Friday, May 14, 2010

Round Round Get Around I Get A Round... Up

Friday round up, brought to you by Combreviations and Laura, suspiciously the same source:

Settle yourself in for some bad writing, reader types. Why? Because bad writing can be good for something, I hear. But first, true or false: today is the day Amazon bends to my will. The answer is false, because that day was yesterday. I complained my little heart out about Amazon conflating bestselling and most downloaded (often free) e-books, and the man has capitulated, and will separate out the lists. It only makes sense, because you don't mix up mass market and hardcover sales in bestseller lists, because the price points are so different it skews the data. But mostly, they're doing it because I said so. Victory!

Everyone is winning and losing all over the place. For example, the anti-smoking lobby wins, for getting cigarette machines in Germany turned into book dispensers, filled with material written by local authors. Poets lose, for not being more politically active. Slow readers win, because now they can call reading slowly a movement (to which I say question mark, but hey, to each his and/or her own). Illiterate New Yorkers super lose, as illiteracy program funding gets slashed.

Sometimes, though, it's hard to tell what's a win and what's a loss. A mom refused to return a Gossip Girl book to the library because of its content. The library loses, but does the mom win? Maybe Borders will help the library replace the book. Everyone's favorite, Sarah Palin is "writing" another "book," which could be considered a win and a loss for America. But what will be in the content? And Tyra Banks is writing a YA trilogy, which is a massive win and loss and is amazing, all at once. Such conflicted emotions!

Feeling a little stranded in your feelings? These 10 books about being stranded might make you feel less alone. You know what else might help? Knowing these 20 best sites for book collectors. And knowing why we love copy-editors. And hey, if you're still feeling down, write a letter to your favorite literary character. Just be careful who you go to for romantic advice.

So rock out to Springsteen or Pinsky, use Wikipedia like Borges would (er, if he had lived), and send your spare $13 million this way so I can buy Truman Capote's old house. See you next week, or earlier (if you miss me) at Combreviations.


  1. I posit bad writing can be helpful in one more way: when you do it intentionally as an exercise. A friend and I looked for all the standard "bad writing" examples we could in some popular novels (things like excessive adverbs, etc.), and then did our best to write a clich├ęd story with all of those devices. It was painful, but it made us more aware when we returned to our "good" (I hope) writing. Of course, there are plenty of other mistakes I'm sure we're making, but we've at least purged those habits...

    I feel the same way about Tyra's series. And as a library worker, I wonder when people will realize that we don't do blanket bans for content for the most part.

  2. I like the cigarette machine turned book vending machine story. Now if only we could get more people addicted to books.