Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sunday Scoop #16

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Heya bud. Welcome to the Sunday Scoop. I've become enamored with Middle Earth in the past few weeks, especially upon completing The Silmarillion and starting on Fellowship of the Ring. I'm actually contemplating building a sort of reference library about Middle Earth and have gotten a couple of books that analyze and speculate how Tolkien's work tied in to his worldview and other mythological origins.

One of my tamer memoir shorts was published in the Quarterly Quill, a publication by the New Inklings at UCSD. Check out the online version here. I'm on pages 16 and 17. 

So this week:

  • The impending doom of the Nook: Barnes and Noble fires most of its hardware engineering department. According to Business Insider, B&N's Nook department has been doing badly in comparison to its other departments. Letting go of the hardware people means that they probably won't be planning on releasing any new Nook models. I can see how the Nook was made to try to compete against "the rise of Internet companies that were destroying booksellers," but it hasn't done very well due to the price competition.

    I have DRM-breaking software so I can buy ebooks from whichever online store I want. However, the ebook prices in B&N are usually about a dollar or so more than the prices at Amazon. As a Barnes and Noble membership holder, I can use the 20% off coupons on books but not ebooks, due to the rules set by the publishing houses. I order books and gifts (I love their gift section) from B&N but not ebooks, due to the not-so-viable price differences.
  • We all knew it, but now we have proof: Internet Trolls Really Are Horrible People (from Slate.com). Correlations between trolling and being narcissistic, Machiavellian, psychopathic, and sadistic have been revealed in a study of the University of Manitoba.  
  • Valentine's Day is over, but our book crushes are a year-round business. From Huffpost: What Your Literary Crush Says About You is a list of male protagonists that many of us have probably fallen in love with. Some of the characters really threw me off: I've never seen Edmond Dantes (Count of Monte Cristo) or John the Savage (Brave New World) in a sexual/romantic way.  
  • Hmm. Do you think there's a difference between popular "Fiction" and "Literature"? Ester Bloom goes over the debate of Fiction vs. Literature. She brings up an important point that sexism plays a role in the classification of books into the categories of "Fiction" and "Literature" - it is harder for women to be taken as seriously as literary writers, whether they are commercially successful or not. I think the classification is silly and arbitrary because there is a lot of overlap, and determining the relevance of works to defining our particular age and cultures is a subjective job.
  • Quick! Which novel does this plot blurb describe? "A boy visits a strange land, eats all of an old woman’s candy, and later participates in her murder." (The answer: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.) Check out other funny examples of The Misleading Plot Blurb Book Quiz. I only got the one about the "disaffected teenager" right away, mostly because I really liked that book.

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