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Morning links: ‘Woe is literature’ edition
July 7, 2015 | 10:52 am

ErnestHemingwayIt's a dark time day for us booklovers, especially the U.S. variety. Noting the many high-lit imports that inspired high-brow movies and TV shows here in the States, the Atlantic asks: "Is American literature too Too Dark for TV?" The subhead warns: "The executive producer of Masterpiece Theater says Jane Austen works a lot better on screen than Hemingway does." Atlantic pop critic Spencer Kornhaber's post then asserts: "While an fan of the American canon might bristle at those comments, consider the history of literary adaptations. Whereas English Literature 101 authors like Shakespeare and Jane Austen have inspired a host of well-loved movies and TV shows, often, when talking...

Furor over Amazon review policy probably signifies nothing
July 4, 2015 | 11:58 am

I love the smell of manufactured outrage in the morning. As posted on her blog and recounted in a Gizmodo story, writer and blogger Imy Santiago bought an independent novel, read it, and tried to post a review of it to Amazon. But Amazon rejected her review, and held firm on the rejection through two rounds of appeals. Amazon said that they had looked at Santiago’s account activity and from it determined Santiago actually personally knew the author of the novel she was trying to review. Hence, Amazon rejected the review on the grounds that there could be a...

Sad Puppies supporters, opponents respectively call for boycott, buying of Tor books
June 19, 2015 | 2:34 pm

Depending on your point of view, today is the day you may either want to stop buying books from Tor, or go out and buy some extra to show your support. Sad Puppies supporter Peter Grant and Rabid Puppies founder Theodore “Vox Day” Beale are calling for a boycott of Tor Books because they have not taken sufficient action concerning either the Irene Gallo controversy or other disparaging remarks made by Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Moshe Feder, and John Scalzi. Taking Grant at his word, he has more reason than most to be outraged by Gallo’s referral...

A fine, fine spine design
June 12, 2015 | 10:38 am

Brilliant Book Design - ImgurApropos of the discussion about e-books and spines a few days ago, this post on imgur.com displays a hardcover book spine design that’s nothing short of brilliant. The book is, of course, Gibbon’s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, a controversial treatise in its day and of course now in the public domain everywhere (and hence available as e-books). It’s doubtful that any possible cover design for the e-books could beat this spine design, however. It also engendered an amusing anecdote that I often like to reflect upon in today’s world of rapid...

Kristine Kathryn Rusch on the SF generation gap
June 12, 2015 | 8:30 am

Kristine Kathryn Rusch is compiling an anthology for Baen of classic SF stories by women, and as part of the project has started a website about women in science fiction. Along the way, one of her readers wrote to her about Andre Norton, bringing up an important point—over the last couple decades of the 20th century, the availability of classic SF writers (and, for that matter, classic writers of other genres) to the general public plummeted. In this blog post, Rusch examines the reasons why. The post is long, but makes some great reading. To summarize: In the late...

Sir Winston Churchill official biography for free: Act now!
April 10, 2015 | 9:25 am

This is a strictly time-limited opportunity I noticed, so run, do not walk, to the RosettaBooks website or the Kindle Store to pick up, absolutely free, "The 8-Volume Official Biography of Sir Winston Churchill, written by Randolph Churchill & Martin Gilbert." These are available until April 11th, so now is definitely the time to act. And yes, normally I wouldn't do a blatant plug, but in this case we're talking a totally free offer, about one of the greatest historical figures of the previous century, and one of the greatest warriors against totalitarianism of all time. The publisher's blurb reads: In the definitive...

Another Argument in Favour of ‘Print Books Will Never Die’
April 8, 2015 | 2:25 pm

214px-One_Made_itI saw several posts this morning which linked to the adult colouring books story I had in the Morning Links a few days ago. I was amused to see this story go so viral, in part because I have been enjoying a revival in my art skills this year and have used some of these books. But I also find it interesting when such stories make the news because I feel like a lot of the book rhetoric these days is about how print is over, eBooks for the win, and nobody will ever need paper. This, to me, is a...

A lucky Robert Aickman find: The Fourth Fontana Book of Great Ghost Stories
April 3, 2015 | 4:16 pm

Aickman FontanaBudapest isn't necessarily the place where you expect to find a Robert Aickman gem, but lucky me: while browsing for English book for my daughters, I came across a copy of The Fourth Fontana Book of Great Ghost Stories, selected and with an introduction by the great modern English master of the strange tale. Aickman "edited the first eight volumes of the Fontana Book of Great Ghost Stories between 1964 and 1972," as per Wikipedia, and "also supplied an introduction for every volume except the sixth." The series is therefore a hugely valuable reference for his aesthetic and his own views of his craft...

Before They Become Movies: 8 Books to Read Right Now
April 1, 2015 | 10:25 am

martian-560x224By Julie Ellis Are you planning your next Kindle download? Are you looking for new books to add to your wish list on Good Reads? If you prefer to read a book before it is made into a movie, now is a good time to adjust your reading list. There are several books that are going to be turned into motion pictures in 2015. Take the time to read these now, before you are inundated with spoilers. Here are 8 of these must read books to movies: 1. True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa This memoir, written by Michael Finkel, recounts his downfall...

