April 9, 2006

Da Vinci Code Remains Unbroken
London's High Court ruled recently that Dan Brown, author of the Da Vinci Code, did not violate English copyright laws as the authors, Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, of the The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail accused. Read the
BBC report for more information. In a more intriguing BBC story, the news agency analyzes where does the ruling “leave the law.”

When to Stop
I don't know why
I don't know what
Makes me do the things
I know I should stop

That's the poem John Crace wrote six years ago when he was addicted to cocaine: “I really thought I was going to die and I just wanted my three-year-old son Kai to have some idea of how the most famous drug addict in the world was struggling to cope.” Those words are from the Guardian's digest version of Crace's book The Other Side of Nowhere.

Returning Home for a Poet
Adopted at birth and raised in Glasgow, the poet and novelist Jackie Kay four decades later flew to Nigeria to meet her birth father: “Jonathan is suddenly there in the hotel corridor leading to the swimming pool area. He's sitting on a white plastic chair in a sad cafe. There's a small counter with a coffee machine and some depressed-looking buns. He's dressed all in white, a long white African dress, very ornately embroidered, like lace, and white trousers. He's wearing black shoes. He's wired up. My hearet is racing. “Jonathan? I say…Read more in the her account in the
Guardian.

McGahern Comtemplates Religion
The writer John McGahern wrote an essay about the role of religion a week before he died: “I grew up in what was a theocracy in all but name. Hell and heaven and purgatory were places real and certain we would go to after death, dependent on the Judgement. Churches in my part of Ireland were so crowded that children and old people who were fasting to receive Communion would regularly pass out in the bad air and have to be carried outside….” Read more in the
Guardian.

Khmer Rouge Remembered
Thirty-one years have passed since the KR overpowered Cambodia with its rabid nationalism and virulent form of Maoism. By estimates, they killed from than 37,000 intellectuals, leaving only three hundred. They are making a return. “Pal Vannarirak, the host of a new Cambodian TV show about books and authors, has written more than 100 short stories and 40 novels. Having survived the Khmer Rouge, Vannarirak found work for the Vietnamese-backed government as a censor. She had to ban her own novels.” This is what
Geoff Ryman discovered.

You Can't Handle the Truth
“And what is the truth about publishing—the title of an ancient book-trade memoir by Sir Stanley Unwin—that authors need to be told? Macmillan's starting point was a deduction, here expressed in a Bookseller article by Nicholas Clee, that 'more people want to write fiction than read it.'” For more read
D.J. Taylor.

Howling Good Times
Fifty years ago, Allen Ginsberg wrote “Howl.” To celebrate
Jason Shinder collected a series of essays about the poem in a new book called The Poem that Changed American: “Howl” Fifty Years Later. The New York Times also has a featured section about the famed Beat poet and a photo slide show.

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