French Books USA: Week in Review

July 23, 2014 | By FRENCH CULTURE BOOKS
-What is that? -An ancient human artefact : a book.

French publishing house Short Editions, has begun testing its algorithm made to determine literary quality. According to co-founder Quentin Pleplé, the project, which is currently evaluating more than 25,000 works with Data mining and Big Data, is better at detecting “the absence of quality” than its presence.

Meanwhile, digital learning management systems are gaining more and more ground in education. A test-run of the digital textbooks accross France that began in 2009 has come to an end. In view of the positive results on the wide experiment, additional public funding will be made available for research and there are plans to expand the reach of the digital program.

As business-savvy Amazon pushes forward with a new plan to launch a Netflix-style monthly book service with Kindle Unlimited, the European commission has officially launched an investigation into the company's potential violations of laws against monopolies.

This week the London Review of Books is featuring a fascinating piece on Jacques Derrida’s The Death Penalty discussed by renowned American philosopher Judith Butler; and, in the Boston Review, James Boylan sheds new light on Samuel Beckett’s early years, well before fame and the heyday of the “Theatre of the Absurd”.

On a lighter note, children, young and old, are going to be delighted about the discovery of a 1960’s picture book by Babar’s father, Jean de Brunhoff. Though no elephants are featured in this story there is an adorable little savanna giraffe called Serafina on vacation at her grandmother’s home. On top of this exciting news in children’s literature, France 5 and Folivari have made an agreement for the visually charming stories of Ernest & Célestine to be adapted for a 26-episode television series. Inspired by Belgian author and illustrator Gabrielle Vincent’s original novels and the 2014 Oscar-nominated film adaptation, the new TV series aims to stay true to the magnetic, sweet spirit of its predecessors.


Keep up with the latest news on the French literary scene in France and the U.S. with the French Book Department’s weekly paper trail. For daily updates on events, blogs and translations, follow us on Twitter @FrenchBooksUSA. 

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