Saturday, November 15, 2008

Three things

Firstly, you might have noticed the littleFacebook logo below all the posts. This is a little script that will allow you to share any article that interests you with your own community with just two clicks (if you are logged in to yourFacebook account.) This should save you some cutting and pasting. I have not figured out the script for other social networks, but thenFacebook is the most popular.

Secondly, if you visited had our online bookshop lately, you might have noticed that we acceptPaypal. At the moment this facility is only for International buyers who are a little squeamish about revealing their credit card details to a Malaysian (ie 'unknown') payment gateway (though we have had many international buyers in the past). All transactions forPaypal users will be in USD. We are not offering this option to Malaysian buyers becausePaypal does not have the option for transactions in MYR yet. Maybe in future.

BookmarksThirdly, we have discovered Arch Collections that produces souvenir item made of wood. They have their own range of cheesy items and designs (we have decided not to stock the KL Twin Towers designs and all that sort) but we have discovered that they also have a range of reasonably priced, pretty neat looking bookmarks and other stationery gift items. With Christmas and the year end just around the corner, we thought that these might make some nice office gifts. Do come and check them out.

Milan Kundera -- a spy?

KunderaAlison Flood writes in The Guardian saying, "Prestigious writers issue statement defending Milan Kundera against charges of betraying dissident."And we thought we had left James Bonds of the world to the silver screens for good.

Eleven authors -- Nadine Gordimer, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Orhan Pamuk, Philip Roth, Salman Rushie, JM Coetzee, Jean Daniel, Carlos Fuentes, Juan Goytisolo, Pierre Mertens and Jorge Semprun -- have issued a statement denouncing this "orchestrated campaign of calumny" saying that the honour of one of the greatest living novelists has been tarnished on dubious grounds, to say the least".

Wow, talk about illustrious company.

A Czech magazine, Respekt, alleged last month that Kundera had informed police about the whereabouts of Miroslav Dvoracek, who was then spying for the US, in 1950. Dvoracek spent 14 years in jail.

Kundera, 79, who is known to be a critic of communism, has categorically denied the accusations and issued a stout denial. He is quoted: "I am totally astonished by something that I did not expect, about which I knew nothing only yesterday, and that did not happen. I did not know the man at all."

The Guardian

Judging the book by the cover

A Tale of Two CitiesAnother interesting Guardian report: "... following the lead of a Canadian website,, we asked you to redesign classic books for a dumbed-down era ..." Here is the shortlist. See if you agree with the winner, a cover design for A Tale of Two Cities by Norman Smith. I don't find it very exciting. It looks like one of those travel guides

My favourite is the Illiad by Homer, that is by Homer Simpson. Okay, call me philistine, but that book will sell in truckloads just for the cover, never mind if people don't read it. Pride and prejudice has a flag of the US on the cover. I didn't think that was very inspired. Too predictable. People are not buying George Bush books anymore. The Tom Sawyer cover says, "Please don't Auntie," and "An orphan's story that will both shock and inspire." I can hear the bookshop browser going, "Waaah! Sure go incest and sodomy, one!" The design is sufficiently prurient but not colourful enough.

Then The Lord of the Rings looks like a cookbook. There are 21 cover designs in all. Take a look at all of them at the website below. You will find more books by Charles Dickens, Graham Green, Ernest Hemingway, William Golding and many more. James Joyce's The Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man -- "a coming-of-age prose-poem" -- cover will not look out of place in the bodice-splitting romance section.

See them all.

The Guardian