Readersforum's Blog

March 10, 2014

12 Books That End Mid-Sentence.

Kafka.Castle.1967.big_By Gabe Habash.

Way back before The Sopranos made people angry/confused for cutting to black out of nowhere, books were messing with the heads of readers by daring to not use a period as the last typeset keystroke on the very last page. Here are 12 books that have no need for the standard last punctuation mark.

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July 30, 2013

Big week for UK prizes

The-Folio-Prize By Clare Swanson

The Man Booker Prize announced their longlist today and, after taking some heat for its populist ways, the award’s judges have deemed the list most diverse it has ever been.

The Guardian reported that Robert Macfarlane, this year’s Man Booker chair of judges, said: “This is surely the most diverse longlist in Man Booker history: wonderfully various in terms of geography, form, length and subject. These 13 outstanding novels range from the traditional to the experimental, from the first century AD to the present day, from 100 pages to 1,000, and from Shanghai to Hendon.”

The reveal arrives one week after the Folio Prize named the panel of judges for their inaugural prize given in 2014, which includes Pulitzer Prize-winning author (and husband to sometimes controversial essayist Ayelet Waldman) Michael Chabon. The award, created by the Literature Prize Foundation, was perceived by some to be the highbrow answer to the Man Booker Prize when first announced in 2011.

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May 20, 2013

10 Biggest Book Adaptation Flops

By Gabe Habash

For this list, we didn’t just want book adaptations that were a critical/audience failure or a box office failure–we wanted both. That’s why the films you see below might not be the biggest money losers or the most panned; instead, they’re a combination of the most hated and most wasteful uses of celluloid out there. If none of these movies were made, over $913,000,000 would have been saved and approximately 4 billion viewing hours would have been saved.

(The following films were either critical or money failures, but not both, so they couldn’t make the list: The Great Gatsby [the Redford one], Lolita [1997], Treasure Planet, Beloved, The House of the Spirits, many more)

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May 3, 2013

World Book Night: Is It Easier to Give Away a Book or a Flower?

wbn1By Judith Rosen

I felt like one of those women handing out cigarettes in yesteryear. If you’re too young to remember them, you may have seen pictures. Except I have a couple years on most of those women, o.k. all of them, and rather than a sexy outfit, I chose a heavy down jacket over which I wore a sandwich-board sign, and I use the term loosely, made with a reflective vest covered over with a couple World Book Night flers in clear page protectors. I don’t know if it helped, but I wasn’t too cold last night, given the drizzle and chill.

Last year when I was a “giver” at World Book Night, I chose a spot across from the Central Square T station in Cambridge, Mass., and found it difficult to break down people’s resistance to taking a book. They thought I was trying to foist a Bible on them, or maybe I was part of some cult. This year I was determined that it shouldn’t be so hard to give away 20 books. To get in the mood I used the pre-WBN kick off event at the Cambridge Public Library with Vanessa Diffenbaugh (The Language of Flowers), Lisa Genova (Still Alice), and Neil Gaiman (Good Omens, with Terry Pratchett) as a pep rally. It certainly got the high school students in the row next to me wound up. They wanted to sign up then and there to be givers. So did a former educator who had read Still Alice in her book group and had never heard of WBN.

I was especially pleased to get to hear Diffenbaugh, since I had chosen her novel to give away.  A debut novel by a local author seemed like an easier sell than many of the more “classic” books on last year’s list. Plus I had one other trick for getting people to take my books. Since her book is so interconnected with flowers, I decided to buy 20 carnations from Brattle Florist, the same florist shop in her acknowledgments, to handout with each book. That was before I learned from Gaiman’s talk that April 23 marks Cervantes’s death and in Spain men give women a rose, and women give them a book on that day. The first Book Day, as it is known, was held on Cervantes’s birthday (October 7) in 1926, then moved to April in 1930.

