- Renowned American poet Galway Kinnell died of leukemia last week at the age of 87. Kinnell received numerous accolades throughout his career, including the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for 1982’s Selected Poems—as well as a MacArthur genius grant, a poet laureateship in Vermont, a chancellorship at the American Academy of Poets, and, most recently, the 2010 Wallace Stevens Award for lifetime achievement. The World War II vet, anti-Vietnam War activist, and civil rights champion infused his verse with the gritty social issues pervading the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. The Los Angeles Times writes that the Kinnell is celebrated for his “forceful, spiritual takes on the outsiders and underside of contemporary life,” and how he “blended the physical and the philosophical, not shying from the most tactile and jarring details of humans and nature.” His work reflects the influence that Walt Whitman and friend W.S. Merwin had on him. Kinnell—who also taught at New York University, Sarah Lawrence College, and Reed College before retiring in 2011—is survived by his wife, two children from a former marriage, and two grandchildren.
Tag: On the Books (1-10 of 204)
- Barnes & Noble has reversed this week’s decision to close its Bronx branch, the only major bookstore in the neighborhood. Borough president Ruben Diaz Jr. led the fiery local campaign to keep the shop open, brokering a compromise between B&N and the the property’s landlord. Mr. Diaz told the crowd at a press conference yesterday that “this is more thatn just a bookstore… This is where kids read and broaden their minds and do their homework.” [The New York Times]
- The first-ever Kirkus Prize-winning authors were announced in Austin, Tex. last night. Writers Lily King, Roz Chast, and Kate Samworth took home the brand-new $50,000 prizes in the fiction, nonfiction and young readers categories, respectively. King’s novel Euphoria, the story of three intertwined rival anthropologists, stood out “for its perfect construction, its economy and originality, and its fearlessness.” Chast, a cartoonist for The New Yorker, won for her illustrated memoir Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, the story of the last few years of her parents’ lives—also up for a National Book Award later this year. Samworth’s Aviary Wonders Inc. is a a strange, funny, dark young adult tale about a world where birds are extinct. [NPR] READ FULL STORY
Today the Museum of London opened an exhibition dedicated to Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s legendary detective. The exhibit, London’s first on the fictional favorite in over 60 years, showcases early editions, illustrations, photos and artifacts from the Victorian world in which Holmes and his creator lived. There’s also a wide assortment of props on display, from Holmes’ signature pipe and sidekick Dr. John Watson’s medical tools to the coat Benedict Cumberbatch wears to portray a modern day Sherlock on the popular BBC series. Here’s a photo gallery of some of the exhibit’s highlights. [The Telegraph]
A Texas native did wonders for the stereotype of the idiot American tourist by getting himself locked inside a London bookstore last night, live-documenting his ordeal on social media. Dallas native David Willis posted a photo from inside the dark Trafalgar Square Waterstones to Instragram just after 10 p.m. GMT last night, writing: “This is me locked inside a waterstones bookstore in London. I was upstairs for 15 minutes and came down to all the lights out and door locked. Been here over an hour now. Supposedly someone is on their way. #nofilter #london.” 45 minutes later, he tweeted, “Hi @Waterstones I’ve been locked inside of your Trafalgar Square bookstore for 2 hours now. Please let me out,” before announcing “I’m free” 90 minutes later. Later, Willis retweeted screenshots of his amusing text conversations with a friend during the incident.
Bestselling young adult fantasy writer Margaret Stohl is penning a novel starring Marvel Comics character the Black Widow. The co-author of the Caster Chronicles series—upon which last year’s supernatural romance film Beautiful Creatures was based—revealed the news at Warner Brothers’ NYC Comic-Con panel this week, “Women of Marvel.” Comics Beat reports that Stohl said the book, set to be published in 2015, is “the badassiest thing I’ve ever been asked to work on in my life.” She added that Black Widow, played by Scarlett Johansson in the Marvel film franchise, is “the very best hot mess I know.” [GalleyCat]
Independent publishing imprint McSweeney’s is officially becoming a nonprofit, announced founder and author Dave Eggers. “For 15 years now, it’s been a break-even operation,” Eggers, 44, told The New York Times, saying that McSweeney’s has placed its integrity over profit margins since its founding 16 years ago. “I’ve always been attracted to books and projects that we love and are passionate about, and it doesn’t always intersect with books that will sell a million copies.” Eggers said the change will enable the publisher to specialize in less commercialized genres like poetry and foreign translations. He plans to source funds from foundation grants, individual donations and crowd-funding. “Our goal is to exist and keep on publishing in whatever way is most viable, and for us that’s as a nonprofit.” [The New York Times]
Bob Dylan is more than the voice of his generation—more than 50 years after the release of his first album, the musician’s timeless lyrics are embedded in American culture from pop music to politics, and even medical research. Now, all of Dylan’s song lyrics will be immortalized in one place: a 960-page compilation.
