Author Spotlight: 'Going Bovine' By Libba Bray

Today’s Author Spotlight is on Libba Bray who joins us  on the blog tour for her latest novel Going Bovine. A world away from the Gemma Doyle trilogy, Libba introduces us to Cameron, a 16-year-old boy diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, aka Mad Cow Disease, and facing certain death. Or is he? A cure and a chance to save the world (long story) may just lie with a punk rock angel named Dulcie if he chooses to accept her mission and set out with his dwarf friend Gonzo. Then again. it all might just be a hallucination conjured up by his disease-riddled mind. Either way (no spoilers here) it’s a crazy, thoroughly enjoyable ride.

Going Bovine is out in book stores now, but we’re giving away a free copy to the first three commenters who share a memory from their teen years where humor helped you get through a difficult time.

going+bovineYpulse: How in the world did the idea for Going Bovine come to you?

Libba Bray: I know! Nutty, right? (pause)
Oh.
You want an answer. Crap. Well, it starts as most books do, with a random assortment of ideas, memories, questions, and too much coffee. Years ago, my mother told me about a man in our hometown who had contracted the human variant of mad cow disease. He saw hallucinations, one of which was a wall of flames that would pop up into his field of vision. I was horrified by that, horrified by the idea of going crazy, of never really knowing what was real or not. And then I thought, “Well, how do we ever really know what’s real or not?” As my son asked, “How do we know if we’re really living our lives or if this is somebody’s dream?” Great question. We don’t know. And that got me to thinking about the nature of existence and all the big questions: Why are we here? Where do we go next? What really matters? How do we assign meaning to our…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“I honestly wouldn't like to communicate with brands, unless it is to solve problems their brand is causing.”—Female, 27, MI

Why don’t people seem to care as much about fake followers on Instagram as on other platforms? Because while Facebook and Twitter are bashed for feeds full of fake news, no one holds Instagram to the same standard. The image-centric platform is inherently “a hyperreality,” where no one’s candid shot is truly spontaneous, and photo-shop freely fills feeds. Where does it get tricky? With Influencers, who are expected to garner true engagements for brands. (Real Life)

Influencer marketing faced another tricky situation this week when PopSugar replaced influencers’ affiliate links with their own. RewardStyle and its Instagram product LikeToKnow.it’s network of content creators’ photos and sometimes entire feeds “were copied to the site via “thousands of ‘falsified vanity pages’ containing millions of images belonging to the network’s content creators.” The group is planning on seeking a class-action lawsuit on their intellectual property and for the lost revenue that PopSugar made each time a customer clicked to purchase. (Racked)

Colleges are giving out more merit-based aid to win over top students. Tuition discount rates have risen to a record 49.1% for first-time, full-time freshman attending private universities, up over 10% from ten years prior—according to the National Association of College and University Business Officers. By using data-driven analysis to calculate just how much aid is likely to lure a top student in, colleges are seeing success upping their prestige. However, the practice has also “created a closing of the doors for low-income students,” according to one policy analyst. (WSJ)

Apple is betting that young consumers could bring back magazines via a magazine subscription service. The tech company took a gamble by buying Texture, a subscription service for over 200 titles that’s been dubbed the “Netflix of Magazine Publishing.” The app aggregates articles into a single browsing experience, rather than being separated by title, and pays the included publications. Apple has announced plans to integrate the service into their Apple News app, the latest incarnation of their less-than-successful Newsstand app. (Bloomberg)

Function of Beauty is customizing hair care, blending up shampoo and conditioner for each customer based off a five-question quiz. Beauty companies big and small have hopped on the Customization Nation trend, and Function of Beauty takes that to the next level with their hyper-personalized hair care set. They're customizing everything from the fragrance to the chemical components, and even going so far as to print the purchaser’s name on each product. The founder explains, "Every single person is unique and different...why negate that instead of catering to it?" (Paper)

“[Allison Raskin] is open about her struggles with mental health, and she is also funny.”—Female, 19, CA

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