Shelf Life Book news, reviews, trends, and talk

Tag: On the Books (1-10 of 183)

On the Books: Orwell estate swings back at Amazon

Bill Hamilton, literary executor of George Orwell’s estate, penned a scathing letter to the editor  in yesterday’s New York Times criticizing Amazon’s misrepresentation of the author in a message the online giant posted on ReadersUnited.com last week. The letter was intended to defend Amazon’s position in its ongoing conflict with publisher Hachette over e-book prices, but Amazon’s choice of words has backfired in an ironic way.

In comparing its current e-book pricing standoff to the resistance Penguin Books faced with the introduction of inexpensive paperback books in the 1930s, Amazon quoted George Orwell “out of context as supporting a campaign to suppress paperbacks,” Hamilton wrote. Hamilton likened Amazon’s subversion of the truth to the propaganda tactics employed by the authoritarian government in Orwell’s famed dystopian novel, 1984.

This is about as close as one can get to the Ministry of Truth and its doublespeak: turning the facts inside out to get a piece of propaganda across,” wrote Hamilton. “It doesn’t say much for Amazon’s regard for truth, or its powers of literary understanding. [NPR] READ FULL STORY

On the Books: Christian bookseller pulls celebrity pastor's titles

The nation’s second-largest Christian-book retailer, LifeWay, has removed from its shelves and website all works by prominent pastor Mark Driscoll. The decision follows last week’s announcement of Driscoll’s ousting from the Acts 29 church-planting network he co-founded.

The pastor has long been extremely polarizing, with The New York Times Magazine calling him, in a 2009 article, “one of the most admired—and reviled—figures among evangelicals nationwide.” In the announcement of its decision to expel Driscoll, Acts 29 cited his “ungodly and disqualifying behavior,” referring to purported profane language in the pastor’s sermons as well as homophobic and sexist statements he made in an online chatroom under a pseudonym.

Last year, Tyndale House Publishers investigated Driscoll after radio host Janet Mefferd accused him of plagiarism in his 2013 book, A Call to Resurgence: Will Christianity Have a Funeral or a Future? (Tyndale concluded he was innocent.) In March, Driscoll admitted to artificially inflating book sales in a letter he posted on Reddit.

LifeWay said in a statement that, prior to the announcement, A Call to Resurgence was the only Driscoll title being sold in its 180-plus stores across the U.S. [NPR]

Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin told audiences at this week’s Edinburgh International Book Festival that he’s doing his best to keep up with the fast-paced HBO serial adaptation of the dense book series, but that ultimately the issue is out of his hands. “I can only write one word at a time,” Martin said. “I just have to worry about telling the stories as best I can.” HBO just began production on the fifth season, while the notoriously slow-working Martin is not expected to finish the remaining two books for several years. Martin also admitted that accurate theories about the series’ ending are floating around online, so any fans wanting a spoiler should simply read everything that has been written about the show.  [The Guardian]

Little, Brown and Company announced plans for the U.S. release of a tell-all memoir by Guantanamo Bay prisoner Mohamedou Ould Slahi next year. Slahi has been in U.S. custody at Guantanamo since being detained by the CIA as a terrorist suspect in 2001, but he has never been charged with a crime. He is a central figure in the ongoing dispute over the ethics and politics of the U.S.’s detention of suspected terrorists without due process. The book will detail the torture, isolation, and humiliation that Slahi, who hand-wrote the book after learning English by conversing with the guards, says he has experienced in captivity. The much-anticipated release announcement comes after years of efforts by his lawyers to have the book’s highly sensitive manuscript declassified. [The Los Angeles Times]

On the Books: Hachette-Perseus deal falls through

Perseus.jpg

Hachette and Ingram have called off plans to acquire the Perseus Books Group. Despite efforts from all three players, an agreement could not be reached in order to finalize the transaction. CEO David Steinberger said that Perseus had a strong fiscal year. When questioned about a possible deal in the future, he said, “When you are a successful company you get offers.” [Publishers Weekly]

The Guardian released the longlist for their first book award. The list includes five non-fiction and five fiction entries, as well as one readers’ choice, May-Lan Tan’s Things to Make and Break. The judging panel will feature novelist Ann Enright and psychotherapist Josh Cohen, with the winner of the £10,000 award announced at the end of November. [The Guardian]

Jim Frederick, a former foreign correspondent and editor, died Friday at the age of 42. His 2010 book Black Hearts: One Platoon’s Descent Into Madness in Iraq’s Triangle of Death was widely regarded for its thorough, unflinching reporting of the lives of American soldiers in Iraq. The cause of his death was cardiac arrhythmia. [The New York Times]

READ FULL STORY

On the Books: HarperCollins to cut offending passage from 'American Sniper'

HarperCollins is removing the passage that won Jesse Ventura a $1.8 million defamation lawsuit against the estate of author and former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. Ventura said that, in American Sniper, Kyle quoted him saying the SEALs “deserved to lose a few.” HarperCollins didn’t say how it would be removing the passage, or if it will modify already-purchased ebooks. [ABC News/The Associated Press]

Lois Lowry talks about writing sequels for The Giver, how young adult literature has changed, and the long process of adapting the book to film. “I remember seeing the costume designs for the female lead, Fiona—in the book she’s 12, and in the movie she’s 16. I advised them that some of the costumes were too sexy. And so the hem was dropped a little bit. I asked them: ‘Please don’t turn this into a teenage romance.'” [The New York Times Magazine] READ FULL STORY

