"During the past few weeks a literary St. Valentine's Day massacre has occurred in the nation's newsrooms in response to economic pressures," writes Raleigh's News & Observer book editor J. Peder Zane who in his final column in that role thanks those who have written reviews for the N&O. As for Zane, he isn't going very far; he will now be the N&O's idea writer, whatever that is.
Meanwhile, the inevitable: book review editors coming to the defense of their pages while misrepresenting the stance taken by bloggers. Here's an instance from the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Karen Long:
Because even as the National Book Critics Circle gathers signatures and stages a protest in front of the bricks-and-mortar Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a number of bloggers are borderline gleeful, ready to polish their dancing shoes for a nice tap across the graves of old mainstream media.
And while the great bemoaning of the loss of book review pages continues, something with even more potential to destroy the future book loving is happening in the public schools across the U.S. thanks to the No Child Left Behind Act.
Gary Black, a former teacher in South Carolina who in 1973 was arrested for distributing pornographic material to minors because he had given his students copies of Slaughterhouse-Five to read, tells the Charlotte Observer of how Kurt Vonnegut offered to come to his aid.
Michael Chabon sits down with the Borders Book Club to discuss his new novel, The Yiddish Policemen's Union.
If you're going to be in New York for BEA, perhaps you should consider staying in the Library Hotel in which rooms are numbered by the Dewey Decimal system and the books in each room follow the subject matter indicated by the room number. It should be no surprise that "The most requested room is 800.001, Erotic Literature."
Beginning this week, the town of North Andover, Mass., will put on display a manuscript by the person believed to be America's first published poet, Anne Bradstreet. "Meditations Divine and Morall" is "the only extant manuscript by Bradstreet...It is also believed to be among the few surviving literary manuscripts from that era."
The Edmonton Journal details the larcenous ways of an American theater producer who has been stealing plays by Canadian playwrights and producing them in the U.S.:
Since 1999, Jack L. Herman has been acquiring the scripts of Canadian plays, putting his own name on them, claiming copyright over them, and sometimes staging his own productions at his amateur theatre company, as well as authorizing productions of the stolen plays by other companies. "He is a thief, a fraud, a plagiarist," says one of his victims, Edmonton playwright David Belke. "The whole situation has been shocking in its intent and almost comedic in its brazenness."
The plagiarized plays include at least three prominent plays: Suddenly Shakespeare written in 1988 by Selody, The Reluctant Resurrection of Sherlock Holmes written in 1992 by Belke, and I'll Be Back Before Midnight by Peter Colley.