The Lyrics: Since 1962, out on Oct. 28, is an illustrated collection of the songwriter’s work, complete with annotations by British literary scholar Christopher Ricks. The Simon & Schuster release will cost $200 and weigh an incredible 13.5 lbs. “It’s the biggest, most expensive book we’ve ever published, as far as I know,” S&S President Jonathan Karp told The New York Times.
Ricks’ commentary will document the evolution of Dylan’s songwriting over his five-decade career. “It is, in a way, a work of scholarship,” he told the Times. “But it is also a book for people who love these songs, and who would be grateful to be reminded that these songs are always in a state of extraordinary flux. They’re amazing, shape-changing things.”
Irish singer Sinéad O’Connor also announced she has a book in the works, a tell-all memoir to be published by Penguin imprint Blue Rider Press in March 2016. The untitled autobiography is already looking juicy: “I look forward to dishing the sexual dirt on everyone I’ve ever slept with,” O’Connor said. “I’ve never stopped expressing myself in my music, and now, with a book,” added O’Connor, who got into an online feud about mental health with Miley Cyrus last year. [The Guardian]
Simon & Schuster will partner up with content-curating social media platform Milq to help establish its books category. Milq, which launched earlier this year, is a free site that lets members collect and share everything from articles to videos by posting on a variety of topical content threads. Milq has already worked with companies like VICE and Vanity Fair to curate categories including movies, sports and art—while promoting their partner brand. [Publishers Weekly]
Literary agent Loretta Barrett has died at the age of 74 of complications due to a brain tumor. After more than two decades working at agencies including Doubleday and Anchor Press, Barrett launched her own eponymous agency in 1990, working with clients from J.R. Ward to Chaz Bono. In 2011, she was honored by Reading Is Fundamental for her 32 years of service to the organization, during which she brought an estimated 3 million books to low-income children in the U.S. [Publishers Lunch]
- J.K. Rowling sparked some Twitter excitement with a series of tweets thought to be about the screenplay for Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them.”Very busy at the moment working on a novel, tweaking a screenplay and being involved in @lumos campaigns. Back when I’ve finished something!” Rowling posted on Sunday afternoon, explaining her recent Twitter inactivity. A few minutes later, she responded to a fan who tweeted “Everytime @jk_rowling tweets I stop what ever I’m doing and analyze it for an hour,” with this: “See, now I’m tempted to post a riddle or an anagram. Must resist temptation… must work…” Rowling followed through on that temptation this morning, when she posted “Cry, foe! Run amok! Fa awry! My wand won’t tolerate this nonsense,” and, shortly after, “Something to ponder while I’m away X.” So, is it a riddle or an anagram? A plot clue? Or perhaps, a befuddling bewitchment cast via Twitter—avid Potter fans will surely be theorizing over the meaning of the cryptic tweet for days and weeks to come, as Rowling seems to have intended.
Fantastic Beasts will be a trilogy of films based on the book of the same name she published in 2001, a survey of the magical creatures in her Harry Potter series. David Yates, who directed several of the Harry Potter movies, will direct the first film in the Warner Bros. franchise, set for a Nov. 2016 release. Rowling has said that in the films, “[t]he laws and customs of the hidden magical society will be familiar to anyone who has read the Harry Potter books or seen the films, but Newt’s story will start in New York, 70 years before Harry’s gets underway,” as EW reported last fall. The novel Rowling is working on is presumably her next crime novel under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. This is her first screenplay.
An annual Publishers Weekly survey of industry employees found that 89 percent of respondents identified as white/caucasian, while 61 percent believe that there is little diversity in publishing. The study found that respondents recognize the direct impact of this racial discrepancy on the industry, agreeing that “[t]he dearth of minority employees directly affects the types of books that are published,” and that to resolve the issue, “there need to be more advocates for books involving people of color throughout the business.”
