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Monday News: Amazon’s Campfire, sound technology at new David Bowie exhibition, new reader & author conference, and real-life inspired superhero c

Monday News: Amazon’s Campfire, sound technology at new David Bowie exhibition,...

Mr. Bezos, who built Amazon from its dot-com roots as a bookseller into one of the country’s biggest retailers, knows the psychology of writers, several past attendees said in interviews. “You come to this exclusive event, you are treated fabulously and you get access to the next Steve Jobs, who happens to control how many books you sell,” one said.

Employees at Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle have to pay for their perks, down to the treats from vending machines. And the company is famously tough on its suppliers; the Hachette conflict is just one example. At Campfire, however, there is no stinting. –New York Times

The proprietary technology can shape audio zones within a room, so when you enter a gallery you could hear the audio feed of the main exhibit but as you approach smaller installments along the walls the audio switches over to the appropriate feed. Instead of using IP streaming, GuidePort uses the same unlicensed bands designated for Wi-Fi to send a broadcast recording (think FM radio), meaning timing is perfectly synched with any video on display.

I experienced it first hand, and I must say I was impressed. As I meandered into the main gallery, Bowie’s 1973 performance of “Starman” on the BBC’s Top of the Pops started wafting in through my headset before I even rounded the corner to see the main multimedia exhibit. As I walked over to smaller video displays, Starman faded out and the on-screen interviews faded in. –Gigaom

Back to RUDC, unfortunately, not everyone can come. I want to keep it small and intimate. There will be 300 people max. 50 featured authors, 15 featured bloggers, and 235 readers/everyone else. While I would love, love, love to have a million people come, that’s not possible. One, I don’t think I could find a hotel big enough. Two, RT does that and it’s so overwhelming that I barely have time to say hi to my favorite authors, let alone fangirl and stalk them all week. With only 225 readers, you won’t have to ninja fight off other readers for time with your favorite author.  (Just, don’t ask. I’ve done some things…)

But what will make RUDC stand out from every other author/reader conference out there is there will be no panels on writing, editing, agent-getting, nada. I know figuring out what brand of yoga pants you can wear for an entire week without changing/washing (because of deadlines) and not look like a hobo is very important.  Or finding out that your favorite author will cry into a tub of nutella while eating it by the spoonful because she thinks her rough draft is the worst thing ever written in the history of the world. Hearing that will make you realize that she’s just like you and you guys can be soul-mates. But do you have the courage to walk up to that table and tell her so? Yeah, didn’t think so. That table at panels can be somewhat intimidating because it’s a literal and figurative barrier between you and the authors. –Literary Escapism

Recall is almost like an astral projection: While his body lies stricken in a hospital bed, his spirit roams around, dispensing karmic justice by projecting memories into your mind — do good and you get a dose of good memories, do bad and, well, you get the idea. At his side is Given, who’s based on Roz — and she’s called that because her love for Recall is a given. Roz says David approves all the story and art choices, and he relishes his editorial role.

“The one thing that brought him back, was the comic,” she says. “He would wake up, he would do his little finger things, he would make himself known, he would make his voice heard with regard to the comic that would bear his story.” –NPR

REVIEW:  The 100 Society by Carla Spradbery

REVIEW: The 100 Society by Carla Spradbery

100-society-spradbery

Dear Ms. Spradbery,

I’m really into YA thrillers as of late. Whether this is a result of my general boredom with YA fantasies these days or a callback to my teenaged love of Christopher Pike, I don’t know. But I can’t seem to get enough of them right now. Your novel, The 100 Society sounded interesting so I thought I’d give it a try.

An art student at a British private school, Grace has one goal. To tag 100 locations around the city, thereby joining “The 100 society”. Graffiti is a type of art, after all. But 100 tags is a lot to do by yourself so Grace has recruited some friends to help her: her friend, Faith; pretty girl Cassie; Cassie’s boyfriend, Ed; her best friend who wants to be more, Pete; and bad boy, Trick.

Unfortunately, the closer Grace gets to 100 tags, the more it becomes apparent there’s a stalker — the Reaper — who doesn’t want her to succeed. And as the threats escalate, Grace and her friends face increasing danger, and the added stress reveals fault lines in their relationships. Not the best thing to happen in this situation. But even worse is the truth: the Reaper might be someone they know.

I had a strange experience reading this book. I didn’t connect at all with any of the characters. I found them superficial and 2D. At times they just downright annoyed me. And anyone who knows me knows that I like to read for characters. But despite this lack, I could not stop reading! I had to know what was going to happen next! What is this black magic?

Some people would claim there is a love triangle here. I wouldn’t actually describe what happens in the book as a love triangle. Grace is into Trick. (Trick is short for Patrick. I know. I know.) Trick is into Grace. Pete is into Grace. But Grace only likes him as a friend. That’s not a love triangle. There is one moment in the book where I can see people pointing to as a sign that Grace might consider Pete as a legitimate suitor, but I saw it as a momentary lapse of judgment and confusion due to stress.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by the questionable female friendships. Grace’s friend, Faith, likes Pete, so she’s not too thrilled by the fact that he’s into Grace. That’s understandable. What I wasn’t so into was that her friendship with Grace was defined by Pete — she’s sad they don’t spend as much time together anymore (but that’s because she doesn’t like Grace hanging out with Pete). She thinks Grace is leading Pete on, which is an idea I generally recoil from because it contributes to Nice Guy culture. He’s nice! He’s been friends with you since forever! He’s into you! Why won’t you like him back? If you’re not interested in him, don’t lead him on… by being his friend? Really?

Like any true mystery, there are many suspects. I thought they were all legitimate — the red herrings were not obviously red herrings in my opinion. So the twists and turns worked for me, even though the characterization was light and more often than not, the characters made decisions because the plot required it rather than because it was intrinsic to their character.

If you’re looking for a thriller with deep, interesting characterization, look elsewhere. If you’re looking for a fast read with lots of twists and turns — that may make you whisper to yourself, “WTF?” — The 100 Society is for you. That said, this book was the literary equivalent of a potato chip. Seems like a good idea at the time, but it doesn’t really stick around. C

My regards,
Jia

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