The publishing house Hachette Book Group has accused Amazon of deliberately delaying shipments of their books as a negotiation tactic to pressure the publisher into giving Amazon more favorable terms. Amazon has reportedly been marking many books published by Hachette as not available for at least two or three weeks. Titles by Malcolm Gladwell and J.D. Salinger are being delayed. Stephen Colbert’s America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t is listed as three weeks away, while James Patterson’s Alex Cross, Run is listed as a five-week wait. The New York Times reports that over the years Amazon has employed a number of ruthless tactics against publishing houses, even removing the “buy” buttons from some books! [New York Times] READ FULL STORY
Category: News (31-40 of 623)
The newest addition to Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot novels has been announced. Sophie Hannah has written The Monogram Murders, which will be released on September 9th. Hannah says that she had the idea for the plot for years, but it wasn’t until she was offered the chance to author a Hercule Poirot novel that she found the perfect setting. See the her talk about the book in the video below:
Vladmir Putin and Prince are on the same page about profanity right now, specifically that they’ve had enough of it. Putin passed a law that “requires books containing obscenities to come in sealed packages with warning labels and that bans cursing in movies and the performing arts,” according to NPR. There’s no official list of banned words, but it will be up to the Ministry of Culture to decide what is too profane. Prince, on the other hand, just told Essence magazine that he’s not swearing in his music anymore because we should treat “all people like royalty,” and you don’t swear in front of royalty. READ FULL STORY
The PEN American Center hosted its annual literary gala last night, and the list of speakers celebrating freedom of expression included Salman Rushdie, two members of the Russian protest group Pussy Riot, and Toni Morrison. Jewher Ulham accepted the PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award on behalf of her father, Ilham Tohti, a scholar arrested in January and charged with inciting separation among China’s ethnic Uighurs. Words are “all he has ever had at his disposal and all that he has ever needed. And this is what China finds so threatening,” she said in her acceptance speech. Other awards went to Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, who was given the inaugural Digital Freedom Award and to Salman Rushdie who won the PEN’s Literary Service Award. [Yahoo] READ FULL STORY
An uncut edition of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s fourth short story collection, “Taps at Reveille,” was published this week in the U.K. by the Cambridge University Press. A Penn State English professor discovered that the original editors had deleted or replaced many words in Fitzgerald’s stories to make the book more acceptable to the public. “They excised or inserted substitutions for profanity and certain slang words, cut out references to sex and drugs and drunkenness, masked specific locations and names, and either deleted or softened several anti-Semitic slurs uttered by some of the author’s less pleasant characters,” writes the New York Times. Some changes completely altered the characters and plot of the stories, and other changes merely took the spice out of his tone. We can expect the uncensored collection to be published in the U.S. in June.
The Mystery Writers of America announced the Edgar Awards winners last night. You can check their website for a complete list of winners, but the category of Best Novel went to William Kent Krueger for Ordinary Grace. Krueger’s website gives this synopsis:
Minnesota, 1961. It was a time of innocence and hope for a country with a new, young president. But for thirteen-year-old Frank Drum it was a grim summer in which death visited frequently and assumed many forms. Accident. Nature. Suicide. Murder. Told from Frank’s perspective forty years after that fateful summer, “Ordinary Grace” is a brilliantly moving account of a boy standing at the door of his young manhood, trying to understand a world that seems to be falling apart around him. It is an unforgettable novel about discovering the terrible price of wisdom and the enduring grace of God.
Since March, people have been protesting the British prison system’s new rules that effectively prevent prisoners from accepting books in the mail. The protests have garnered the support of high-profile authors like Salman Rushdie, but apparently things are still pretty hairy because Philip Pullman, current president of the Society of Authors, has sent a snarly letter to justice minister Chris Grayling denouncing the law. No one wants to draw the wrath of Pullman’s sharp tongue (just ask the Catholic Church.) [Guardian]
Have you ever gone to a book reading by your favorite author and agonized over what question to ask. You want to ask something smart, but deferential; something that reveals you are a true fan, but not truly creepy. Well, keep agonizing. According to this article, writers really do notice the questions you ask and judge the heck out of you for it. [NY Books]
To close, let’s appreciate this photo of Pablo Picasso dressed as Popeye. Happy Friday, folks!
Two newly discovered stories by science fiction author Octavia Butler are being published together as an ebook called Unexpected Stories. Butler is a recipient of both the Hugo and Nebula awards and one of the pioneering female writers in the science fiction field. She won the the prestigious PEN Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000. One of the new stories, “Childminder” was commissioned by Harlan Ellison for his legendary (and never-published) anthology The Last Dangerous Visions. A disaffected telepath connects with a young girl in a desperate attempt to help her harness her growing powers. But in the richly evocative fiction of Octavia Butler, mentorship is a rocky path, and every lesson comes at a price. [Open Road]
Stefanie Zweig, the author of Nowhere in Africa, a best-selling autobiography of her Jewish family escaping Nazi Germany to live in Kenya, died on Friday at 81. Zweig adapted the book into a screenplay, which was made into a German movie directed by Caroline Link. The film won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2003. [New York Times]
Harper’s put together an interactive storytelling feature by Jill Sobule called “Dottie’s Charms.” When Sobule bought a charm bracelet on eBay, she was inspired to write a song for each charm. The Harper’s feature includes music written by Sobule and lyrics for each song written by a different author, some are paired with illustrations and video. [Harper’s]
Dave Eggers wrote an effusive forward to the 10th Anniversary edition of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. Funny thing though, he didn’t mention his scathing review of the book in 1996. “Besides frequently losing itself in superfluous and wildly tangential flights of lexical diarrhea, the book suffers under the sheer burden of its incredible length,” Egger wrote back in the day. Yikes. [Reluctant Habits]
Here’s a rant against National Poetry Month from J.T. Barbarese, an English professor at Rutgers. He’s railing against the idea that poetry can be commodified and that this whole “month” idea was a marketing ploy by well-meaning fools. “Umberto Eco, years ago, suggested that the only way to save civilization was to abolish compulsory education. I am not sure he was just kidding,” Barbarese writes. I’m sure you’re not kidding. [Newsworks]
I’ll leave you with this Guardian headline: Scanner for ebook cannot tell its ‘arms’ from its ‘anus.’
