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August 23, 2009

Wuthering Heights being re-launched as a Twilight spin-off

How much harm does a bad book cover do? | Books | guardian.co.uk
Quick quiz for fans of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series of young adult vampire novels: What is Bella's favourite book? If you said Wuthering Heights by Emily Bront´┐Ż, then give yourself a point. I, too, will give myself a point for knowing this, although I confess I cheated: I haven't read Twilight or any of its sequels, nor have I seen the film, and I don't have the faintest clue who Bella is. I do know what her favourite read is, though, because a cover for a new edition of Wuthering Heights tells me so. Novels getting a makeover because of a TV or movie adaptation is nothing new, though this is perhaps the first time I've ever seen a classic of English literature get re-branded because it is the favourite book of a character in another work of fiction.

August 20, 2009

Currently reading: The Ten-Cent Plague -- The Great Comic-Book Scare And How It Changed America

My reading list this summer consisted all of Bill Willingham's Fables and Jack of Fables collections from the library, as well as Gore Vidal's memoir Point-to-Point Navigation and novel Williwaw. I'm finishing up with David Hajdu's The Ten-Cent Plague and wondering why I'm plowing through my fourth history of comics tome in one year -- after Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book, From Krakow to Krypton: Jews and Comic Books, and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. What does it mean, apart from I have a good library and like comic books? I guess it's all part of a life-long study of outsider culture. Do they have fellowships for that? This Comics Journal review of Plague is worth your time if you ever ponder our nation's occasional witch-hunts, the history of freedom of expression and the place of EC Comics in U.S. culture. Defending the Indefensible - Written by R. Fiore - Nov., 2008 - The Comics Journal (Excerpt from TCJ #294)
The Ten Cent Plague leapt to the covers of the nation's book-review sections faster and more prolifically than any book about comics since, well, I imagine, Seduction of the Innocent, an outcome I doubt anyone involved could have guessed. Speaking from the perspective of Nerdistan I looked in vain for something to object to in it. It represents the opposite end of the spectrum from the typical journalistic treatment of comics. Instead of superficiality under cover of either glib cynicism or obeisance to the hot subject of the day, you find a reporter's zeal for separating fact from legend and getting to the primary source. ... It's the medium's good fortune that the one book about comic books the general reader is most likely to read is not only an exhaustive history of the immediate subject but a well-informed and conscientiously researched history of the medium from its beginnings. ... Hajdu's point that the suppression of horror comics was based more on mainstream taste than any legitimate proof that they did harm is true but beside the point. Horror comics were genuine outlaw art, and when you're producing genuine outlaw art you shouldn't be surprised if the cops come after you. Wertham's pseudoscience was ultimately beside the point, because the content of horror comics was so far into the red zone that nobody had to look at the instruments. You imagine an average person of the time having his opinion solicited ... "Sir, I wonder if you'd take a look at this comic book and tell me ..." "OH MY GOD, THAT'S THE MOST DISGUSTING THING I'VE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE!" "But the question I really wanted to ask was ..." "WHAT KIND OF SICK, DISEASED MIND COULD HAVE CONCEIVED OF SUCH FILTH ..." "No, this is one of the better ones, this is Haunt of Fear ..." "THAT MAN HAS AN AXE STICKING OUT OF HIS HEAD!" "Leaving aside questions of taste, do you believe children reading this would ..." "CHILDREN! THEY SELL THIS TO CHILDREN? WHO THE HELL IS BEHIND THIS, THE MAFIA?"

August 17, 2009

Author of Lord of the Flies admits to having attempted rape as a teen

Author William Golding tried to rape teenager, private papers show | Books | guardian.co.uk
The Nobel laureate Sir William Golding, whose novel Lord of the Flies turned notions of childhood innocence on their head, admitted in private papers that he had tried to rape a 15-year-old girl during his teenage years, it emerged today. Golding's papers also described how he had experimented, while a teacher at a public school, with setting boys against one another in the manner of Lord of the Flies, which tells the story of young air crash survivors on a desert island during a nuclear war. The revelations will appear in a forthcoming biography of the writer, who died in 1993 at the age of 81.

August 16, 2009

B.C. university adds grade worse than F to mark cheaters and plagiarists

B.C. university adds grade worse than F
Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C., recently introduced a grade called FD to deal with cheaters. The letters stand for failure with academic dishonesty. Rob Gordon, the university's director of criminology, said the FD grade was introduced to catch cheaters who use the Internet and was part of a larger package of reforms "relating to student misconduct issues and honesty." "It is a penalty that can only be imposed by department heads, not by individual professors," Gordon, acting chairman of the university's senate committee on academic integrity, said Thursday.