Readersforum's Blog

November 10, 2012

Movie Alert: ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’

By Matia Burnett

It’s been 75 years since readers were first introduced to a furry-footed, breakfast-loving hermit named Bilbo Baggins. On December 14, everyone’s favorite Hobbit will embark on his first live action cinematic adventure, and buzz has been building in the Tolkien-sphere for some time. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is based upon Tolkien’s classic children’s fantasy, which takes place in Middle-earth 60 years before the Lord of the Rings series. The New Line Cinema and MGM Pictures film is directed by Peter Jackson (who also directed the three previous movies) Bilbo Baggins is played by Martin Freeman, with Ian Holm returning to play the elder Baggins. Other returning cast members include Ian McKellen as Gandalf, Elijah Wood as Frodo, and Cate Blanchett as Galadriel.

Some ‘Unexpected’ News

Amid the buzz at a busy Comic-Con this year came news of a Hobbit variety. Peter Jackson announced in July that The Hobbit will become a film trilogy, with the final movie to be drawn from Tolkien’s unpublished works. On his Facebook page Jackson wrote, “It is only at the end of a shoot that you finally get the chance to sit down and have a look at the film you have made. We were really pleased with the way the story was coming together, in particular, the strength of the characters and the cast who have brought them to life. All of which gave rise to a simple question: do we take this chance to tell more of the tale? And the answer from our perspective as the filmmakers, and as fans, was an unreserved ‘yes.’ ” The second film, The Desolation of Smaug, is slated for release in 2013, with the third film, There and Back Again, expected in 2014.

Care for a “Hobbit Hole Breakfast?” How about “Frodo’s Pot Roast Skillet” or “Gandalf’s Gobble Melt?” The Hobbit is popping up in some unexpected places. According to the Huffington Post, Denny’s is currently serving up 11 Hobbit-themed meals, which will be available through January.

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December 22, 2011

Why I Write Lesbian Literature

Filed under: Authors — Tags: , , , — Bookblurb @ 5:55 am

By Ruth Gogoll

It’s always the season for love, but now even more so.

When I was a child my family was spread all across Germany, forced to scatter by the war, and only at Christmas could those of us who were left gather together. So over those wonderful few days every year, we’d spend our time in each other’s company singing Christmas carols, eating special Christmas cakes (my grandmother’s pfefferkuchen, and her homemade marzipan!), and getting to know each other again. Of course, we went to church at midnight on Christmas Eve, and we found the beautiful lights and crowds of the season so exciting, but most of all, we loved being together. To this day, Christmas has always been a family time for me, with “LOVE” written in big letters.

Pull on the thread of those early memories and I find it deeply entwined with my novels and my choices about what to write. As a youngster I read constantly, starting with Gone with the Wind (in German, of course) and then thousands of books more, but there was never a lesbian couple or a lesbian character I could identify with. Or, if there was a lesbian character, she was bound to die tragically, or to be unhappy until the end of her life, never to find love and understanding, never to discover a woman to live with and love. Sometimes the lesbian characters in those early books even ended up being labeled “mad” and sent to psychiatric asylums. What a conundrum for me! With whom should I identify, I, a young woman seeking love and understanding, seeking sex with other women, seeking a life with women? I couldn’t believe that my only options were to be unhappy or alone for my whole life, or to end up confined in an institution, or dead before my time.

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December 20, 2011

Two Hats For Today’s Writers (and 10 Awful Truths)

By Christopher Meeks

I just saw a documentary, To Write and Keep Kind, a PBS documentary on the life and writing of Raymond Carver. It’s part of the two-disc Criterion Collection version of Robert Altman’s movie Short Cuts, based on Raymond Carver’s short stories. I couldn’t help but think at the end of the documentary, If Carver had to start out today, would he be tweeting and blogging and posting on Goodreads?

Thinking that made me realize today’s writer needs to wear two hats: those of the artist and of the marketer — Carver and K-tel.

Carver broke new ground in that he wasn’t part of the East Coast writing and publishing establishment. His stories of the Pacific Northwest found many fans for their honest portrayal of working — and drinking — men and women eking through a hardscrabble life. His short stories “Cathedral” and “A Small Good Thing,” are two of my favorites.

What Carver did was extraordinary — no writer then or now has had an easy path — but the rules were clearer when Carver was writing and publishing in the sixties through the eighties. He published short stories and poetry in small journals and moved up to magazines such as Esquire and the New Yorker. His first collection of short fiction, Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?, came out in 1977. He never wrote a novel. These days, with the publishing industry in turmoil and essentially looking only to publish big hits by writers with “platforms,” writers have more on their shoulders.

