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August 20, 2012

Weird Tales issues a great apology for briefly endorsing a stupidly racist book

This is how you do an apology. A Message From the Publisher
I would like to tell our community that Weird Tales will NOT be running an excerpt from Victoria Foyt’s novel in our upcoming issue. Marvin Kaye is our editor and has full control over fiction published in the magazine and website, and he agrees with me on this. Marvin was approached by Victoria Foyt, and was asked to review her novel. He was told that she was being slammed online by people who had not read it. I have not read the novel, but have gone over its online presence today. I have no need to read it. I saw the blackface video and read the excerpts the author and publisher chose to make available. I must conclude that the use of the powerful symbols of white people forced to wear blackface to escape the sun, white women lusting after black “beast men,” the “pearls” and “coals,” etc., is goddamned ridiculous and offensive. It seems like the work of someone who does not understand the power of what she is playing with. Marvin says if you read the whole book, she explains her use of this imagery, and it ends up as a plea for tolerance. I say, so what. And that is the position of Weird Tales — and upon reviewing the video and other materials, Marvin is in full agreement. I deeply apologize to all who were offended by our association with this book. I am offended by it. I fully respect those who have been writing negative things about us today. You are correct. I have removed Marvin’s endorsement because he no longer stands by it. Marvin is traveling and will make his own statement shortly.

August 18, 2012

Question: Are you a The Hobbit person or a Lord of the Rings person?

PUNKADIDDLE: Top Ten All-Time Best-Selling Books, 4: J R R...

August 17, 2012

The Hunger Games book series is the best selling book series of all time on Amazon

Yes, it outsold Harry Potter. And ebooks of the Hunger Games outsold print 3.7 to 1. The Hunger Games Trilogy is now the Best-Selling Book Series of All Time on Amazon | The Passive Voice
Amazon.com, Inc. today announced that the Hunger Games trilogy has outsold the seven-book Harry Potter series, making Suzanne Collins’ three-part saga the best-selling book series of all time on Amazon.com, taking into consideration print and Kindle book sales combined. . . . . “Since debuting in 2008, Katniss Everdeen and the Hunger Games have taken the world by storm, much as Harry Potter did a decade before,” said Sara Nelson, Editorial Director of Books and Kindle, Amazon.com. “Interestingly, this series is only three books versus Harry Potter’s seven, and to achieve this result in just four years is a great testament to both the popularity of the work and, we think, the growth in reading digitally during that time. Customers love these books and all three titles are consistently on our Top 10 lists in both print and Kindle formats, and ‘The Hunger Games’ is also the most-borrowed book in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.”

Teaching Is a Sales Position

I continue to write a column for the Ann Arbor...

August 16, 2012

Is Literature Necessary?

Never Mind Algebra. Is Literature Necessary? – SchoolBook
Bit by bit, the body of English language instruction has been dismembered over the last 15 years or so. First to be lopped off was spelling. Other than in elementary schools, spelling tests are all but forgotten, apparently on the premise that word processors will do the trick. Then vocabulary was subjected to the ax. Gone are the vocabulary lists of old, to be replaced with vocabulary in context, which is, not coincidentally, the way vocabulary is assessed on standardized tests. Next to be hacked off was grammar, which must also be taught in context rather than systematically. Students don’t know their there from their they’re (I’ll wager that no more than 1 in 10 students today can parse that sentence). Finally, creative writing has been chopped clean away, to be replaced with unending persuasive essays that are the darlings of the Common Core standards. Even reading has not been left unscathed. Many schools teach reading as a set of skills to be mastered rather than as a journey to be embarked upon. Children are taught how to predict, to connect, to draw inferences, and so forth, but they are rarely allowed the leisure to savor what they read or to reflect on the art of good writing. . . . The Common Core has already veered many schools away from narrative writing, or almost any type of creative writing at all. So what’s left to be picked from the remains of English study? Literature. Starting this year, at least half of all reading in our schools is supposed to be non-fiction. And that includes kindergarten. . . .