Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Dissing Dissent  

I am grateful to have become an American and to now belong to a country that has had an inspiring and enduring and true commitment to letting "a hundred flowers bloom," as Mao, hypocritically, once said. What has made the U.S. such a beacon to people like me is that it has always been principled, confident and strong enough to let its people debate and criticize government policies without suggesting that the critics are somehow less than patriotic.
When our government loses its tolerance for a full range of views on national and world affairs, it is veering toward the authoritarian world that speaks in one voice, the very political model it has so often stood against; even fought against. I hope I will never again have to live in such a world.

· In White House Actions, A Troubling Echo of Life in Communist China [LATimes ]

Tuesday, October 21, 2003


Sweet Reward: Tax Notes of Known World
He had never considered writing fiction full time before. Mr. Jones was the author of an acclaimed collection of short stories and the winner of a $50,000 literary prize, but he was also the son of an illiterate and impoverished mother. As a young man he lived briefly in a homeless shelter and learned to view a steady paycheck the same way that a drowning man might view a lifeline.
To think about being a writer was to think that I had the whole world, and I really didn't, and I knew I didn't," said Mr. Jones, 53, who spent nearly two decades proofreading and summarizing news items for Tax Notes, a trade magazine, before he was laid off in January 2002.
But he decided to dive into his first novel without much of a safety net. To his astonishment, his tale of a black slave owner, an aching and lyrical exploration of moral complexities, has become a literary sensation since its publication in August. Janet Maslin in The New York Times called that novel, "The Known World" (Amistad/HarperCollins), stunning. Jonathan Yardley of The Washington Post hailed it as the best new American fiction to cross his desk in years.

· As a drowning man might view a lifeline [NY Times]

Thursday, October 02, 2003

A Reporter's Mission - and Its Occasional Price
Four American journalists who died while covering the war in Iraq and another who was slain in Pakistan were honored today in a ceremony on a Civil War battlefield in Maryland - Michael Kelly of the Atlantic, Elizabeth Neuffer of the Boston Globe, David Bloom of NBC, Mark Fineman of the Los Angeles Times and Daniel Pearl of the Wall Street Journal.
In their deaths, Baltimore Sun writer David Folkenflik see journalism's larger purpose: At the heart of the work of those correspondents is the fundamental mission that should be common to all reporters: discerning the truth and then airing it, even when it might offend the sensibilities of the powerful.

· Remember [Tim Porter (First and Last Draft)]
· Journalists::valuable components of the democratic process

Coetzee Wins Nobel
Once again snubbing the winless Dutch, the Nobel Prize for Literature has gone to South African J.M. Coetzee, published in the U.S. by Viking Penguin. The Swedish Academy characterizes the two-time Booker winner as a writer who in innumerable guises portrays the surprising involvement of the outsider.

Edward Said - Outsider
Edward Said inspired admiration, even if you disagreed with his politics. He lived in the world as an exile, a condition from which he drew strength. Exile, as a metaphorical state, was something we all should aspire to, Said contended, since it gives one an outsider's perspective on the world. He was a theoretician who hated theory because he loved people. A true public intellectual, he would say, possesses not just access to the media but a public (constituency would be his term) to which he or she is accountable. Ground yourself in the world.
· Exile [Village Voice 10/01/03]

Surf, Swim, Look Inside This
While we all wait to see when Amazon launches their new system of searching inside thousands of books, eBooks.com has announced that they are now offering fast, relevant searches across every word in every title from the 25,000 titles they carry.
· Surfing eRivers [eBooks.com ]

The Web's Hot Type
Publishers are waking up to the promotional possibilities of the internet. Creating promos like this sends a message to an author that you're doing exciting, creative, new things to market their books. It also sends a message to a wider, younger, new web- and design-literate audience that these books are being addressed to them in their language.
· Market [The Guardian (UK) 10/01/03 ]
· Trails [Kokodatrail.com ]

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