Today in books and publishing: Herman Melville has his day online; a Colombian prostitute hired by the Secret Service has a book deal; Amazon coming after our children; the Asian Literary Prize loses its Man.
Searching for Moby Dick. It's not quite as elaborate as their layered interactive on Winsor McCay's Little Nemo comic strips from a few days ago. But still, it's great to see Google celebrating the 161st publication anniversary of Herman Melville's Moby Dick in today's Doodle. The woodcut-like image depicts Captain Ahab wielding a sphere, leering at the great white whale in the distance. It's always a good time to appreciate literary classics, but Moby Dick has been in vogue lately. A project based in the UK called Moby Dick Big Read has been corralling famous people into recording chapters for free public listening. Tilda Swinton, Stephen Fry, and David Cameron have all participated so far. And next month, a bunch of bookish New Yorkers will reading the book from cover to cover, all in one marathon weekend. Who else is reading Moby Dick these days? None other than Barack Obama. [Google]
Book to tell inside story about that Secret Service sex scandal. One voice was notably missing in the fallout from the revelation that President Obama's Secret Service agents in were shacking up with prostitutes in Colombia—the voice of the prostitutes. Dania Londoño, one of the prostitutes these johns hired, has been writing a book about her involvement in the scandal. Room Service has been picked up by Colombian publishers, according to Semana magazine. It will tell Londoño’s story of growing up in a drug-trafficking household on San Andres Island, the abuse her boss inflicted on her as a salesperson in Cartagena, and her decision to become a prostitute in order to support a son. The Secret Serviceman in question was supposed to pay her $800 dollars to sleep with him, but he drunkenly passed out and "slept all night." The scandal broke when Londoño complained loudly in the hotel that he hadn't paid her the amount agreed upon. [Latin American Herald Tribune]