Super-Agent Andrew Wylie Calls Amazon An “ISIS-Like Distribution Channel”

And on it goes….I think I’ll write a book instead of read about Amazon.

TechCrunch

Andrew Wylie is a major book agent who many in the milquetoast publishing industry call the “jackal.” His fiery pronouncements are much-read in certain circles and his latest one, in a speech given at Toronto’s International Festival of Authors, is a doozy. Wylie, who sees Amazon as a threat to all that is good and holy in the book industry, called the organization “brutal” and equated it with a terrorist organization.

“I believe with the restored health of the publishing industry and having some sense of where this sort of Isis-like distribution channel, Amazon, is going to be buried and in which plot of sand they will be stuck, [publishers] will be able to raise the author’s digital royalty to 40% or 50%,” he said. “Writers will begin to make enough money to live.”

Wylie, who was specifically backing Hachette in the ongoing battle of the bookselling stars, told writers…

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A Paranoid’s Guide to Sugar

imagesPlease, men. Don’t take this personally. I was looking for an image of a gross sugar creation, and this fit the bill. I’m sure all of your have a giant penis and are quite young.

With that out of the way, let’s talk about what sugar is really doing to you and who is supplying that sugar:

1. Food manufacturers pump sugar into the food supply in the same way tar and nicotine were pumped into cigarettes. The assertion is rough but RJ Reynolds and Kraft may have more in common than any of us know.

2. If you believe sugar to be an addiction – and I do – that means that food manufacturers are trying to get you hooked.That should make you mad, like a heroin dealer has moved on your block. Sugar is an important part of most fermented liquids, and alcoholism has a huge sugar-addiction component in it as well.

3. Americans consume, on average, 133 pounds of sugar a year. (See numbers 1 and 2.)

4. Sugars and high corn syrup fructose wreck hell on your hormones, telling the brain you are still hungry. Sugar makes you eat more and more and more…….

5. Sugar accelerates aging (thus the birthday cake as you tick off another year?!?) Sugar creates oxygen radicals that attach to cells, accelerating damage and deterioration on the cellular level which leads to serious disease and wrinkles. Ew!

I had no idea sugar was the anti-Christ until I wrote this   http://amzn.to/1wglPMB   But after giving up smoking and drinking over the course of my life – two very difficult withdrawals – I am a little angry at the food industry for flirting with creating more addiction in the world. Like we don’t have enough already.

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I Stepped on Eudora Welty

Unknown-1Yup, I stepped right on her. She was about this age too. How a woman this old was left on the floor in the aisle of Vanderbilt’s theater, I do not know. She yelped, rose and walked off. A man with one hair hissed “Euuuuudooora!” I tell you, from the way this woman got off the floor, she had a core of steel, even at her age. Good haunch muscles as well. My imagination whispered “she got it climbing on the backs’ of mules,” but she probably had a DVD tape. I refuse to posit that Eudora had a trainer.

Here are decidedly two different cover takes on her most magnificent book: the collection of short stories Unknown-2 Here’s one art director’s vision of the book, a magnificent one I might add.

Here is the world of another designer:

Unknown-4Both are great; both are true. The story Eudora read the day I stepped on her could have come from either of these cover models at the moment they turned from girl to woman.   Angry at their husbands, they leave the house early, disappear unexpectedly. The husbands cry foul. Menfolk rally around him and they dredge the river for the wife.  They find nothing in the river.

It isn’t until the husbands hit the front stoop that the treasure is brought up: The wife, returned home, admonishing her husband to never ignore her again, returns to his arms.

Sound like any other stories you know?

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Internet.org App Brings Free Facebook, Wikipedia, BBC, Local Info Access To Tanzania

YAHOO! Africa, here we come!

TechCrunch

The cost of data access is one of the top obstacles to the developing world getting on the web, so today Internet.org gave free data access to basic web services and local resources to Tanzania with the release of its Internet.org app through carrier Tigo. Facebook’s Internet accessibility initiative released a similar app in Zambia in July, and now Tanzanians can use Facebook, Messenger, BBC News, and Wikipedia plus local news, health info, online education, classifieds, and sports coverage. Users can buy access through Tigo if they want to explore more of the web.