One truth hasn’t changed. Writing well takes a lot of work, often years to hone. It’s the first hat you wear. It also means finding books and stories you love and learning from them. For some people, it also means going to school and studying the subject. For me, it’s also meant being brave — of being honest enough to tell the truths of my life, small moments that speak volumes. These include doubts, desires, dire realizations as well as the hopes, humor, and the absurdity I see around me.

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September 26, 2011

September 10, 2011

The Ache Of Book Abandonment

By Gerry Hadden

When I was just out of college, I worked for three years in book publishing, in New York City. Because the starting wage was usually enough to cover your rent and groceries, but never enough, for happy-hour beers, many of us assistants ran a supplemental racket for extra dough.

We would secretly hoard copies of the new books that were constantly arriving at the office. These were books that were not yet in stores. I kept my stash hidden in an old black duffle bag under my desk. When we had a decent enough pile amassed, we’d pick an evening and lug our loot down to the Strand, that iconic secondhand book bazaar in The Village.

We’d empty our sacks on to the buy-back counter and watch expectantly as some bookish, harried employee would rifle through the pages with disdain and lowball us on most everything we presented. Every once in a while you’d get a nice surprise — ten bucks for a first edition by this writer or that, 15 for the four-color coffee table book… more

August 17, 2011

Am I Still Digging Publishing?

By Stacey Barney

If you want to know the truth, how I feel about publishing depends upon the season, the day, maybe even the hour that you ask. Probably like just about every industry these days, publishing is a business of peaks and valleys. It’s a business where ideals meet commerce, and one often walks away bloodied and disillusioned. Frankly, some days my ideals and I feel just plain weary. But mostly, there are the days when books come into the office literally hot off the presses, or days when one of my authors gets a starred review, or days when I find a submission that really gets me going, and miracles of miracles, I land it for my house. Those are the days that keep me happy and excited about the business I’ve dedicated my professional life to.

But the days when I do find myself in the valley of publishing — maybe a book isn’t selling quite the way I’d hoped, or a reviewer kicked around one of my authors, or my editorial team didn’t see what I saw in a submission that I’d give my left kidney to have on my list and I must let go, or, you know, those days Borders turns to a pile of rubbish right before my very eyes — those days, I’m still buoyed by the prospect of something I was told I would never have to worry about by a prominent sales director when I first entered the business 10 years ago: e-books. But it seems these days that all anyone in publishing is worried about is the advent of the e-book and what that means for our industry going forward.

For my part, thanks to e-books, I’m privileged to be working in publishing at a time that’s really akin to the wild, wild West, and it’s thrilling. Publishing is finding new ways to do its thang, to reach readers by any means necessary, especially electronically.

Now my enthusiasm might sound strange to those who know me best, to those who know that my e-reader sits on a shelf in my office abandoned, collecting dust, to my authors who valiantly struggle through my bad handwriting in the margins of their manuscripts. No, I am not electronically inclined. But readers are, more and more. And publishers are paying attention. The future of our business depends on publishers paying vital attention to what is happening with e-books at this very moment. more

April 14, 2011

How to Write and Publish the (almost) Perfect Book

By Penny C. Sansevieri

CEO, Author Marketing Experts, Inc.

When it comes to publishing, there is a certain recipe for success. And while nothing is guaranteed, there are significant activities which must happen in order for your book to have a chance at success. I often speak of promotion, websites, and gathering a social media footprint. Today we’re taking a look at the equally important back-end issues. Now, I can’t guarantee if you follow this that you’ll come out leading the charge with the most perfect book, but you’ll certainly be close. Writers never intentionally write a bad book, or a book that’s not marketable. We do our best, and we often hope for the best. But in a world full of clutter, you have to do more than that. You have to step out to succeed and you have to learn the ropes of your market and the publishing industry. Here are 11 points for you to consider:

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March 3, 2011

Literary prodigies

 In the Scorsese documentary on her, Fran Liebowitz claimed there weren’t any, but we beg to differ. There’s always Anne Frank, but there’s much, much more: a nine-year-old poet, and a massive French genius who gave up creating at 21. Last year, ‘The New Yorker’ ran a ’20 Under 40′ article, on 20 accomplished authors under 40. Throughout history, there have been many much younger than that.

The following authors, poets, and playwrights were all publishing before 21.

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