Araki in trouble; Phantom of the Opera the incel; Kanye writes a book; V&A Illustration Awards; holiday reading; Royal Wedding limited edition. It’s another Week In Book News.

Kanye West contemplates

Kanye West is writing a book on philosophy called Break the Simulation.

You can read all about it on his Twitter timeline:


Incels in literature

It is inevitable that someone would come up with a ‘literary’ theory on incels.

Involuntary celibacy, or “incel”, might sound like a new social phenomenon but it is not. The term itself is recent but violent misogyny in sexually frustrated male terrorists is something we see time and again across different cultures.

And apparently, we read about incels all the time in literature. A Redditor asked in a sub-thread: is the Phantom of the Opera an incel?

Erik? Who would have thought.

Who else in literature that can be interpreted as incels?

  • Frankenstein.
  • Quasimodo.
  • Pygmalion (he’d rather marry a wooden doll).
  • Any Roman soldier before 193 AD.

Unlike in literature, however, there is nothing romantic about letting off steam like the Phantom in real life. Toronto van attack suspect Alek Minassian and Florida gunman Nikolas Cruz had both expressed admiration for Santa Barbara shooter Elliot Rodger who was notorious for his 107,000-word manifesto on involuntary celibacy – and the killing spree he carried out in 2014.

These were not honourable acts. These were acts of violence and self-entitlement. These real-life characters should not be glorified, nor should they be redeemed in fiction like Kylo Ren. At most, they should just serve as cautionary tale.

Erik, the Phantom of Gaston Leroux’s imagination, could be an incel. Photo source: Wikipedia.


#Metoo reaches Mount Parnassus

Where there is misogyny, there is #metoo.

As the Christian Science Monitor puts it, #metoo has now reached Parnassus with the suspension of the 2018 Nobel literary prize over sexual assault allegations against an academy member’s husband.

On top of claims of assaults spanning two decades that implicated 18 women, the husband in question, Jean-Claude Arnault, was also accused of leaking names of Nobel literature laureates in advance for the bookies’ benefits.

Nice. So high literature is a bingo hall now.

Of course, eyebrows were hardly raised when Nobuyoshi Araki became the latest celebrity photographer to get embroiled in #metoo. He is not a likely contender for a Nobel literature prize. But why he was not taken to an employment tribunal much earlier really escaped us.

According to his muse, Kaori, the inspiration behind Kaori Sex Diary, Araki didn’t ask her to waive her moral rights to secure the rights to her likeness for the book. Instead, he waived her anonymity by choosing Kaori as the subject matter – without her consent and prior knowledge.

Araki also didn’t pay her for the book publication and gave her no royalties from sales of her photographs.


How to get back into reading fiction, Part 2

Yes, we covered the topic of how to get back into reading fiction a few weeks back.

A few questions cropped up again from holidaymakers along this line:

How do I get back into reading whilst on holiday – after a long time not getting into fictions?

How long is long? Five years.

Ok. Reading fiction is similar to running. It’s about practice, level of concentration and stamina. If you have the will for 5 km, don’t bother running 10 km. You will ghost it halfway. And why even start at 5 km if you haven’t run 1 km in five years?

Our recommendations:

  • Don’t jump into War and Peace straight away. Find a shorter novel.
  • Try books in large print or for dyslexics. The reading is easier.
  • Try a funny book. You won’t get bored.
  • Try a graphic novel as well. A nice balance of text and images.

Happy reading.


V&A Illustration Awards

At the moment, we are anticipating the announcement on the winners of the V&A Illustration Awards on 15 May 2018.

Thirteen illustrators whose works were published in books and magazines are going for the top awards in four categories:

  • 2018 Student Illustrator of the Year prize
  • Book Illustration Award
  • Book Cover Design Award
  • Editorial Illustration Award

We will get to enjoy a display of the winning works at the V&A, South Kensington, London, from 16 May until 24 June 2018.

Royal Wedding competition

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To be won: Official Royal Wedding tea set and limited edition book. Photo: ©Mills & Boon.

If royals and romance are your thing, read on.

Mills & Boon is celebrating the wedding of Prince Harry and Ms Meghan Markle by giving away a copy Royals: Wed to the Prince and a limited edition tea set to the lucky person who enters its latest competition.

Royals: Wed to the Prince contains three stories: By Royal Command, The Princess and the Outlaw and The Prince’s Secret Bride.

To win, you have to subscribe to Mills & Boon email communications first to enter the competition.

Competition closes midnight 31 May 2018.

Good luck.


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