Color E INK is looking to get your attention.
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Large but a nifty note taking ability.
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A sober and pragmatic view on why cancel culture reagarding book publishing is largely a false narrative.
(a quick read)
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If you are a writer you should read Ted Closson’s short comic “Content Warning,” on the care creators must take when writing stories about loss before knowing what it really means, at thenib.com.
READ "CONTENT WARNING" HERE
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I work in a public library. Because I follow you here on Tumblr & you're so nice to everyone I feel guilty every time I have to discard one of your books. But what else can I do when the book is either falling apart, water/coffee/soda damaged, or some doofus has written in it? And yet, still, I feel bad even though we can buy new copies to replace the ruined ones.
I'm reminded of a librarian from a little town in the Appalachians who told me that my books were their most frequently checked out and never returned. I expressed dismay and she told me it was okay: they'd found their people. Library books can live hard lives, but it's probably better than the books that sit for thirty years pristine and untouched on a shelf, and are eventually discarded because they take up shelf space a book people might want to read needs.
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EPUB vulnerabilities: Electronic reading systems riddled with browser-like flaws
Many electronic reading (e-reading) systems that support the open EPUB format have significant security vulnerabilities, new research shows.
The EPUB format relies primarily on XHTML and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) to construct e-books, with browser engines often used to render their contents. However, say according to a team of researchers, this gives e-book reading systems similar vulnerabilities to web browsers.
Using a semi-automated testbed, available on GitHub, the researchers found that 16 of the 97 systems examined allowed an EPUB to leak information about the user’s file system, and in eight cases extract file contents.
Attackers, they warn, could achieve a full compromise of a user’s system by exploiting specific aspects of the reading systems' implementation.
"Of course, the significance depends on the platform that is used; e-readers generally won't contain sensitive files, while smartphones could contain private pictures," Franken tells told The Daily Swig.
Millions of users could potentially be affected.
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This comic from Erich Ohser is the best representation I know of how books help us achieve our goals in life.
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I wrote this to honor my Dad's memory on Fathers Day.
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Africa writes back
European ideas of African illiteracy are persistent, prejudiced and, as the story of Libyc script shows, entirely wrong
Four different writing systems have been used in Algeria. Three are well known – Phoenician, Latin and Arabic – while one is both indigenous to Africa and survives only as a writing system. The language it represents is called Old Libyan or Numidian, simply because it was spoken in Numidia and Libya. Since it’s possible that it’s an ancestor of modern Berber languages – although even that’s not clear – the script is usually called Libyco-Berber. Found throughout North Africa, and as far west as the Canary Islands, the script might have been used for at least as long as 1,000 years. Yet only short passages of it survive, all of them painted or engraved on rock. Everything else written in Libyco-Berber has disappeared.
Libyco-Berber has been recognised as an African script since the 17th century. But even after 400 years, it hasn’t been fully deciphered. There are no long texts surviving that would help, and the legacy of the written language has been one of acts of destruction, both massive and petty. That fate, of course, is not unique. It’s something that’s characteristic of modern European civilisation: it both destroys and treasures what it encounters in the rest of the world. Like Scipio Africanus weeping while he gazed at the Carthage he’d just obliterated, the destruction of the other is turned into life lessons for the destroyer, or artefacts in colonial cabinets of curiosities. The most important piece of Libyco-Berber writing was pillaged and sold to the British Museum for five pounds. It’s not currently on display.
But Libyco-Berber also reveals a more insidious kind of destruction, an epistemological violence inflicted by even the best-intentioned Europeans. There are numerous stories of badly educated, arrogant Europeans insisting that Africans not only never did, but never could, write books. Even as sensitive a philosopher as the French sociologist and theorist Pierre Bourdieu, who had deep personal ties to Algeria, and who supported the Berber/Amazigh cultural movement, could essentially make the same assumption. He insisted that the Kabyle people, whom he lived among and studied for years, were pre-literate, although they used (and still do) the characters of Libyco-Berber. Bourdieu’s is a cautionary tale for intellectuals who are committed to social activism. The passion – the need – to do what’s right is all too often steered by the conviction that, precisely because we’re intellectuals, we know what’s right. For Bourdieu, for example, the very ability to think, to reflect about what’s right, is tied to literacy.
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Creating a Literary Culture: A Short, Selective, and Incomplete History of LGBT Publishing, Part III
IN THE FIRST installment of this series, I explored the paltry and frequently pathologized literature available to gay and lesbian readers between 1940 and 1980, a period when homosexuality was still deemed a mental disease and criminal behavior. In the second installment, I looked at the explosion of gay and lesbian books between 1980 and 1995, a boom that reflected the emergence of a self-affirming gay and lesbian community that perceived its struggle as a civil rights struggle and the crisis of the AIDS epidemic. This section picks up the story, which is now more complicated and more nuanced that in previous eras. Between small presses, self-publishing platforms, and renewed interest by big publishers, there are more LGBTQ books available to readers than ever and, as that acronym suggests, those books include a growing body of transgender, bisexual, and nonbinary literature. At the same time, however, the market is increasingly saturated and balkanized. Moreover, the tone of much of queer literature has changed from politically and socially engaged works to less ideological and confrontational material. So, whither queer lit? That is precisely the question.
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UK libraries and museums unite to save ‘astonishing’ lost library from private buyers
Friends of the National Libraries launch ‘once in a generation’ effort to raise £15m to buy the Honresfield library, packed with works by Brontë sisters, Jane Austen and Walter Scott
From the British Library to the Brontë Parsonage Museum, a consortium of libraries and museums have come together in an “unprecedented” effort to raise £15m and save an “astonishingly important” set of literary manuscripts for the nation.
