Book Reviews

BookExpo America Loves Librarians

...and here's the 'official' BEA Librarians blog. Why does BEA love librarians? Hmmm, probably because there are fewer and fewer bookstores around :(. [birdie's request: please support your local bookstores and partner with them whenever possible].

This month's entry includes YA, Middle Grade, Non-Fiction and Fiction favorites and asks librarians...what do YOU like? Check it out.

Writers Write About Censorship

Excerpt from "Places I Never Meant To Be" Original Stories By Censored Writers; Edited and Introduction by Judy Blume. Blume tells the story of how she circumnavigated the naysayers to read her first book by John O'Hara. Not a new title (2001), but definitely one worth reading.

From the Introduction: When I was growing up I’d heard that if a movie or book was “Banned in Boston” everybody wanted to see it or read it right away. My older brother, for example, went to see such a movie -- The Outlaw, starring Jane Russell -- and I wasn’t supposed to tell my mother. I begged him to share what he saw, but he wouldn’t. I was intensely curious about the adult world and hated the secrets my parents, and now my brother, kept from me.

A few years later, when I was in fifth grade, my mother was reading a novel called A Rage to Live, by John O’Hara, and for the first time (and, as it turned out, the only time) in my life, she told me I was never to look at that book, at least not until I was much older. Once I knew my mother didn’t want me to read it, I figured it must be really interesting! -- Read More

The Future of Book Reviews Critics vs Amazon Reviewers

Top critics Morris Dickstein and Cynthia Ozick debate who are truly the book critics today (hint: Amazon reviewers) and what this means for reviewing. Jane Ciabattari reports.

In the age of rapid digital revolution in publishing, when readers have book review options ranging from decades-old publications like The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, and The New York Times Book Review, to Twitter book clubs, literary websites, online publications like this one, and Amazon reader reviews, what is the role of the book reviewer? And how has that role changed?

What Gingrich reveals in his many book reviews

What Gingrich reveals in his many book reviews
Along with college professor and bestselling author, the former Republican Speaker of the House added presidential candidate to his resume today. But if Gingrich wished, he might also include his ranking as an Amazon.com “top reviewer.” Indeed, he hit his peak in 2004 rising into the top 500 of the site’s reviewers, based on how often readers found his reviews helpful. Since then his ranking has slipped, and he hasn’t posted a review since 2008.

The Rationality of One-Star Reviews

The Rationality of One-Star Reviews
But how did customers respond to this pricing decision? They were outraged! As you can see on the product page, the book has been overwhelmed with one-star reviews based not on the quality of the book itself but instead on the perception of greed and unfairness on behalf of the publisher. “junk,” writes Amazon reviewer Juan M. “It’s ridiculous that the E-BOOK is as much as the physical copy. Greed indeed.”

West Of Here': What Happened To The Frontier?

From NPR's Morning Edition:

In his new book, "West of Here", novelist Jonathan Evison takes readers back to one of the last unexplored territories of the American West: Washington state's Olympic Peninsula ... In essence, the book is a conversation between past and present, between hopeful settlers and modern-day strugglers.

Evison began his research by poking around in the local libraries of towns up and down the Olympic Peninsula: "I found that at all these little libraries in Port Angeles and Sequim and Shelton and all these peninsula towns, you can find all these wonderful little tape-bound manuscripts. Some of them are 15 pages long, some of them are 100 pages long, but they're personalized, first-person accounts of frontier living."

Review: The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood

The New York Review of Books has a review of The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood
(Click image to enlarge)

Newbery & Caldecott Medals Awarded at ALA Midwinter

From the LA Times/ Jacket Copy Blog: The American Library Assn. presented its top honors for books for children and young adults at a ceremony in San Diego Monday morning. The highest award, the Newbery Medal, is awarded each year to the most distinguished book for children; it went to "Moon Over Manifest" by Clare Vanderpool. The Caldecott Medal, the top award for illustration, went to the book "A Sick Day for Amos McGee," illustrated by Erin E. Stead and written by Philip C. Stead.

The ALA award medallions, which can be found on the covers of later editions of the winning books, not only signify excellence, they also can mean a longer commercial life for the books, as well as assure they find a place in libraries. Finalists also receive the medallions.

The hour-long ceremony, which began at 7:45 a.m., included the announcement of dozens of awards and finalists before an audience attending the ALA's midwinter conference. The roster of winners was too long to invite the authors, illustrators or publishers to the podium to accept their awards.

A Year in Marginalia

Observations, bits & pieces accumulated while reading during the year, by Sam Anderson, New York Magazine Book Editor.

Best Novels of 2010 According to Ron Charles

It's hip, it's happening, it's a round-up...from the totally hip Ron Charles of the Washington Post.

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