BOOK RIOT
Critical Linking: September 16, 2014 
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee.

It’s always nice to see people celebrating books, but my favorite part of book lists is learning about books that I haven’t heard of before. So with that in mind, I thought I’d make a list of ten books that stayed with me that not that many people have read. These books all only have a few dozen to a few hundred ratings on Goodreads (for comparison’s sake, the most recent George Saunders collection has 24,000 ratings and the first Harry Potter book has several million.)

Not often I see a book list where I haven’t heard of a single title, but so it is with this list of unheralded but recommended books. Think I will check one of these out.

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Naming her own most irksome new phrase as “on accident” – and I’m slightly bemused as to how to use this one, so can happily state I’ve not sinned here – Lahey asked King if he had any additions to this list. “’Some people say’, or ‘Many believe,’ or ‘The consensus is’. That kind of lazy attribution makes me want to kick something. Also, IMHO, YOLO, and LOL,” said the novelist.

LOL, Stephen King.

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There had better be a lot of pencil-sharpening going on at the Guinness Book of World Records headquarters, because there’s a new sheriff in town, in the form of up to 550 Jane Austen fans dressed in petticoats, smocking, chemises and more. According to The Telegraph, the merry band of men, women and children overtook the quaint tourist town of Bath, Somerset on 13th September in an effort to unseat the United States as the record holder for the largest gathering of people dressed in regency costume.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen fans are the hardest core of the regency cosplayers.

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The anti-piracy solution embeds unique, imperceptible and traceable digital watermarks into e-books, enabling distributors and publishers to track where their content is appearing online and identify the sources of leakage and unauthorized distribution.

In other words, if you work for HC and have a digital copy of a book: don’t leak it because you’ve been branded.

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While he declined to give specific numbers, Stromberg said the numbers of Oyster subscribers is growing, “the past few months has seen strong subscriber growth driven by adding new digital platforms,” he said.

Indeed Stromberg said Oyster was generating “30% to 40%” growth in revenue each month for its top publishers

Hmmmm. Oyster is now a year-old. I think if their subscriber numbers were strong, they would have released them.

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If you like Book Riot, you might try our newest podcast, Reading Lives. Reading Lives is a bi-weekly interview podcast with interesting people about their lives in books. The first episode is up and available now, featuring Clive Thompson, author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better. You can listen to the first episode right here.

Critical Linking: September 15, 2014 
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee.

Most fans my age had the privilege of growing up in near real-time with the characters, but judging from this adorable love letter to Hermione from 14-year-old self-described “fan girl” Naomi Horn, the series is just as impactful for new readers as it is for those of us who lived all of Pottermania.

Keep this bookmarked for people who still chalk up the Potter series as meaningless entertainment.

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The number of independent bookstores in the US rose by more than 20% between 2009 and 2014, according to the American Booksellers Association, a finding that may surprise bibliophiles who worry about rising costs for smaller shops and competition from larger chains.

Well that seems to be very good news. Very good news indeed.

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As an author with books in Kindle Unlimited, I’m extremely worried about the scam artists who have sprung up in Kindle Unlimited like dandelions on a warm spring day. If they continue to spread unchecked, KU is going to fail. Why would anyone pay $10 a month to weed through all of these copycat 7 page books?

Sounds like Amazon needs to get the weeds out of its garden. Don’t hold your breath, though.

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If you like Book Riot, you might try our newest podcast, Reading Lives. Reading Lives is a bi-weekly interview podcast with interesting people about their lives in books. The first episode is up and available now, featuring Clive Thompson, author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better. You can listen to the first episode right here.

Critical Linking: September 14, 2014 
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee.

The Scholastic catalogs you got in elementary school were already cool, but now Usher is joining forces with the children’s publishing giant to launch the “Open the World of Possible” initiative, which is designed to encourage young readers. On Nov. 6, Usher will perform and host a a live webcast, “Bigger Than Words,” which will broadcast live from the Scholastic headquarters in New York City.

Usher: still one of the coolest people around.

