Book Reviews

Librarians at BookExpo America

From Shelf Awareness ...At the second annual Book Shout and Share panel last Thursday in New York City, seven librarians--Jason Honig, San Francisco Public Library; Robin Nesbitt, Columbus Metropolitan Library; Nora Rawlinson,; Miriam Tuliao, New York Public Library; and several staffers from Library Journal: Barbara Hoffert, "Pre-Pub Alert" editor; Douglas Lord, "Books for Dudes" columnist; Neal Wyatt, editor of "RA Crossroads" and "The Readers Shelf"-- touted their top finds from the BEA show floor. Barbara A. Genco, collection management editor, hosted the session.

Here are some of their suggestions:
Exley by Brock Clarke (Algonquin, October 2010), the story of a nine-year-old boy struggling to make sense of his father's disappearance, is "the first great find of the new season" for Barbara Genco--one that reminded her of Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. "It's a fascinating book about the Iraq war--what it means to families and what it's like to live in a military town," she said.

Another title Genco highlighted is Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian (Nan A. Talese, October) by Avi Steinberg, who recounts his stint working in a Boston prison library.

One Book, One Twitter...It's Not Your Grandmother's Book Club

Don't believe what you read, says author and editor Jeff Howe in the Christian Science Monitor. "The Internet is not destroying literature." If anything, he argues, "the new medium could breathe new life into a few old ones."

To prove his point, earlier this month Howe kicked off "One Book, One Twitter," which Howe hopes will become "the largest collective reading exercise in history." As Howe explains in book industry trade magazine Publishers Weekly, "This summer, thousands of people from all over the world are reading Neil Gaiman's 'American Gods.' They will then discuss the book using Twitter, a new-fangled technology that's doing for the epigram what Anne Frank did for diaries."

Howe says he got his idea from Seattle's celebrity librarian Nancy Pearl who, in 1998, launched the "One City, One Book" group read concept, now adopted by many other municipalities as well.

Discussions in 140 characters or less...what are your thoughts?

Are We Prepared For a Cyberattack? Richard A. Clarke Says 'No'

New York Times Book Review of 'The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About It' by Richard A. Clarke and Robert K. Knake. 290 pages. Ecco/HarperCollins Publishers. $25.99.

Gas pipelines explode. Chemical plants release clouds of toxic chlorine. Banks lose all their data. Weather and communication satellites spin out of their orbits. And the Pentagon’s classified networks grind to a halt, blinding the greatest military power in the world.

This might sound like a takeoff on the 2007 Bruce Willis “Die Hard” movie, in which a group of cyberterrorists attempts to stage what it calls a “fire sale”: a systematic shutdown of the nation’s vital communication and utilities infrastructure. According to the former counterterrorism czar Richard A. Clarke, however, it’s a scenario that could happen in real life — and it could all go down in 15 minutes. While the United States has a first-rate cyberoffense capacity, he says, its lack of a credible defense system, combined with the country’s heavy reliance on technology, makes it highly susceptible to a devastating cyberattack.

The professor, his wife, and the secret, savage book reviews on Amazon

The professor, his wife, and the secret, savage book reviews on Amazon
An extraordinary literary "whodunnit" over the identity of a mystery reviewer who savaged works by some of Britain's leading academics on the Amazon website has culminated in a top historian admitting that the culprit was, in fact, his wife.

Amazon reviewers think this masterpiece sucks

From "The Grapes of Wrath" to "1984" -- some amateur critics just can't stand the classics

Article at

Outbreaks, Attacks, Sackings, and Fires

Luciano Canfora’s The Vanished Library: A Wonder of the Ancient World...the book contrasts the fate of the ancient Library of Alexandria with besieged public libraries today.

The Times, They Are a-Changing...

From, New York Times to spin off Book Review for e-readers:

The New York Times is planning to offer its Book Review as a separate digital e-reader product, disaggregated from the rest of the Times content on the mobile devices, according to James Dunn, director of marketing for The New York Times.

Dunn alluded to the plan during an afternoon session at the Digital Publishing Alliance (DPA) and E-Reader Symposium at the University of Missouri's Reynolds Journalism Institute. Following the session, Dunn spoke briefly with Poynter's Bill Mitchell and provided additional details.

Mitchell reports the Times will introduce a separate version of its Book Review for three e-reader platforms, beginning with the Sony e-reader in the next couple of weeks. Versions for Amazon's Kindle and Barnes & Noble's Nook will follow. Dunn declined to say what the price will be for the Book Review on these platforms.

NYTimes Lauds 'Overdue' and Its Subject, Librarians

In no less than the New York Times Sunday Book Review...a rave for Marilyn Johnson's "This Book is Overdue : How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All”. Critic Pagan Kennedy writes:

Johnson ushers us into the American Kennel Club Library and introduces us to the inevitable graying librarian in a boiled-wool jacket with a Scotty pin. She also teleports over to a Las Vegas “gentlemen’s club” called the Library, where ladies wearing spectacles (and not much more) slide their way down stripper poles. She peppers the book with lots of random instructions, like how to remove odor from an old Graham Greene paperback. (Use a sheet of Bounce fabric softener.) This is one of those books, in the vein of Mary Roach’s “Stiff” (about human cadavers), that tackle a big topic by taking readers on a chapter-by-chapter tour of eccentric characters and unlikely locations. Given Johnson’s attractions to wild tangents, the journey often dissolves into a jumble. It is a testament to her skill as a writer that she remains fascinating, even in the throes of A.D.D.


Book Review: Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson

Book Review: Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson
Brandon Sanderson's Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians is a new twist on the young adult fantasy genre. Instead of integrating magical elements into a modern story world, the book is written to inform us that our modern world (and even our history) is an illusion that librarians want us to believe.



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