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Bookish news 17 July: open access academic journals, Rotten Tomatoes for books & more!

book news Bookish news 17 July: open access academic journals, Rotten Tomatoes for books & more!

RIASS stuff:

Book list: Red Riding Hood retellings

Book Review: Verdigris Deep by Frances Hardinge'Rating: star Bookish news 17 July: open access academic journals, Rotten Tomatoes for books & more!star Bookish news 17 July: open access academic journals, Rotten Tomatoes for books & more!star Bookish news 17 July: open access academic journals, Rotten Tomatoes for books & more!star Bookish news 17 July: open access academic journals, Rotten Tomatoes for books & more!halfstar Bookish news 17 July: open access academic journals, Rotten Tomatoes for books & more! Havent read Hardinge yet? Why not, hmm?

Giveaway: One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf'(open to US/Canadian readers)

Other bookish stuff:

How hard is it to switch from the creative process to copy editing?'We need to jump back and forth between pedantry and creativity. Its very easy to get stuck on replacing the word that seems to be the problem: replace too with also because you used too in the previous sentence. Except that for some reason, also just sounds awkward there. And you cant replace the previous one because its the other meaning of too.

My thoughts:'A thoughtful post from Wendy Orr, and one I identify with. Structural editing is a killer, too: keeping an entire novel in your head as you work is no easy task, and its surprisingly exhausting. Each round of edits has a flow-on effect, and by fixing things its so easy to insert errors or repetitions further down the line. The worst, I think, is going back to a project while youre part-way through another.

The top 25 ways to ruin a book: contains such gems as avoiding passive voice, purple prose, and telling over showing.'

My grumpy thoughts:'You know what? Perhaps its because Im old and grumpy, but I really hate these kinds of pithy lists. Mostly because in their effort to help authors avoid cliches, they merely submit to them themselves. I cant even count the number of people who now think that was is now an indicator of passive voice. Passivity, telling and purple prose seem to be pat little terms to say stuff I dont like. Blanket statements really dont help anyone.

The British Government will provide free access to British scientific research within two years'The government is to unveil controversial plans to make publicly funded scientific'research'immediately available for anyone to read for free by 2014, in the most radical shakeup of academic publishing since the invention of the'internet.

My open source thoughts:'This is a very interesting move. Where Open Access journals have become increasingly the thing as academics move towards freely available digital publications rather than through the big academic players of T&F/Routledge, Blackwell, Elsevier and Sage, there are a number of issues these journals face. The first and most obvious is the difficultly of securing ISI ranking or other comparable rankingsfor example the recently introduced journal rankings here in Australia. Increasingly, academics are being pushed towards publishing only in highly ranked journals. The publish or perish thing we so often hear about largely means that publication (and usually in select, highly ranked journals) is linked with funding. And so some of our best research is encouraged to exist behind a paywall.

This current move by the British government will pave the way towards Open Access, but in a different way. Its a move away from independent Open Access,'and one that will actually support all those big hitting publishing companies. Rather than being funded by universities, whose ongoing institutional subscriptions are the major market for these journals, they can instead be directly funded by the government: those costs associated with printing, editorial, typesetting and so on can now essentially be written off. And now these publishing companies dont need to think about competing with the Open Access model: theyve had it handed to them. Im curious to see how this will affect journal rankings, frequency of publication/page extent, and the subsequent amount of research material that can then be shoehorned into a journal.

Of course, Britain is a relatively small academic market, so its not like this is going to open up the academic world to the public. But still, if the push towards Open Access continues, things will no doubt change on the academic horizon over the next decade or so.

A Rotten Tomatoes style review aggregator has just launched- what do you think?

My aggregated thoughts: You know, just last week I had the thought, why isnt there a Rotten Tomatoes for books? Im a wonderful entrepreneur, you see, but only in a retrospective fashion. (Hubby and I also invented Pinterest, only to find that it had already been invented. But thats by the by)

Anyway, Im not entirely sure that a book review aggregator is going to be anywhere near as simple as Rotten Tomatoes. For starters, there are some 500,000 books published every year, numbers that are surely more than the handful of movies that get released at the cinemas. Obviously, professional book reviewers are unable to cover all of these, and given bearing in mind as well that book reviewers from certain media companies are more likely to review books published by that same media company, well, theres clearly going to be less of an overlap of reviewing than there might be in films.'Theres also the fact that reviewing space is being increasingly cut back in the major publications, leading to fewer reviews and a lower likelihood of a given book being reviewed by more than one pro reviewer. The exception, of course, being those huge blockbuster novels that receive coverage just about everywhere.

The site seems to be looking to bring bloggers on board (yes, yes, Ive applied. What of it?), but even then the challenge of chasing the long tail (or heck, even the medium tail) of the book reviewing world seems far more complex than that involved in film reviews.

I love the idea of this in theory, but Im not sure how the reality is going to play out. And is it going to offer something different from, say, Amazon or Goodreads? Or perhaps a site such as B&N that aggregates pro reviews? Which books are they going to feature? How are these selected, and why?

An editor shares about patterns in writing, author habits and over-using words'A recent thriller by a'New York Times'bestselling author had an overabundance of 'murmured' as a dialogue tag. After a while, I thought, 'Is everyone in a seance?'

My erwhats another word for thoughts?'I think I read that murmured book. But yep, word overuse is definitely a problem. I just read a romance where the word frisson was used twice, and in italics as well. Nope. Dont do that. The same goes for schadenfreude. Ill allow one per novel. I also used to play China Mieville bingo, where Id go through his books searching for juddered, jutted, limn, scab and chitin. Really. Go and pick up any of his Bas Lag books and get your highlighter handy.

All authors have crutch words, and I think it pays to be mindful of them. A handy dandy list of ones overused words is a great tool, and so is find and replace. Personally, Im all about the indeeds, rathers and old-fashioned hedge words, so theyre what I search out when I go on my bugbear hunt.

Are writers and publishers responsible for the success of 50 Shades of Grey? Is it due to poor education or lack of alternatives?'50 Shades'couples the current patriarchal attitudes towards women with eroticism: Anastasia is submissive in these sexual encounters.' This is'Twilight'for a slightly more mature audience. 'The problem with women being submissive and dependent is twofold: it is harmful for women and their relationships.

My thoughts: Actually, those are exactly my thoughts.

A Book Lover's Guide to Reading and Walking by Lev Grossman. This is me! (Except Im not Lev Grossman)

Cronenbergs upcoming movie Cosmopolis based on the Don Dillo book'

100 YA books for the feminist reader

Encyclopedia Brown author Donald Sobol has died

The beautiful setting that inspired Richard Adams Watership Down is being torn down

When Im rich and can actually afford to buy a house (ie, when I move out of Melbourne), Im going to put this bookshelf wallpaper on the walls:

 Bookish news 17 July: open access academic journals, Rotten Tomatoes for books & more!

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