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December 31, 2012

2012 in review

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bookblurb @ 5:12 am

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 21,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 5 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

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December 30, 2012

Classic, Kindly Leacock

Stephen Leacock   (1869 - 1944)

Stephen Leacock (1869 – 1944)

On this day in 1869 the Canadian humorist Stephen Leacock was born. Twenty-five of Leacock’s forty-odd books are in his comic mode, Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town and Arcadian Adventures of the Idle Rich being most well-known, but all exemplifying his belief that “the humour of the highest culture, the humour of the future,” is born of “kindliness” and “wide charity of mind.”

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December 23, 2012

Santa Anapests

Clement C. Moore

Clement C. Moore

On this day in 1823 the Christmas classic, “A Visit From St. Nicholas” (commonly known as “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”) was published anonymously in the Troy, New York Sentinel. Twenty years and much popularity later, Clement C. Moore claimed and was accorded authorship; recent scholarship by ‘forensic’ literary critic Don Foster has cast this very much in doubt.

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December 20, 2012

Lady Chatterley, Philip Larkin

D. H. Lawrence

D. H. Lawrence

On this day in 1929 D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover was banned in the United States. This was only one of a series of censures from the book’s first publication the year before until the landmark obscenity trials in 1959 (U.S.) and 1960 (Britain), but for Lawrence personally it may have been the most devastating. For Philip Larkin, on the other hand, life began “Between the end of the Chatterley ban / And the Beatles’ first LP. . . .”

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December 19, 2012

‘Fifty Shades Freed’ Amazon’s best-selling book in 2012, see top 10 list

50+shades+freedThe third Fifty Shades novel and its trilogy boxed set took two of Amazon.com’s top three places among books first published in 2012, with Gillian Flynn’s dark and complex thriller Gone Girl wedged in second place.

E.L. James wasn’t the only writer to profit from 2012’s erotic fiction fad, with Sylvia Day also prominent on Amazon’s list; Jennifer Probst’s The Marriage Bargain also made the most of a rich, eligible bachelor as its romantic lead.

That’s not to say established mainstream writers were cast by the wayside: three lawyers-turned-authors in John Grisham, David Baldacci and William Landay also featured in the combined Kindle and print top ten, as did a controversial insider account of the raid on Bin Laden’s compound.

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10 Books for Twentysomethings

WildBy Robin Marantz Henig and Samantha Henig

The most uplifting news we’ve read recently about Millennials, the one that counters all the negative stereotypes about them as lazy, entitled, narcissistic, and shallow, is that they love books. In fact, a survey reported last summer noted that Millennials buy more books than Baby Boomers (30% of total sales for Millennials versus 24% for Boomers). The future of civilization is assured.

And in their typically self-obsessed way — one generalization that’s probably true, because it’s developmentally appropriate to spend time thinking about yourself at a stage in life when your main task is figuring yourself out — Millennials are probably buying books about other twentysomethings, the more disaffected the better. If they’re not, they should be, because what better way to get through a period of uncertainty and shifting enthusiasms than to read great literature about characters doing pretty much the same thing? Here are 10 of our favorites.

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A Reality TV Competition About Reading? Literary Death Match Wants a Show

Literary Death Match guest judges (L to R) Tig Notaro, Michael C. Hall, and Jonathan Lethem

Literary Death Match guest judges (L to R) Tig Notaro, Michael C. Hall, and Jonathan Lethem

By Melissa Goldstein

Make Jonathan Lethem and Susan Orlean into television stars. Literary Death Match, a reading competition judged by novelists, actors, comedians, and musicians, has just taped a pilot.

In case you were watching Homeland instead, last night was the greatest night in literary history. That is, if you ask Literary Death Match founder Adrian Todd Zuniga.

The self-appointed stage mom/pimp to the world’s literary stars, Zuniga began rolling out his plan for world literary domination in 2006, teaming with then-girlfriend Elizabeth Koch and friend Dennis DiClaudio for an event in New York that would pit writers against one another in a drinks-fueled, tongue-in-cheek talent competition to be judged by name authors, editors, and pop- cultural figures.

More importantly, it would “mix a bunch of people together—actors, writers, and musicians in one room,” Zuniga explains, “so that people don’t just have boring literary babies.”

In the years since that first barroom show, Zuniga has exported the format to 46 cities around the world, from London to Oslo to Shanghai to Tulsa, and roped in the likes of Tom Perrotta, Jeffrey Eugenides, Chuck Palahniuk, and Daniel Handler. To date, LDM has lured a combined audience of 35,000 people. TV seemed a natural step.

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The Books We Loved in 2012

BernadetteBy Jen Doll

As with this year’s Y.A. offerings, adult fiction and nonfiction were pretty phenomenal in 2012. We’ve again enlisted the help of some of our favorite writers and book lovers to help recognize those works for the latest in The Atlantic Wire’s Year in Review, this time for the “grown-up reads.” Most of these are books published this year, though we’ve occasionally paid homage to works from previous years that we rediscovered or read for the first time in 2012. In any case, these are all books that moved us greatly in some way or another in the last 12 months.

Of course, no best book list can truly be complete, and there are some fantastic, thought-provoking works we have not included below, like Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, Sheila Heti’s How Should a Person Be?, Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers, and Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies, to name a few. Rest assured they have not been forgotten — in fact, they appear on many a best-of list, including another one around these parts.

Read on for 34 of our favorite books of the year, in no particular order, and why we loved them — with superlatives!

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Emily Bronte: Same and Singular

Emily Bronte   (1818 - 1848)

Emily Bronte
(1818 – 1848)

On this day in 1848 Emily Bronte died at the age of thirty. Of all the death and drama in the Bronte household over the surrounding eight months — events which now stand as famous and poignant as any in the Bronte novels — none seems to impress or import more than Emily’s. Her “powerful and peculiar” character, said Charlotte, inspired “an anguish of wonder and love.”

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December 18, 2012

Controversial Dalkey intern advert was ‘tongue-in-cheek’

Filed under: Publishers — Tags: , , , , , — Bookblurb @ 7:58 am

dalkey_logo | By Joshua Farrington

An advert for a publishing internship that told candidates they must be available at all times and have no personal commitments has been described as “tongue-in-cheek” by the person who wrote it.

The job advert for positions at the Dalkey Archive Press in its expanding London office went viral online as people passed on the lengthy lists of requests for the perfect candidate, who must: “not have any other commitments (personal or professional) that will interfere with their work at the Press (family obligations, writing, involvement with other organizations, degrees to be finished, holidays to be taken, weddings to attend in Rio, etc).”

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