Readersforum's Blog

June 30, 2011

‘Hunger’ strikes USA TODAY’s Best-Selling Books list

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By Bob Minzesheimer

The movie version of The Hunger Games, starring Jennifer Lawrence, won’t be released until March. But thanks in part to growing online chatter about the film and its cast (which includes Lenny Kravitz and Woody Harrelson) all three titles in Suzanne Collins’ teen series, set in a dystopian future, are in USA TODAY’s Best-Selling Books list’s top 10. Games, released in 2008, is No. 4. Catching Fire (2009) is No. 8, and Mockingjay (2010) is No 10. Publisher Scholastic reports 9.6 million copies in print. more

‘Broetry.’ It’s what you think it is: ‘Poetry for Dudes’

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , , — Bookblurb @ 4:59 pm

By Carol Memmott

“Broet laureate” Brian McGackin writes in the introduction to his slim volume, Broetry  that “Broetry is a literary chili cheeseburger.” Broetry, he says, “is poetry for dudes. It’s poetry for people who don’t like poetry.” I’m wondering if that’s actually a good thing? Isn’t reading broetry better than not reading poetry? McGackin, who has a master’s in professional writing, writes that broetry embraces “manlier topics” than poetry. He prefers to riff on “beer, sex, video games, sports, celebrities and songs you can’t get out of your head even though you’re not quite sure how they got there in the first place.”

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Twitter and Publishing: How the Industry is Faring

Filed under: Publishers — Tags: , , , — Bookblurb @ 4:49 pm

Last week, PW’s article “The Top Five Twitter Feeds for the Six Largest Publishing Houses” asked publishers to send us data regarding their Twitter feeds. While the previous article was meant to show the large publishers’ presence on Twitter, the table below is meant to be as an inclusive listing of publishers as possible of varying sizes and in a full range of categories. Please note that we’ve only included individual feeds—we haven’t combined numbers from the same publishers though some of the imprint feeds are from the same company.

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Motovun Group Association Meets in Spain

By J.P. Leventhal

Ninety-five members, associates, guests and family of the Motovun Group Association met in the beautiful and historic setting of Santiago de Compostela, Spain June 24-27 to discuss new challenges facing illustrated book publishing and to share experiences that mutually benefit all members.

The Motovun Group Association was founded in 1977 with ‘a spirit of East meets West’ and a desire to reach out and begin communication with countries within the Soviet and Yugoslav spheres of influence. Today MGA is an association of 80 invited members who publish illustrated books representing 24 countries from across the globe.  The annual meeting embraces lectures, seminar-style meetings, shared experience break-out sessions, and plenty of time for one-on-one meetings to conduct business.  The organization is named after the medieval hilltop town Motovun in Istria, Croatia where the annual meetings were held in the early years and was the site of the meeting once again in 2010.

This year there were 20 first-timers attending the annual meeting, a record.  One of the newcomers, Ralph Möllers of Terzio/Möllers & Bellinghausen Verlag, Munich, stated, “I am completely impressed by the warmth, openness, and cooperation among the members of MGA.”
Members can participate in optional excursions in and around Santiago, as well as group breakfasts, lunches, dinners and opportunities to enjoy ample supplies of local wine, to enhance the spirit of mutual partnership and camaraderie.

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California Finally Passes Online Tax Bill

Filed under: e-tailers — Tags: , , , , , , — Bookblurb @ 4:31 pm

By Judith Rosen

After a dozen years, independent booksellers and other brick-and-mortar retailers in California prevailed when Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law yesterday afternoon requiring out-of-state retailers with a presence in the state to collect sales tax on California sales beginning July 1. For California residents the pain of paying online sales tax to Amazon and Overstock will be amerliorated somewhat by a 1% sales tax drop on Friday, when it returns to 7.75% after a two-year temporary increase.

As reported by Seattle-based Amazon wasted no time in firing its affiliates in California. In a letter sent to members of the retailer’s associates program, it wrote: “We oppose this bill because it is unconstitutional and counterproductive. It is supported by big-box retailers, most of which are based outside California, that seek to harm the affiliate advertising programs of their competitors.” They also noted that they are looking at alternative ways for California residents to monetize their Web sites. As a result of similar legislation, Amazon closed associates programs in Illinois, Hawaii, Connecticut, and North Carolina.

