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Tag: On the Books (1-10 of 199)

On the Books: Mary-Louise Parker to pen memoir in the form of letters

Actress Mary-Louise Parker will tell her life story through a series of letters penned to the most important men in her life—so exes Billy Crudup and Jeffrey Dean Morgan should maybe look out. Dear Mr. You will be released by Simon & Schuster imprint Scribner in fall 2015. “I am so honored and thrilled to be working with Scribner and in the company of such wonderful writers,” said Mary-Louise Parker in a Scribner press release.

“From Frank McCourt to Jeannette Walls to Anjelica Huston, Scribner loves a great memoirist, and Mary-Louise Parker is one,” added senior vice president and publisher Nan Graham. “Her writing is magnificent; the conceit—a memoir in letters to men—is wholly original and brilliantly executed.” The Emmy-, Tony-, and Golden Globe-winning actress is best known for her critically acclaimed role as pot-dealing widow Nancy Botwin on Showtime’s Weeds. 

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On the Books: 'Maze Runner' author James Dashner to pen new prequel

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Young adult author James Dashner will write a new prequel to his bestselling post-apocalyptic trilogy, The Maze Runner, after 20th Century Fox’s film adaptation of the first novel topped the box office with a $32.5 million opening weekend. The Fever Code will be published in 2016 by Delacorte Press (an imprint of Random House Children’s Books). Pre-production on the movie adaptation of the second book in the dystopian series, The Scorch Trials, has already begun, and the film is set for release in Sept. 2015.

The Maze Runner books run in the same vein as Lord of the Flies and The Hunger Games, another successful franchise sprung from a young adult trilogy. A press release explains that the second prequel “delves into the time before the Maze, and will tell the story of how Thomas, Teresa, and the Gladers found themselves in the Maze, and how the Maze itself was created.” [GalleyCat]

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On the Books: Publishing industry lacks diversity, female executives

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

On the Books: Regan Arts to sell virtual-reality viewer kits with books

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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]

On the Books: Nielsen Bookscan reports boom in graphic novel sales

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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 Chena 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]

On the Books: In-depth Joan Rivers bio announced

Today Little, Brown and Co. publisher Reagan Arthur announced in a press release that it has inked a deal with Vanity Fair veteran Leslie Bennetts for a tell-all biography of the late entertainment icon Joan Rivers. JOAN RIVERS: A Life, set for publication in 2016, “will be the definitive book about Rivers’s tumultuous, victorious, tragic, glamorous, and fascinating life.”

Bennetts is best known for her in-depth profiles of Hollywood’s biggest celebrities from Brad Pitt to Meryl Streep—as well as being “the only reporter ever to evoke tears from Hilary Clinton in an interview.”

The publishing deal, a collaboration between Little, Brown Editor in Chief Judy Clain and Kuhn Projects’ David Kuhn, will also make the book available in ebook format and as an audio book from Hachette Audio.

“Rivers’ career was also enormously significant in American cultural history, breaking down barriers for women in television and comedy and continually redefining the acceptable boundaries of truth-telling for women in public life,” Bennett said. “It’s hard to imagine a more compelling subject for a book—or one that would be more fun.”

The University of Exeter is commemorating the 60th anniversary of the day William Golding’s Lord of the Flies was first published by sharing a handwritten draft of the influential classic with the public. Judy Carver, Golding’s daughter, is loaning the draft of this syllabus staple, and others from the author’s archive, to Exeter on a long-term basis so that scholars, students, and Golding fans everywhere can see into the early stages of a masterpiece in the making. While Carver is adamant that her dad’s work remains well preserved, “we also believe that it’s time for readers to see something of the process that produced these works.” [The Guardian]

Over 50 of Ireland’s finest cake makers will celebrate Roald Dahl day this Saturday, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, with artistic confections inspired by the beloved author’s classic children’s books. The cakes include a giant blueberry Violet (the girl who was too greedy for her own good), one of the bald baddies from The Witches, and a life-size Willy Wonka himself. You can see the rest of the creations in a gallery from The Telegraph.

Skinner Inc. will auction off a valuable collection of previously undiscovered letters by iconic Beat writer Jack Kerouac. The pieces—17 letters, two postcards, and seven damaged fragments of letters—will be sold separately, at an estimated $2,000 to $5,000 apiece. [The Los Angeles Times]

Author Stephen King will hit the road Nov. 11 for a book tour to promote his new novel Revival, with stops in New York, Washington D.C., Kansas City, Wichita, Austin, and South Portland. [Mediabistro]

On the Books: Authors United warns Amazon, watch your reputation

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The 1,100 member group Authors United posted a letter of direct appeal to Amazon’s board of directors—urging them to end their book-pricing standoff with publisher Hachette, which has hurt some authors’ book sales.

The letter warns the board that their reputation may be at stake: “[I]f this is how Amazon continues to treat the literary community, how long will the company’s fine reputation last?” The appeal continues, noting similar disputes “have a long and ugly history,” and asking, “Do you, personally, want to be associated with this?” For months, Amazon has delayed shipments of books by Hachette authors and removed the preorder option for those titles in an attempt to force Hachette to lower its e-book prices. [NPR] READ FULL STORY

On the Books: Millennials read more than their elders, study finds

A new study from the Pew Research Center has yielded some surprising results on Americans’ reading habits across generations— finding that younger people are actually reading more books than their elders. The data shows that “88% of Americans under 30 read a book in the past year, compared with 79% of those age 30 and older.” The fact that Millennials read more than older Americans contradicts the popular characterization of a generation more interested in social media and the internet than paperbacks and hardcovers.

