April 18th, 2009


Poetry by Nabakov, mostly about language

Vladimir Nabokov. An Evening of Russian Poetry

'…seems to be the best train. Miss Ethel Winter
of the Department of English will meet you at the station and…'

From a letter addressed to the visiting speaker

The subject chosen for tonight's discussion
Is everywhere, though often incomplete:
when their basaltic bank become too steep,
most rivers use a kind of rapid Russian,
and so do children talking in their sleep.
My little helper at the magic lantern,
insert that slide and let the colored beam
project my name or any such-like phantom
in Slavic characters upon the screen.
The other way, the other way. I thank you.

On mellow hills the Greek, as you remember,
fashioned his alphabet from cranes in flight;
his arrows crossed the sunset, then the night.
Our simple skyline and a taste for timber,
The influence of hives and conifers,
reshaped the arrows and the borrowed birds.

Collapse )

AmazonFail: It gets weirder

From After Ellen, a publisher of LGBT books:
[After over a year of trying to get her company's books displayed properly at Amazon]....In the first week of March 2009, it suddenly all became crystal clear to us. We pulled every single Saint Marie LGBT title from the Kindle store, deleted all gay/lesbian categories and tags from them, republished them as plain, old, ordinary romances, and then sat back to see what would happen. If we were right, if our theory correct, we reasoned, then we should have sales rankings in approximately twenty-four hours…

Twenty-four little hours later, I couldn’t help but whoop with joy. There were sales rankings on all of my titles in the Kindle store, and some were even on the bestselling lists! A week or two later, we began gingerly adding the gay/lesbian categories once again. This time, however, without the search tags — and without consequence.

What's odd is that in other accounts of I've seen of Amazon obscuring LGBT books, Kindle editions were mysteriously immune. I don't know if publishers were apt to neglect putting metadata on Kindle or whether something else is going on.

Link thanks to pecuniam.

Very tentative hypothesis: Maybe most publishers didn't bother to metatag their Kindle listings because they assumed that the tags from their paper books would carry over.