Shelf Life Book news, reviews, trends, and talk

Here are the 15 best short stories you can read at the 'New Yorker'

Now that the New Yorker has opened its paywalled gates for every article since 2007 for the next three months, there’s never been a better time to read through its legendary archive of short stories. Since the magazine’s inception, it’s published work from some of the last century’s most important writers, including John Updike (pictured above), Vladimir Nabokov, J.D. Salinger, and Alice Munro. Many of the stories are behind a paywall, but check them out if you have a subscription. Here are EW’s picks for the New Yorker‘s best stories:

“The Bear Came Over the Mountain” by Alice Munro (free)

“Town of Cats” by Haruki Murakami (free) READ FULL STORY

J.K. Rowling plans to write more about Cormoran Strike than Harry Potter

J.K. Rowling said that she plans to tell the story of Cormoran Strike, the war-veteran detective who stars in her books The Cuckoo’s Calling and The Silkworm, in more than seven novels, outnumbering her Harry Potter books.

“I really love writing these books, so I don’t know that I’ve got an end point in mind,” Rowling said at Harrogate’s Crime Writing Festival. “One of the things I absolutely love about this genre is that, unlike Harry, where there was an overarching story, a beginning and an end, you’re talking about discrete stories. So while a detective lives, you can keep giving him cases.”

Rowling said she’ll write more more novels than in the Harry Potter series, but the Harry Potter books include more than just seven novels. There are also three others: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find ThemQuidditch Through the Ages, and The Tales of Beedle the Bard. All of those books were written pseudonymously with names from characters of the Harry Potter universe.

Writing more books under the Robert Galbraith pseudonym could be a useful way to divert attention from the overwhelming influence of the Harry Potter series on Rowling’s reputation as a writer; Harry Potter is still Rowling’s signature character, but if “Galbraith” writes more stories with Cormoran Strike, Rowling’s reputation may change. Of course, Harry Potter is a media franchise unto itself, including billion-dollar-grossing movies and theme park rides, while Cormoran Strike is the star of just two books, so it has a long way to go if it wants to compete with Potter.

In addition to the Cormoran Strike series, Rowling is working on screenplays for a trilogy of films based on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Learn 'How to Survive a Sharknado' in this useful excerpt

Sharknado

Step 1: Tape up your windows and fire up Twitter.

Step 2: Make sure your chainsaw is in proper working order.

Step 3: Pick up a copy of How to Survive a Sharknado and Other Unnatural Disasters, a slim survival guide containing everything you need to know about making it through predatory portmanteaus like the dreaded Dinonami, the wicked Whalestrom, the alarming Arachnoquake… and, of course, the titular fake phenomenon, which is scheduled to hit New York City later this month in Syfy’s upcoming trashterpiece Sharknado 2: The Second One. READ FULL STORY

On the Books: 'New Yorker' archives available for free online, for now

the-new-yorker

The New Yorker has relaunched its website with a swanky new design (no more pagination!). In the fall, the magazine will introduce a new paywall system that’s similar to that of The New York Times. But for now, everything in its archives since 2007 are available to the public. To highlight those archives, they’ll be posting collections of different journalistic genres; profiles and love stories are already up. [The New Yorker]

David Orr reviews James Franco’s new poetry collection, Directing Herbert White, in the New York Times Book Review, taking his celebrity and academic credentials into account. “I’m obliged here to note that this actor is well acquainted with the educational system, having apparently attended graduate programs at Yale, Columbia, New York University, Brooklyn College, Warren Wilson College, the Rhode Island School of Design, Le Cordon Bleu, Quantico, Hogwarts (Ravenclaw), the Vaganova School of Russian Ballet and the Jedi Academy.” [The New York Times] READ FULL STORY

Amazon launches all-you-can-read service Kindle Unlimited

kindle-unlimited.jpg

Just yesterday, Amazon launched a page announcing a new subscription service titled Kindle Unlimited before quickly making the page unavailable. But today, it’s been made official. Amazon is now offering Kindle Unlimited, where readers can pay $9.99 a month for unlimited reading and listening on any device. Users will have access to more than 600,000 titles and thousands of audiobooks.

Basically, Kindle Unlimited works like a Netflix for the book world. And as EW pointed out yesterday, its main rivals will be Scribd, which offers over 400,000 titles for $8.99 a month, and Oyster, which offers over 500,000 titles for $9.95 a month.

What We're Reading Now: 'Arts & Entertainments' by Christopher Beha

Arts-and-Entertainments

Have you met Jacob the Intern? You should, especially if you like to read, as he is full of suggestions. I spent a little time at his desk last week and in the middle of explaining something I needed help with he quietly asked what I was reading / what I like reading / did I want to borrow Arts & Entertainments?

I did, I discovered, after he finished explaining why he liked it (his review for EW can be found here). I did, also just now discover, that I never finished explaining what I needed help with…bold move, Jacob, you’re trickier than I thought.

