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The LOOP Print Emailer


The LOOP Print Emailer

1 June 2000


NZ Book Chart




Publishing heavyweight Random House is teaming up with online audio-book seller to produce digital versions of audio-books specifically for distribution over the Internet. The partnership includes investment in by Random House, marking their second foray into net-ware, after Random House's investment in Xlibris, an online print-to-order bookseller, last month.

Also last week, online magazine bought, another online distributor of spoken-word material, further extending their access to the readings and lectures of authors.


Egyptian students of religion at Cairo's Al-Azhar university last week rioted against 'A Banquet for Seaweed', by Syrian author Haider Haider, which they believed to have insulted Islam. Riot police used teargas and rubber bullets to disperse the several thousand protesters. The book, written in 1983 and on its tenth print run in Egypt, includes a Marxist atheist character who derides religion. Refa'i Ahmed Taha, the exiled leader of al-Gama'a al-Islamiya (Islamic Group), Egypts largest Moslem militant group, has urged other Egyptian youths to follow the students' lead in protesting against "secularists, heretics and atheists" like Haider, who are a "disease eating away at the nation".


Several hundred Iranian students in three provinces last month rallied in support of free press and an end to press restrictions. The provincial rallies followed an earlier protest in Tehran, where stone-throwing, tyre-burning students made clear their frustration at the crackdown on reformist newspapers and a perceived political bias in the news reporting of state television. In the preceding weeks, Iran's hardline judiciary, loyal to the iron-fisted Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, banned without trial 16 pro-reform publications, for allegedly "disparaging Islam and the religious elements of the Islamic revolution".


On May 26 1897, Bram Stoker's Dracula went on sale in London. It was not a great success, only moderately popular as a kind of 'thriller' in Stoker's lifetime. Since 1897 however, Dracula has never been out of print, and has spawned a genre, a lifestyle and a moderno-mythic fascination far greater in scope and power than its author might have hoped or feared.

Bela Lugosi's 1931 film version of Dracula re-ignited popular intrigue - since, Hollywood has spewed out over 100 screen-accounts of Stoker's vampiric protagonist. In the 80s and 90s, Anne Rice took up Stoker's literate legacy, and helped establish the vampire novel as a stand-alone genre of horror fiction. A search for 'vampire fiction' at the Barnes and Noble website yields over 450 titles.

Dracula is, of course, intimately associated with Transylvania, the home of the fictional Dracula and the historical Vlad the Impaler. Prince Vlad, although not ever suspected of being himself a vampire, was the bloodthirsty and cruel tyrant of Romania who repelled the invasion of the Ottoman Empire. His personality lives on in Transylvania as a folk-hero liberator of sorts, and as the proto-Dracula. May 25 saw the beginning of 'Dracula 2000', the second World Dracula Congress, sponsored by The Transylvanian Society of Dracula and held at Poiana Brasov in Transylvania. Dracula continues to rule the Transylvanian tourist industry as visitors flood in, whether to hear scholarly lectures on the theme of 'Dracula in the Third Millenium: Redefining the Diabolic from the Perspective of Contemporary Society', or to explore sites of mythical or historical interest.

Born this week 103 years ago, a timeless terror, living amongst us today and, one suspects, tomorrow still.


The New Zealand Book Council and Wellington's Goethe-Institut are joining ranks to present an evening in celebration of German Nobel laureate Gunter Grass. Renowned as a biting social and political critic of the highest order, Grass is Germany's foremost post-war literary figure.

The celebration will be held at the National Library Auditorium on Thursday 15 June, from 5.00pm. The program includes a lecture by Professor James Bade and a screening of the movie, Tin Drum. Phone 499 1569 for booking information and ticket prices. There is also an exhibition of Gunter Grass's art work on display at the Goethe-Institut Cultural Centre, 150 Cuba Street.


The last week of May brings to our skies the seven stars of Matariki, or the Pleiades constellation, and the new moon which heralds the beginning of the Maori New Year. Te Papa is presenting a range of events in celebration. Celebrated Maori actor and writer Apirana Taylor will give four free storytelling sessions, narrating in a combination of Maori and English, and incorporating both guitar and putorino (Maori flute) into his performance.

Hear Apirana Taylor deliver Nga Purakau No Te Kono (Stories from the Kit) at these times:
Saturday 3 June, 1-2pm
Sunday 4 June, 1-2pm
Saturday 10 June, 1-2pm
Sunday 11 June, 1-2pm

Late June will bring a program of local Kapa Haka entertainment - stay tuned to your LOOP emailer for details.


NZ Book Chart

Top Ten New Zealand Books

Previous placing in brackets

1. A Day in the Life of New Zealand (Random) (4)
2. Silent Evidence, John Goulter (Random) (3)
3. Full Circle, Bob Jones (Hazard) (2)
4. Bent Not Broken, Lauren Roche (Steele Roberts) (0)
5. Frontier: Battle for the North Island, Peter Maxwell (Celebrity) (0)
6. Quintessence, Christine Lealand (Penguin) (0)
7. Seasons in Tuscany, Allan Parker (Penguin) (9)
8. Golden Deeds, Catherine Chidgey (VUP) (0)
9. Allons Enfants, Linda Burgess (Longacre) (0)
10. Massacre at Passchendaele, Glyn Harper (HarperCollins) (1)


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