As Harper Lee celebrates her 88th birthday today, she unexpectedly announced an eBook version of To Kill A Mockingbird would be published this July. Until today, To Kill A Mockingbird and Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye were the two white rhinos that still eluded the eBook library’s collection of classics. [Guardian] READ FULL STORY
Melissa Etheridge was in Harrisburg, PA for a concert last night and popped into the local indie bookstore, the Midtown Scholar. She and her partner Linda Wallem “sipped tea and browsed the book selection,” while one of the employees watched completely starstruck. “I looked at her, and it looked like her and I was like ‘It can’t be her.’ I was like shocked,” said David Kern, the bookstore’s events coordinator. Etheridge asked if he and his husband were going to the show, but he told her they couldn’t afford to buy tickets after their wedding last month. So Etheridge surprised him with a pair of tickets as a wedding gift! “She was just so amazingly sweet,” said Kern. Good things happen in indie bookstores!! [PennLive]
The author and journalist Elena Poniatowska is this year’s winner of the Miguel de Cervantes Prize, the most prestigious literary prize in the Spanish language. Poniatowska has written more than three dozen books, including “La Noche de Tlatelolco,” a groundbreaking oral history of the 1968 army massacre of student protesters in Mexico City. Apparently she told El Pais that Diego Rivera used to call her the “little Polish girl who asks too many questions.” [Los Angeles Times]
Is it O.K. to mine real relationships for literary material? That’s the question that the New York Times asked two writers in their Book Ends forum this week and what great question it is! It can be a difficult call to make, how much is too much when it comes to writing about your family, friends and lovers. What do you guys think? [New York Times]
Kevin Clouther breaks down a sentence from Denis Johnson’s short story collection Jesus’ Son, which won the National Book Award for Fiction in 1992. Clouther really dives deep into the grammatical and vocabulary choices that Johnson made, unpacking this superficially unexciting line to reveal the crux of the whole story. Johnson’s newest novel, The Laughing Monsters, comes out in November 2014. [Tin House]
And if you read nothing else today, read the recipe for Tartine’s rustic country bread. San Francisco’s Tartine is the Mecca of bakeries. New York’s cronut craze is laughable when you think about the flaky, buttery, salty, sweet deliciousness of a croissant from Tartine. Their new cookbook shares all their secrets, but this NYT article will give you the key to one of their bestsellers, the rustic country loaf. Mmm delectable. [New York Times]
On The Books: Claudia Rankine wins poetry prize; the trials of building Noah's Ark and Shakespeare's Globe Theater
Jamaican poet Claudia Rankine won the Poets & Writers’ Jackson Poetry Prize this year, which comes with a sweet award of $50,000. Rankine has published four books of poetry; her last was 2004′s Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric. She told The New York Times that she plans to publish a follow-up in October called Citizen. “Both books reside in the realm where one’s attempts to negotiate a day are complicated by racial interactions,” Ms. Rankine said. “Where ‘Lonely’ looked at the role of media in our private lives, ‘Citizen’ attempts to understand how black people, like tennis star Serena Williams, negotiate racism on a public stage.” Rankine was elected Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets last year and currently teaches at Pomona College. [New York Times]
The Financial Times ran a story (on their salmon pink website to match their salmon pink paper) about the battle for Shakespeare’s famous Globe Theater. The Bard had a little known nemesis, the maniacal Lady Elizabeth Russell, who lived next door to his playhouse. She was your typical belligerent neighbor who’s always snooping in your business. To take her down a notch, “the playwright had lampooned members of the Dowager’s coterie in Henry IV, Part 1,” and he skewered her husband as a drunk buffoon — so Russell was out for payback. She turned many of Shakespeare’s friends against him and pushed through a petition to have the Globe shuttered, but the story ends with an ironic twist – classic Will! – so you have to finish the article to get the joke of the whole thing. [Financial Times]
Check out the cover of David Mitchell’s new novel The Bone Clocks, which will be hitting shelves on September 9th. Mitchell, a two-time Booker Prize finalist, is the author of five novels, including Cloud Atlas, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, and Number9Dream.
As with his previous books, this new story will feature mystical elements and skip through time and space. For more plot detail, Random House released this description:
Following a scalding row with her mother, fifteen-year-old Holly Sykes slams the door on her old life. But Holly is no typical teenage runaway: a sensitive child once contacted by voices she knew only as “the radio people,” Holly is a lightning rod for psychic phenomena. Now, as she wanders deeper into the English countryside, visions and coincidences reorder her reality until they assume the aura of a nightmare brought to life.
For Holly has caught the attention of a cabal of dangerous mystics—and their enemies. But her lost weekend is merely the prelude to a shocking disappearance that leaves her family irrevocably scarred. This unsolved mystery will echo through every decade of Holly’s life, affecting all the people Holly loves—even the ones who are not yet born.
A Cambridge scholarship boy grooming himself for wealth and influence, a conflicted father who feels alive only while reporting from occupied Iraq, a middle-aged writer mourning his exile from the bestseller list—all have a part to play in this surreal, invisible war on the margins of our world. From the medieval Swiss Alps to the nineteenth-century Australian bush, from a hotel in Shanghai to a Manhattan townhouse in the near future, their stories come together in moments of everyday grace and extraordinary wonder.
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