Book Reviews

Book Magazine Kirkus Reviews Lives to Write Another Day

Book Magazine Kirkus Reviews Lives to Write Another Day

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What's the Point of Book Blurbs?

If you believed them then you'd think every book published is, like, really amazing. From The Guardian:

There's a lot of received wisdom in the publishing world – for instance, if you write non-fiction, your book needs a subtitle. Never mind that fiction doesn't require that extra bit of explication (Crime & Punishment: Murder and Redemption in the Empire of the Tsars anyone?) if you write non-fiction you simply must spell out what you're up to for prospective readers! This may be a wise policy or it may be nonsense, nobody knows.

Then there are blurbs, the more of which you can plaster on your paperback the better. Do these blurbs – many of which could be transferred from book to book without great difficulty – actually sway readers? Usually these are from newspaper reviews reduced by your sales people to a string of superlatives here, a comparison to somebody more famous than you are there. If the blurb comes from a review by a famous person, then they may just run with the name of the celebrity alone ("The Da Vinci Code is f*cking awesome!" – Salman Rushdie).

Booklist senior editor Keir Graff on the future of book review publications.

Interview with Keir Graff
Written by Edward Champion

Posted on December 11, 2009
Filed Under Book Reviewing, Publishing

In the wake of Kirkus Reviews’s folding, I asked Booklist senior editor Keir Graff a few questions on the future of book review publications. He was very gracious and offered considerable answers.


The End of Kirkus and What Will Happen to Advance Reviews

Analysis of yesterday's news story by Jerome Kramer, an independent publishing consultant in his blog, Publishing Perspectives.

Nancy Pearl's Under-The-Radar Holiday Books

From NPR. I'm a great supporter of Pearl's idea about reading the books before you wrap them up...maybe in a 'read irresponsibly' bookbag or with a 'you're top shelf' bookmark/greeting card?

Pearl reads us the beginning of the delightful children's book 'Bubble Trouble', by Margaret Mahy, but also talks about her favorite 'under-the-radar' choices for adults (a refreshing change from the bestseller lists):

  • Spooner, by Pete Dexter, hardcover, 480 pages, Grand Central Publishing, list price: $26.99
  • When Wanderers Cease to Roam: A Traveler's Journal of Staying Put, by Vivian Swift, hardcover, 208 pages, Bloomsbury USA, list price: $20
  • The Good Soldiers, by David Finkel, hardcover, 304 pages, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, list price: $26
  • THIS BOOK IS OVERDUE How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All

    Librarians don’t often receive the kind of ‘pat on the back’ that other professionals get from recipients of their services; here in book form is the appreciation that information professionals have long needed and long deserved, Marilyn Johnson’s THIS BOOK IS OVERDUE How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All, (ISBN: 9780061431609; Harper; On Sale: 2/2/2010).

    While researching her 2006 title “The Dead Beat” (a fascinating and often hilarious study of the art of the obituary writer), Johnson came to the conclusion that librarians and archivists were nothing less than some of the finest professionals—not to mention the most interesting people–that she would ever come to know. They were knowledgeable, sure, but more than that, they were always looking to be of assistance. Name another profession where people actively and regularly want to volunteer their might be hard-pressed to find the equivalent level of service in other fields.

    Her book credits librarians of the past who have changed the way people use libraries (Frederick Kilgour, founder of OCLC) and Henriette Avram (mother of MARC), and older librarians at the forefront of changes in the library profession, such as Sanford Berman who fomented the cataloging revolution. But mostly she tells us about the librarians of today...those whose continuing fascination with knowledge and its organization extend beyond the boundaries of their workplaces.


    How our brains learned to read

    How our brains learned to read
    The brain in its modern form is about 200,000 years old, yet brain imaging shows reading taking place in the same way and in the same place in all brains. To within a few millimetres, human brains share a reading hotspot - what Stanislas Dehaene calls the "letterbox" - on the bottom of the left hemisphere.
    (From a review of Reading in the Brain: The science and evolution of a human invention by Stanislas Dehaene)
    Thanks Ender!

    Children's Thanksgiving Books

    From BookPage (they are running a contest--add your comment and maybe you'll win)...two picture books for the upcoming holiday...

    Duck for Turkey Day
    By Jacqueline Jules
    Albert Whitman & Company, $16.99, 32 pages, ages 4-8

    Thanksgiving Rules
    By Laurie Friedman
    Carolrhoda Books, $16.95, 32 pages, ages 4-8

    Embargo, Schmembargo...NYTimes Reviews New Dan Brown

    The New York Times has broken the embargo on the new Dan Brown book, The Lost Symbol, with a review of Brown's "third rip-snorting adventure". According to the newspaper, "The Lost Symbol manages to take a twisting, turning route through many such aspects of the occult even as it heads for a final secret . . . In the end it is Brown's sweet optimism, even more than Langdon's sleuthing and explicating, that may amaze his readers most."

    Here is the Times review, entitled "Fasten Your Seat Belts, There’s Code to Crack".


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