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

About 420 people formed the chain Tuesday in this town of about 690, linking the two libraries. For about an hour and a half, they moved about 3,000 books before calling it a day.

When a small Iowa town gets a new library, what could be a better way of moving the books than forming a human chain.


I don’t mind when people “lie” about what they read. I think the lie itself is revealing and the more I consider the matter, I’m not even sure it’s a lie. On some level, I think we want our reading self to represent out best self.

So, do you lie about what your favorite book is?


“We have been asked legitimate questions about why many of our books are at present marked out of stock with relatively long estimated shipping times on the Amazon website, in contrast to immediate availability on other websites and in stores,” said Sophie Cottrell, a Hachette spokeswoman. “We are satisfying all Amazon’s orders promptly.”

If you’re wondering why you’re not finding Hachette’s books as available on Amazon, you’re not alone.


To grow a lifelong reader, you need literature for a reader’s entire life, which generally looks something like this: picture books to early readers to chapter books to middle grade novels to young adult literature to literary fiction. Baby’s First Kafka aside, most of us don’t graduate directly from picture books to Great Works of Literary Note. Middle grade and young adult literature — and yes, that would include Harry Potter — is the bridge that helps readers travel from The Cat in the Hat to Mrs. Dalloway.

Why don’t we stop complaining about Harry Potter and other literature for young readers, please.


If you are into bookish news, check out Book Riot News, our very own running, crowd-sourced list of the most interesting books, reading, and publishing news on the internet.

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.
Critical Linking: March 4, 2014
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee. 

With Spritz, which is coming to the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Samsung Gear 2 watch, words appear one at a time in rapid succession. This allows you to read at speeds of between 250 and 1,000 words per minute. The typical college-level reader reads at a pace of between 200 and 400 a minute.

This seemed silly to me, but after looking at the demo, it actually seems really amazing (and might make watch-based reading a really cool thing).


The Midwest and the West Coast dominate this year’s list of finalists for the 22nd annual PWBookstore of the Year Award. Past award-winners selected five bookstores from among the 18 nominated. The winning bookstore will be profiled along with the PW Sales Rep of the Year in the pre-BEA issue of Publishers Weekly; both awards will be given at a ceremony at BEA.

These five finalists really make me want to go on a road trip to visit them.


The U.S. Supreme Court will use a case involving workers at Inc. (AMZN) warehouses to consider whether companies must pay employees for time spent undergoing security searches.

If you make your employees go through security searches than can last a half an hour, you better pay them for it. Come on, Amazon.

If you’re following the VIDA counts, you’ll be interested in the deeper data Publishers Lunch dug up, too. Interesting stuff here!

Your 25 Favorite Authors of Color

Inspired by a recent study by Lee & Low Books which revealed that of 124 authors who made the New York Times Top 10 bestseller list in 2012, only 3 were not white and none were African American, we asked you to share your favorite authors of color.

Some readers objected to the question, stating that they don’t choose books based on the authors’ race or nationality and that the story and writing are all that should matter. And they are right. The story and writing are all thatshould matter, but because of biases in publishing and book media that lead to readers having more access to and being more aware of books by white authors, and therefore buying and reading more books by white authors, they are not all that does matter.

At Book Riot, we believe this is a problem, and we know that we are part of it. We don’t read enough books by authors of color, and we don’t write enough about books by authors of color. We can and should change this, and we are committed to doing so. The only way to work against the biases in our industry and the biases we carry, even if we are unaware of them, is to be deliberate in seeking out and sharing books by writers who are not white. We hope you share this goal, and we invite you to join us and expand your readerly horizons.

So here are the results of the poll, completed by 446 Riot readers who listed 380 unique authors. I’ve linked each author’s name to their Goodreads page and noted their most popular title (as determined by the number of Goodreads ratings), so all you’ve gotta do is click your way to discovering amazing books. Click here to see the full data set.

