Thursday, January 15, 2009

Winnie the Pooh sequel

Pooh After almost 90 years a sequel to AA Milne's The House at Pooh Corner has been authorised by the trustees of the Pooh Properties. It is scheduled to be published later this year.

In Return to the Hundred Acre Wood author David Benedictus picks up from the ending of the last Pooh book, The House at Pooh Corner, in which Christopher Robin is growing up and heading away to school.

Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner was first published in 1926 and 1928. Milne wrote the books for his son Christopher Robin. Pooh was his teddy bear.

Waterstone's is already drooling over a massive Christmas 2009. Let's hope that it does not turn out to be depressingly lame like the last James Bond by Sebastian Faulks, or The Tales of the Beedle Bard.

A sign of the times

Abebooks It is official: second-hand book sales are up. According to the Arts Correspondent, Stephen Adams of The Telegraph, second-hand booksellers 'have recorded a bumper year as cost-conscious readers try to save their pounds as the recession bites ...'

The report says that some of Britain's second-hand booksellers have reported "significant" rises in sales while the market for new books has dipped. And it is not just the independents that are benefiting. has reported that 30% of its sales actually come from "third party units". These are items sold through the website by other retailers like independent bookstores and individuals (though this category also includes new books and non-book items).

And in another development has also acquired, which has over 110 million used, rare and out-of-print books listed from thousands of independent booksellers around the world. This is new respect for old books indeed.

Also on a similar note, Motoko Rich of The New York Times writes in a story, Puttin' Off the Ritz: The New Austerity in Publishing: "For decades the New York publishing world promised a romantic life of fancy lunches, sparkling parties, sophisticated banter and trips to spots like the Caribbean to pitch books to sales representatives. If the salaries were not exactly Wall Street caliber, well, they came with a milieu that mixed cultural swagger with pure Manhattan high life."

So it is possible that sanity finally returning to the book industry after decades of nonsensical hype. This can only be good for serious book people. The rest can go back to selling groceries.

One can only hope.

The Telegraph
The New York Times

Taslima Nasreen to live in Paris?

Taslima Bangladeshi writer, Taslima Nasreen, is under death threat from Islamist extremists who accuse her of blasphemy. She is to take up residence in Paris. Ms Nasreen was made an honorary citizen of Paris in July 2008. She put in an application for housing recently.

Municipal authorities have provided her with a large studio in the east of the French capital, and will initially pay her rent. When she was given honorary citizenship, Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe said, "You are at home here, in the city where it was proclaimed that men are born and remain free and equal and nobody can be condemned for their beliefs."

A gynaecologist by training, Ms Nasreen was forced to flee her native Bangladesh in 1994 after her novel Lajja (Shame) about the persecution of a Hindu family by Muslims in Bangladesh drew accusations of blasphemy. She spent several years moving between Europe and the United States before settling in Kolkata in 2004. But in September 2007 a movement in West Bengal by Islamic extremists and communist sympathizers demanded her expulsion from India. She has been forced to leave Kolkata and seek refuge in New Delhi where she was kept 'in safe custody' by the government.

As much as she wanted to live in India, Taslima had to finally leave to escape the 'death sentence'. "I get food and necessities, but I don't have freedom even to step out of where I am being confined ...,' she said. So, it was back to Sweden where she was given a free furnished apartment in Uppsala, with living expenses.

So far there has been no comment from her about the 'Paris decision'.

The Telegraph