On the Media did an excellent show on this subject in April and re-broadcast this weekend.
How did J.K. Rowling stand up to Amazon?
Russian e-pirating of books - it creates free loaders, but it also widens an author's readership and may ultimately boost legal sales.
Listen to the podcast here:
Publishing: Adapt or Die - On The Media
It's their usual deep level of reporting - critical, with a somewhat bemused tone.
Saturday, November 24, 2012
Friday, November 23, 2012
Humane political thought as it arises from facing the conflict in ourselves (Books - Isaiah Berlin: A Life by Michael Ignatieff)
Isaiah Berlin: A Life (Vintage 2000). Born in Latvia in the early 1900s, living briefly in Russia, and an eventually taking refuge in England, he became more English than the English, rising through the ranks of academia to the level of Oxford don. He was an intellectual with a powerful gift for talking about ideas. His mature thought brought together history, philosophy, and psychology to consider contemporary politics with complexity and compassion. He served as a valued advisor to Churchill and John F. Kennedy.
Saturday, November 10, 2012
Measuring the World (Quercus, 2007) he has taken the biographies of mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss and scientist Alexander von Humbolt as the jumping off point for a novel which vividly and amusingly imagines their inner lives. Contemporaneous to the late 18th to early 19th centuries, Gauss and Humboldt were endowed with brilliant minds which saw novel ways to answer questions (and defeat strongly held but untested assumptions) about the world in which we live. Both took on the entire world as their subject - the height of its peaks, the composition and temperature of its core, the shape of planetary orbits, the path of the ocean's currents, the very shape of space - but their methods of measurement couldn't have been more different. While Humboldt shocked his own spine in testing the nervous system's ability to conduct electricity and travelled to the far reaches of the world at considerable risk to himself - he couldn't pass an Andean peak without climbing it or a mine shaft without dropping himself in - Gauss preferred to make his measurements without leaving his armchair.
Sunday, November 4, 2012
Another New York story was the subject of The Scientists by Marco Roth (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012) which I was convinced was a novel, but turns out to have been a memoir. It tells of a thirty-something New Yorker whose father, a medical researcher, contracted the HIV virus in the 1980s.