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Tag: Indie Bookstores (1-5 of 5)

On The Books: Drink your books, a water safety manual doubles as a water filter

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Some people think of everything, like the folks over at humanitarian group WaterisLife. They wrote a book on water quality, but went the extra mile and made the pages actual water filters that can be torn out and used to treat contaminated water. My first question was: what languages are they printing this in because chances are the people who need this speak only a local dialect. Sure enough they covered that: “Each page of the book is divided by perforation into two squares. The top half has information printed in English, while the bottom half is printed in a locally spoken language. The first run was printed in English and Swahili to be distributed in Kenya, but the goal is to expand printing for languages spoken in all 33 countries where WaterisLife operates.” [Slate] READ FULL STORY

On The Books: Melissa Etheridge surprises fan at an indie bookstore

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: 2013's Ten Most Challenged Books

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Every year the American Library Association publishes a list of the most challenged books in the country to keep the public informed of encroaching censorship. The ALA defines a challenge as “a formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness.” The number of challenges reflects only incidents reported. The group estimates that for every reported challenge, four or five remain unreported. This year’s list is topped by the The Adventures of Captain Underpants series, which also held that slot in 2012. The humorous and cartoony book about two 4th grade boys and their imaginary-turned-real superhero Captain Underpants was cited for: offensive language, unsuited for age group, and violence. Fifty Shades of Grey also made the list, as did The Hunger Games. Check out the complete list. READ FULL STORY

On The Books: A Divergent-themed Summer Camp

Every year your parents ship you off to summer camp. You spend a few weeks battling the mosquitoes, swimming in the weedy lake, gorging on s’mores, and acting out bad skits for an audience of loopy counselors and bored campers. (Or maybe your camp experiences were awesome?) Well imagine a summer camp that lets you throw knives at the other kids? Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperille, Illinois landed on the genius idea to host a Divergent-themed summer camp this year, which in my mind means zip lines, trust falls off of abandoned buildings, jumping into moving trains, fighting personal demons in a virtual reality cube, you know, fun kid stuff. (Disclaimer: Anderson’s is not letting your kids do any of these things.)

READ FULL STORY

On the Books: Amy Poehler to host World Book Night

Amy Poehler will be hosting World Book Night this year! The comedian has already sharpened her hosting chops at this year’s Golden Globes. (“Welcome to the 71st Annual Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s Lee Daniels’ The Butler Golden Globe Awards.”) We can expect some big laughs on April 23rd when the star joins a coalition of publishers, bookseller, librarians and 25,000 volunteers to give away 500,000 books to people who otherwise don’t have access to reading materials. “I’m thrilled to be part of World Book Night,” the actress told UPI. “People who read are people who dream, and we connect through the stories we live and tell and read.” The event’s executive director, Carl Lennertz, is equally happy to have Poehler on board. “This news is the icing, cherry and candles on the year three WBN cake,” the director said. Special paperback editions that will be given away this year are Malcom Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, Carl Hiaasen’s Hoot, and Solomon Northrup’s 12 Years a Slave. [UPI]

Two hilarious letters written by America’s favorite recluse Harper Lee are being auctioned in Los Angeles tomorrow. The first is written to a Dr. Engelhardt in 2005 and she complains about the To Kill A Mockingbird tourism that plagues her in her small town of Monroeville, Alabama: “You think my home is my castle? No, sir!” She also mentions her poor penmanship: “excuse my penmanship”, which she says she has ” a feeling that it’s cater cornered on the page.” In the second letter, she thanks her friend Doris Leapard “for all the things you do, have done, and will do. (This reads like Nixon’s pardon.) …” It really is a loss that she doesn’t give interviews, since they would obviously be hilarious. [The Guardian]

Indie bookstores are a dying breed. (Bookstores are a dying breed.) But just to remind you that this is a serious problem, here’s an article in the New York Times about bookstores being forced out of Manhattan, a city that used to be a beacon of literary haunts. So many classic booksellers have shuttered in the past decade and the ones that are open struggle to stay that way. So support your indie booksellers! Don’t buy everything on your Kindle…

Check out this great article in The New Yorker by Stacey D’Erasmo on the “Proteus” nature of female artists. “Proteus, who assumes many shapes but is subject to none, is a productive figure for the artist to steer by.” She attributes this tendency to women and the Other. “There’s a doubt, a shadow, a friction between the inner world and the perception or the shape of the exterior container. That shadow between feeling and form, which may begin in gender, releases artistic energy all one’s life. The paper is always torn, the eyes always peer out from within borrowed shapes.”

Lastly, spare fifteen minutes to peruse this “He loves me, he loves me not” quiz based on Samuel Richardson’s 18th century novel Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded. “If you’re asking yourself, ‘Does my recently-orphaned master like me, or does he like me like me?’ then you’re in the right place. It can be hard to tell if a libertine’s just being friendly (he shakes hands with all of his housemaids’ breasts like that!) or if he’s starting to think of you as someone special (he hides under your bed while you’re at church, even on Whitsuntide!), especially when he owns you and all of your labor for the next seven years.” Haven’t we all been there? [The Toast]

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