Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee.
Announcing the winners of the 2013 Goodreads Choice Awards, the only major book awards decided by readers.
Just me or the the fiction winner a bit of a surprise. A name author, but the book itself has seemed pretty quiet. Perhaps further proof that what the literary world is talking about and what readers care about are often strikingly different.
Quebec announced on Monday that the province intends to introduce legislation to limit the discount of new print and digital books to 10 per cent.
“I am proud to announce that the government is going ahead with this measure will protect the identity and culture of Quebec,” Maka Kotto, Minister of Culture and Communications, said in a statement.
“I always thought it would be really cool if we released the R version and then we had an NC-17 version that we released a few weeks later. Everybody could go and enjoy the R version, and then if they really wanted to see it again and get a little bit more gritty with it then have that NC-17 version out there as well. That is my idea, but the fans and the studio [Universal Pictures] will benefit from the double dip,” Brunetti told Collider.
“A love of reading can be an all-encompassing thing. Some of us fill our walls with books and/or our ereaders with files, but it’s not enough. We want the Harry Potter sweatshirts and those Toms that have dictionary pages printed on them and the book page Christmas wreaths and the necklaces with Jane Austen’s portrait on them. Surrounding ourselves with bookish-ness is how we nerd out. And sometimes that can mean taking scissors to old paperbacks, but let’s now introduce assumption number two: it’s with intention and forethought.”—In Defense of Crafting With Books
In honor of the most wonderful time of the year, we used our latest reader poll to ask about your favorite books to give as gifts. 315 Riot readers answered the call, sharing 534 unique titles. Here are the top 20 selections. (View the full data set.)
This is an interesting mix of classics, modern classics, contemporary hits, and children’s books. To me, the sleeper/surprise is Ready Player One. What do you think? Did your favorites make it?
The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (20 votes)
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (19 votes)
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (11)
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (9)
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (8)
The Little Prince by Antoine de Sainte Exupery (8)
Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss (8)
Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed (8)
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (7)
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (7)
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (6)
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (6)
The Giving Tree Shel Silverstein (6)
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (6)
Life of Pi by Yann Martel (6)
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (6)
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (6)
Mr. De Caro, 39, is a character who seems to have been conjured jointly by Jorge Luis Borges and the Italian crime novelist Andrea Camilleri: a rare-book lover; a figure in the nebulous orbit of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi; a sometime consultant in the renewable-energy field; and, by his own admission to prosecutors in official court documents, the architect of the most successful forgery of a book by Galileo ever executed.
What a crazy story. I mean, was this guy tracked down by world-renowned symbologist Dr. Robert Langdon?
And now, as we kick off another Year in Reading, we become the postcard collectors, learning where the minds of some of our favorite writers and thinkers traveled in 2013.
Relatives of late sci-fi icon Isaac Asimov are suing the prolific writer’s literary agency, saying it’s refusing their demands to take a hike. Asimov’s daughter Robyn and widow Janet say they hired Trident Media Group to rep the “I, Robot” writer’s estate in 2008 “to exclusively maintain, sell, license and otherwise exploit” Asimov’s works.
Over the past two weeks, Mr. Grunberg has spent several hours a day writing his novella, while a battery of sensors and cameras tracked his brain waves, heart rate, galvanic skin response (an electrical measure of emotional arousal) and facial expressions. Next fall, when the book is published, some 50 ordinary people in the Netherlands will read it under similarly controlled circumstances, sensors and all.
It took a good 12-14 years, and many books, before the money became a happy factor of my writing career. If you think, my first novel was published back in 1986 and for that I had been given an advance of the grand sum of £200.
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee.
In 1936 — perhaps the darkest year of his life — F. Scott Fitzgerald was convalescing in a hotel in Asheville, North Carolina, when he offered his nurse a list of 22 books he thought were essential reading. The list, above, is written in the nurse’s hand.
The British marketing research agency Voxburner recently surveyed more than 1,400 people, ages 16 to 24, about their media-consumption habits. The survey found that 62% of the respondents said they prefer printed books to e-books.
Interesting result. Though, to prefer something doesn’t necessarily mean you will use it more often. For example, I “prefer” hand-written letters, but email is cheaper, faster, and easier.
Barnes & Noble has turned a profit in its second quarter of trading, but sales in its Nook business have dropped by 32%. The US bookseller reported second quarter earnings for the three months to 26th October were up 13.7% to $76m (before EBITDA), in comparison to the same period a year ago. The profits were achieved despite falling sales, as second quarter consolidated revenues decreased 8.0%, to $1.7bn, compared to a year earlier.
So sales down, but profit up. I wonder if B&N’s closing of underperforming stores over the last year might be one of the reasons for this. Better to take in less money and be profitable than to see revenue go up and lose money. Those Nook numbers, on the other hand….
But in 2010, the American Booksellers Association saw its first increase in membership in many years, and by 2013 the sector had recovered enough that independent bookstores are once again seen as critical to the success of the book industry. For their role in leading the resurgence of independent bookselling, ABA CEO Oren Teicher and the ABA board have been chosen as PW’s Person of the Year.
A good sentiment, but I wonder if the commendation shouldn’t have been giving to “Jane and Joe Bookseller”–you know, the people on the floors of independent bookstores that make them what they are.
