Monday, July 20, 2009

Book News, In Brief

Let's start this off on a positive note, so when the inevitable deluge of bad news follows, you'll feel like you still have something to live for. Life of Pi author, Yann Martel, has sold a manuscript for his follow-up novel for approximately $3 million. The new book is an allegory about the Holocaust, once again involving animals.

Okay, so maybe news of a new Holocaust book isn't really what most folks would consider "a positive note." But this gay (as in happy), gay (as in totally homo) news bit is sure to make our closeted Catholic readers smile: First the Vatican praised Harry Potter, now they're offering the post-mortem olive branch to Oscar Wilde. Will miracles never cease?

Over-priced college bookstores are about to suffer the collective karmic payback of hundreds of years of ripping off their campus-dwelling clientele. According to the News-Press of Fort Meyers, a new Florida law is forcing colleges to list all required texts at least 30 days before the semester starts, "giving students ample time to scour eBay, Craigslist or Amazon for new or used books at discounted prices."

Here's hoping there's some kind of cruel, karmic retribution for freaks like the one mentioned in Sunday's Toronto Sun: "A comic book store owner is accused of voyeurism after police say he was caught using a hidden camera to spy on a woman in the store's washroom. Officers were called to Dragon's Realm...after the young woman's boyfriend found a video camera. [...] The young couple, both 21, went to the store to pick up some comics they had ordered. While they were in the store, the woman asked to use the restroom. As she walked to the back of the store, the owner allegedly followed behind and entered an adjoining room. The woman's boyfriend thought the owner's behaviour was suspicious, so he decided to walk to the back of the store to investigate [...]. That's when he found a video camera mounted on a tripod in the room next door."

I could try to tie this news item into the last one by saying something like, 'While voyeurs videotape bookstore bathrooms, Big Brother patrols your e-book purchases,' but I won't. Cuz that would be insensitive. Instead, I'll go with the far less interesting: Less than a week after the cracks began to show on Amazon's Kindle, along comes the unannounced, automatic, incontestable removal of George Orwell titles from users' e-Books. So what happened? An Amazon spokesperson told Publishers Weekly that "the books were added to the Kindle catalog by a third-party using the company's self-service platform who did not own the rights to the books," and that when they were "notified by the rightsholder that the copies were illegal, Amazon removed the titles from its system and customers' devices and refunded their money."