Book Reviews

Amazon reviewers think this masterpiece sucks

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

Article at Salon.com

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.
http://uflstaffpicks.blogspot.com/2010/03/outbreaks-attacks-sackings-and-fires.html

The Times, They Are a-Changing...

From Poynter.org, 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.

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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.

Invisible Online Book Reviews

Why Google and Other Humans Don't Read Your Book Reviews:

Try running this very specific Google search - "Manhood" by Mels van Driel review - and you will not find the L.A. Times among the results - at least not within first three pages that humans would care to flip through. How come might you ask? Well the answer is simple - there is nothing whatsoever that tells Google that this post is a book review about this particular book.

And this is not just an isolated problem with this book review from this particular newspaper. The issue is widespread across all major U.S. and international media outlets. Either due to lack of tools or lack of understanding how search engines and other software works, people notoriously don't make their content discoverable.

New Owner For Kirkus Reviews/now Kirkus Media

Looks like Kirkus Reviews will live another day to praise — and skewer — authors, but with some rather unorthodox owners for a publication with a long literary pedigree.

Herb Simon, the owner of the Indiana Pacers, the NBA team, and chairman emeritus of Simon Property Group, a shopping mall developer, has bought the venerable journal of prepublication book reviews from the Nielsen Company, which announced in December it was closing the magazine. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Mr. Simon, who is co-owner of an independent bookstore in Montecito, CA, Telecote Books, has appointed Marc Winkelman, chief executive of Calendar Holdings, owner of several chains of seasonal retailers, to be chief executive of what will be re-named Kirkus Media. Mr. Winkelman is also taking a small stake in the company.

NYTimes Media Blog.

Warren Beatty Biography, "Star"

Sounds like a good beach/vacation read.

Vanessa Grigoriadis reviews Peter Biskind's biography of Warren Beatty-- "Star; How Warren Beatty Seduced America" in Sunday's New York Times. Presumably Beatty first agreed to cooperate in the creation of the book but later renegged on his offer.

From the review:

For a relative unknown, dating an actress like [Joan] Collins was a coup, but Beatty was more interested in platonic seduction of those higher on the food chain: writers and directors. His first scalp was the (gay) playwright William Inge, author of “Come Back, Little Sheba” and “Picnic,” who hoped to cast him in the part of a man so sexually confident that “he feels a wreath has been hung on his penis.” Soon, he secured an audience with Clifford Odets at Romanoff’s restaurant on Rodeo Drive, and bonded with Elia Kazan, who gave him his first big break, “Splendor in the Grass.” He impressed them with his intelligence, but he liked playing the pretty boy too. From a young age, he maintained a diet of soy burgers and carrot juice, washed his hair with a six-pack of beer, and even separated his eyelashes with a pin before shooting a scene (for sex, he pumped up his thyroid with vitamins) — and he didn’t care who knew it. Carly Simon has never explicitly admitted that Beatty was the inspiration for “You’re So Vain,” but he likes to think so.

Far Out: A Space-Time Chronicle

Far Out: A Space-Time Chronicle

Review of book in the NYT: A Guide to the Cosmos, in Words and Images

Excerpt from review: Actually “exquisite” does not really do justice to the aesthetic and literary merits of the book, published in the fall. I live in New York, so most of the cosmos is invisible to me, but even when I lived under the black crystalline and — at this time of year — head-ringingly cold skies of the Catskills, I could see only so far. If you don’t have your own Hubble Space Telescope, this book is the next best thing.

Publisher's website with info about book.

Book is available on Amazon for $34.65

Book Magazine Kirkus Reviews Lives to Write Another Day

Book Magazine Kirkus Reviews Lives to Write Another Day

Details here

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