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April 29, 2013

What Was the First Book that Made You Love Books? PW Staff Picks

 

night Every now and then, PWxyz likes to let the staff around here talk about books, because that’s all we secretly want to do. Previously, the PW staff has Fixed the Modern Library 100 Novels List, named some favorite short stories, and picked the best books read in 2011 and 2012. Here, we asked: What’s the first book you read that really made you love books?

 

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April 18, 2013

From the X-Men to the Greeks of Antiquity: Genre in Contemporary Poetry

Missing You, MetropolisBy Nora E. Derrington

Happy National Poetry Month!

You may not have been expecting an exclamation like that in a blog post with the “Genreville” tag, but the truth is that there’s a lot of poetry out there that plays with genre tropes, or fits into the category of genre entirely (and I’m using genre here as an umbrella term that includes fantasy, horror, mystery, romance, or science fiction). People often still seem to have the idea that poetry is inaccessible, suited only for those in ivory towers, but poetry that includes elements of the supernatural, mythological, or romantic (just to cite a few possibilities) can give readers points of connection, of entry. I know I can’t be the only person around here who was first drawn into both poetry and horror by the darkly creepy atmosphere of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”! In that spirit, then, here are a handful of recommendations for poetry that incorporate genre.

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March 26, 2013

This Is the Worst Book Cover Ever

o-iluminado-el-resplandor-the-shining-stephen-king_MLA-F-124496690_5137By Gabe Habash
About a month ago, I was searching for something Stephen King-related to put on this fantastic blog. Scrolling down through rows and rows of Google images for The Shining, most of them screengrabs of Nicholson and the pre-chopped-up girls in the hallway, I saw, in thumbnail size, the above cover for O Iluminado. It looked strikingly similar to an 80s Pantene ad.

I saved the cover on my desktop, knowing I wanted to share it with you all in some way, but not sure how. For weeks, I’d open the file and stare into O Iluminado‘s eyes, and then into her smaller set of eyes. I would look at it for so long it would change; I named the mysterious woman Flavia; she became strange to me and then familiar in her strangeness. I had so many questions.

Who is Flavia? In what public place is she on the cover? Why is she also in a little window?

But let us parse why this book cover is either the worst book cover ever or, perhaps, the most brilliant book cover ever.

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March 20, 2013

What is the Great American Novel? (VOTE)

darkstormy5By Gabe Habash

It’s time to cast your lot: what is The Great American Novel? Cather or Fitzgerald? Lee or Bellow? Stephen King?

To help make this impossible question less impossible, we’ve decided to limit each great writer to one book apiece–that means if you’re looking for As I Lay Dying, you won’t find it, but you will find The Sound and the Fury. You only get one vote, so make it count.

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March 11, 2013

How ’50 Shades of Gay’ Became an Overnight E-Bestseller

50By Gabe Habash

50 Shades of Gray has spawned numerous spoofs and imitations, but 50 Shades of Gay by Jeffrey Self, an actor who has appeared on shows like 30 Rock and Desperate Housewives, has the unique angle of being published quickly without sacrificing quality. PWxyz talked with Don Weise of Magnus/Riverdale Avenue Books, 50 Shades of Gay‘s publisher, to see the e-book’s recipe for success.

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February 19, 2013

’2666′ in Pie Chart Form

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , , , , , — Bookblurb @ 1:24 pm

seriouslyBy  Gabe Habash

…Guerrero, at that time of night, is more like a cemetery than an avenue, not a cemetery in 1974 or in 1968, or in 1975, but a cemetery in the year 2666, a forgotten cemetery under the eyelid of a corpse or an unborn child, bathed in the dispassionate fluids of an eye that tried so hard to forget one particular thing that it ended up forgetting everything else.

So you read 2666. You probably have questions. Such as:

1. What’s with all the dreams?

2. What exactly is Archimboldi doing in Mexico?

3. What is happening?

4. I’m tired.

The problem with asking any of those questions is you won’t find the answers in 2666, a world-eating novel where looking for an answer just leads to more questions. In his notes, Bolaño mentions a “hidden center” concealed beneath the novel’s “physical center.”

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