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Week’s Highlights: Litigation Nation

PUBLISHED: October 6, 2009

Amazon is facing a class-action lawsuit for its alleged demand that publishers use the Amazon-owned BookSurge print-on-demand service.

More Google Books settlement commentary: Some Europeans want a home-grown alternative, and Lewis Hyde, an authority on the history of copyright law and the marketplace of ideas, offers some criticism on the settlement as currently proposed.

Flavorwire has a Q&A with Benjamin Kunkel (Indecision, n+1), who has been living in Buenos Aires and working on various writing projects, including a play. Kunkel on the role of intellectuals in society:

On this, I kind of have a Maoist view. The intellectuals should become the masses and the masses should become intellectual. It would be great to live in a world where the distinction between intellectuals and other people was no longer really operative, where people just thought, “I like to talk about books and ideas, and I think ideas are important.”

On Three Percent, Chad Post has made available his article “Surprising Success of Scandinavian Lit in English Translation,” which was written for a Danish magazine. Publishers should take note, considering how some foreign fiction titles have sold quite well (and, of course, quite unexpectedly) in the U.S. in the last couple years. Given a chance, there’s clearly a market for these works.

In the Wall Street Journal, Alexandra Alter surveys the issues raised by posthumous works from great writers.

The Literary Saloon links to an update of the ongoing saga of the papers of Franz Kafka and Max Brod, which are scattered around a decaying apartment and several safes in Tel Aviv. Haaretz has done a fine job chronicling this strange mess.

Via Bookslut, a review of a new biography of Knut Hamsun, pioneering literary genius, Nobel laureate, Nazi.

Leonard Lopate recently spoke with Scott Anderson about his article “None Dare Call It Conspiracy” (previously titled “Vladimir Putin’s Dark Rise to Power”). You may remember that Anderson’s article, written for GQ and discussing the Russian FSB’s apparent role in the 1999 Moscow apartment bombings, was suppressed by Condé Nast management, who forbade it from being published in Russia.

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Granta, which has been expanding its online offerings, including more video content, has a brief interview with Dinaw Mengestu, author of The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears and the forthcoming How to Read the Air:

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Electric Literature has a new single-sentence animation, by Martha Colburn, imagining a sentence from a Diana Wagman story.

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