Weekly News Roundup, 28th August 2015: Is It Stealing from the Amazon?

This week's literary highlights from across the world.

Happiest of Fridays, Asymptote pals. Did you hear about the good news? It’s more than Close Approximations, our superstar-big-bucks translation contest (judged by the likes of Michael Hofmann, Margaret Jull Costa, and Ottilie Mulzet). Might be worthwhile to check out the Journal‘s recruitment call, which harks far and wide and all across the globe. We’re even searching for fresh blood talent at the blog, where we’ll be hiring some assistant blog editors to pitch in with pitching stories, proofreading interviews, and all things bloggy. Even if you can’t dedicate the kinds of hours our volunteer staff does, tirelessly, be a pal and contribute to our second reader survey—we want Asymptote to listen to its readers, too. And pitch an ear to our latest podcast while you’re jetting off to wherever you’re jetting off to—it’s uncanny, and you won’t regret it. 

This week in scandals: don’t be shocked if a Nobel laureate is shocked at you: Mario Vargas Llosa’s absolutely flabbergasted at a recent New York Times review (which he dubbed “slanderous and perfidious”) of his latest, a book predicting the “end of culture” (we’ve heard that one before). And though we at Asymptote blog were absolutely pumped at this year’s Hugo Awards—which featured Chinese-born Ken Liu, once interviewed in the blog, as winner of Best Novel—others were less-than-stoked at the pro-diversity initiative the awards seemed to display this year. Harumph. Sad puppies.

Politics, again. If you’re wearing a tin hat, you know the CIA is behind this—and though it certainly isn’t behind Asymptote (we’d love some sweet, government money right about now), here’s a ranked list of all the literary endeavors and publications the United States agency did find room in its heart to fund. And even Doris Lessing was spied on by British intelligence, declassified documents appear to reveal.

You might be angry at Amazon, but don’t just fume—take action, like this Japanese bookshop, which used eerily familiar tactics as the book-selling behemoth, buying ninety percent of Haruki Murakami’s latest nonfiction to peddle to other, tinier stores—ultimately limiting the tome’s web sales.