The Internet.org app works as both an Android app for smartphones available through Google Play and a mobile website that’s accessible to feature phone users in Tanzania

One notable difference between the Zambia and Tanzania versions of the Internet.org app is that Tanzania’s doesn’t include free access to Google Search. I’ve reached out to Internet.org…

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Courbet and Katherine Boo

Unknown-1In a world of shocking after shocking event, the publication of Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo caused a buzz at the publishing prom (National Book Critics Award) and generated glowing after glowing review. Righty so. There was no nudity or inappropriate couplings, as I recall. instead, Ms. Boo did the hardest thing for a writer to do: she noticed the right things. She picked up the details that brought this rutted, muddy tin-town under the lift-off and final approach of a Mumbai commercial airport alive.

She bored down on the poorest, dirtiest, disease-riddled untouchables and she blew their lives up big. She documented the way the boys dangled high on a fence, scrounging for trash. You felt the dirt under your feet as you counted along  the eight buttons and coins and rocks along with at the little girl who managed to hoard them in 6 years.  And when your family is picked up by the police, deep in your heart you know what everyone knows. The poor don’t always come back.

burial-at-ornans-1849.jpg!BlogCourbet did with paint what Boo did with words. He painted the harsh-looking inhabitants from the poor side of town, burying one of their dead. The painting is huge and it’s sheer size screamed this is worth paying attention to, elites. This painting ,Courbet’s Burial at Ornans – rocked the Paris Salon in 1850. How dare he use these peasants as, well, peasants? Where were the models with polished bottoms and rose garlands that populated romantic works?  How dare he paint these people? Who would want to look at THEM?

Katherine Boo and Courbet. It feels so right and so wrong at the same time. Katherine Boo should have a man of daring-do, not a high strung painter. She needs a guy that can really work his way through an international airport. Pierce Brosnan, maybe. But Courbet and Boo are just so right together, artistically.

Writer and painter took their monumental talents and turned them on the least powerful people in the world and created great art.

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Ang Lee and the Very Good Poem

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“Come to the edge,” he said.
“We can’t, we’re afraid!” they responded.
“Come to the edge,” he said.
“We can’t, We will fall!” they responded.
“Come to the edge,” he said.
And so they came.
And he pushed them.
And they flew.

Guillaume Apollinaire (1880 – 1918)

I have loved this poem since the first time I read it. I didn’t understand it; It seemed to represent some kind of freedom for me as a teenager. I had it folded up in a wad in a series of  preppie looking wallets.   I would read it 40 years later at my Father’s funeral. He was Apollinaire’s kinda guy: He’d throw you in, you swam. He’d let go of the rudder, you flew.

In 33 words, look what Apollinaire does. Boiled down everything. So tight you hear the rock sliding down the side of the cliff. A flash of light hits them as the wind takes them up and out over the canyon.

In Crouching Dragon, Hidden Dragon”s final scene, a young woman climbs atop a curved, cloud-covered bridge, raises her arms and jumps. She is moves through cloud and sun and mountain backdrops. We don’t know if she lives or dies. And that’s not really the point.

The point is that she wanted to fly.

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LOOKING BACK: ONE SCARY MOMENT IN LITERATURE

51HErXoZTUL._AA160_Joseph Conrad gets an extra special spot in Writerland; his first language was Polish but he wrote in English. Brilliantly. Not many writers can do this – Nabokov was Russian but wrote in English,

Agota Kristof was Hungarian but only wrote in French – there are a few others.

And no matter how great we find their books, there is always the nagging green man in your head saying “would this book have been beyond genius if he’d written it in Polish first?”

We won’t know now, will we? But I suggest other reasons for greatness.

In the spirit of transparency, I must tell you that I read this book for fun; I didn’t study it. I came to it late: like after marriage. (And I didn’t marry until I was wearing corrective shoes,) I had seen Apocalypse Now more times than is normal, but I love that movie, hallucinogenic, beautiful, pointless, stupid. Just like Vietnam. The Director’s Cut is best.

I began reading Heart of Darkness and I anticipated Kurtz would give me the most trouble. He’d be the scariest, most threatening character. Jungle pressing in, choking wet air, opaque churning water, arrows, leaves morphing into spears and painted war faces,  megalomania and murder in the airless hut.

I was so wrong. It wasn’t Kurtz at all. It was the girl that runs to the edge of the river – the native girl – she raises her arms up toward the sky and releases a blood curdling scream. The men on the boat don’t know her and have never seen her before. Because of the way Mr Conrad writes his story, the reader doesn’t know who she is either.