Another unexpected finding is that Millennials are equally as likely as older adults to have used a library in the past year. Additionally, Pew found that 62 percent of younger people believe there is “a lot of useful, important information that is not available on the Internet,” while only 53 percent of older Americans believe the same. [NPR]

Yesterday, Kindle users were notified by Amazon via email that they were eligible to receive damages from August’s court settlement of the class-action lawsuit filed against Apple for conspiring to fix ebook prices. Users may opt to receive a check or account credit. [Publishers Weekly]

In other Apple news, court papers filed on Sept. 4 disclose that Apple shareholders have sued the company’s executives for their role in “ensnaring Apple in a multi-year anticompetitive scheme to retail price competition… in the electronic book (‘e-book’) market.”

Herbert R. Lottman, the American biographer of influential French figures, died on Aug. 27 at the age of 87 after losing a battle with degenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. He wrote landmark accounts of French artists and intellectuals like Albert Camus, and he served as the European correspondent for Publishers Weekly for over three decades. [The New York Times]

On the Books: Long-lost Dr. Seuss stories hit shelves

Horton-and-the-Kwuggerbug

A new Dr. Seuss book was published Tuesday, 23 years after the writer’s death. Horton and the Kwuggerbug and More Lost Stories is a collection of four previously unpublished short stories that Seuss wrote for Redbook magazine in the 1950s. The stories, discovered by Seuss biographer Charles Cohen and published by Random House, feature both familiar faces like The Grinch and Horton the elephant, as well as new characters like the titular Kwuggerbug. Theodor Geisel, the man behind the legendary pseudonym, died in 1991. [The Telegraph]

British fantasy novelist Graham Joyce died Tuesday at the age of 59 after a yearlong battle with lymphoma. Joyce’s publisher Gollancz, confirmed the news via Twitter: “Graham Joyce was a writer of huge heart. He loved people and his writing celebrated the magic of them. His books are a fitting legacy.” The multiple-time British Fantasy award winner was mourned on Twitter by fans and fellow authors including Stephen King, who tweeted, “Very sad to hear that Graham Joyce, a truly great novelist, has passed away. Too soon. Far too soon.” [The Guardian]

The nation’s largest bookstore, Barnes & Noble, experienced a 7-percent loss in revenue in its first quarter, ending in August—but managed to cut its net losses from $87 million to $28.4 million in the first period of the fiscal year. Retail CEO Mitch Klipper said that part of the reduction in declining sales is due to the ongoing dispute between retailer Amazon and publisher Hachette, as well as the popularity of movies adapted from young-adult books. B&N’s future revenues will in part be determined by its Nook Media ebook business and a new joint venture with Google, a book delivery system, currently being piloted. [Publishers Weekly]

Celebrity television judge-turned-author Judge Judy Sheindlin is giving away her new book for free. What Would Judy Say?: Be the Hero of Your Own Story is downloadable on Sheindlin’s website a PDF or e-book, free of charge.  On the site, Scheindlen—who collects a bigger paycheck than any other celebrity on TV, earning nearly a million dollars per workday—describes her book as “an honest conversation with women about what it really takes to get what you deserve out of life.” [Los Angeles Times]

 

 

 

 

On the Books: Americans appear on Man Booker shortlist for first time

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The shortlist of contenders for the United Kingdom’s prestigious Man Booker Prize, announced today, includes American authors Joshua Ferris and Karen Joy Fowler among the unprecedentedly multinational selection. The competition—which until this year was only open to citizens of the the U.K., U.K. Commonwealth, Ireland, and Zimbabwe—considered writers from any country, as long as they were published in English in the United Kingdom. Here is the list in full:

Joshua Ferris (U.S.), To Rise Again at a Decent Hour (Viking)
Richard Flanagan (Australian), The Narrow Road to the Deep North (Chatto & Windus)
Karen Joy Fowler (U.S.), We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (Serpent’s Tail)
Howard Jacobson (British), J (Jonathan Cape)
Neel Mukherjee (British), The Lives of Others (Chatto & Windus)
Ali Smith (British), How to be Both (Hamish Hamilton)

Despite fears of British authors being shut out by American literary powerhouses, Brits still dominated the competition, nabbing three of the six spots on the shortlist. AC Grayling, chair of the judges, said the selection is “a strong, thought-provoking shortlist which we believe demonstrates the wonderful depth and range of contemporary fiction in English.” The winner of the $80,000 award will be announced in London on Oct. 14. [NPR]

Rolling Stones legend Keith Richards’ children’s book, Gus & Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar, hits shelves today. Published by Little, Brown and illustrated by Richards’ daughter Theodora, the book is about Richards’ childhood memories of jazz-musician grandfather Gus, who shared his love for music and London with a young Keith. [USA Today]

Publishers Weekly conducted an informal poll of more than 20 independent bookstores, finding that despite earlier predictions, most of the stores enjoyed a successful summer. Though overall book sales fell nearly 8 percent in the first half of 2014, PW‘s poll shows that many small booksellers saw a surge in sales over the last quarter. Storeowners attribute part of the increase to the Hachette-Amazon feud—Powell’s Books of Portland, Ore., for example, received 10,000 pre-orders for Edan Lepucki’s California after getting a mention on The Colbert Report.

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