Writers and Their Books: Inside Famous Authors' Personal Libraries
Alongside the formidable collections—featuring Alison Bechdel, Stephen Carter, Junot Díaz, Rebecca Goldstein and Steven Pinker, Lev Grossman and Sophie Gee, Jonathan Lethem, Claire Messud and James Wood, Philip Pullman, Gary Shteyngart, and Edmund Whit—are short interviews with the authors about the books most important to them (including their top 10), their style of organization, and their thoughts on what the future of books might hold. (Cue in writers on the future of books.) The interviews are prefaced by Leah Price's fascinating brief history of bookshelves, from the rise of the vertical book on a horizontal shelf to how social bookmarking services are changing our relationship with tagging and indexing information.
Book industry consultant Mike Shatzkin has a series of questions for the book industry for the next year. The questions are for these groups:
The biggest publishers
Publishers bigger than small, but not Big Six
Barnes & Noble
Illustrated book publishers
Canadian authors: Really big ... just not in Canada
Such pleasant surprises for Canadian authors are less common than they once were, despite what may seem to be impressive sales of foreign rights. Foreign publishers can acquire those rights cheaply enough that postponing or even cancelling a book’s publication is always feasible – and increasingly likely today, according to Bukowksi.
The influential writer and cultural critic Christopher Hitchens died on Thursday at the age of 62 from complications of cancer of the esophagus. Hitchens confronted his disease in part by writing, bringing the same unsparing insight to his mortality that he had directed at so many other subjects.
Stick around for the final commentary from author Heather Brewer about how a librarian changed her life.
(Books by David Weinberger)
The ongoing argument about whether the Internet is a boon or a bust to civilization usually centers on the Web’s abundance. With so much data and so many voices, we each have knowledge formerly hard-won by decades of specialization. With some new fact or temptation perpetually beckoning, we may be the superficial avatars of an A.D.D. culture.
David Weinberger, one of the earliest and most perceptive analysts of the Internet, thinks we are looking at the wrong thing. It is not the content itself, but the structure of the Internet, that is the important thing. At least, as far as the destruction of a millennia-long human project is concerned.
Judy Blume: Often Banned, But Widely Beloved
Judy Blume has been channeling the anxieties, dreams and secret thoughts of young readers for more than four decades. With her candid treatment of topics like bullying and puberty, she has won legions of fans around the world — but she's also drawn the ire of critics who want her frank books censored.
Simon & Schuster released an e-book edition of Ray Bradbury's science fiction classic "Fahrenheit 451" on Tuesday. First published in 1953, "Fahrenheit 451" is a dystopia in which reading is banned and it is the job of firefighters to burn books. 451 degrees Fahrenheit is the temperature at which paper burns.
The irony of releasing an e-book edition of a novel built around the death of print books was not lost on Bradbury, which is why he resisted the e-book idea. The Associated Press reports that the author was dismissive of the form, saying that e-books "smell like burned fuel." Bradbury, a noted futurist who at one time was a consultant for NASA, told the New York Times in 2009 that the Internet is "meaningless; it's not real.... It's in the air somewhere."
But the 91-year-old author has since changed his mind -- about e-books, at least. Hence "451" is available to digital readership.
Full article in the LA Times
NPR also has this related piece: Fahrenheit 451: What's The Temperature At Which E-Books Burn?
Which Republican is Winning the Book Sales Race?
Mitt Romney is the clear front-runner, with over 100,000 copies of his latest book, 2010's No Apology, sold in this year alone. Ron Paul's Liberty Defined is a distant second with 38,000 copies sold in 2011. Herman Cain's This is Herman Cain! My Journey to the White House is the surprise that isn't all that surprising: despite being released less than two months ago, it's in third place for 2011 sales by any Republican hopeful, closely mirroring the period of his ascendancy in the polls and 9-9-9 becoming part of the national lexicon. (Although at least a few copies were purchased by the Hermanator himself.)
Prolific science fiction and fantasy author Anne McCaffrey died Monday at her home in Ireland shortly after suffering a stroke. She was 85.
McCaffrey published nearly 100 books in her lifetime and was best known for her popular “Dragonriders of Pern” novels. In her bio on her website, McCaffrey shared the following insights about her approach to writing and her first novel, which was published in 1967:
“Her first novel, ‘Restoree,’ was written as a protest against the absurd and unrealistic portrayals of women in s-f novels in the ‘50s and early ‘60s. It is, however, in the handling of broader themes and the worlds of her imagination, particularly the two series ‘The Ship Who Sang’ and the fourteen novels about the ‘Dragonriders of Pern,’ that Ms. McCaffrey’s talents as a story-teller are best displayed.”