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Tuesday, May 2, 2006
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the AP: Young Author Faces 2nd Plagiarism Claim

A Harvard sophomore’s novel, which was pulled from the market last week after the author acknowledged mimicking portions of another writer’s work, appears to contain passages copied from a second author.

[…]

Last week, Little, Brown announced it would pull copies of “Opal” — which spent six weeks on the New York Times best-seller list — after dozens of similarities were found with two novels by Megan McCafferty.

Viswanathan acknowledged borrowing from McCafferty’s work but claimed it was unintentional.

Isn’t it always?

I can see certain similarities occurring from something someone read and something someone wrote, but dozens of such occurrences is more than coincidence. And given that two different sources are at issue here, the coincidence argument isn’t going to fly.

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Saturday, April 8, 2006
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the AP: Ancient Book May Be Covered in Human Skin

Much of the text is in French, and it was not uncommon around the time of the French Revolution for books to be covered in human skin.

The practice, known as anthropodermic bibliopegy, was sometimes used in the 18th and 19th centuries when accounts of murder trials were bound in the killer’s skin.

To which I say: “ick”.

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Monday, January 9, 2006
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the AP: Sen.
Kennedy to Publish Children’s Book

Meet the latest children’s author, Sen. Ted Kennedy, and his Portuguese Water Dog, Splash, his co-protagonist in “My Senator and Me: A Dogs-Eye View of Washington, D.C.”

Scholastic Inc. will release the book in May.

Ok, first off, I have a hard time thinking of Senator Kennedy as a children’s book author. But, ok-no reason why he can’t.

But second, does the man not have a publicist? I have known for a while that his dog was named “splash” but this is surely taking it to a whole new level.

It always struck me as, well, odd that he names his dog “Splash” in he first place-kind of like Nixon having a dog named “Plumber” or Clinton having a dog named….well, you can write your own joke…

Professor Bainbridge also comments.

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Saturday, December 31, 2005
By Dr. Steven Taylor

I received A Feast for Crows for Christmas, and am about 100 pages into it (so far, so good). Ideally I should have re-read the first three volumes, but was too anxious to get to this one. However, given the lack of a synopsis (a gripe I share with Steve Bainbridge), I went looking for an online source to help me with the copious dramatis personae and the myriad plot threads.

I found it here: An Encyclopedia of Ice and Fire ~ Tower of the Hand

And, specifically, there is a A Feast for Crows Primer that provides an overview of the plot going into Feast.

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Monday, December 12, 2005
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Harry Boswell of The Kudzu Files highlights an effort to rebuild libraries in Mississippi in the wake of Katrina.

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Friday, December 2, 2005
By Dr. Steven Taylor


take the WHAT BAD BOOK ARE YOU test.


and go to mewing.net. not as good as reading a good book, but way better than a bad one.

I guess that is the prefect book for me, as I actually like the book and have read it numerous times.

h/t: Jay at AV (who’s a book I’ve never heard of either).

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Wednesday, November 30, 2005
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the AP: Author Stan Berenstain Dies at 82

All three of my kids love the Berenstain Bears, and I even had several of their books (although the Bears series per se) when I was little.

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Saturday, November 26, 2005
By Dr. Steven Taylor

It’s that listy time of year, and here’s one from the NYT: 100 Notable Books of the Year.

Of the list, I have only read two. I am not much of a “mainstream fiction” kind of guy, and rarely read brand new stuff anyway (too cheap to plunk down the cash for brandnew hardcovers, unless it is something I have really been looking forward to).

My two:

HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE. By J. K. Rowling. Illustrated by Mary GrandPré. (Arthur A. Levine/ Scholastic, $29.99.) In this sixth volume of the epic series, the Dark Lord, Voldemort, is wreaking havoc throughout England and Harry, now 16, is more isolated than ever.

and

1776. By David McCullough. (Simon & Schuster, $32.) A lively work that skewers Washington’s pretensions and admires citizen soldiers.

Funny, I didn’t come away from 1776 feeling as if there was skewering, per se, of Washington-except the already well-establshed fact that he screwed up at New York and had to re-think his strategy against the British.

At any rate, I would recommend both.

Looking at the 2004 list, I note that I have read (actually amy just now finishing) only one book:

ALEXANDER HAMILTON. By Ron Chernow. (Penguin Press, $35.) A biography of the founder who created American capitalism and died in a duel with Aaron Burr.

From the more-than 100 in the 2003 list, I didn’t read a single one.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2005
By Dr. Steven Taylor

For those who care, George R. R. Martin’s A Feast for Crows goes on sale today.

The Song of Fire and Ice series is perhaps the best fantasy series I have ever read, and hence am pleased that the current volume is finally completed. I am even tempted to go out and buy it, even though I have plenty of reading material on hand.

Of course, if Bantam wants to send me a review copy…

I will say that the online excerpt isn’t really awe-inspiring. If you haven’t read A Game of Thrones and you like fantasy, you must go get it now.

I also noticed that the new Wheel of Time book is in stores as well.

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Monday, October 31, 2005
By Dr. Steven Taylor

It might lead to greater scrutiny of one’s dubious skills at writing sex scenes.

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