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‘Papa’ Hemingway still casts a long shadow


By Craig Wilson

Ernest Hemingway has been called many things. Dull isn’t one of them.

The Nobel- and Pulitzer Prize-winning author died 50 years ago this weekend, killing himself at 61 (on July 2, 1961) with a gunshot, a violent end to what can only be described as a turbulent, hard-driving and over-the-top life. Four wives, seven novels, six short-story collections and enough booze to float his beloved boat, Pilar. Throw in a few bullfights for good measure.

Not that he’s really dead.

This summer he’s “co-starring” in a hit movie, Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris; plays a major role in a best-selling novel, The Paris Wife by Paula McLain; and is the subject a number of other new books, including Hemingway’s Boat, which follows the writer’s life on his 38-foot motor yacht, out in September. There’s even a laugh-out-loud parody, just published, called The Heming Way.

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George R.R. Martin is not your bitch.

Hi Neil,

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I’ve recently subscribed to George RR Martin’s blog ( in the hopes of getting some inside information regarding when the next “Song of Ice and Fire” book is due to be released. I love the series but since subscribing to the blog I’ve become increasingly frustrated with Martin’s lack of communication on the next novel’s publication date. In fact, it’s almost as though he is doing everything in his power to avoid working on his latest novel. Which poses a few questions:

1. With blogs and twitter and other forms of social media do you think the audience has too much input when it comes to scrutinising the actions of an artist? If you had announced a new book two years ago and were yet to deliver do you think avoiding the topic on your blog would lead readers to believe you were being “slack”? By blogging about your work and life do you have more of a responsibility to deliver on your commitments?

2. When writing a series of books, like Martin is with “A Song of Ice and Fire” what responsibility does he have to finish the story? Is it unrealistic to think that by not writing the next chapter Martin is letting me down, even though if and when the book gets written is completely up to him?

Would be very interested in your insight.


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Worn-out words

Filed under: Lists — Tags: , , , — Bookblurb @ 1:16 pm

Thinking inside the box ... a careless cliche user reflects on their usage while trying to escape Adam Horovitz's cardboard punishment. Photograph: Getty

Last year Ledbury poetry festival asked poets to name their most hated words. For this year’s festival – running from 1 to 10 July – they’ve asked for the expressions that have become such cliches that they have lost all meaning. Here are their responses:

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We can’t afford to lose the John Llewellyn Rhys prize

Filed under: Literary Prizes — Tags: , , , — Bookblurb @ 12:48 pm

Free from the backbiting of the Booker, this award is one that makes a real difference to writers beginning their careers.

Margaret Drabble in 1966, the year she won the John Llewellyn Rhys prize. Photograph: Guardian

The John Llewellyn Rhys prize is one of the most romantic and distinguished of prizes and its disappearance would be a great loss to hopeful authors and the literary world. Booktrust, which sponsors and administers the prize, and which has suffered severe funding cuts, says it must go. This would be very sad.

The prize is awarded to young writers under the age of 35, at the outset of their careers, when a sign of approval means much more than it does in their cynical, competitive, commercial later years. I’ve often argued that the Booker, although originally well-intentioned, now distorts the market and creates immense spite and ill will, egged on by a malicious press, and enraging novelists and publishers who should be old and wise enough to know better. The John Llewellyn Rhys has no such bad side effects. It comes from the clear blue sky, often completely unexpected, and it brings hope, encouragement, and a little much needed money.

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Gone With the Wind . . . Done Gone

Filed under: Today in Literature — Tags: , , , — Bookblurb @ 12:24 pm


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On this day in 1936, Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind was published. It had been extensively promoted, chosen as the July selection by the Book-of-the-Month Club, and so gushed about in pre-publication reviews — “Gone With the Wind is very possibly the greatest American novel,” said Publisher’s Weekly — that it was certain to sell, and to provoke parody.

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