Before we begin rounding up, I think we all need to address the elephant in the room: the new FTC regulations for bloggers. Although I won't do the discussion justice, the FTC has more or less said that if a blogger receives a free product for review and doesn't disclose where that product comes from, they will get slapped in the face with fines, whereas newspapers etc. don't need to adhere to those rules. Slate discusses, Janet Reid discusses, and Ron Hogan writes not one but two open letters to the FTC. When it comes down to it, I firmly agree that we're so inundated with product placement on such a regular basis that we're basically immune, so what difference will bloggers really make? And honestly, who reads blogs?
In the interest of full disclosure, I have tallied up all of the fabulous free things Eric and I have been given because of this blog. We have, collectively, received: zero presents, zero freebies, and only one offer of marriage, which wasn't for me—always a blogsmaid, never a blogs. We only have until December 1st until the new FTC rules go into effect, so hurry up, people, and make with the perks. This paragraph was brought to you by Dungeons and Dragons Spellcasting Soda, and by the contest in the last paragraph.
I don't know if you guys heard, but the literature Nobel was announced yesterday, and Herta Müller, a Romanian German, won. There are great roundups of links at Bookninja and the Atlantic Wire. Shelf Life yawns, and the Guardian says the Nobel judges should start looking outside of Europe, but the excerpts at the Book Bench are pretty cool.
You know what else is cool? After 49 years, the author and illustrator of The Phantom Tollbooth are getting back together. Just like your divorced parents! Except, you know, for real. And after 80 years the official, authorized Winnie the Pooh sequel is happening (which hopefully won't suck, but might. Read the except and decide for yourself). I hope pirates can leave WtP alone...
Wil Wheaton (who was in the movie Flubber and also Star Trek: The Next Generation) has a bone to pick with pirates. Someone jacked the audiobook he made by himself, which means that it's not fat cat, pork barrel spending, big business publishing that's suffering, but rather a single individual, which is somehow way sadder than stealing from an industry with thousands of workers and slowly rotting said industry from the inside out. Dan Brown is being pirated all over the place as well, but since he only bathes in liquid gold it hurts my soul a little less. Booksprung writes about how publishers are encouraging book piracy, and I hear we should worry about the Napsterization of books. It would probably help if we could identify the five most important moments in the formation of digital publishing, or we could take a deep breath and realize: the mass market paperback was supposed to kill the hard cover, so maybe this won't be so bad either. Publishing should take a page from zombie culture, and learn to survive.
Some things are not worth surviving for, and one of them seems to be truly terrible agent/editor meals. Also distressing is that, while And Tango Makes Three (the picture book about the gay penguins) has been racing up the charts despite being banned, most people don't realize that the penguins were broken up by a lady type penguin. In 2005. (On the plus side, they did the John and Kate Plus 8 crash-and-burn with way more class, and fewer babies.) Librarians are going to be replaced by robots, Harvard bars books (by putting bars on the shelves...get it? Ah, puns.), and people are actually making lists of the top ten most depressing books.
Let's try and salvage the optimism of the day (it is a Friday, after all, and my one day to exploit the captive blog reading population) by sharing a dream of mine: being in Sarah Vowell's shoes and having Jon Stewart tell me I am so smart. Sigh.
Speaking of authors everyone wants to be, Joyce Carol Oates wrote a really spectacular article about her lack of mentors, and how it affected her writing. Michael Chabon is writing his next book about how he became who he is today (that one's for you, Moonrat), and Wanda Clark writes about how writing in prison is easier than writing outside (that one's for all of you struggling with procrastination).
So, I was going to have a contest that involved the now defunct Christian version of Sarah Palin's memoir, but then I chanced upon the Conservative Bible Project and just... I am so pleased with America right now. So my contest for you: edit the Bible! Come up with an ideology to support, and tell me in the comments how you would edit the Bible to support your beliefs. Winner gets featured next week, and potentially stalked by those involved with the CBP who don't appreciate being mocked, thank you very much. See you next week!