Turns out the Streisand effect applies to book sales. The Wall Street Journal reports that banning a book in China causes sales to increase both at home and abroad. “These days, smothering someone is as good as crowning that person,” the article quotes a Chinese reader as saying. You could also read Deanna Fei on being a Chinese-American writer in China.
A South Korean designer has created “a translucent plastic tray with a slot for your reading material – be it paper, magazine or book – and a specially marked spot for mugs.” The idea is to prevent unfortunate coffee spills from ruining your morning newspaper. Or, you know, you could just stop being so clumsy.
The Iowa Writers’ Workshop turns 75 this year. To celebrate, a number of alumni are writing essays on their experiences for various blogs (as well as ours!) as part of The 75th Project. At The Los Angeles Review of Books, Kevin Brockmeier has comprised “A Chronological List of Statements People Made to Me at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, 1995-1997.” Additionally, Joyelle McSweeney has a piece on n+1‘s website entitled “Iowa Occult: a Mütter Pedagogy; Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying & Vomit Art.”
Isn’t it lovely when books and sports coexist (somewhat) peacefully? In the spirit of the Major League Baseball ALCS playoff between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Kansas City Royals, the Twitter accounts of the Toronto and Kansas City public libraries took to the internet to air their grievances. Unfortunately for the folks in Toronto, Kansas City went on to win the game and advance to the World Series with the New York Mets. For more on the intersection of sports and reading, check out the Football Book Club.
With the full trailer out for the upcoming James Bond release, Skyfall, I have to confess I’m totally obsessing over British spy stuff of late. Luckily there are some supplements to scratch that itch: Tina Rosenberg’s new story for The Atavist, D for Deception, about a real British spy writer who became a spy himself; Bee Wilson’s fascinating review of Ben MacIntyre’s outrageous but true investigation of WWII double agents, Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies; Alexander Cockburn’s recap of the time George Orwell supplied “a list of the names of persons on the left who he deemed security risks” to the IRD; the story of Ernest Hemingway’s lousy espionage; and the video Her Royal Majesty’s recent skydiving escapade with 007.
“It was only in 1987, when she went to National Taiwan University, that the censorship laws were relaxed. Yet the censorship laws seemed to have an opposing effect on her literary ambitions. ” Meet Qiu Miaojin, the first woman in Chinese literature to come out as openly gay. Ankita Chakraborty at Longreads has more on this remarkable writer.
Jack Gilbert died yesterday at the age of 87. Gilbert was the author of five standalone poetry collections—as well as additional collected volumes such as last March’s Collected Poems—and he was also a past winner of a National Book Critics Circle Award. For The LA Times, John Penner reviews the poet’s legacy. Or, perhaps as fitting tribute to Gilbert’s life and work, better to hear his own final lines to the poem “Failing and Flying”: “I believe Icarus was not failing as he fell, / but just coming to the end of his triumph.”