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Monday News: National Book Award Finalists, Jim Hines on Kathleen Hale, Margo Howard v. Vine, and Laurie Penny on the “ramification of misogyny”

Monday News: National Book Award Finalists, Jim Hines on Kathleen Hale,...

Bad reviews are also a thing. Hating someone’s book is not bullying. Sharing your opinion, suggesting others stay away from a book or an author, is not bullying. It might cost you some sales, and that sucks, but it’s not bullying, nor is it an organized campaign to destroy someone’s career.

Hale’s account does not convince me that she was a victim of online bullying. But even if she was, there comes a point where she crossed a line from victim to perpetrator. She admits to stalking Blythe online. She then began stalking her in real life. She showed up at Blythe’s home, called her on the phone. –Jim Hines

Well, they were “Vine Voices” I found out. Amazon explains: “Amazon Vine invites the most trusted reviewers on Amazon to post opinions about new and pre-release items to help their fellow customers make informed purchase decisions.” Well, swell. A fellow customer would have read those pre-publication “reviews” and thought the book was dreckalthough some people, I have to hope, would have spotted these attacks for what they were: ad hominem attacks. God and Bezos only know how many “trusted reviewers” there are. In any case, these people are given freebies … cold cream, sneakers, pots and pans, and … books! I submit to you that free stuff does not a book reviewer make. One could fairly think of Vine membership as offering an all-you-can-eat buffet of things. –New Republic

Games and pickup artistry gave a formal structure to that mindset for this generation, but it’s older than that. The gamification of misogyny predates the internet, but right now, in this world full of angry, broken, lost young men convinced that women have robbed them of some fundamental win in life, it’s rampant.

The trouble is that treating other human beings like faceless opponents doesn’t work in the real world.

Gender isn’t a game you can play and win by brutalising and harassing and shaming and hurting the other ‘side.’ Ultimately, there is no other side. Gender oppression is structural. Everybody loses, in the long term, because everybody has to live in a culture where it’s normal to hound women out of their homes for daring to demand fairer treatment, normal to shame girls and queer people into silence for suggesting that there might be other interesting stories to tell. There is no way to win this game, except by not playing at all. –Laurie Penny

Thursday News: Cool sentence diagramming art, Barnes & Noble’s new Nook, cultivating Pride & Prejudice style, and petitioning Jeff Bezos

Thursday News: Cool sentence diagramming art, Barnes & Noble’s new Nook,...

25 Literary Opening Lines Diagrammed on One Giant Poster – Using the Reed-Kellogg sentence diagramming model, Pop Chart Lab has created a poster consisting of 25 opening lines from classic works of fiction. “Call Me Ishmael,” (Moby Dick) to “It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was going in New York (Plath’s The Bell Jar), this “Diagrammatical Dissertation” is a feat of grammatical construction, literary analysis, and visual art, all in one, and it’s even for sale (of course I’ll be buying one) –Mental Floss

As Barnes & Noble Nook revenues slide 50%, the company says it’s launching another tablet – For those of you following the soap opera that is now Barnes & Noble’s corporate strategic planning, and despite the continuing (current) losses and layoffs, the company is planning to release a new Nook color tablet “in early fiscal 2015.” According to the Gigaom article, “The goal is to ‘reverse the content sales decline,’” and the company is apparently trying to partner with a hardware developer to design and produce the new device.

The company laid off or lost 190 Nook employees during the quarter — 26 percent of the Nook team, according to CEO Michael Huseby on the earnings call Wednesday — and about 500 Nook employees remaining in Palo Alto and New York. The company also suggested more cuts are on the way. From the release: “[S]taffing levels in certain areas of the organization have changed, leading to certain job eliminations after the quarter ended. These ongoing efforts may involve additional actions.” –Gigaom

What to Wear: Sleepwear for the Ruined, Inspired by Pride & Prejudice – It surprises me that considering I’m not really into the whole Pride and Prejudice phenom, I still find stuff like this cute. But I do, and therefore I’m sharing it with you. A series of blog posts in which episodes of the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice are used as inspiration for fashion styling. And it’s pretty remarkable how well current fashions seem to reflect the Regency-esque costumes.Also, who can resist the blog title “Sleepwear for the Ruined”? –Emily Style

Protect Amazon.com Users and Indie Publishing Authors from Bullying and Harassment by Removing Anonymity and Requiring Identity Verification for Reviewing and Forum Participation – I hesitated posting about this, because I wasn’t sure I wanted to give it more publicity, but in the end, I could not resist Ann Rice’s reference to Amazon “gangster bullies.” This petition, drafted by Todd Barselow, senior editor at Imajin Books, and supported by Rice, asks Amazon to require that everyone who leaves a review does so without the protection of a pseudonym.

I’m not exactly sure how that’s a “flaw in the system.” Also, I didn’t check, but I’m wondering how many petition signatures have been made anonymously or under author pseudonyms…

I believe, as do countless others—many who will have signed this petition—that the reason this bullying and harassment is able to take place is because of the allowance of anonymity on Amazon. People have found ways to exploit this flaw in the system and are using it to bully, harass, and generally make life miserable for certain authors on Amazon –Change.org