Footnotes, August 2020: Book links from around the web

Ma-ry Trump do do do

At The Reading List, we’re trainspotters when it comes to interesting book links, and here are a number that caught our eye.

  • Ma-ry Trump do do do do do do, Ma-ry Trump do do do do do do, Ma-ry Trump do do do do do do, Mary Trump. (Mary Trump!)
  • Would we like to know more about Derek Walcott’s New Yorks? Especially as related by Caryl Phillips? Yes we would.
  • Typically, there was a huge flap at Harper’s. It was not-so-obliquely about (whisper it) ‘cancel culture’. People got pretty angsty. People recanted! (Love a good recant.) Very famous people who sell millions of books got puzzled. A writer called Thomas Chatterton Williams, who started it all by organising the letter, took an absolute shellacking (eg,), but fronted up reasonably well (eg,). He also brought us this epic ping pong video, so there’s that. You’ve probably never heard of any of this, which just goes to show you that Twitter is not real life. It’s out there if you want to find it, though. PS – Stanley Fish!
  • Here’s a decent article on plague as a literary device (and how to cope, or not, with such devices during an actual plague).
  • In the UK, print market volumes are up 18% since bookshops reopened; in SA, they’re down by rather a lot more than that.
  • It’s a conundrum. On the one hand, several righteous authors and their rather scarier (lawyers-wise) publishers have launched a lawsuit against the Internet Archive for its National Emergency Library, which allowed for the controlled lending of a million-plus books, many still in copyright. Copyright protects authors’ and publishers’ incomes, so – the action is relatable. On the other hand – did you actually try the NEL out? It functioned just like a regular ol’ library, in that you checked out books, except that, at the time, ALL THE REGULAR OL’ LIBRARIES WERE CLOSED DUE TO THE GLOBAL PANDEMIC AND SO ACTUAL LIBRARY BOOKS WERE NOT OBTAINABLE TO MILLIONS OF PEOPLE. One might even argue that it was better than a regular ol’ library, from a content protection standpoint, in that borrowers had no choice but to return their books after a set period. Hell, we used the service to read a book or two during lockdown and found it to be quite fair (plus bloody wonderful, in that it kept us in books which otherwise we would not have been kept in). So, basically, we side with the Archive on this one. The authors and publishers should make haste to partner with it, rather than destroy it. But fat chance.
  • Um, did someone just predict the American presidential candidate Joe Biden’s running mate on the basis of paperback release?
  • On Fernando Pessoa and his fictional identities.
  • There’s Inque and there’s Isele and there’s Doek! and there’s Lolwe … there are a lot o’ lit mags to check out. Check ’em out.

Tags Bookselling Brewster Kahle Clarissa Coronavirus Covid-19 Derek Walcott Doek! Fernando Pessoa Footnotes Harper's Inque Internet Archive Isele Jennifer Finney Boylan Joe Biden Lolwe Malcolm Gladwell Mary L Trump Plague Susan Rice Thomas Chatterton Williams

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