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Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Wednesday roundup 

All right, all right, what's everyone buzzing about these days? How the authors of THE NANNY DIARIES got smacked down by Random House. Sara Nelson duly reports all the details in this week's New York Observer.

And in other controversy news, both John Mullan and John Sutherland respond in today's Guardian about Roddy Doyle's contention that Ulysses is unreadable. They both beg to differ.

And who, exactly, is Jennifer Johnston, whom Doyle deems a finer Irish writer than Joyce? Rosie Cowan takes a look at this underrated author.

Bertelsmann (the conglomerate that owns Random House, among other things in its quest for world domination) is a huge investor in Chinese bookshops. The result? They are getting more capitalist, with cafes and better books stocked.

Another bookshop to close: this time, it's Politico's, located in London's "Artillery Row." It will continue as a mail-order business starting the 15th of March.

Is your debut novel being published in the UK this year? Then don't forget to submit to the Pendleton May Novel Awards. The prize money's increased to 2500 pounds. The catch? You must live in London or the South, and your book had to have been published between October 2003 and October 2004. Last year's winner was Babs Horton for the marvellous A JARFUL OF ANGELS.

One might have thought that in the country where the alphabet as we know it was invented, the written word would still endure. But alas, Arab countries are seeing a decline in reading interest, if the Arab Book Fair is anything to judge by.

Can a diary boost your health? That's what The Age argues, that even 10 minutes of writing a day can help out your mental health. No word on whether 5 hours of blogging actually worsens your mental outlook....

Carrie Fisher, author of THE BEST AWFUL and responsible for the bagel hairdo of the late 1970s, is profiled in the New York Times.

David Kipen of the SF Chronicle is another reviewer raving about THE CONFESSIONS OF MAX TIVOLI.

And finally, so there's all this fighting about Dr. Atkins' health problems leading up to his death. My first question was, why was the Medical Examiner involved? A simple answer: because his death could be directly related to a fall he'd had about a week before his death, the manner of death could not be classified as natural. It's what the ME folks call the "but for" rule: "but for" some outside event, he would not have died in the way that he did. He could have been 100% healthy right up until then and the fall would still be what ultimately caused his death. But people like to fight about all sorts of things....

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