Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

SHAUN SMITH'S SUNDAY SUNDRIES

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A WEEKLY ROUNDUP OF INTERNET CURIOSITIES FROM THE BOOK WORLD

GENIUSES v1.0
The NYTs chats with the likes of Ursula K. Le Guin, Cory Doctorow, and a raft of publishing MBA geniuses about digital book theft on the web. News flash: The rate of book piracy is skyrocketing driven by the popularity of e-book readers. Really? Well, there's just no way we could have seen that coming. What was it Einstein said — Insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results?

GENIUSES v2.0
This NYTs article explains just exactly why Amazon are a bunch of amateurs. Setting the anchor price for e-books at $9.99. Really smart idea. Do these people work in the book industry or not?

SAWYER
The Winterpeg Free Press has an interview with sci-fi writer Robert Sawyer about where this here webernet thingy you're reading right now is headed. Says Sawyer: "In the future, [the web] will be all-encompassing, pervasive, ubiquitous and unavoidable." Fascinating stuff, and it makes you (or at least me) want to read his new book, Wake. I have a slight bone to pick with the actual article, however. Is it possible as a nation for us to get past the stage of introducing our top authors to ourselves? Shouldn't Sawyer be well-known to everyone by now? And if he isn't, why pander to the laggards? This is Sawyer's 18th book, yet after a strong opening that hooks you with some fascinating insights, the article devolves into a sort of CV-lite, comparing him to Michael Crichton, telling us he blogs (whoa!), listing his TV credits, getting his opinion on Star Trek, etcetera, etcetera, etceterahhhhh! File under missed opportunity?

RICKY JAY
I just have to put this up here because this guy is amazing. "What I truly do fear is places that sell books and ephemera are closing down. Because that used to be the great delight for me." Welcome to the club, Ricky. (I'm kicking myself for missing his Toronto show.)

DUTCH
Full disclosure: I haven't read this article about Elmore Leonard on the LA Times book blog, nor have I read this review by Steven King (yes, that one) from the Boston Globe of Leonard's new book Road Dogs. I don't want to read them till I have read Leonard's new book. I offer them up here unread because: A) I believe it is impossible to make any valid negative critiques of Leonard's work because he is the best writer alive (so there!); and B) if you haven't read his stuff, get your head out and get to it.

TINTIN
A whack of Tintin/Herge stuff went up for auction in Belgium last week, fetching a record €1,172,000 ($1.57-million usd). That, thankfully, doesn't mean Tintin is selling out, though, as apparently the family still owns full rights to the books and refuses to sell. One can just imagine the Disney people squirming. Here's a great giant Tintin sculpture.

ODDBALLS
The Guardian has a gallery of oddly titled books, candidates all in the Diagram Prize's search for the oddest oddball of them all (or at least of the last 30 years). I can't decide if my favourite is Bombproof Your Horse or Italian Without Word. (p.s. Here's a nominee of my own that should, at the very least, be on the longlist.)

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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Shaun Smith

Shaun Smith is a novelist and journalist living in Toronto. His young adult novel Snakes & Ladders was published in January 2009 by the Dundurn Group.

Go to Shaun Smith ’s Author Page