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Journaling, I believe, is a practice that teaches us better than any other the elusive art of solitude — how to be present with our own selves, bear witness to our experience, and fully inhabit our inner lives. As a dedicated diarist myself, I’ve always had an irresistible fascination with the diaries of artists, writers, scientists, and other celebrated minds — those direct glimpses of their inner lives and creative struggles. But, surely, luminaries don’t put pen to paper for the sake of quenching posterity’s curiosity — at least as interesting as the contents of those notable diaries is the question of why their keepers keep them. Here are a few perspectives from some of history’s most prolific practitioners of this private art.

A great look at authors who kept diaries/journals, why they did that, and what value it brought to them.

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Jessica Lee, the secretary of a Harry Potter-themed charity Pitt Project Potter, encouraged any students who admire the series enough to vandalize a restroom to channel their love for philanthropy by joining Project Potter. 

“Maybe let’s not use the word ‘vandalism,’” said Lee, a sophomore anthropology major. “Maybe decoration.”

University of Pittsburgh students have a toilet stall in one of their buildings dedicated to Harry Potter. Unofficially, of course.

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Dame Daphne Du Maurier is well known for having taken inspiration for some of her most celebrated works from her adopted home county of Cornwall in the far southwest of England. Jamaica Inn (1936) was inspired by an overnight stay at the real-life Jamaica Inn, an isolated 18th century pub on Bodmin Moor, in 1930.Frenchman’s Creek (1941) was inspired by Readymoney Cove, where Du Maurier owned a holiday home on the coast. And the imposing Manderley estate in Rebecca (1938) was at least partly based on Menabilly, a grand country house that Du Maurier herself moved into in 1943. It was while at Menabilly that she saw a flock of seagulls following a plow at a nearby farm and was struck by a simple yet unnerving thought — what would happen if the birds attacked? The resulting story, The Birds, first appeared in Du Maurier’s collection The Apple Tree in 1952.

It’s still a story that makes me nervous to be in the presence of a large number of birds. That and fourteen other “behind the story” stories.

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“The older I got, the more frustrated I became that all the popular books in stores and online focused on white characters,” We Read Too founder Kaya Thomas told BET.com. “Whenever I tried to find books with characters of color, I would have to look in sub-categories or search longer than I should have had to. I created this app so that books created by and for people of color can be found easily and in one central location.”

Within three days of debuting in the iTunes App store in August, the app had already received more than 350 downloads. We Read Too users can browse more than 300 books across various genres written by authors of color featuring characters of color. 

“It’s about time something like this came around!” reads a We Read Too customer review. “I only wish I had something like this when I was younger! Children of color read too!”

A free app to help readers find children’s books by authors of color. This is brilliant and wildly necessary.

Critical Linking: September 13, 2014 
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee.

The New York Times Book Review will feature twelve new best sellers lists. These new monthly lists will cover the following genres: politics, business, travel, humor, family, relationships, animals, religion, spirituality and faith, celebrities, food and fitness, science, and sports. Other additional lists will be introduced in 2015.

And yet, still no romance list.

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Industrious thriller writer James Patterson topped the list, earning a staggering $90 million before taxes between June 2013 and June 2014. The author, who has written 10 or more books every year since 2010, has earned $700 million in the last decade.

Many familiar airplane-bookstore and poolside names made the list, including Dan Brown ($28 million), Nora Roberts ($23 million), Janet Evanovich ($20 million), and John Grisham ($17 million). J.K. Rowling ($14 million) and Stephen King ($17 million) also continued to ride the popularity of their earlier work.

If your book was made into a big movie this year, you didn’t do too badly, either.

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The West Ada School District in southwest Idaho has put a National Book Award-winning novel back in its curriculum after removing it six months ago amid parent complaints. 

Trustees voted unanimously on Tuesday to add “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie to a supplemental reading list that teachers can use.

Trustees doing right for the kids in their school district. Though Alexie’s book can’t be read aloud in the event there are teens in the classroom who don’t have parental permission to read it.

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little free libraries 14 designs

These 14 cleverly-designed Little Free Libraries are worth the slideshow format.

Critical Linking: September 12, 2014 
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee.

The Scholastic Book Fair: It’s like walking into a Book Fair-y tale.

Always the best day of the year in elementary school.

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In 1943, in the middle of the Second World War, America’s book publishers took an audacious gamble. They decided to sell the armed forces cheap paperbacks, shipped to units scattered around the globe. Instead of printing only the books soldiers and sailors actually wanted to read, though, publishers decided to send them the best they had to offer. Over the next four years, publishers gave away 122,951,031 copies of their most valuable titles.

