Friday, July 1, 2011

What I’m reading

When the New Zealand Herald is good it is very good. Today’s business section has an excellent story – it is by Karyn Scherer, so of course it is excellent – on the changing of the guard at Whitcoulls. It is four (tabloid-size) pages and very thorough. The main story is here, and the sidebar about New Zealand being Guest of Honour (better than it sounds) at next year’s Frankfurt Book Fair is here. Quite rightly Scherer is enthusiastic about the return of Ian Draper as managing director and Joan Mackenzie (who is brilliant, and whom the staff adore) as book manager.

In other bookselling news the NZ book most talked about hasn’t even been published yet but already everyone has a view on whether it should be banned, boycotted or whatever. The most sensible comment I have seen is from the ever-sensible James Norcliffe, who wrote at the Dim-Post:
If this is a “ban” then why has there been no outcry over the years about big-box book shops “banning” poetry, philosophy, manuscript music, or just about any book reviewed in the London Review of Books or the NY Times Book Review these many, many years?
Germaine Greer quote of the day:
I’ve spent the whole day learning names of creepy crawlies. I’ve just begun the butterflies, but I need help, I need an entomologist, come and stay with me.
In this brief article in the Daily Telegraph Ms Greer also opines that an award for literature in translation into English is flawed if the judges are English-speakers, and further that because “we have 12 people when we’re trying someone for murder, there should be at least that many for this sort of prize”.
Dr Greer is the author of The Madwoman’s Underclothes.

Probably only journalists here have noticed but there is a scandal in England over the Independent contributor Johann Hari and his unorthodox practice of filching material from other journalists and authors to construct his interviews. He regards this as acceptable practice: here is his initial defence to the Twitter storm of disapproval. Hardly anyone else agrees: as the Press Gazette reports, he may even lose his Orwell Prize. This was the Guardian’s first response; Tim Worstall does a little enjoyable fisking; and the New Statesman really lets Hari have it, going further than anyone else and accusing him of deliberate plagiarism. Well, yes. 
Breaking news from the world of entertainment: Shia LaBeouf responds without a script to a suggestion that he might have shagged Megan Fox:
When asked by the August issue of Details magazine if he and Fox hooked up, LaBeouf reportedly nodded to agree.
“Look, you’re on the set for six months, with someone who’s rooting to be attracted to you, and you’re rooting to be attracted to them,” explained the star.
 “I never understood the separation of work and life in that situation. But the time I spent with Megan was our own thing. [. . .] It was what it was.”
I do love that “reportedly”. And the rooting, and oh just the whole actorspeak.

Finally, Tim Worstall – yes, him again – predicts the demise of the euro with these wise words:
you may try to ignore economics but that doesn’t mean that economics is going to ignore you.

No comments: