Last night, we raised the question: Amazon: Business As Usual? Our thoughtful speakers gave their two cents, and today Flavorwire breaks down the event and highlights the questions of cultural urgency that came up.
Watch The New York Public Library’s Amazon: Business As Usual? on Livestream.com. In April 2014, Amazon and Hachette locked horns in what has become a very public, and still ongoing, battle over contract negotiations. After the online retailer removed the pre-order option, imposed shipping delays, and slashed discounts on the book publisher’s titles, the reaction against Amazon was swift and fierce. But the story of the Amazon-Hachette dispute is anything but simple, and raises critical questions about the future of the book publishing industry. What is really at stake for the companies, authors and readers? What larger issues of free-market capitalism and free speech are at play? And what does the Amazon-Hachette dispute reveal about the future of the publishing industry in the age of e-books? Authors, agents, and publishers take to the LIVE from the NYPL stage to tackle these urgent questions in a conversation moderated by Tina Bennett, literary agent at WME. Guests include: best-selling author James Patterson; Morgan Entrekin, publisher and president of Grove Atlantic; Bob Kohn, attorney and founder of EMusic.com; Tim Wu, law professor and theorist of “net neutrality;” and Danielle Allen, political theorist, author of a new book on the Declaration of Independence and elected chair of the Pulitzer Prize Board.
AMAZON:BUSINESS AS USUAL? might be sold out, but don’t you fret!
You can sign up for our standby list as early as 5:00 in person, or you can livestream here.
Join us for a conversation you must certainly don’t want to miss!
Upcoming LIVE guest Bob Kohn may have filed the best amicus brief ever:
A lawyer who opposes the Justice Department’s proposed antitrust settlement with three publishers of e-books has filed an amicus brief (PDF) in the form of a comic strip. Bob Kohn tells Bloomberg and the New York Times Media Decoder blog that he opted for the unusual format after U.S. District Judge Denise Cote of Manhattan limited his brief to five pages. “I thought of the idea of using pictures which, as we know, paint a thousand words,” Kohn told Media Decoder. He calls the cartoon a “graphic novelette” and says it complies with court rules requiring 12-point or larger type and one-inch margins, Bloomberg says.
When Geoff Dyer came aboard the U.S.S. George H. W. Bush for his 14-day stay, he had his Ping-Pong paddle securely stowed but had misplaced his notebook. Too tall, spindly, self-described as “a leftover from a novel Graham Greene had decided not to write,” he had managed through a stubbornness born of sheer neurotic panic to wheedle his way, despite considerable and justified resistance from the United States Navy, into private quarters on the giant but very crowded vessel: the Vice-Presidential Room, no less. His report of his first day on board is a nonstop string of complaints: The noise is unbearable, he keeps knocking his head on the low ceilings and hatches, the spaghetti is cold and the lettuce inedible, the oil fumes are overwhelming, the temperature is like a blast furnace, the air is toxic, the ocean glitters but is spoiled by a sky greased with jet fuel. Dyer admits he is constitutionally incapable of adjusting to new environments; in fact, the only thing he’s grown accustomed to, over the years, is that he never gets used to things. This is the same man who, when asked by a friend (Alain de Botton) if he would like to spend some time writing in an interesting and relaxing environment, immediately replied: Put me on an American aircraft carrier.
Fascinating story of smuggling Doctor Zhivago back into the USSR after it was banned:
The Zhivago project had its own secret CIA codename, AEDINOSAUR. It was one of many CIA-sponsored covert publishing programmes that flourished during the cold war. The agency distributed banned books, periodicals and pamphlets and other materials to intellectuals in the Soviet Union and eastern Europe. The soft power goal was to subtly undermine the Soviet system by – as the CIA put it – “reinforcing predispositions towards cultural and intellectual freedom, and dissatisfaction with its absence”.