But I think I know now. She was the entire wildness of the world, the people who lived close to nature, nature itself. She burst from the jungle  and screamed  upward, a mourner almost 100 years before Earth would fall under such peril, many are forecasting its death.  The danger that called her to river’s edge? A diesel engine firing  up river in the very middle of a place so wild, no one one but a madman would go there.

Have any feelings about immigration? Try another of Mr Conrad’s gems, Typhoon.

MAKE YOUR OWN DINNER: 5 MINUTE FAMILY MEALS FOR TIRED MOMS

imagesAll over America, cute, yet strangely unattractive moms, are refusing to leave the couch at the dinner hour. Why? Cooking nightly gets on their nerves. Sometimes, they just want to do some other shit that isn’t cooking. Watch Homeland, maybe, or start an online business.

Here are 5 quick meals that rely on 2 things: 1) Your vegetables are delivered in a #green #smoothie that you whirl up in 45 seconds and 2) You follow up with a piece of clean, lean protein that usually takes less than 5 minutes to cook.

So, by our Mom Math, we see that 5 minutes + 45 seconds = Dinner is an excellent formula.

1. Make your own smoothie, instructions are all over the interwebs. Or buy a book. Here’s one All of them are pretty good, though, when it comes to recipes. Give your family their greens.

2. Broil, bake or saute any of the following. None take more than 5 minutes. Serve alongside the #smoothie: Turkey burger; boneless, skinless chicken breast; veggie or tofu burger; 6-oz salmon or any fish filet, fish-fingered or not; boiled shrimp; turkey or chicken whole wheat wraps; chicken sausages, split and grilled; or sliced lunch meats piled high atop toasted whole wheat English muffins.

Perfectionism is not fun nor is it necessary when it comes to feeding your family. Health is. That #green #smoothie will do more to fuel the things you love than you can ever imagine. It also takes the heat off the rest of the meal: Simple protein completes the nutrition.

Return to couch. Wonder what Saul and Carrie are up to…..Start a competitor to #NastyGirl.

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What’s Next for Authors United?

David Gaughran

authorsunitedAuthors United has been spectacularly unsuccessful in its supposed mission to get Amazon and Hachette to agree a deal.

By contrast, Simon & Schuster was able to agree a deal in just three weeks – without the intervention of Douglas Preston’s group.

To be fair, Authors United has been very good at one thing: getting media attention.

Perhaps it’s time for Douglas Preston to widen the aims of the group and start campaigning on issues which actually matter.

It would be great if Authors United could get the media to focus on any of these problems. Alternatively, Authors United could continue to focus on propping up a broken system which only rewards those at the very top (like Douglas Preston, surprisingly).

1. Diversity in Publishing 

Publishing is very white and very middle class. And, at the upper echelons, often very male too. One of the many knock on effects of…

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5 WAYS TO NOT BE AS FAT

Unknown-11. SLEEP – If you need 8 or 9 hours, make sure you get it. Nothing makes you binge eat quicker than exhaustion. You just can’t fill that hole where the zzzzzzs go.

2. DRINK –   Every time you want a snack  make one of these.  (CLICK HERE) They take  45 seconds to 1 minute to prepare. New and healthy ingredients flow into the house when you are on the smoothie trail. The milkshake quality feels like a treat and the nutrition keeps you full and feeling good, something you probably aren’t that used to.  In between these “stealth health” smoothie snacks, drink water. Lots. Put slices of lemon and cucumber in it. Drink it with your pinky in the air.

3.  EAT – Eat lots of foods with color. White foods such as flour, potatoes, pasta and refined sugar will do you in before your time. It’s that simple and it’s your choice. Green, red, yellow and orange should paint your plate.

4.  LAUGH – Modern life has simply created more stress than our bodies know how to process. You have to give up some of the worry if you want to really live. (Colbert, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and John Oliver are good too.) Visualization, mindfulness, meditation and naps can all lead you into the rest zone.  Stress releases cortisol which sends globs of fat to the middle of the body. You have to lower stress levels to lower cortisol levels to lower belly fat levels. So laugh. Blow it off. Go surfing. Tomorrow is another day.

5.  LIVE – All this fat business is boring. Stop thinking so much about it. Do one thing today to lessen your caloric intake. Do one thing tomorrow that gets you a little rest. Be easy on yourself.  You are the one that needs to be happy with your body, no one else.

And me? Some fat is okay because I’m going for really strong.

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