Books Acquired, Sometime in the Past Two Weeks


Steve Kemper’s Labyrinth of Kingdom looks pretty cool. Here’s publisher Norton’s write up:

In 1849 Heinrich Barth joined a small British expedition into unexplored regions of Islamic North and Central Africa. One by one his companions died, but he carried on alone, eventually reaching the fabled city of gold, Timbuktu. His five-and-a-half-year, 10,000-mile adventure ranks among the greatest journeys in the annals of exploration, and his discoveries are considered indispensable by modern scholars of Africa.

Yet because of shifting politics, European preconceptions about Africa, and his own thorny personality, Barth has been almost forgotten. The general public has never heard of him, his epic journey, or his still-pertinent observations about Africa and Islam; and his monumental five-volume Travels and Discoveries in North and Central Africa is rare even in libraries. Though he made his journey for the British government, he has never had a biography in English. Barth and his achievements have fallen through a crack in history.


Kevin Kopelson’s Confessions of a Plagiaristnot really sure what to make of this one. Publisher Counterpath’s blurb:

In college, Kevin Kopelson passed off a paper by his older brother Robert as his own. In graduate school, he plagiarized nearly an entire article from a respected scholar, and then later, having met her and been asked if he would send something for her to read, sent that essay he had plagiarized from her work. This is not to mention the many instances in which he quoted others extensively, not passing their work off as his own, but substituting it for his own words when his words were what were called for. Until recently, such plagiarisms and thefts had been his most shameful secret, shared only with a trusted few. But then Kopelson—now an English professor and the author of a number of respected books, most recently 2007’s Sedaris—wrote an essay entitled “My Cortez,” which was published in the London Review of Books in 2008. It was a satirical literary confession, an exploration of Kopelson’s personal and professional life via his various acts of plagiarism. From that jumping off point and exploring also his other vices, Confessions of a Plagiarist is the compelling and clever retelling (not to mention renovation) of Kopelson’s life, one transgression at a time.


8 thoughts on “Books Acquired, Sometime in the Past Two Weeks”

  1. And now Kopelson makes money by writing about what he didn’t write? At least hustlers manage to sleep soundly after not working.


    1. Hmmm…I doubt he’s related to Karl (or John!) but I’ll ask the author, Steve Kemper, who has kindly consented to talk with me about the book in an interview.


  2. Kind of interested in the plagiarism book despite the uncertainty of yourself and some of the comments here. I’m studying to be a teacher (and hopefully later go on to be a professor) and this book seems as though it may help in identifying plagiarism easier? I don’t know for sure. Thoughts?


    1. It’s more like a memoir. As far as catching plagiarism—-trust me: it’s a piece of cake. No worries. Just attend to the writing and plagiarism will always out (I caught a plagiarized paper just this week). Most plagiarism is straight up cut and paste or patchwriting, and most of it results from laziness/procrastination/desperation. The laziest plagiarist-student will cut and paste whole cloth; those who put more effort in will replace nouns (and the occasional verb) with synonyms, but plagiarism always evinces at the syntactical level, in my experience.


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