Social commentaries aren’t necessarily right up my alley, but as someone who oscillates between reality TV binging, crying at the love between Kim and her sisters, laughing hysterically at the Real Housewives of WhereverTheyAre, and alternatively scorning Ryan Seacrest Productions’ roster, hemming and hawing about the rise of the Reality TV Star — a book about all the weird mechanics of fame today is perfect.

Beha gives Eddie Hartley, our failed actor at the novel’s center, everything and nothing that he wanted. He gives him fame and failure and longing and a pregnant wife and a sleazy agent and as many fans as haters. Along the way, we see the intricacy of modern fame: the 24/7 star, whose tabloid antics, social media presence, and relationships are as (or sometimes more) important than any of their work.

It’s short and fun and and was an easy read, but there’s also something to chew on. We definitely recommend you add it to your list.

What else should we be reading? What’s on your nightstand?

On the Books: Apple might pay ebook buyers up to $400 million

If Apple is unsuccessful in appealing its loss in last year’s ebook price-fixing case, it will have to pay consumers $400 million. In a previous suit, Apple was convicted of colluding with other publishers to fix the price of ebooks. Apple agreed to the settlement even though it plan to go through with its appeal. If the appeal is successful, the company will pay nothing; if it isn’t, well, a lot of iBooks users are going to be really happy. “The outcome would represent a consumer recovery of over 200 percent of maximum estimated consumer damages,” according to a court document.

Elmore Leonard’s unpublished short stories will be collected and published in one volume next year. [The Guardian]

The estate of Arthur Conan Doyle plans to appeal the recent ruling that put Sherlock Holmes in the public domain. It has asked the Supreme Court to delay the earlier ruling while it prepares its case. [Publishers Weekly] READ FULL STORY

Amazon appears to be testing unlimited ebook subscription service

amazon-kindle.jpg

On Wednesday, a webpage for Kindle Unlimited—a subscription service where users can “enjoy unlimited access to over 600,000 titles and thousands of audiobooks on any device for just $9.99 a month,” according to the page—went live and then was quickly made unavailable. Google cache is hosting a copy of the webpage, however, and Gigaom posted a copy of what they claim is Kindle Unlimited’s advertisement video on YouTube.

Amazon has not yet officially announced Kindle Unlimited, and Amazon did not immediately reply to EW‘s request for comment, so many details are still unclear—but the webpage’s existence suggests Amazon may have an unlimited ebook subscription service on the way.

The service would rival Scribd and Oyster, two other ebook subscription companies. Oyster boasts more than 500,000 titles at $9.95 per month, while Scribd advertises over 400,000 titles for $8.99 per month. These services function like Netflix for ebooks, where subscribers can access an unlimited amount of ebooks from the website’s limited offerings at a flat monthly rate. Just as Netflix was a game-changer in the movies and television industries, Scribd and Oyster have been making waves in publishing—so it’s not surprising to note that Amazon has expressed interest.

Many of the books Amazon appeared to be offering before the Kindle Unlimited webpage was taken down were titles from their own publishing imprint, according to Gigaom. However, none of the titles featured in Gigaom’s video or on the website were from the five biggest publishers—HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House, Macmillan, or, of course, Hachette. The webpage, however, has titles from some of the bigger independent houses, like the Harry Potter books from Bloomsbury. HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster are both on board with Oyster and Scribd. It appears Kindle Unlimited could also, like both other active services, offer self-published work.

Amazon already offers a sort of book subscription service for Amazon Prime members, the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. Through that, Prime users can borrow one book per month from a selection of more than 600,000 books for no additional cost. Kindle Unlimited appears to be a separate service that won’t be included with Amazon Prime, which costs $99 per year.

Video: TED launches trailer for relaunched book series

zak-ebrahim.jpg

Since their one-off lecture event in 1984, TED has grown enormously. In 1990, the organization began hosting annual conferences with talks on “ideas worth spreading.” In 2006, they put the talks on their website, and blew up in popularity. Now the number of talks is in the tens-of-thousands, including lectures from TEDx, independently-organized conferences under the TED brand.

The organization recently announced a relaunch of their publishing imprint, TED Books, which”pick up where TED talks leave off.” The imprint was previously part of the ebook-only Kindle Singles program at Amazon, but now they will also be publishing their books in hardcover. The first book of the relaunch is The Terrorist’s Son: A Story of Choice by Zak Ebrahim, a terrorist’s son who took a more peaceful path in life. Take a look: READ FULL STORY

Inside the far-off world of 'Star Wars Workbooks'

Many elementary school kids spend their days wishing school was more like Star Wars. But what if Star Wars was school?

That’s the ambitious theory behind Workman Publishing’s new collection of Star Wars Workbooks, which aim to drill youngsters in everything from “Preschool Number Fun” to “2nd Grade Writing—by means of everything from Boba Fett to Padmé Amidala. The books align with Common Core requirements, and Workman promises that they drill basic concepts in much the same way as the company’s highly successful Brainquest workbook series. Of course, the Star Wars books will also help everyone remember the long “O” in Obi-Wan (which we think is far more important than two plus two). READ FULL STORY

Latest Videos in Books

Advertisement

TV Recaps

Powered by WordPress.com VIP