“If you take a mirror into a dark room, close the door, whisper “Common Core” three times and spin in a circle, legend has it that a sinister creature, born from the minds of Bill Gates, President Obama, and the faceless bureaucracy of the American educational system shall appear to you. WARNING! This creature feeds on the souls of children… or something. Maybe it feeds on your soul, and then you go after the kids?”—Rioter and teacher Josh breaks it down. Common Core: What It Means For Fiction in Schools
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee.
Clearly, Meyer’s sentence variety is lacking compared to Collins and Rowling. But in her defense, repeatedly starting sentences off the same way doesn’t mean the prose is bad—it just means it’s repetitive. Hemingway uses the same 50 openings (“There was a,” “He did not”) in 5.3 percent of all sentences in The Sun Also Rises.
So here’s the thing: out of all your wizarding students and house elves and headmasters and Death Eaters and muggles and centaurs, there is really only one person who determines the course of the Harry Potter series.
“We had one shot where one of our tributes is killed at the cornucopia, and we had to move where the arrow hit him, from one part to another part,” she told Vulture. “It used to hit him in the face, and now it hits him in the chest. But it was really pretty minor, all things considered.”
Apparently, this was the difference between Catching Fire getting a PG-13 rating rather than an R rating. What a weird system we have.
That collection, it turns out, includes audio and video recordings of more than 10,000 events, going back to 1949, among them, not only the classical music recitals and chamber concerts that have long been a mainstay of the Y’s arts programming, but also literary events — readings by Dylan Thomas, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, Vladimir Nabokov and Susan Sontag — and pop performances by Joan Baez, Leonard Cohen, the Shirelles and others.
“One of the great thrills of thrillers is the specific and intense fascination they have with villains. What other form lets you bend down to Hannibal Lecter’s mask so he can whisper in your ear? There’s a prickly pleasure to walking inside these darkest of human rooms, seeing them and smelling them and running your finger along their sticky walls.”—Our Hero the Villain
“Would you rather… Have to start every conversation of your life with a quote from a book OR not be able to remember any quotes from any books but be able to speak normally?”—Would You Rather for Book Nerds
Harry Potter looks for Platform 9 3/4 in Penn Station. Awesome.
Hardcover book sales in the U.S. are up over 10% through the first eight months of 2013, according to the latest numbers from the Association of American Publishers. At the same time, adult ebook sales are only up 4.8%; all U.S. ebook sales, including children’s and religious ebooks, are down about 5%.
“The main factor contributing to the problem of book discovery is the sheer volume of books out there. Anyone with a computer can now self-publish a book. But because the number of books published every year is growing dramatically, especially in the digital space, authors have more competition than ever before. This ultimately leads to a book discovery problem for readers, and an audience discovery problem for authors.”—
I have been working with readers for years, and I have heard many, many, many complaints from them in re: books. I have heard them complain that they have too much to read, and I have heard them complain that their favorite authors don’t write fast enough, and I have heard them complain that the book they want to read is not in paperback yet, and I have heard them complain that they will never catch up with their book piles, and I have heard them complain that their spouse has asked them to stop buying books for six months, and I have heard them complain that certain famous authors haven’t been writing as well, and I have heard them complain that there is too much good TV right now and it’s basically impossible to balance reading time and TV time anymore. (I myself have also levied each of these complaints.)
What I do not hear them say is that they can’t find anything to read. Now, to be fair, I mostly deal with readers in bookstores, in libraries, and online, which are places designed for book discovery. But apps like the one discussed in this article are targeting that exact audience: people who are already readers. I am just not convinced discovery is a problem for these people. Is there some sort of survey I missed that indicated that half of people who purchased books in the last year said they were not sure how they’d figure out what to read next? Or is book discovery becoming a new way to say marketing in much the same way that all of a sudden we say signage instead of signs?
I don’t doubt that there are book discovery deserts in this country, places where people have real problems finding something to read: places where Internet connections are not guaranteed, places where the only place in town to buy books is the grocery store, places where budget cuts have left library hours in tatters, places where adult literacy rates make book discovery pointless. Further, there are just as many potential readers out there who feel completely disengaged with books and reading altogether, either for the reasons above, or because the industry is not interested in what they want to read; for whom discovery is not interesting, and the onus is on us to make it interesting again. Where are the apps for that?
“This is not Harry Potter, with its gradual darkness and gut wrenching adult themes. JK Rowling created an amazing series that was a magical world with heroes. But Rick Riordan created a world with relatable characters. I said before that it’s clean, and it is, but we’ve redefined the idea of “mature content.” Having a teen struggling to come to terms with his sexuality is no longer a theme that is unsuitable for a mainstream and hugely popular kid lit series.”—Percy Jackson: The New World of Kid Lit
“The part where Shailene finds out she’s NOT like any other girl, because books about well-adjusted young women with close personal friendships and general respect for their peers do not sell as well as THE SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE WHO IS THE ONLY ONE SMART AND BRAVE AND UNCONVENTIONALLY PRETTY ENOUGH TO LEAD THE REVOLUTION, and they do not adapt for film as well either.”—Divergent Trailer Rundown