Fake Out

Big controversy on the other side of the globe.  Author Norma Khouri is in a load of trouble.  Her international bestseller Forbidden Love (sold in the US as Honor Lost: Love and Death in Modern Day Jordan), about a relationship across religious lines in Jordan, is reported to be fiction.  She had sold the book as an autobiographical account, claiming that the main character was her friend. 

While Khouri has been unavailable for comment, bookstores in other countries have been pulling the books from the shelves, some even offering money back to customers who have bought the book.  Amazon.com is no longer selling it from its main site, only from the Marketplace.  Barnes and Noble isn't selling her books online.  In fact, if you do a search for her, she doesn't exist.  Books a Million sides with the Paris bookstores--they have kept it on the shelves.

It's an ethical problem.  They're starting to uncover lots of elements that point to the story being fiction.  Australia, where she currently resides, is considering revoking her immigration status.  (Note to self: don't piss off Australia.  They're serious.)  There are records pointing that she was in Chicago while some of the events in the book were taking place and has two children that are not mentioned in the book.

Yet, the book seems to stand on its own.  According to Amazon.com, it received a glowing review from Publisher's WeeklyThe Library Review loved it.  So, what does that mean?

Obviously, the book being a fictional account rather than a nonfiction "eye on the scene" makes it less relevant in scholarly circles (where it has circulated quite heavily).  But does it make the book less interesting to read?  Did the reviewers like it out of sympathy?  Or because they felt it was a story that needed to be told?  Is it still a story that needs to be told?

I'm going to pop into my local bookstore this evening and see if I can drum myself up a copy.  Stay tuned.  Post your comments if you've read it. 

Currently Reading:

Good as Gold.  Joseph Heller.  Dell Publishing  (1976). 59/447. 


Big Blue Marries The Teacher

In the world of interesting mergers, IBM merged with Pearson Education.  Before Apple took over, IBM used to be the king of education.  I remember a Big Blue machine in my elementary school classroom.  Who cared that it was slow and ran on a floppy?  Technology in action.  Pearson education is one of the largest educational publishers.  Sounds like this merger is the first news in what will be a series of announcements that Big Blue is back in the game.

My husband just finished  Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife.  I'm paraphrasing, and may have the quote wrong, but he said that it was a fifteen tissue book.  A sentiment I agree with--Niffenegger kept the surprises going until the very end.  I've invited him to review it for BookADay. 

Speaking of reviews, I'm about to add a new section, entitled Reviews.  My plan is to keep a record of all the reviews posted so it is searchable.  If you have a book you'd like to review, let me know.  I'd be happy to hear and post the reviews of others.

Currently Reading:

Good as Gold.  Joseph Heller.  Dell Publishing  (1976). 53/447.

Just Finished:

The Lovely Bones.  Alice Sebold.  Little, Brown and Company. 328 pages.


Arrg, Pirates!

The Nigerians are worried that literary pirates are pillaging the publishing industry.  Here's Vincent Igbinedion's article from allafrica.com.  Igbinedion does have a point.  When I worked at a literary agency, there were constantly problems with our authors' rights from China.  It seems that almost all owners of property, especially intellectual and copyrighted, have reasons to lose sleep because of Chinese and Malaysian infringers.

The sky isn't falling.  At least not for books as we know them. We're just in the middle of a hurricane.  This insightful, if reactionary, article is from reporters Kevin Nance and Mike Thomas at the Chicago Sun Times.

Just Finished:

The Devil in the White City.  Erik Larson.  Vintage Books (a division of Random House).  432 pages.

Nothing To Fall Back On.  Betsy Carter.  Hyperion. 289 pages.
Reviews to follow.

Current Reads:

The Lovely Bones.  Alice Sebold.  Little, Brown and Company. 0/328 pages.

Self Publishing Faux Pas

Today's news describes how the self publshing industry is booming, due to the Internet.
Read Raleigh News and Observer's Jonathan B. Cox's news story on how the Internet Leads Many To Self Publish.  My favorite quote from the article:

What's more, without the benefit of professional editors and illustrators, many self-published books are simply bad, industry observers say.

Brand New Blog Design!

It looks different.  BookADay just got a face lift.  Regular posts to follow.

Still under construction: links and comments.  The links will return.  The comments are baffling me at present.  For some reason, all comments left before today have been disabled.  I'm working on it.  Look for more improvements in the upcoming weeks!