The survey also re-confirmed the perennial pay gap between men and women in publishing houses, a staggering $25,000 difference— even though women comprise 74 percent of the workforce. Part of this gap is due to unequal pay for similar titles, while part is explained by men’s dominance in higher-salaried management and executive positions. READ FULL STORY
Regan Arts is launching its line of hybrid book/technology products on Oct. 28 with The Virtual Reality Beginners Guide and VR Smartphone Toolkit. The kit contains a 40-page book coauthored by TechCrunch writer Frederic Lardinois and DODOcase founder Patrick Buckley—the novelty is the Google-designed viewer it comes with, which readers will use in conjunction with their smartphone to create a virtual-reality headset. “This title is not just a book, it’s an experience,” a press release states.
Regan Arts, a venture between publisher Phaidon and former HarperCollins executive Judith Regan, says the cardboard head-mount and lenses in the kit will provide a “constantly expanding trove of immersive 3-D virtual experiences” to anybody with a smartphone and $25.95 to spend. “For millions, virtual reality is now accessible at a ridiculously low price,” Buckley said. Regan Arts will make iPhone apps available to power the experience. “Books are the oldest version of virtual reality,” says Regan, and The Virtual Reality Beginners Guide will “bring us beyond the book or screen, and past 3D.” [Publishers Weekly]
On Saturday, Hachette sponsored a lunch organized by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) in honor of author James Patterson. Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch’s remarks to the crowd at the Sheraton Hotel in Norfolk, Virginia. The luncheon took place amid the ongoing Hachette-Amazon negotiations, and Pietsch told the crowd (a collection of independent booksellers and authors), “Thank you for your support during this time. In difficult times you find out who your friends are.” He also noted, “Our sales of print books are up over 2013.”
When Patterson took the floor, he spoke to the issue more directly, chanting, “Go Amazon, Go Amazon. And I mean, Go!” to laughter from the crowd. On a more serious note, he asked, “Why can’t we have more American companies who are also ethical about how they do [business]?” [Publishers Weekly]
Brooklyn-based poet Casey Rocheteau, 29, is the first winner of the Write a House Project, an initiative started to encourage writers to live and work in Detroit. In November, Rocheteau will move into her new home in the recently bankrupt city, where she will live and write as its first official writer-in-residence. The property was in foreclosure until the Write a House Project fixed bought and fixed it up with the help of another local nonprofit. After two years, Rocheteau will receive the deed. “I’m thinking of a city that is currently undergoing this regeneration,” the poet says of Detroit. “It’s a city that’s seen a lot and taken a lot of abuse.” [The Los Angeles Times]
The Rona Jaffe Foundation awarded six writers a $30,000 cash prize at their 2014 Writers’ Award ceremonies in New York City last week. The winning authors are Olivia Clare (fiction), Karen Hays (nonfiction), Danielle Jones-Pruett (poetry), T.L. Khleif (fiction), Mara Naselli (nonfiction), and Solmaz Sharif (poetry). [GalleyCat]
Americans have bought 5,618,000 graphic novels in 2014, Nielsen Bookscan reports—a 10-percent increase over last year. The rising success of the genre can be attributed to reliable fan favorites (The Walking Dead, Batman and Diary of a Wimpy Kid), the comeback of manga (Attack on Titan, Naruto, and One Piece), and breakout bestsellers like the space opera/fantasy series Saga (Image Comics), which topped lists in both its digital and paper formats. Similarly, Diamond Comics Distributors reports a near 4-percent rise in year-to-date sales and a near 6-percent rise in year-to-date units moved. The graphic novel business, including digital and periodical comics, made more than $870 million in 2013. [Publishers Weekly]
Other news indicating a resurgence in graphic novels is FilmNation Entertainment’s purchase of the film rights to The Undertaking of Lily Chen, a dark novel about “corpse brides” that “was inspired by an Economist article about the tradition of post-mortem marriage in China.” The New York distributor plans to turn the Danica Novgorodoff work into a Chinese-language movie, reporting it has had success in similar Chinese ventures before. [Mediabistro]
Another bestselling novelist is in the making his enthusiasm for the military known: James Patterson is donating 180,000 of his hardcover books to American troops. “Every day the men and women of our armed forces sacrifice on our behalf. I can’t think of a more deserving group to receive these books.” [USA Today]
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