Links of Literacy: June 3, 2009

1. Move over Oprah? Obama sells books by Amy Pirnes, POLITCO, May 30, 2009

With print media desperately trying to use Obama’s image to keep public attention on their front pages, it’s no surprise that the book world is also attuned to his star power. Of course presidents are invaluable in driving up statistics, but Obama’s gravitas and literary success make him even more credible than previous chief executives.

It’s also reassuring to see that Obama has good taste, with “What is The What” a mutually appreciated title by the President and your overseer.

2. Literary Losers by Mark Savras, Booklist, May 11, 2009

A brief list by Mark Savras, host of The Elegant Variation, one of the better literary blogs out there (and one of my chief inspirations after learning about it and getting some advice during last year’s Wordstock festival in Portland). Interesting characters, and he makes a good point that literature seems to lack more realistic protagonists these days. I would also add Thomas Lang from Hugh Laurie’s “The Gun Seller” to the list.

3. Summer 2009: Rebecca Blood’s Reading Lists by Rebecca Blood, Rebecca’s Pocket, June 1, 2009

Following composition of my summer reading list for 2009, I was soon informed that it had been added to a list itself. A lot of interesting variants here, ranging from recommendations by college professors to the reading list of armed forces to books that will be turned into films in the next few months. If you burn through my list quickly or aren’t interested in my suggestions, there’s bound to be something interesting on here for you.

4. At BookExpo This Year, the Talk Was of eBooks by Motoko Rich, The New York Times, May 31, 2009.

Following up on last week’s post, it’s no surprise to see the industry struggling and camps being drawn in the war with eBooks. Authors against it, publishers desperately trying to profit from it, but everyone realizing that this isn’t something that’s going away.

Personal note: the notice that Macmillan’s  was “holed up in bunkerlike rooms in the bowels of the convention center.” Considering they laid me off as a project manager three months ago, it’s small comfort to see my circumstances aren’t isolated ones.

5. Lawsuit targets “rip-off” of “Catcher in the Rye” by Doug Gross, CNN, June 3, 2009

J.D. Salinger, one of the most reclusive authors in known memory, has finally resurfaced – at least in the form of legal documents, more specifically a lawsuit seeking an injunction against Swedish publisher Nicotext for their novel “60 Years Later: Coming Through The Rye,” that depicts his protagonist Holden Caufield as an old man. Personally, my take is that by the fair use doctrine the character can be reprinted – even if it’s essentially published fan fiction – but Salinger appears to be keeping a tight grip on his intellectual property. Any thoughts on this?


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