Obama lists Pakistani author’s book among his best of 2017

Mohsin Hamid’s ‘Exit West’ has been praised by critics and book-lovers alike.
Updated 09 January 2018
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Obama lists Pakistani author’s book among his best of 2017

LAHORE: Former US President Barack Obama has made a point of ending each year by releasing a list of the books and songs that he most enjoyed over the past year and 2017’s list included a novel by Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid.
“During my presidency, I started a tradition of sharing my reading lists and playlists,” Obama wrote on Facebook at the end of the year. “It was a nice way to reflect on the works that resonated with me and lift up authors and artists from around the world. With some extra time on my hands this year to catch up, I wanted to share the books and music that I enjoyed most.”
Hamid’s “Exit West,” a novel that was published in 2017 and deals with emigration and refugee life, made the most recent list. The author’s previous books include “Moth Smoke,” “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” and “How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia.”
The novel, which is part fantasy, follows the journey of a young couple in an unnamed city who seek to escape the civil war raging around them through a series of mysterious doors that take them further and further away.
Hamid’s book has been praised by critics and book-lovers alike — it made it on to Time magazine’s top ten novels of 2017 list and was also longlisted for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction. The book’s film rights have been purchased by American film making team the Russo Brothers, so fans can expect a feature-length film based on the story in the future.
Obama’s list includes a diverse range of female authors and other international writers, including Jesmyn Wards “Sing, Unburied, Sing” and “The Power” by Naomi Alderman.


What We Are Reading Today: All the News That’s Fit to Sell

Updated 18 December 2018
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What We Are Reading Today: All the News That’s Fit to Sell

Author: James T. Hamilton

That market forces drive the news is not news. Whether a story appears in print, on television, or on the internet depends on who is interested, its value to advertisers, the costs of assembling the details, and competitors’ products. But in All the News That’s Fit to Sell, economist James Hamilton shows just how this happens. Furthermore, many complaints about journalism — media bias, soft news, and pundits as celebrities — arise from the impact of this economic logic on news judgments.
This is the first book to develop an economic theory of news, analyze evidence across a wide range of media markets on how incentives affect news content, and offer policy conclusions. Media bias, for instance, was long a staple of the news. Hamilton’s analysis of newspapers from 1870 to 1900 reveals how nonpartisan reporting became the norm. A hundred years later, some partisan elements reemerged as, for example, evening news broadcasts tried to retain young female viewers with stories aimed at their (Democratic) political interests. Examination of story selection on the network evening news programs from 1969 to 1998 shows how cable competition, deregulation, and ownership changes encouraged a shift from hard news about politics toward more soft news about entertainers.
Hamilton concludes by calling for lower costs of access to government information, a greater role for nonprofits in funding journalism, the development of norms that stress hard news reporting, and the defining of digital and Internet property rights to encourage the flow of news.