Friday, October 14, 2011

Around the Word

Prae tell: This year's Republican presidential debates have not exactly provided many teachable rhetorical moments. But the language blog Logophilius managed to find an enlightening one buried in Tuesday's GOP confab at Dartmouth -- a textbook example of praetoritio. That's the term for the "rhetorical device in which a speaker invokes a subject by saying that it shouldn't or wouldn't be invoked," writes Logophilius blogger Andy Hollandbeck. When Jon Huntsman teased fellow Mormon Mitt Romney by prefacing his question, "Since this discussion is all about economics, Governor Romney, I promise this won't be about religion," he used a praetoritio. Now we'll be on the lookout for the praetoritio -- and the apophasis and paralipsis -- throughout the campaign season.

Book Award blues: The shortlist for the National Book Award was announced on Wednesday, and the fiction list has some literary commentators scratching their heads. The titles are mostly low-profile works, and two acclaimed novels from this year -- The Art of Fielding and The Marriage Plot -- were overlooked entirely. After several years of surprising short lists, Salon writer Laura Miller is fed up with the "esoteric" nature of NBA. Readers don't want to be recommended a book by a "writer's writer" that they won't enjoy, and Miller argues that "the NBA has come to indicate a book that somebody else thinks you ought to read, whether you like it or not." Will you be reading this year's NBA shortlist, or are the recommended titles too much like the "literary equivalent of spinach?"

Publisaur: One of the favorite parlor games in the book world is guessing when the publishing house as we know it goes extinct. This week digital publishing guru Mike Shatzkin raised some e-stablishment eyebrows  by predicting the end may well be in sight. Writing on his influential Idea Logical blog, Shatzkin argues that e-books will make up the majority of the market sooner than we think, and that more and more websites, media outlets and brands will choose to just publish their own e-books rather than share revenue with a publisher. If no one buys print books, who needs a publisher? Take a look at his provocative argument and let us know what you think: are traditional publishers done for in the digital age?

Speechmaker Matchmaker: Vital Speeches kingpin David Murray pointed us to a snazzy new service that connects speakers looking for exposure with event organizers and media outlets. SpeakerFile bills itself as "the global source for thought leaders," and believes "there's a better way to publish the expert talent that lies undiscovered in many organizations." The company strives to connect these "key opinion leaders" with speakers bureaus and event organizers, and to help companies and events find qualified speakers and experts. SpeakerFile is currently pre-registering qualified speakers and you can sign up on their website here.

Boys (and girls) club: Book clubs have customarily been single-sex events; very rarely do the genders ever mix over novels, pastries and red wine. But in a marketing push for two new novels that appeal to both sexes, HarperPerennial and Plume are trying out a few new meeting moves to bridge the gender gap. The Ultra Violet Reading Challenge promotes the new novels Domestic Violets and The Violets of March and encourages violet-themed co-ed book parties, with the publishers offering prizes and a chance to talk to the authors online. Will you be joining in on the co-ed book club fun? (h/t GalleyCat)

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