Human Smoke is chock-full of small, often powerful but unrelated scenes. What you get is a Jackson Pollack painting in audio: a lot of vivid colors and absolutely no shape to any of it. It's a helter-skelter of disjointed events and it's up to us to connect the dots.
Amazon beats local bookstores on price, and beats them on digital sales completely. Most people think local bookstores don't stand a chance. Plenty have done well enough, but there's a way out of this mess anyway. We can fix bookstores so they survive for decades to come. In two easy steps.
If the Justice Department prevails over Apple on behalf of Amazon, it will mark the end of books as we now love them, and it will mark the beginning of monopoly for Amazon, Walmart, and every other megastore that undercuts its competitors by lowball pricing.
As more established, quality authors who kept the rights to their work figure out that it's to their advantage to publish themselves on Kindle rather than beg for contracts from "big" publishers, there will be an explosion of great work available in e-book form.