Incredible story.

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Henceforth, The New York Times Book Review will feature twelve new best sellers lists. These new monthly lists will cover the following genres: politics, business, travel, humor, family, relationships, animals, religion, spirituality and faith, celebrities, food and fitness, science, and sports. Other additional lists will be introduced in 2015.

So many more authors will be able to say they are “New York Times Bestselling Authors.”

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A generation of women read the Harry Potter series as teens,Twilight in college, and Fifty Shades of Grey in their twenties. Five readers discuss what it meant to them.

Boy, we just cannot, cannot seem to be cool with women reading these books.

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Did you know that Book Riot has a YouTube channel? We do. It’s new and we are having fun with it. Check it out here.

Critical Linking: September 11, 2014 
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee.

With hardcover sales in long-term decline, the biggest names in fiction are relying on e-books and entrepreneurial hustle to keep their earnings on the rise.

Good gravy. James Patterson makes more than 3 times as much as the #2 author on this list of the 13 highest paid authors.

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But the very characteristics that make the distributed Net so powerful overall also make it dicey in any given use. Links rot; sources evaporate. The anarchic Web loses some luster every time that something an author meant to share turns out to be a 404-not-found error.

The inertia of print books and libraries, sometimes decried, is actually crucial ballast for the swirling chaos of the internet.

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A group of book-boosting artists from Booklyn Artists Alliance — spelled with no “r” as a play on words — is suing the new mobile-library nonprofit Booklyn Shuttle for snatching its hip identity, according to a suit filed in Brooklyn federal court last Thursday.

Seriously, a lawsuit? By an artists’ collective against a library non-profit? A curse on both their houses.

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Amazon can both minimize the impact of thoughtless reviewing and simultaneously make the entire Amazon browsing experience better for all. You see, each reviewer has a rating. A “helpful” rating. And if someone is sufficiently helpless or useless — as many attackers tend to be — the “helpful” rating of their account can drop to 20% or lower. I propose Amazon begin to use this helpful data in calculating ratings. Giving more weight to the reviews of those most helpful. Allowing the opinion — and stars — of one helpful reviewer, for example, to cancel out five thoughtless trolls.

Hmmmm. I think I like it.

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Did you know that Book Riot has a YouTube channel? We do. It’s new and we are having fun with it. Check it out here.

Critical Linking: September 10, 2014 
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee.

I’m usually a skeptic of such meme-y Facebook statuses, but people gathering around books that meant something to them melted even my cold heart. So I asked the Facebook Data Science team if this status had gotten “big” enough to attract their attention, and what they had seen in it. They replied with something I wasn’t expecting: a list of the 20 books most cited by Facebook users who participated in the game.

Only real surprise about this list of Facebook users’ most influential books is how unsurprising it is.

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According to the FB post from his daughter, Leah, Alan Moore has finished the first draft of his long gestating novel. Jerusalem, which he’s been talking about for years and years. It’s billed as the history of a small patch of Moore’ native Northhampton, with characters coming and going from history.

And it’s more than a MILLION WORDS LONG (that’s more than 2500 pages)

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The publishing world is, by and large, rooting for Hachette, but hasn’t paid much attention to the ways in which Hachette made itself especially vulnerable to Amazon in this fight: by insisting that all its books be sold with Amazon’s DRM, it has permanently locked all its customers into Amazon’s ecosystem, and if Hachette tries to convince them to start buying ebooks elsewhere, it would mean asking their readers to abandon their libraries in the bargain

Yet another reason why DRM is a medicine far more deadly than the disease it seeks to treat.

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It should be more widely understood that the physical book will not go the way of the Dodo nearly as fast as the shrink-wrapped version has for music or TV/film. It hasn’t and it won’t. There are very good, understandable, and really undeniable reasons for this, even though it seems like many smart people expect all the media to go all-digital in much the same way.

The question is, though, where is the bottom for print sales?

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Did you know that Book Riot has a YouTube channel? We do. It’s new and we are having fun with it. Check it out here.

Critical Linking: September 9, 2014 
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee.

Nearly half of poor children are unable to read and understand books, newspapers and websites by the time they leave primary school, according to research released by backers of a major new campaign to wipe out illiteracy in Britain.