On the Books: American authors land on Booker Prize longlist

Joshua Ferris, Karen Joy Fowler, Siri Hustvedt, and Richard Powers are the Americans who made this year’s Man Booker Prize longlist. For the first time, Britain’s most prestigious literary award is open to authors in the U.S., as long as the books are also published in Britain. The list is male-dominated: only three of its 13 writers are women. The toast of America’s literary establishment last year, Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, was snubbed. Last year, 28-year-old author Eleanor Catton won for her 800-page novel The Luminaries. A shortlist will be announced on September 9th, and the winner on October 14th. [The New York Times]

In Amazon news, vice president of Kindle Content Russ Grandinetti has asked authors to stop complaining about the company. A group of authors—including Lee Child, Stephen King, John Grisham, and James Patterson—are planning to publish a full-page ad in The New York Times explaining why they are siding against Amazon in the Amazon-Hachette dispute. Grandinetti asked the group to stop publication of the ad, and proposed a plan where Amazon to stock Hachette titles and give authors standard royalties on ebooks. While Amazon and Hachette continue to negotiate among themselves, the proceeds each company normally earns would go to a literacy charity. [Publishers Weekly] READ FULL STORY

On the Books: Anti-Clinton book leaked to media under mysterious circumstances

The upcoming book Clinton, Inc.: The Audacious Rebuilding of a Political Machine had a well-prepared rollout in advance of its July 22nd release, including a splashy interview on The O’Reilly Factor. But over the weekend, writes The Daily Beast, “a prolific but mysterious rogue distributor who somehow got a copy of Halper’s book and blasted out a series of mass-media emails containing PDFs—or portable document formats—of the entire 317-page, 12-chapter volume.” The book is by Daniel Halper, an editor of the conservative magazine The Weekly Standard. No one’s sure how the leak happened, and it’s uncertain if the blame should go to hardcore Clinton supporters or right-wing Clinton-haters. [The Daily Beast]

Those Dungeons & Dragons nerds you mocked in middle school are busy becoming the greatest writers of our age. Everyone from Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and screenwriter David Lindsay-Abaire to Atlantic editor Scott Stossel credit the game for developing their storytelling skills. “It’s been a formative narrative media for all sorts of writers,” said Junot Díaz. [The New York Times] READ FULL STORY

On the Books: The biggest book publishers in the world are...

Publishers Weekly has released its annual ranking of the biggest book publishers in the world. Textbook publisher Pearson is no. 1, with $9.33 billion in revenue last year; other educational and professional publishers fill out the rest of the top 4. The largest trade publisher (and fifth overall) is Random House (now Penguin Random House) with $3.66 billion in revenue. The top 10 publishers accounted for 54 percent of all book revenue last year. [Publishers Weekly]

Today, people curate the flood of articles they want to read via Instapaper and Pocket, and post recommendations on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, among others. In the 19th century, people used scrapbooks for the same purpose. The more you know! [Smithsonian Magazine]

The New York Times identifies a new group of writers: “African writers with an internationalist bent.” It includes Americanah author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Dinaw Mengestu, Helen Oyeyemi, NoViolet Bulawayo, Teju Cole, Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, and Taiye Selasi. “Some writers and critics scoff at the idea of lumping together diverse writers with ties to a diverse continent,” the article reads. “But others say that this wave represents something new in its sheer size, after a long fallow period.” [The New York Times] READ FULL STORY

On the Books: Judge declares Sherlock Holmes officially in the public domain

The Seventh Circuit Court ruled that Sherlock Homes is now in the public domain, freeing up the 127-year-old-character to be used without the permission of Conan Doyle’s estate. Leslie Klinger, author, editor, and Sherlock Holmes enthusiast, filed the case against the Doyle estate while preparing the short story anthology In the Company of Sherlock Holmes, which collects tales by contemporary writers that riff on stories from the Holmes canon. Judge Richard Posner agreed that the copyright expiration meant that Klinger doesn’t need the permission of the Doyle estate to publish the book. This also means that everyone making Sherlock Holmes film and TV adaptations—BBC (Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman), Warner Bros. (Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law), and CBS (Elementary with Johnny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu)—will no longer have to get the permission of or pay royalties to the estate. No word yet on whether the estate wants to take the case to the Supreme Court. [The Hollywood Reporter] READ FULL STORY

On the Books: Reviews are in for Hillary Clinton's new memoir

Clinton.jpg

Reviews are pouring in for Hillary Clinton’s new memoir Hard Choices, and they’re all over the map. Robin Abcarian at the Los Angeles Times writes that the book “leaves no room for doubt about how she might conduct foreign policy (pragmatically), how she will defend herself against charges that she mishandled the attack on the American compound in Benghazi, Libya (robustly) and about how much she regrets giving President George W. Bush carte blanche to wage war against Iraq (deeply and eternally).” Michiko Kakutani over at the New York Times calls it “a subtle, finely calibrated work that provides a portrait of the former secretary of state and former first lady as a heavy-duty policy wonk” and compares it favorably to Clinton’s 2003 book, Living History. On the other hand, Isaac Chotiner at The New Republic refutes Kakutani, saying her review is filled with generalizations. He writes, “if Kakutani is going to make claims for the book’s merits, she must follow through on her generic praise, and offer some sense of what is valuable in the book, or at least some sense of what she enjoyed about it.” And at Slate, critic John Dickerson says it’s filled with “safe, methodical writing.” In keeping with tradition, Clinton doesn’t reveal whether she’s running for president in 2016. Okay, Hillary; whatever you say. READ FULL STORY

Latest Videos in Books

Advertisement

TV Recaps

Powered by WordPress.com VIP