Dickens At 200: A Birthday You Can't 'Bah Humbug'

For nearly two centuries, Charles Dickens' colorful characters and memorable expressions have worked their way into the vernacular. The prolific 19th-century English novelist left behind 989 named characters and two dozen novels full of the pathos and comedy of London's rich and poor.

Full piece here.


Authors share how they deal with lousy reviews

Authors share how they deal with lousy reviews
Authors also know that everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, which is why we develop coping mechanisms that we turn to when the reviews start rolling in. It's inevitable that even though your new release got four stars from RT Book Reviews and a starred review in Publishers Weekly, someone out there is going to poo all over it. And, yes, I speak from experience with my recent release, True Shot. That's why I asked several authors this question: How do you deal with bad reviews (we all get them!)? Chocolate? Alcohol? Shooting range?


New Book, Unpacking My Library, Checks Out Writers and Their Book Collections

In Unpacking My Library: Writers and Their Books (Yale, $20), a new collection of photographs and interviews, editor Leah Price asks 13 authors, including three couples, about the books and bookcases in their homes.

Author Philip Pullman says that when moving into a new house eight years ago, "we thought that at last we'd have room for all our books. No chance!"

Rebecca Goldstein (Properties of Light: A Novel) and Stephen Pinker (The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined) share floor-to-ceiling bookshelves that consist of a matrix of white tubes.

"They make it easy to categorize and find books," Pinker says, "and they do away with the need for those awful things called bookends."

Stephen Carter (The Emperor of Ocean Park) says he's not troubled that his books are not, for the most part, arranged as in a library. ("How dull to have everything at one's fingertips!" he says.)

Jonathan Lethem (Motherless Brooklyn) says he's constantly arranging and rearranging his books — sometimes by "alphabetical absolution" and, at times, according to the "imperatives of genre, subject, size, color." On his shelves, Beckett stands next to Bellow, but The Phantom Tollboth, the children's classic by Norton Juster, illustrated by Jules Feiffer, is next to Kafka.

Each writer featured in Unpacking My Library was asked to list the top 10 books on his or her bookshelves.

The authors who are going it alone online - and winning

The authors who are going it alone online - and winning
Tailored services like Amazon CreateSpace, Lulu and Smashwords have put creating and distributing a book firmly into the hands of anyone and everyone.

It means that now, in bestseller lists, alongside literature's world-famous, you'll discover the likes of John Locke.

Last year, he became the eighth member of a highly desirable pack - the Kindle Million Club - a special few who have surpassed the one million sales mark in Amazon's Kindle store.


Writers and Their Books: Inside Famous Authors' Personal Libraries

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.

No predictions this year; just questions

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
Smaller publishers
Barnes & Noble
Independent bookstores
Illustrated book publishers
The industry

Canadian authors: Really big , just not in Canada

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.


Writer Christopher Hitchens Dies At 62

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.

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Free Speech Matters: Anti-Censorship Video from Leading Contemporary Authors

From Penguin via GalleyCat: Stick around for the final commentary from author Heather Brewer about how a librarian changed her life.

How the Internet is Ruining Everything

(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.

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