So what have we learned from Gary Shteyngart retiring from blurbing? I mean I don’t want to just say “Blurbing is bullshit” because I don’t want that to be the case, I want to believe that famous authors fall in love with less famous authors so hard they want to sing their praises from the mountaintops because that’s what I want to do when I discover less famous (or not at all famous) authors! So let’s give blurbing authors the benefit of the doubt and leave it at “Blurbing is mostly bullshit even though we really, really, really don’t want it to be.”

What does a diverse panel of kidlit rockstars look like? This is our take.

Critical Linking: April 24, 2014
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee. 

Last week, we highlighted some brilliant books that grab you from page one. We like surprising endings, too—we don’t skip to the end just to know in advance how it’s going to turn out. Ian McEwan appears twice on this week’s list; maybe he’s the master of the modern literary shocker ending. So sit back and read a book from this week’s list—then you can tense up for its final pages.

Better to have a striking beginning or a shocking ending?


I wrote back to say I would need guidance, as I had published four collections of short stories but had never written a publishable novel. We worked well together, and “Shoeless Joe” was just like a baby — it took nine months. I wrote it under the title “The Kidnapping of J.D. Salinger.” Houghton Mifflin chose the title “Shoeless Joe,” though they considered “Dreamfield.” When finished, it was awarded the Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship and was published in 1982.

Great first-person account of how Shoeless Joe became Field of Dreams.


Great news for book lovers. The results of a study commissioned by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to measure which activities make us happier are in – and the top joy-inducing spots are occupied by dancing, swimming and … wait for it, wait for it … going to the library. Apparently, the uplift it gives people is equivalent to a £1,359 pay rise.

That’s about $2000. Not too shabby.

Limited-edition nerdalicious t-shirts! Get ‘em while they’re hot.

It is clear that diversity is not a priority for ReedPop and BEA. Either they are not thinking about it at all, or they are actively choosing against diversity because they believe they can make more money with an all-white line-up. These are not our values at Book Riot, and so we will not be supporting, promoting, participating in, covering, or encouraging our community to attend BookCon. We can’t control ReedPop and BEA’s choices, but we can control this. No diversity = no support.
I felt possessed by Geek Love even as I was reading it. Not in that “I pick up this book every time I have five free minutes and I’m not going to sleep until I get to that very last page where the publishing company gives you a brief history of the novel’s typeface” kind of way (although that is absolutely how I read this book and all books I like). As in even when I wasn’t reading this book I was thinking about it, and when I was reading this book I could feel it seep into my skin. I actually at one point remember thinking while reading, “This book no longer exists on the surface of my skin. It’s sunk in. I can’t brush it off, scrape it clean, rub it away, you can’t do those things to something that’s managed to worm its way inside of you.”

Ohhhh it’s a beautiful day for Book Fetish!

Critical Linking: April 23, 2014
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee. 

100 Mysteries & Thrillers to Read in a Lifetime

Heckuva list for some summer reading ideas.


And having already gifted Amber Heard a stunner, Johnny Depp is now showering his fiancée with the most romantic of gifts. As she turned 28 on Tuesday the actor presented his love with a gigantic bouquet of roses, a delicious-looking cake and a trip to a popular New York City bookstore on Tuesday – no doubt to pick out some poetry.

I always wondered what it would take for me to link to a gossip rag. I found out.


Novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez left behind an unpublished manuscript that he chose not to print while he was alive, an editor told The Associated Press on Tuesday as the writer’s compatriots held a musical tribute to him in his native Colombia.

Gabo is dead. Long live Gabo!


Now, two New York City booksellers say they have found one of those books. And it’s not just any guide: This is William Shakespeare’s dictionary, owned and annotated by the man himself.

This is wild stuff.

Critical Linking: April 22, 2014
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee. 

In an annual rite of National Library Week, the American Library Association Office for Intellectual Freedom this week released its Top Ten List of Frequently Challenged Books, this year led by children’s book series Captain Underpants, by Dav Pilkey.

Man, there are a lot of dumb reasons to challenge a book on this list. For example, that people challenge a book because of “homosexuality” is one of those things my grandchildren aren’t going to believe.


If paperbacks were going to succeed in America, they would need a new model. De Graff, for his part, was well acquainted with the economics of books. He knew that printing costs were high because volumes were low—an average hardcover print run of 10,000 might cost 40 cents per copy. With only 500 bookstores in the U.S., most located in major cities, low demand was baked into the equation.

Awesome overview of the invention of the paperback. (side note: only 500 bookstores in the US in 1939.)


This is an interesting moment for used books. People are paying more and more for special ones. In just the last year, the average price for rare books at auction jumped 7%, according to the Americana Exchange.

That’s a significant jump.


Hundreds of Meridian, Idaho, high school students signed a protest petition when their local school board banned Sherman Alexie’s young adult novel “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian’ from their 10th-grade curriculum. But a private fund-raising drive, organized by two Washington women, has now raised enough money to buy a copy of the novel for every one of the 350 students who protested the curriculum ban.

These are the two best book people in the country this week. And it’s going to take an effort to take the 2014 crown from them.