Authors

Ex-Mayor of Detroit to Speak at Library...via Skype

Kwame Kilpatrick is coming to the Detroit Public Library -- sort of -- in two weeks. The controversy is already there.

Jonathan Kinloch, vice president of the library commission, said Friday that residents have called him to complain about the former Detroit mayor's book signing, scheduled for the evening of Oct. 19. Kilpatrick plans to appear via Skype, an audio and video service that allows people to interact over the Internet. The co-author of his memoir will appear in person.

At issue is an e-mail the library sent out Friday that said people who attend will "learn the truth behind (Kilpatrick's) meteoric rise in politics, the crippling controversies surrounding his administration, his downfall and, ultimately, his redemption."

Story from the Detroit Free Press.

Barry Eisler's 'Detachment' From 'Legacy' Publishing

Author interview on "Morning Edition" on NPR

"Publishing for me is a business, not an ideology," says the bestselling thriller writer. Eisler walked away from a half-million dollar deal offered by a traditional publisher to self-publish — and then teamed up with Amazon. His newest book, The Detachment, was e-released on Amazon in September.

Innovation Starvation

Essay by Neal Stephenson at WorldPolicy.org

Stephenson is the author of Cryptonomicon and Snow Crash and Reamde: A Novel

Innovation Starvation -- Read More

HARRY POTTER FOR GROWNUPS

Lately it seems like you can't pick up a new work of fiction without some character crawling out of the grave or casting a spell. Authors we used call "serious" and "literary" — shorthand for writers who wrote realism — are suddenly writing about the magical and supernatural. Colson Whitehead has a zombie novel coming out next month. Tom Perotta, who wrote the suburban story Little Children, has a new novel about life on earth after a Rapture-like miracle. And there are many more on the way.

These writers are bringing literary ambition to genres that were once considered lowbrow. So is old fashioned fiction on the way out?

Lev Grossman is a book critic and literary novelist. But his big breakthrough came two years ago with The Magicians, a novel about a young wizard. The sequel, The Magician King, just came out and is already a bestseller.

But Grossman says making the transition from “serious” to genre fiction wasn’t easy. “I had to come out to myself as a fantasy writer, at the advanced age of 35,” he tells Kurt Andersen. “It was a transformative moment — and not unpainful.”

Listen to full piece here.

Novelist ditches publisher at book launch for 'condescending' treatment

Novelist ditches publisher at book launch for 'condescending' treatment
Novelist Polly Courtney has dropped her publisher HarperCollins for giving her books "condescending and fluffy" covers aimed at the chick lit market.

Michael Hart, Project Gutenberg Founder Dies

From Infodocket, news of the passing of Michael Hart, creator of Project Gutenberg.

Here are two passages from an obituary written by Greg Newby:

Michael S. Hart left a major mark on the world. The invention of eBooks was not simply a technological innovation or precursor to the modern information environment. A more correct understanding is that eBooks are an efficient and effective way of unlimited free distribution of literature. Access to eBooks can thus provide opportunity for increased literacy. Literacy, the ideas contained in literature, creates opportunity.

In July 2011, Michael wrote these words, which summarize his goals and his lasting legacy: “One thing about eBooks that most people haven’t thought much is that eBooks are the very first thing that we’re all able to have as much as we want other than air. Think about that for a moment and you realize we are in the right job.”

Here is Michael Hart's obituary on the Project Gutenberg Website.

Ann Patchett, New Bookstore Owner Talks about Touring, Bookstores & More

From the New York Times article entitled "Of Bugs and Books", author Ann Patchett (State of Wonder) speaks about books, ebooks, bookstores, best-sellers, reading habits, author appearances, cicadas (the bug part) and so on:

"Everything cycles back around. Things I didn’t think could ever make a comeback — Newt Gingrich and platform shoes — proved capable of startling resurgence. Now when someone tells me a trend is dead, I think, no, probably just dormant.

Take bookstores, for example. With the demise of the Borders chain and the shaky footing of Barnes and Noble, one might be tempted to write off the whole business. But as one who spent her summer on a book tour, I would like to offer this firsthand report from the front lines: Americans are still reading books. Night after night after night I showed up in a different bookstore and people were there with their hardbacks. Sure, I signed a couple of iPad covers, Kindle covers. I’ve got no problem with that. But just because some people like their e-readers doesn’t mean we should sweep all the remaining paperbacks in a pile and strike a match. Maybe bookstores are no longer 30,000 square feet, but they are selling books. "

Patchett and her business partner, Karen Hayes, and will open the doors to Parnassus Books in her hometown of Nashville in October.

Are books dead and can authors survive

Are books dead, and can authors survive?
At the Edinburgh international book festival this weekend, Ewan Morrison set out his bleak vision of a publishing industry in terminal decline. Here's a shortened version of his argument

Penn Jillette and libraries

There is a piece on NPR about Penn Jillette's new book God, No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales

Excerpt from NPR piece that mentions libraries:
His discussion of libertarianism is similar: He doesn't believe government has the right to do anything you wouldn't enforce at gunpoint, so (for instance) stopping crime is a legitimate government function, but public libraries are not, since he wouldn't hold a gun on anyone and force them to create a library. Again, some will agree and some won't, but his commitment to this principle is at least something he's prepared to defend.

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