Thursday News: Hong Kong banned books, Kindle’s software improvements, superhero sex, and tomato juice at 37,000 feet
The Hong Kong Bookseller Who’s Keeping ‘Banned’ Books On His Shelves – Despite the disappearance (and in a couple of cases, reappearance in mainland police custody) of five bookseller/publishers, some Hong Kong booksellers, including People’s Bookstore owner Peter Tang, are keeping mainland-banned titles on their shelves. It appears to be publishers that are being targeted more directly, although Tang notes that if too many publishers are shut down, businesses like his may have to compensate by carrying other types of items. And while the disappearances have made an impression, they have not stopped banned books from being readily sold in Hong Kong.
“It’s really, really horrible for me to look at,” Tang says, sitting in his bookstore. At the same time, he adds, he’s not worried too much about his own safety or his business. That’s because the nascent crackdown appears geared more toward the publisher and the closely linked bookstore.
“For the government, we’re too small” to bother with, Tang says. He notes that the books in question remain widely available in Hong Kong, from curbside newspaper stands to convenience stores to the Hong Kong airport. – NPR
Amazon Kindle wants to ease your hunt for a good book – Among other things, Amazon’s announcement that it will open several hundred new brick and mortar stores across the US coincides logically with a new software update that will Kindle users personalize their library. With more readers migrating away from dedicated ebook reading devices, Amazon has got to do more to make Kindle appealing enough to keep readers invested in the device and the app. Will this do it? Who knows?
An Amazon page details the features and refinements coming to Kindle e-book readers. The update will enable you to personalize the home screen, for example, so your most recent books appear at the upper left of the screen. All of your books can be retrieved by clicking on My Library.
A new section dubbed “My Reading Lists” shows all the books on your wish list as well as any samples you’ve downloaded. The bottom of the home screen will change to show you recommendations, best-selling titles and books that your Goodreads friends are reading. Goodreads is a social book site in which friends share their book lists and rate books. – CNET
Why don’t we see superheroes having realistic sex lives? – An interesting piece that traces the asexuality and/or absence of sex in the lives of many comic superheroes back to the Comics Code Authority, which Charles Pulliam-Moore argues has had a powerful and lasting influence on the treatment of sex in comics. I wish he had pushed just a little more on the issues he touches on later in the essay, where he talks about the role sex plays in the Netflix series, Jessica Jones. But still an interesting read.
Fearing that the adventures of heroes like Superman and Batman might influence readers to become a generation of violent, depraved hoodlums, the Comics Magazine Association of America was created to craft a set of rules for comic books that would, in theory, minimize the damage that they might cause. (It’s worth pointing out that the studies that were used to fuel and justify the hysterical panic around comics were notoriously flawed.)
Under the Comics Code Authority, comic book publishers were prohibited from depicting adult themes like excessive violence, gore, and sexuality. While the CCA didn’t have any official authority over the big publishers of the day, the body’s influence was undeniable. – Fusion
Why Tomato Juice Tastes Better at 37,000 Feet – Hint: it’s not really the juice, but something is measurably different when you drink and eat on a flight. – Smithsonian