Morning books: Climate wars, Nick Hornby, Francis Moore Lappe
Nick Hornby's "Fever Pitch" turns 20 this year and the British author is concerned about how soccer has changed since his enthusiastic boyhood. "Hornby questions whether the youthful addiction he had for his club can still be found among today's supporters, largely because of the game's gentrification," the Guardian reports. This may be confusing to American audiences, who saw Hornby's soccer team, Arsenal, transformed into baseball's Red Sox for the American film version. In England, Penguin Classics is issuing a new edition of "Fever Pitch" in which the sport of soccer will be intact.
Food activist Francis More Lappé ("Diet for a Small Planet") is taking Oxford University Press to task over the 2010 book "Food Politics: What Everyone Needs to Know" by Robert Paarlberg. Lappé and her colleagues argue that scholarly standards have slipped -- the book "lacks citations for its many claims and fails to disclose that the author has been an adviser to the Monsanto Corporation," the group writes on its website, Scholarly Standards at Risk. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that Paarlberg comes at food issues from a different, but entirely scholarly, perspective; Harvard University Press published "Starved for Science: How Biotechnology Is Being Kept Out of Africa," his previous book. "Clearly what they're doing is launching a campaign against my book," Paarlberg told the Chronicle. "They're not launching a campaign against scholarly standards."
A new book investigates another hot spot of argument that's part science, part belief -- Columbia University Press publishes "The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines" by Michael E. Mann this week. In our Op-Ed pages, Dan Turner writes, " 'The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars' is a must-read for anybody who follows the politics of climate -- or who cares about the frightening future our failed political system is about to unleash. It's more than just a treatise about the debates of the last decade, as one very recent episode demonstrates."
Late last week, new e-book pricing for libraries went into effect for Random House's books. Many books tripled in price, Library Journal reports, with e-book pricing now in alignment with Random House’s Books on Tape audiobook downloads for library lending. "We believe our new library e-pricing reflects the high value placed on perpetuity of lending and simultaneity of availability for our titles," said Stuart Applebaum, a Random House spokesman. The official pricing is:
- Titles available in print as new hardcovers: $65-$85
- Titles available for several months, or generally timed to paperback release: $25-$50
- New children’s titles available in print as hardcovers: $35-$85
- Older children’s titles and children’s paperbacks: $25-$45
Librarians that LJ spoke to said the price increase would mean rethinking their e-book collections.
On a lighter note, how literary is Pinterest? In our pages, Jessica Helfand of the Design Observer and author of the book "Scrapbooks: An American History," looks for the Harold Pinter in Pinterest. " 'What about the pregnant pauses?' I inquired of one of my graphic design students recently. 'How can it be Pinteresque if there's no angst?' " she writes. "There do seem to be lots of cute bunnies, however."
-- Carolyn Kellogg
Photo: Nick Hornby signs books at the Beverly Hills Library in 2001. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times