The Observer - Worst Book nominations

Bob Cox writes "Users of the Observer website are an absurdly literary lot, leaping at the chance to nominate their least favourite books. The discussion has been extremely illuminating.Here's The List
The Brontë sisters are apparently responsible for the two worst novels in the English language: Emily raises more hackles with Wuthering Heights than any other book, and Jane Eyre is almost equally unpopular.



The Road to Wellness, Paved With 1,900 Pages

Steve Fesenmaier writes "The NYTimes says growing interest in health and wellness, along with the increasing willingness of patients to take part in their own health care, has prompted the publication of hefty medical guides from leading health care institutions and organizations in recent years.
Read The Full Story Here. "


Love with the Proper Librarian

Sarah writes "New American Library will be publishing a librarian romance in September - Josephine Carr's The Dewey Decimal System of Love ( "After last night, even her most proper attire can’t hide the signs — the pink cheeks, the extra-poufy hair, the bounce in her step. Ally Skinner is in love. And for once in her life, what Ally needs to know she can’t find in any book — she can only live it."



Summer reading list pulled from Web site over errors

"The Education Department pulled its summer reading list from its Web site after learning the list misspelled and misidentified book titles and authors. Librarians also said the list was outdated."

"The list included children's classics such as Beverly Cleary's "Ramona the Brave," Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird" and George Orwell's "Animal Farm." But librarians say it recommends few titles from the last decade."

"I don't know if someone pulled out a really old bibliography from a file cabinet somewhere," Nancy Margolin, a media specialist at McDougle Elementary School in Chapel Hill, N.C., said Wednesday. "These don't seem like the kinds of lists that would be provided by librarians." (from AP)


Leak of Hillary's new memoir leaves Simon & Schuster steamed

From Reuters:

The publisher of Hillary Clinton's memoir wanted people guessing about her revelations before publication, but those plans were spoiled on Wednesday as some of the book's most colorful details were splashed around the U.S. media.

Simon & Schuster paid $8 million for Clinton's inside look at eight tumultuous White House years and planned a media blitz next Monday for its release. It gave no advance media copies.

But late Tuesday those plans went awry when The Associated Press ran a story that quoted "Living History" extensively, winning play across the country.

Read the AP wire story at


Teen novel sales soar as stories get sexier, more timely

"Book covers with bare legs, bikini tops, shiny leather handbags -- no, it's not "Sex in the City" but "Gossip Girl," one of the new, definitely grown-up series of novels for the 12-to-18 crowd."

"Books that look like adult ones, and sound like them, too, are the route publishers are following these days to attract teenage readers."

"Called the "Young Adult" market, the field was considered all but dead five years ago, but has been revitalized with an edgier tone." (from The Post-Gazette)


Translating an Italian Eroticon

Steve Fessenmaier writes "Translating an Italian Eroticon, from the village voice.
In the days before body parts lost the power to speak, cunts and cocks, assholes and balls, battled it out for corporal supremacy. The Cocks gave impassioned speeches for justice, while the Cunts opined on the importance of power-sharing compromises. The Balls couldn't decide whose side they were on, and the Assholes just wanted a modicum of security. This army of chattering genitalia isn't from a lost South Park episode but the work of Antonio Vignali, a 16th-century Italian writer whose scatological dialogue, La Cazzaria, written in about 1525, has just been translated into English as The Book of the Prick, which translator and editor Ian Moulton hopes will be a significant addition to Renaissance and gender studies."


A Catalog of Catalogs

"The victory cry of a bookworm may seem a petty thing.The poet Shelley’s famous declaration that poets are the "unacknowledged legislators of the world" is not really very famous, for understandable reasons. When the enemy of literacy is imagined to be television or comic books, one can rightfully feel impatient with the kind of pro-book aphorism found on a tasseled bookmark. But what if the enemy is fire, or incendiary shells, or Nazism?

"In "Library: An Unquiet History," Matthew Battles shows that the history of libraries is the history of the destruction of books. Mr. Battles interviews a colleague about a couple who survived the siege of Sarajevo in the early 1990s. They ran out of firewood and had to make choices about which books to burn in order to cook and stay warm. Mr. Battles’s interlocutor explains how this forced the couple to think critically: "One must prioritize. First, you burn old college textbooks, which you haven’t read in thirty years. Then there are the duplicates. But eventually, you’re forced to make tougher choices. Who burns today: Dostoevsky or Proust?"

"Did the couples have any books left after the war? Here is the victory cry: "‘Oh yes,’ he replied, his face lit by a flickering smile. ‘He still had many books. Sometimes, he told me, you look at the books and just choose to go hungry.’" (from The New York Sun via Bookslut)


Survey respondents needed

Rachel writes "

For a forthcoming book in Information Today's "Accidental" series, I'm looking for current or former library managers (from department heads to directors) who are willing to spend a few minutes filling out an online survey on their experiences. I'm especially seeking responses from younger and first-time managers, but all answers are encouraged.

The survey can be accessed at:


A Reading Room Returns to Bryant Park

"In 1935, during the depths of the Depression, the Bryant Park Open-Air Reading Room was established in the backyard of the New York Public Library to engage the minds of the jobless thousands."

"Now, during another economic crisis, and after an absence of 60 years, the reading room will return. Is this the dire omen of a new depression?"

"The timing is coincidental," said Daniel A. Biederman, executive director of the Bryant Park Restoration Corporation, sponsor of the new outdoor library. "But in a bad time, it's nice to have a good book, and a nice place to read it."

"That nice place will be available next month under a new name, the Bryant Park Reading Room. The free lending library will offer 700 books and 300 periodicals to park visitors, who can informally check the publications out with library volunteers." (from The New York Times)



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