Dear Facebook

re: recent changes to Facebook Connect/Open Graph I am concerned that I had to ‘opt out’ rather than ‘opt in’ to letting Facebook and my friends on Facebook release my private information to third parties not of my choosing. This is a disturbing trend, and it’s clearly not in keeping with the spirit (nor perhaps the letter) of your agreement with the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. Frankly, it feels like Beacon all over again, with OpenID grafted on top of it. I will continue to tighten my privacy settings and scale back my use of Facebook until such time as you have default settings and policies/practices that treat my privacy with respect, rather than making me feel like you’d sell my information to anyone and everyone, and just hope I won’t notice. best, August C. Bourré

Doctorow’s Syndrome

The behaviour of those suffering from Doctorow’s Syndrome is characterized by the obsessive need to share information—regardless of the value of that information or the utility of sharing it—for the purpose of asserting their moral superiority. Though rarely contagious, frequent exposure to patients suffering from Doctorow’s Syndrome may result in a reaction known as The Hobbes Effect. Treatment consists of regular aural or written applications of the phrase, “shut the fuck up already, Cory.”

It’s Not Just A Good Idea, It’s the Law

If there’s anything folks love to do on the Internet, it’s talk and argue, argue and talk. Anyone who spends enough time online will, whether they know it or not, eventually run into Godwin’s Law: As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1. There are numerous variations and corollaries, and after eleven years of talking about books and with Book People, both in person and online (including an absolutely epic party last night, thrown by the one and only Julie Wilson), I’ve come up with a corollary of my own*. I hereby present you with August’s Corollary to Godwin’s Law: As an English-language literary discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving William Shakespeare, James Joyce, or Ulysses approaches 1. *What finally tipped the scales for formulating the Corollary was Perdita Felicien’s appearance on Canada Reads.

God Bless You, Charlie Stross

Last June I followed all of the BookCampToronto posts on Twitter, and read as many of the follow-ups and round-ups and blog posts dissecting it afterward as I could. Most of them focused on e-books and social media and various technologies (though I’m sure there were other things discussed at the “uncoference”—is it okay that I don’t like terms like “unconference?” ’cause I really don’t), which are still the hot topics in the publishing industry. Ever since then I’ve wanted to collect all my thoughts and opinions about e-books into a single coherent post. The problem is that even after almost ten months of turning them over in my head, I’m still not sure I really know what all my thoughts and opinions are. Clearly it’s time to start writing. I’m going to try to have something for you by the end of next week, but there’s been so much… Continue Reading

It’s Just A Blog

You can ignore the rest of this post, because the bits that I’m about to quote are the only bits that are relevant to what I want to talk about. Adam Greenfield writes: The reason people keep blogs – let me be more straightforward: the reason I keep a blog – is to express opinions. Precisely to not, always, have to be consistent or sensible or bound by a duty to the truth. To not, always, have to be responsible. To not, always, answer to the same standards I’d expect of (say) a writer for the New York Times or the Guardian. To be full of shit, if I feel like it. And, what’s more (and this goes to the bozo who whined about my ostensible tone of “world-weary superiority”), to be full of shit in whatever style I feel like adopting. This is nearly identical to something I wrote… Continue Reading


There is this thing out there called Goodreads, which appears to be a kind of Facebook for books and book people. I signed up today to see what it’s all about. I only have one friend so far, so it’s not very “social” for me yet. If you’re the sort of person who’s into that kind of thing, we should be friends. I’ve added a little under half of my books to the account already, and will be adding more as the week progresses.

Bits and Bobs

I’ve been reading through the Caustic Cover Critic‘s archives at work (hey, I have that kind of job), and I just noticed this evening that David Drummond, the book designer I mentioned in a post this weekend, actually has a blog, where he looks at some of the approaches he takes to designing covers. His comments aren’t as in-depth as I would like (they tend to be limited to only a sentence or two), but it’s still a pretty cool “inside baseball” kind of thing for those of us, like myself, who geek out over both books and graphic design. I’ve mentioned this on Twitter, but since I know most of you aren’t following me there, I thought I’d mention it here. A.L. Kennedy on Writing is seriously the best writing column on the Web. I know you aren’t reading it (I know you aren’t, don’t give me that look),… Continue Reading

Sundry Things Number Two

It’s been quite some time since I posted an entry; no doubt those of you who don’t follow me on Twitter will have simply assumed that I’ve been eaten by dragons, or abducted by aliens, or sequestered in some dungeon by shadowy men in black Ray-Bans. None of these things are true, but they’re rather more interesting than the truth, the truth being that I’ve been struggling with a pretty severe bout of depression for most of the last year and a half (for reasons I have more than once alluded to, but will not go deeper into today), and have done little more than stare glassy-eyed at television and video games. I don’t vilifiy these things the way some do, but I’ve certainly let them take up more of my free time than I should have. Well, to be fair, I’ve also taken up running, but that’s a far… Continue Reading

Wooden Fish Update

Well, it’s official: I’ve decided to relaunch Wooden Fish. All that’s up right now is a placeholder until I figure out the specifics of how I’m going to organize it, how I’ll accept submissions, the new look, and so on. Hopefully the more important bits will be figured out in the next week or two, though I think that it could be several months until it launches officially with its first issue. Any and all queries regarding Wooden Fish can and should be directed to Thanks for your time, your input, and your support!

The Book Cover Archive

A long-time acquaintance of mine, graphic designer Ben Pieratt (known for, among other things, being the guy behind the FWIS book cover site), has left his old agency—and the old book cover site—behind, and launched The Book Cover Archive. It’s an amazing site that not only highlights well-designed book covers but also cross references those covers using a pretty comprehensive selection of meta-data, including not only the obvious things like author, publisher, and designer, but also art director, photographer, illustrator and genre. For those of my readers who might decry the lack of Canadian titles, they do accept recommendations to be added to the Archive. And of course there’s the obligatory blog, which actually debuted some time ago, and which I’ve been following with interest. I hope that you all get as much enjoyment from exploring the Archive as I have.