Apple’s woes in its ongoing e-book price-fixing case could end up costing the company close to $1 billion. This week, US District Judge Denise Cote ruled that 33 states can proceed with a lawsuit seeking triple damages for “injury inflicted on their economies and their citizens.” Legal proceedings in the other 17 states are also in the works but are represented as a class action. The ruling was in response to Apple’s attempt to block the lawsuit before the trial scheduled for July 2014. The judge also said there is “much to be done” in regards to antitrust law.
The other publishers in the lawsuit agreed to settle and pay about $160 million, most of which was in the form of refunds for Kindle users. Apple may have bitten off more than it can chew by deciding to fight the action rather than settle. If it loses the final case, antitrust law allows penalties that can result in triple the original damages. Apple is also piling up serious legal bills and criticism from the court-appointed monitor Michael Bromwich, who claims Apple has not been cooperative to his requests for information.
Food, shoes and maps from literature
The current trend in literary scholarship these days seems to be detailing what characters ate, where they ate it and what they were wearing at the time. A new book by graphic designer Dinah Fried (is that a real name or a pun?) offers up photographs of food dishes supposedly eaten by famous characters in literature. She includes the gruel from Oliver Twist (why?) , clam chowder from Moby Dick, and of course tea from Alice in Wonderland. The book consists of fifty pictures that started as a class project while the author was a student at the Rhode Island School of Design.
If food isn’t your thing, you might be interested to hear J.K. Rowling discusses the “myth and power of shoes” as a possible topic when she is guest editor for Women’s Hour, a BBC Radio 4 program. Rowling has a point, shoes are prevalent in literature in stories ranging from Cinderella’s glass slipper to Dorothy’s iconic red shoes in The Wizard of Oz. More recently, the television series Sex and the City often featured shows as part of stories and led to the now famous quote by Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) that “You can take me out of Manhattan, but you can’t take me out of my shoes!”
Last but not least, if you find yourself craving to know where Sherlock Holmes lived in London, you can visit the website Placing Literature. The site is a collaboration of scholars, readers, authors and a software developer and is funded by the Arts Council of New Haven, CT. The home page (http://www.placingliterature.com/home) lets you start with a map that lets you zero in on world locations or you can do specific searches for authors or cities. A search for J.K. Rowlings turned up no results, but offered to let us enter the data ourselves. There is no information given about screening or vetting data points, but there is a way to report errors.
And the prize goes to…
Congratulations to Donna Tartt, winner of this year’s Pulitzer for fiction. Ms. Tartt is the author of The Goldfinch, a 700-plus page epic about a boy who loses his mother at age 13 in a bomb explosion and weaves his way to adulthood while clinging to a mysterious painting that reminds him of her. The book has already received lavish praise and reviews from critics and was on various bestseller lists throughout the year. This is Tartt’s third book and took her eleven years to write.
In January of this year, crowds of visitors to the Frick Museum in New York braved the cold to stand in line for an exhibit of paintings by Dutch masters. The museum anticipated that the main attraction would be Vermeer’s “Girl With a Pearl Earring,” the subject of a book and movie in 2003 starring Scarlett Johansson. However, the lines formed to see The Goldfinch, a painting by Carel Fabritius dating to 1654 that was the centerpiece of Tartt’s book.
Bits and pieces
E.L. Doctorow, author of Ragtime, will be awarded the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction during this summer’s National Book Festival in Washington, DC……one of the most noted time travel novels, Time and Again by Jack Finney, has gotten a major facelift for the first-time ever e-book version just released by Simon & Schuster. Finney wove a fictional story around actual photographs from the 19th century that have been fully restored for the new version……in another sign that graphic novels have gone mainstream, the Ypsilanti District Library (Michigan) received a $7,000 award from the Will Eisner family foundation to increase its holdings and showcase some of Eisner’s best works……in related news, Comic-Con International has named the 2014 nominations for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards that is given to writers and artists for outstanding work in comics media.