a well-established attorney in my practice area:

I did not want to undercut the ‘thank you’ email I sent on Saturday by mentioning anything negative [about the brief you filed], but there’s something you may have noted already, but which, in case not, I draw to your attention for the future: the proofing needs to be done more carefully.

The sender then complained that my brief contained two small typos and one incomplete citation. Thankfully, all of these mistakes were in pro forma portions of the brief that the judges were unlikely to read, but I felt awful about them, particularly after spending nearly three weeks drafting and proofreading the damn thing. I read the brief from cover to cover multiple times, as did several other attorneys involved in the case, and not one…

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Theodor S. Geisel Awards Re-connects High School Classmates (46 Years Later!)

me and laylaAbove left–Layla Fiske, author of The Fig Orchard, with Lee Fullbright, author of The Angry Woman Suite

 

I have a story to tell—a short story, perhaps a dozen paragraphs. It’s about two girls who loved reading and writing above almost all else. They came of age in the 1950’s-60’s, in a suburb of San Diego called Allied Gardens, colloquially known as “Rabbit Hill,” because of the large number of children (who would one day be called “boomers”) who lived there with their very fertile parents (if you’re a post-boomer, google “rabbit test”).

One of the girls—Leila—lived at the top of the hill, where the bookmobile (post-boomers: google this too) parked every other Tuesday afternoon. The other girl was Eileen. She lived at the bottom, and had a long walk up Rabbit Hill on bookmobile days, over two miles, but she didn’t care; she’d have walked ten miles to check out five new-to-her books.

Now these two very young girls went to different elementary schools, and didn’t actually know of the other until their promotions to the large, and only, junior high school on Rabbit Hill. But even had they seen the other at the bookmobile on one of those Tuesday afternoons, they would’ve had no way of knowing they were looking at a soon-to-be peer who would, as a young adult, disappear from the other’s life, only to reappear mirroring a common dream, focus, and tenacity.

And so it follows that neither child could have known that this reappearance would not occur for over a half-century.

At their even larger, over-crowded high school, where it was way too easy to get and feel lost, the two girls had the same English teacher—but then, later, as is often the case after graduations, the two teenagers’ paths diverged. And although they stayed in the same city, Leila and Eileen never ran into each other in town, or at their high school reunions. They did, though, continue their reading and writing, separately and prolifically.

Over forty years passed before Eileen, whose name was now shortened to Lee, finished her second novel, one she considered possibly publishable, about a family in so much crisis only an unsolved double murder kept its members together. Lee’s agent titled it The Angry Woman Suite.

The Angry Woman Suite went on to win many awards, but the one Lee had always yearned after—the San Diego Book Awards’ Theodor A. Geisel Award for “best of the best”—is her treasure. It’s the award from her city (San Diego, eighth largest in the U.S.).

A year later, while perusing the nominated books for the 2014 San Diego Book Awards, Lee came across a photo of a woman she thought looked familiar, named Layla Fiske. Layla had written an award-winning novel titled The Fig Orchard, a story inspired by Layla’s grandfather’s capture by Ottoman Turkish soldiers and her grandmother’s subsequent choice of remarriage (entailing giving her children to her husband’s family), or finding a way to support her family on her own. She chose the latter, traveling to a convent in Jerusalem to learn the art of midwifery, then returning to her village to support and raise her children by herself.

But Lee couldn’t place Layla, so she messaged her, told her who she was, and asked if they knew each other.

Did they ever. Turned out Layla Fiske was the “Leila” who’d grown up in Allied Gardens at the same time Lee (then Eileen) Fullbright did. Oh, what a revelation! And oh, the perfection of it all, that two bookish Allied Gardens girls were now both authors! Of course, it was practically ordained that they re-meet, and so they did, forty-six years after their high school graduation, almost to the day.

Okay, isn’t this a cool story? Even if it is mine and Layla’s?

And wouldn’t you know I had to be out of town the night of this year’s San Diego Book Awards Association’s ceremony, and was on pins and needles rooting for Layla, waiting to hear if she’d won her category. At 10:10 p.m., I got the text that read, “I won!!!!!” which had me dancing around the room, and then wondering if Layla Fiske had captured the Theodor S. Geisel Award (for “best of the best” of 25 categories) as well. And of course she had!

So, yes, even more perfection—and then the inevitable and rhetorical question: What’re the chances that two authors from the same ‘hood would win back to back “best of the best” Theodor S. Geisel Awards?

And that the journey, begun so many years earlier, would start with a hill and a bookmobile.

(NOT) THE END

Book Cover Front for The Fig OrchardNEW TAWS cover

Richard III: Science Trumps Shakespeare

roomsofourown:

Fascinating topic (by one of my favorite bloggers) … I’ve read Tey’s book as well….

Originally posted on The Misfortune Of Knowing:

Two RichardsEver since archaeologists excavated King Richard III’s remains from a parking lot in Leicester, England in 2012, researchers have been working hard to uncover his 500-year-old secrets.* They have confirmed the ruler’s identity through mitochondrial DNA testing, discovered he had roundworms (but no other parasites) in his intestines, and have now learned that his spinal curvature wasn’t extreme enough to warrant the physical description Shakespeare gave him in the eponymous play, Richard III (1592).

Most of us know of Richard III through Shakespeare, who portrays the controversial last Plantagenet King as a villain responsible for the murders of his nephews, the Princes in the Tower, among other deaths. Shakespeare connects Richard III’s treacherous behavior to his physical appearance, describing him as “deform’d,” “unfinish’d,” and as a “bunch-back’d toad.”

As it turns out, though, Shakespeare’s description of Richard III’s wasn’t exactly right. In The Lancet (May 31, 2014),

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