1. Toni Morrison (88 votes) — Beloved

2. Octavia E. Butler (59) — Kindred 

3. Junot Diaz (55) — The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

4. Zadie Smith (39) — White Teeth

5. Sherman Alexie (37) — The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

6. Jhumpa Lahiri (29) — The Namesake

7. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (27) — Half of a Yellow Sun

8. N.K. Jemisin (27) – The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

9. Malinda Lo (26) — Ash

10. Haruki Murakami (24) — Norwegian Wood

11. Zora Neale Hurston (21) — Their Eyes Were Watching God

12. Tayari Jones (20) — Silver Sparrow

13. Alice Walker (17) — The Color Purple

14. Amy Tan (16) — The Joy Luck Club

15. Maya Angelou (16) — I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

16. Isabel Allende (15) — The House of the Spirits

17. Sandra Cisneros (15) — The House on Mango Street

18. Gabriel Garcia Marquez (14) — One Hundred Years of Solitude

19. Kazuo Ishiguro (14) — Never Let Me Go

20. Colson Whitehead (13) — Zone One

21. Jesmyn Ward (12) — Salvage the Bones

22. Khaled Hosseini (11) — The Kite Runner

23. Langston Hughes (11) — The Collected Poems

24. Sheri Booker (11) — Nine Years Under

25. James Baldwin (10) — Go Tell It on the Mountain

Critical Linking: December 11, 2013

A few noteworthy facts we discovered while conducting the study:

  • Only three out of the 124 authors who appeared on the list during 2012 are people of color
  • No African American authors made the Top 10 Bestsellers list that we looked at in 2012

Soooo, the Top 10 New York Times Bestsellers are just not diverse. Even less than you might think.


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf (August 12, 2014)
  • Language: English

And that is confirmation of the release date of the new Haruki Murakami novel (in English at least). Also, check out how short it is.


But until then, here, in alphabetical order, are my fifty covers of 2013.

Awesome to see these great covers and a little explanation of what makes them great.

Critical Linking: December 4, 2013
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.

Apparently, cheap books are the Visigoths of culture.


“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.

I’m really not looking forward to this. Not the hype, not the inevitable controversy, not anything anything at all. 

Critical Linking: November 27, 2013
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.

Not on the list? Anything by Ernest Hemingway.


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.

Critical Linking: October 18, 2013
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee. 

Just over 1,000 Nobels have been awarded since the prize was first established in 1901. Most of those have been in sciences but there’s also the literature prize and, most famously, the peace prize. We’ve added up every Nobel awarded since 1901 and separated them out by country. The results are fascinating – and revealing.

The results aren’t surprising, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t a little disheartening.


Owing to spite or just a foul mood, have you ever peeled one of those stupid Calvin stickers off of a pickup truck?
I figure that, long after the strip is forgotten, those decals are my ticket to immortality.

Bill Watterson gives an extremely rare interview.


Although one can accept the idea that “love ain’t nothing but love” just as one accepts the logically flawed statement “it is what it is,” it becomes more difficult to understand tautological reasoning around non-abstract ideas such as a “party.”

Literary analysis of Miley Cyrus lyrics. Because someone has to.


Catton said the “people whose negative reaction [to ‘The Luminaries’] has been most vehement have all been men over about 45.” She went on to say that there seems to be a misconception by some men of a certain generation that her gender and relative youth have bearing on the book — more than 800 pages long — itself.

Not sure if I am going to get around to reading this book, but I am a big Eleanor Catton fan already.

Critical Linking: September 27th, 2013
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee. 

The uptick in literary reading rates that occurred between 2002 and 2008 has been reversed.

Booooooooooo. (Here are the full results)


“For $5, I’ll leave a five-star review of your Kindle ebook, purchase it (up to .99), ‘like’ it, and vote down negative reviews!” After signing up for the help-for-hire site Fiverr, I clicked the “Order Now” button and was redirected to Paypal. I entered my Paypal information, and was then re-directed back to Fiverr to enter the URL of my ebook on Amazon. For this test, I used a dummy ebook I self-published under a pseudonym.

Eight hours later, I checked my ebook’s page on Amazon and there it was: A glowing, five-star review.



A peculiar Apple invention landed on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s desk on Thursday, describing a method in which an author or artist can digitally autograph a fan’s ebook or other digital media using a special app.

Yea, this isn’t the answer.


Designers do try to personalize their selections to their clients, buying museum and auction catalogs and books on specific artists being collected by a young Wall Streeter, for example, said Thom Filicia, the telegenic decorator and brand. “Books can be aspirational and inspirational,” he said. “I try to create a narrative, a story within a story.”

The strange history and infuriating present of using books in interior design.