Taking stock "After Woodstock”
March 19, 2015 | 12:25 pm

after woodstockAge doesn't stop Elliot Tiber from penning his memoirs, and now just about to turn 80, he just keeps writing and writing. His new memoir, "After Woodstock," covers his life after the famous Woodstock concert, from 1969 to 1999 and with an epilogue bringing readers up to the present day. First some background for readers new to Tiber's works. A few years ago, Hollywood director Ang Lee made a movie about American hippies in the late 1960s, titled "Taking Woodstock," about the famous Woodstock music festival in the summer of 1969. The movie was adapted from a book by the Tiber, a new...

Play ball! Batter up!
February 23, 2015 | 2:25 pm

cardboard godsYes, it all begins to come together every year during spring training time in the baseball world. And the best part of spring training for teens and adults -- boys, mostly, of course, and their fathers -- is getting up close and personal with players and coaches and getting autographs and selfies, and watching them practice baseball basics. It's a boy thing. I recently read a very good book about collecting baseball cards, "Cardboard Gods," written by Chicago card fanatic writer Josh Wilker. I found the book in December when I was reading an obituary of the so-called "father of the modern...

Productivity Book of the Month: The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod
February 2, 2015 | 4:25 pm

the miracle morningWelcome to a new monthly feature! So many of our readers are writers, aspiring writers, librarians, teachers and other reading and writing professionals. We all want to learn to work better! So I thought I would highlight one book a month which can help us all do that. For my January pick, [easyazon-link asin="0979019710" locale="us"]The Miracle Morning[/easyazon-link], I was inspired by a recent comment Juli made about how she organizes her day: with a series of task lists, one for 'today' and one for 'general.' She said she works through the 'today' list first, then opens the second list and picks...

Japan earthquake at epicenter of new memoir
January 8, 2015 | 6:25 pm

Where the Dead Pause and the Japanese Say GoodbyeMarie Mutsuki Mockett is a Japanese-American writer whose overseas relatives were at the epicenter of the tragic March 11, 2011 killer earthquake and tsunami that devastated the northeast coast of Japan. The author of a novel titled [easyazon-link asin="1555975763" locale="us"]Picking Bones from Ash: A Novel[/easyazon-link], Mockett has written a memoir titled [easyazon-link asin="0393063011" locale="us"]Where the Dead Pause, and the Japanese Say Goodbye[/easyazon-link] that is set to wash across the pages American readers this spring. As the fourth anniversary of the tragic quake and tsunami that killed some 25,000 people approaches, Mockett's book has been timed to appear at an opportune time for reflection...

Juli’s Best Books of 2014
December 30, 2014 | 12:25 pm

best books of 2014Joanna and Paul have done their best books of 2014 articles, and I thought I should do one as well. This year I used Goodreads to track all of my reading, which made it easy to compile my list. I just sorted my 2014 list by 5 stars, something I give infrequently. Out of 220 books read in 2014, I gave 20 of them 5 stars. Selecting from that list, which included several older books and re-reads, here's my best, in no particular order. [easyazon-link asin="0553418025" locale="us"]The Martian[/easyazon-link] by Andy Weir This was selected as the Goodreads Best Science Fiction of 2014, so...

Publishers should offer e-book bundles for lengthy series
December 25, 2014 | 4:00 pm

ferdelanceMerry Christmas, everyone! If you celebrate it, I hope you’re enjoying it; if you don’t, I hope you’re at least enjoying the day off you probably got on account of someone else’s religion. This year, I gave a number of books to people, including a Nero Wolfe novel to my father. And it got me to thinking about how great it would be to read those books again. A number of years ago, I obtained all 47 of them via means less than completely licit (I was a poor college student in those days), and read through them...

Iceland celebrates the most bookish Christmas going with Jólabókaflóð
December 24, 2014 | 4:25 pm

For yet another year, Iceland is on track to cement its reputation for being the most literary society in Scandinavia's already hugely literate constellation of nations and peoples, with Jólabókaflóð. That, when you've finished trying to wrap your tongue, or even your eyes, around it, is Iceland's annual "Christmas book flood," when Icelandic publishers release a tsunami of new publications onto the local market in time for Christmas. This can make for what sounds like the perfect Christmas for book lovers and writers elsewhere. According to one source, "the book is still the most popular Christmas present in Iceland,” and Publishing Perspectives...

2014 in Review, Part 3: What About Paper?
December 24, 2014 | 12:25 pm

2014 in reviewI have written already about my best e-reads of the year, and about how much they cost me and what devices I read them on. But...what about the paper? Yes, you heard that right! On an eBook blog, why would I be writing about reading paper? Because to me, one of the most annoying Threads That Never Die in the eBook world is the myth that this is a zero-sum game, and either paper or eBook is going to 'win' and that will be that. In my home, as in many, there is a mix of eBook and paper. There are...

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