“A newborn baby has no muscles in its neck, and its vulnerability and helplessness are absolute, it can’t move itself, nor even raise its head, but has to be supported by the hands of others, lifted up to the faces of others, which are the first thing she sees as she opens her eyes. And then she enters the circle of faces, in which she will live out the rest of her life.”—
Watch The New York Public Library’s Geoff Dyer | LIVE from the NYPL on Livestream.com. A writer whose work defies easy categorization, Geoff Dyer recounts tales from Another Great Day at Sea, his new book on the complexities of life on board a U.S. aircraft carrier. Geoff Dyer is the author of four novels: Paris Trance, The Search, The Colour of Memory, and, most recently, Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi; a critical study of John Berger, Ways of Telling; five genre-defying titles: But Beautiful, The Missing of the Somme, Out of Sheer Rage, Yoga For People Who Can’t Be Bothered To Do It, and The Ongoing Moment. His collection of essays, Otherwise Known as the Human Condition, won a National Book Critics Circle Award in 2012. He is also the editor of John Berger: Selected Essays and co-editor, with Margaret Sartor, of What Was True: The Photographs and Notebooks of William Gedney. A new book, Another Great Day at Sea, about life aboard the USS George H W Bush, will be published in May. In 2003 he was a recipient of a Lannan Literary Fellowship; in 2005 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature; in 2006 he received the E. M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; in 2009 he was the recipient of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Best Comic Novel and the GQ Writer of the Year Award (for Jeff in Venice Death in Varanasi).
Geoff Dyer closes out our season tonight! Here’s the Livestream link. See you there!
Watch The New York Public Library’s Nathaniel Rich & Elizabeth Kolbert | LIVE from the NYPL on Livestream.com. Over the last half billion years, there have been five major mass extinctions when the diversity of life on Earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs.This time around, we are the asteroid. Elizabeth Kolbert offers a startling look at the mass extinction currently unfolding before our eyes in The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, and in conversation with Nathaniel Rich, whose novel Odds Against Tomorrow is a philosophically searching inquiry into our greatest fears about the future. Nathaniel Rich is the author of two novels, Odds Against Tomorrow andThe Mayor’s Tongue. His essays and journalism appear regularly in The New York Review of Books, Harper’s, the Atlantic, and The New York Times Magazine, where he is a contributing writer. Rich lives in New Orleans. Elizabeth Kolbert is a staff writer at The New Yorker. She is the author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change. She lives in Williamstown, Massachusetts, with her husband and children.
Nathaniel and Elizabeth will be streaming on our Livestream tonight, as usual!
“So there it was, still intact despite the technological advances and laconic delivery: the lyricism of night flight as first and famously evoked by Saint-Exupéry. It was as if he had revealed something intimate to me, the experience that was at the core of his being: a realm of poetry accessible only to those whose world-view is based on technology, knowledge and calculation rather than wide-eyed wonder.”—
Geoff Dyers’ book Another Great Day at Sea: Life Aboard the U.S.S. George W. Bush, gives us a look at the humdrum beauty of the routine on the largest aircraft carrier in the world.
Yesterday marked the opening for the highly anticipated movie, The Fault in Our Stars. TFiOS is based on a book, first published in 2012. We want to know: what’s your favorite book turned into a movie?
Watch The New York Public Library’s Karl Ove Knausgaard & Jeffrey Eugenides | LIVE from the NYPL on Livestream.com. Scandinavian author Karl Ove Knausgaard dissects the latest edition of his multi-volume autobiography, My Struggle, and the controversy and critical acclaim that surrounds it with The Virgin Suicides author Jeffrey Eugenides.
IT’S TONIGHT! The event is sold out, but you can stream it here!
[Y]ou get this feeling very early on with Another Day at Sea—the feeling that spending two weeks as writer in residence on an aircraft carrier just happened to be Geoff Dyer’s excuse for a new Geoff Dyer book, that it could just as well have been any number of other things. (The book is, in fact, the first in a series of volumes resulting from the work of a nonprofit organization called Writers in Residence, set up by Alain de Botton with the goal of “recording and describing key institutions of the modern world—through the talent of some of the greatest writers on the planet.”)
But it turns out to be a very strong excuse. For one thing, the book is as concentratedly funny as anything he’s written. The situation provides plenty of occasion to exercise the comic persona he’s been consolidating for most of his career. There’s a wonderful diversion in the opening pages, where Dyer point-blank refuses to accept the suboptimal sleeping arrangements on this supercarrier with a crew of well over 5,000. Not getting his own room is entirely out of the question, as far as he’s concerned: “But we writers need a room of one’s own, I claimed, trusting that any grammatical damage would be more than offset––in the eyes of the Navy––by the Virginia Woolf allusion.” This tenacity pays off, and he gets his room of one’s own. “I had taken on the might of the US Navy and won,” he gloats. The room itself is, as he puts it, “practically the honeymoon suite, a place where a man could devote himself single-handed to the maritime art of masturbation.”
Join Geoff Dyer and Paul Holdengraber on June 10th for our closing night! http://www.showclix.com/event/3802121