The plans were formed after the announcement last month that the “lost” Honresfield library was to be put up for auction at Sotheby’s this summer. Almost entirely inaccessible since 1939, the library was put together by Victorian industrialists William and Alfred Law at the turn of the 20th century, and is a literary treasure trove that had experts dancing with excitement – and warning that action needed to be taken to prevent it being sold piecemeal to private collectors.
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Creating a Literary Culture: A Short, Selective, and Incomplete History of LGBT Publishing
By Michael Nava
IN LITERATURE, as in history, it is often the obscure stories, the ones that go unnoticed at the time and which are not inscribed in the Official Record that, years, decades, even centuries later, turn out to have been the true story of an age. Unsurprisingly, these are often the stories of the outcasts, the insignificant, and the despised of their era whose voices are not merely ignored but actively suppressed only to be reappraised and finally heard in a later, more evolved time. This is the case with LGBTQ literature, a sphere of aesthetic production which, even now, is often devalued as the special pleading of a minority community preoccupied with sex and of only passing, faddish interest to the Literary Establishment and society at large.
This devaluation is part of the larger fallacy of dismissing the struggle of the LGBTQ community as essentially a fight about sexual expression. It is not. For queer people, the movement has always been about uncovering and embracing the deepest sense of oneself; it is a movement of human liberation. That’s how its writers have understood and tried to express it for nearly a century only to be usually met by indifference, silence, condescension.
In this three-part series, I explore, admittedly imperfectly, how mostly gay and lesbian writers have struggled to be heard through an examination of how they were published, by whom, and under what circumstances. The emphasis on gay and lesbian writers reflects the fact that the period under examination mostly preceded the emergence of transgender, bisexual, and nonbinary communities as distinct and recognizable literary communities and publishing cohorts; it in no way devalues them.
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Those Descriptions on the Inside of Book Covers Are Full of It
They’ve become meaningless mush—but they don’t have to be.
I have spent the past five years reading the descriptions of hundreds of books, trying to find things that are interesting and worthwhile for me to pitch as a freelancer. They are almost always bad.
When you read enough book jacket copy—that’s the stuff on the back of the book or inside the jacket flap, telling you what to expect within—you start to notice strange patterns. Books from one of the big four publishing houses will have a line or two promising that the latest in literary fiction is a sober look at our current dilemma/modern age/social media addiction/technological approach to dating. If the copywriter is feeling bold, maybe they’ll let us know that the writer is a “dazzling new voice,” or that the release of this debut novel is “heralding a brave new voice in fiction.” From there, a frustratingly vague description of the plot usually contains a foreboding line letting us know the protagonist needs to go on a journey to another country to find herself, or that a man will try to save his marriage or family. End with a reminder that this book is very important and/or brilliant. Just like every other book.
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F&W Game Changers: A Kinder Publishing Model
An Australian cookbook publisher is shifting who gets the money.
What started as a way to raise funds for restaurants during pandemic lockdowns just might change the cookbook publishing industry. The Takeaway series from Somekind Press operates on a simple premise: helping restaurants, bakeries, and other food businesses write, publish, and sell books while splitting the proceeds. "We looked at the most economical way to do [it]," says cofounder Simon Davis. "Print-on-demand, black and white-whatever we could do to keep the costs down while still making the books look lovely." Call it a stylish combination of crowdfunding, zine-making, and old-fashioned community fundraising cookbooks.
Books are only printed after preorders reach 100 copies, so there's no up-front cost for Somekind. That means they can take greater risks creatively, and restaurants keep more of the profits. (If preorders don't reach the threshold, the money raised goes to the restaurant, minus a $50 listing fee.) The model also allows them to skip the big-name chefs often wooed by traditional publishers, instead approaching restaurants, bakeries, and other food businesses that have passionate audiences within their communities. "It is about supporting your local venue," Davis says. "It's not there for the big faceless chains; it's there for those restaurants that are really struggling." The process of creating these 96-page books takes 12 weeks, start to finish, which is a nanosecond compared to the typical two-year cookbook publishing cycle. Copies cost $20 apiece, making them significantly cheaper than glossy hardback cookbooks, which tend to start in the $30 to $50 range.
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Trump's Memoir Is Bringing Publishers to a Long-Overdue Reckoning With Truth
As reports surface that the former president is writing "the book to end all books," it's incumbent on publishing to hold political memoirs to a higher standard.
The first ex-president to publish a memoir during his lifetime was James Buchanan, who retired from public office in disgrace in 1861, leaving behind a nation torn asunder by slavery and the impending secession of the southern states. Buchanan’s untitled memoir was abysmal, according to presidential historian Craig Fehrman, author of Author in Chief: The Untold Story of Our Presidents and the Books They Wrote. “Buchanan’s is definitely the worst presidential memoir I’ve read,” Fehrman told Smithsonian Magazine. “It’s mostly just James Buchanan trying to blame everyone except James Buchanan for the war and its aftermath.” The kicker: it was terrible, but it sold.
How fitting that Buchanan would set the precedent now reaching its apex with Donald Trump, his successor for the title of American history’s worst president. In the publishing world, Trump is regarded as an untouchable, even though his post-White House memoir would assuredly top the bestseller charts and generate a windfall for the publisher foolhardy enough to touch it. Never before has a modern president struggled to score a cushy book deal after leaving office, but as ever, Trump has notched another ignoble first. Members of the Big Five publishing houses see his memoir as a third rail, fearing that such a book would be closer to a work of fiction than memoir. Keith Urbahn, president and founding partner of the creative and literary agency Javelin, told Politico, “Any editor bold enough to acquire the Trump memoir is looking at a fact-checking nightmare, an exodus of other authors, and a staff uprising.”
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“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”
— Somerset Maugham (via writingdotcoffee)
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