Footnotes, May 2021: Book links from around the web
At The Reading List, we’re trainspotters when it comes to interesting book links, and here are a number that caught our eye.
- One thing that ebooks don’t have is that glorious papery aroma – but Kobo is here to change that. What started as an April Fool’s joke has become reality, and the e-reader giant’s new signature fragrance Kobo Papier will be on sale soon: ‘sweet with just a hint of the musty smell of aged paper’.
- In dreadful news, Mike Pence has signed a two-book deal for his memoirs, reportedly getting seven figures from Simon & Schuster in the process. The book will tell of Pence’s life, work and journey – and, most appropriately perhaps, ‘the lessons he has learned’.
- Simon & Schuster staff immediately rebelled, penning an open letter stating that the publisher had ‘chosen complicity in perpetuating white supremacy by publishing Pence’. Days later, more than 200 Simon & Schuster staff members signed a petition calling for the deal to be cancelled. To be continued.
- Investigative journalist Pieter-Louis Myburgh’s book Gangster State, published in April 2019, provided information that led to Ace Magashule’s suspension.
- MC Hammer, nowadays known confusingly for his philosophy-fuelled tweets, joined much-admired fellow historian Dr Robin Mitchell to talk about her book, Venus Noire: Black Women and Colonial Fantasies in Nineteenth Century France – resulting in the ‘best scholarly conversation’ many had heard in a while.
- Read an excerpt from Rogues’ Gallery – a new book that puts Jacob Zuma’s corruption into entertaining, impeccably researched perspective.
- Jon Ronson’s iconic investigation into conspiracy theorists, Them: Adventures with Extremists, turns 20 this week. He reflects on a world that is stranger than ever: ‘I feel lucky to have been there at its inception, but annoyed with myself for not anticipating quite how vast and malevolent things would get.’
- Check out Onderlangs by photographer Paul Bogaers – a ‘humorous, exciting and startling’ new book composed entirely of found sentences from books, put together with glue, in a project that took fifteen years to complete.
- Cyber thieves are targeting *checks notes* literary awards? The Rathbones Folio Prize recently lost £30,000 to an email fraudster, and at least three other awards have reportedly been targeted, with the crimes spiking during lockdown. Publishers are also being targeted by hackers attempting to get their hands on big-name manuscripts.
- Africa’s biggest wave is 50 feet high and infested with great white sharks. Capetonians will know it well. A new book, Afrosurf, looks at Africa’s overlooked surf culture and the surfers who defied the apartheid regime to get their gnarly fix.
- If there’s one thing more twisty and gripping than Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, it’s the story behind the series and the appropriation of his literary estate.
- And finally, Victor Hugo (1802 – 1885), considered to be one of the greatest and best-known French writers, looked like… Taylor Swift?