My media week 25/04/10

In the latest New Yorker, Ken Auletta has an article on the economics of the publishing industry and the competition between the Kindle and the iPad.: Publish or Perish.

In this week’s Thinking Allowed podcast Laurie Taylor talks to Danny Dorling about his new book, which looks at the hidden attitudes that lie behind Britain’s enduring inequalities Taylor also examines the role of nakedness in culture and politics with Angela McRobbie and Philip Carr-Gomm.

In The Guardian Joe Moran looked at Talent shows from Opportunity Knocks to today’s Britain’s Got Talent. A format that seemed dead has been given new lease of life by the red button (interactive TV) and the mobile phone: The parable of the talent show. And I have also been following the Orlando Figes affair. In anonymous reviews at Amazon.com Figes published glowing reviews of his own work while trashing those of opponents. Here is his review of Robert Service’s 2008 work Comrades, a world history of communism:

This is an awful book. It is very poorly written and dull to read … it has no insights to make it worth the bother of ploughing through its dreadful prose.”

On the other hand his review The Whisperers which was also published in 2008 is somewhat more positive:

“A fascinating book about the interior lives of ordinary Russians … it tells us more about the Soviet system than any other book I know. Beautifully written, it is a rich and deeply moving history, which leaves the reader awed, humbled, yet uplifted … Figes visits their ordeals with enormous compassion, and he brings their history to life with his superb story-telling skills. I hope he writes for ever.”

Here is the article: Historian Orlando Figes admits posting Amazon reviews that trashed rivals and Robert Service gives his own point of view: The shame of Orlando Figes

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