Don’t blame Amazon or Goodreads for authors writing rave reviews of their own work. Writers have been self-promoting since the 1700s, when it was called “puffery.” As Nicholas Mason writes for Symposium Magazine, “Nearly every British writer of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries either participated in or benefitted from ginned-up book reviews.” The list of puffed up authors includes Mary Wollstonecraft, Walter Scott, and Mary Shelley.
Longshot is an online magazine with quite an interesting concept: “Over a 48 hour period from noon July 29, 2011, through noon July 31, 2011, thousands of writers, editors, artists, photographers, programmers, videographers, and other creatives from all around the world will come together via the Internet to make a magazine from start to finish.” This issue’s theme is “Debt” and you can follow its progress via Tumblr.
Amazon is battling the multi-platform capabilities of Google’s new ebookstore with its new “Kindle for the Web.” The demo makes it look pretty easy on the eyes. Kindle books were already accessible on a number of mobile platforms. What’s new here is taking the Kindle capabilities to the PC.
“‘It’s important to realize how the funniness in these videos [such as those featuring Kai the axe-wielding hitchhiker and Uncle Ruslan] is really close to something that’s desperately unfunny,’ says Mark O’Connell, who wrote Epic Fail: Bad Art, Viral Fame, and the History of the Worst Thing Ever.”
Historians N. D. B. Connolly and Keisha N. Blain have done us all a serious solid by assembling a syllabus of readings around “what many simply call ‘Trumpism’: personal and political gain marred by intolerance, derived from wealth, and rooted in the history of segregation, sexism, and exploitation.” The self-directed course contains readings from more than 100 scholars – including Audre Lorde, Aziz Ansari, and Ta-Nehisi Coates – and aims to “introduce observers to the past and present conditions that allowed Trump to seize electoral control of a major American political party.”