Monday, December 21, 2009

Cry havoc and let loose the blogs of war!

First, to Tricia, I suggest A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote.

It has all of the ingredients that make for an overwrought holiday mess — poor child; sweet, but simple adult; beloved family pet; terrifying strangers who reveal their sentimental side — but Capote doesn’t overplay his hand.

It’s cute. I don’t mean that in a condescending way.

Also, I do like A Christmas Carol. Charles Dickens usually dropped a wealthy benefactor into his plot, so his adorable orphan could have happy ending. I call it the “ducats ex machina.” (Yeah, not clever. Latin puns are not my forte.) For A Christmas Carol, Dickens takes a different tact. He writes from the perspective of the wealthy benefactor instead of the adorable orphan, except we don’t realize he’s the wealthy benefactor until the end.

I was absent most of last week, but not idle. I spent my free minutes following the escalating e-book war. Random House declared retroactive e-rights over all of its books. (That ain’t gonna work.) MobyLives said the Federal Trade Commission should investigate Amazon for its price-slashing tactics. And, for those who don’t spend their free time perusing book blogs, Dr. Syntax gave us a summary of the e-war up to this point, including Covey’s defection from Simon & Schuster to Amazon.

And though it’s not e-book related, a French court convicted Google of copyright violation for its book search program. This is the first international conviction against Google, to my knowledge. I expect it will not be the last.

Merry Christmas. It’s about to get interesting.

-Jason Lea,

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