Simply unacceptable.

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One of the consequences of the print industry’s downward slide over the past several years has been the trend of newspapers and magazines going “digital-only”—ditching costly paper products, with their diminished circulation and advertising potential, for amped-up digital platforms that can operate with lower overhead and thinner staffs.

You don’t tend to hear about publications making the opposite move, but that is precisely what is being planned for The American Reader, a two-year-old literary magazine that’s based in Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood.

“Print-only” is the “vinyl” of words.

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Sony Pictures Entertainment has tapped Ryan Doherty for the newly created role of v-p, literary development. Doherty, who will be based in New York City, will be tasked with, per SPE, “pursuing book-to-film-and-television opportunities.”

If I didn’t already have a great book-related job, I would be extraordinarily jealous of this guy.

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Can we interest you in a bookish t-shirt that not-so-subtly displays your love of reading? Can be yours for less than $20, shipping included. Get it here.

Critical Linking: September 8, 2014
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee.

library usage

Interesting infographic about American library usage!

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It’s all getting awfully predictable, which may explain why this reader can’t bear to finish yet another novel about such a hero. I’ve found instead that the crime novels I open with the keenest anticipation these days are almost always by women.

Now that you mention it…

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This is real life:

1. Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone
2. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets
3. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban
4. The Phantom Tollbooth
5. The Hunger Games
6. Fifty Shades Of Grey
7. Gossip Girl
8. A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book One
9. The Lord Of The Rings
10. Where The Sidewalk Ends

I don’t like assuming people are lying, but this trend has sort of turned into one giant humblebrag.

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Though she doesn’t tweet often, Rowling responded to this troll with just the right amount of snark…

J.K. Rowling snarks on a Twitter homophobe, Twitter is very happy. 

Critical Linking: September 7, 2014 
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee.

At times, reading Murakami’s work can feel like flipping through his legendarily expansive record collection. (In a 2011 New York Times article, Murakami estimated that he owns 10,000 records, but says he was afraid to count.) Almost without exception, Murakami’s musical references are confined to one of three genres: classical, jazz, and American pop. Many of his novels, includingNorwegian WoodDance Dance Dance, and South of the Border, West of the Sun — derive their titles from songs, and his characters constantly reflect on the music they hear. If anything, Murakami’s reliance on music has become more pronounced over the years; his two most recent novels hinge on songs that literally have the power to change the world.

Here’s a fun guide to (and playlist for!) the music in Murakami’s novels.

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“I don’t want to say it tricks them into reading,” says Sacharow, an IT project manager based in Miramar, Florida. “But there are books kids are reading for schools and books that they hopefully like in their free time. And if ‘Minecraft’ books are a motivation to read, that’s a good thing, right? At the very least, they’re developing skills, reading skills.”

Minecraft books are a publishing sensation. Maybe they’re the new LEGO books.

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The play takes place during World War I. The first act, “The Night of the Zeppelin,” depicts the four characters in a London apartment during an air raid. The whole draft will be published in Katherine Mansfield Studies in 2015.

A draft of a Tennessee Williams play found in an archive, and you’ll get to enjoy it next year.

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There is no concrete evidence that the ancient Greek moralist and former slave we call Aesop ever wrote down any of his stories (in fact, it was several centuries after Aesop’s purported death that the first collection of his fables appeared), nor is there even proof that he actually existed at all. But the wisdom and warnings offered up by the morals of his many popular tales have survived more than two millennia, weaseling their way into the English language as common everyday expressions. Here are a handful of Aesop’s most popular contributions that we still use today, along with a taste of the stories that spawned them.

19 things you say every day that could be attributed to Aesop….if Aesop was even a real person who existed at all.

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In June 2013, three entrepreneurial literature lovers from Portugal’s capital created a nomadic bookstore that moves around the city all year long, bringing Portuguese literature to international visitors.

Tell a Story — that’s the van’s name — offers a collection of more than a dozen Portuguese classics that have been translated into English, French, Italian, German and Spanish. There’s something for everyone, from the evasive and sad verses of Fernando Pessoa — “To be understood is to prostitute oneself” — to Antonio Lobo Antunes’ dense and moving accounts of the country’s post-colonial legacy.

Vintage van + books = awesome.

It’s beautiful, isn’t it?:

tell a story van

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