Readersforum's Blog

April 23, 2014

Nadine Gordimer: The Great Post-Mandela Disillusion

No TimeBy Michael Skafidas

Nadine Gordimer, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1991, is the leading lady of letters in South Africa. Through her fiction and non-fiction writings she has captured the despair and the triumph of a country that went all the way from the ignominy of apartheid to the heights of Nelson Mandela’s presidency.

In this conversation, Gordimer speaks with Michael Skafidas for the WorldPost about the disillusion of post-Mandela South Africa, her distrust of the digital era and her decision to retire from writing fiction.

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October 11, 2013

10 Famous Authors Who Remind Us That Great Writers Can Also Be Decent Human Beings

The Television Academy Of Arts And Sciences' Presents An Evening With "Game Of Thrones"Authors, and artists in general, are notoriously difficult to deal with. The list of writers who created masterworks that illuminated truths about the human condition – all while behaving badly toward others in their actual lives — is a long one.

There are certainly exceptions to this rule, though. Some authors manage to create beauty on the page and also do good in various ways — whether by donating their time and money to worthy causes, connecting with their fans in meaningful ways, or just being kind to their friends and families.

Here, from a range of genres and time periods, are some notable exceptions to the “all famous authors are jerks” rule:

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June 20, 2013

The Resurgence of the Short Story: The Smallest of Entryways and Cristen Hemingway Jaynes

By K.J. Wetherholt

Cristen Hemingway Jaynes

Cristen Hemingway Jaynes

“When well told, a story captured the subtle movement of change. If a novel was a map of a country, a story was the bright silver pin that marked the crossroads.” — Ann Patchett

In a February 15, 2013 article for The New York Times, Leslie Kaufman noted the recognition of a trend that many among the literary world are currently embracing: the digital age in publishing has brought back what Neil Gaiman once described as “the novel’s wayward younger brother” — the short stories that most might otherwise have relegated to the memory of literature classes in high school or college.

Many of us remember these shorter works by literary masters: among them Henry James, Edgar Allan Poe, Ernest Hemingway–or in more contemporary times, noted authors such as Jim Harrison, George Saunders or Louise Erdrich, whose works, if not read in literary magazines, journals, or such publications as Esquire and The New Yorker, are instead placed in short story collections that rely almost wholly on the author’s name recognition for sales.

However, with the recent prevalence of Kindle, Nook, and other digital reading devices, short fiction has started to return as an acceptable, and salable form, in fact bringing back the form with a power and a popular respectability it has not had for some time.

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June 7, 2013

John Green On Self Publishing: Publishers And Bookstores Are Necessary, To Say Otherwise Is ‘An Insidious Lie’ (VIDEO)

John GreenJohn Green is a cult author with more than 1.5 million Twitter followers, a hugely popular Tumblr page, and more than a million YouTube subscribers for the channel he shares with his brother. He headlined Carnegie Hall this year, and we featured his latest book The Fault In Our Stars for a month in our Book Club, which has been on the New York Times Young Adult Bestseller List for more than a year. He talks directly to a huge online following that loves him – so shouldn’t he start self publishing his work?

Many people say that he doesn’t need the middle men of booksellers and publishers in order to make money, that his popularity is evidence that he could strike out alone to increase his profit margin. But as Green says, isn’t only about the money, it’s also about the quality of the editing and the support he gets from the existing publishing, bookstore and library structure.

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May 15, 2013

Amazon Warehouse Workers Sue Over Security Checkpoint Waits

By Dave Jamieson

Whenever he clocked out after his 12-hour shift at an Amazon warehouse, Jesse Busk had one more critical task to perform before he could hop into his car and head home to sleep: Pass through the sprawling warehouse security checkpoint.

The purpose of the checkpoint was to prevent workers like Busk from pilfering electronics or other pricey goods from the Amazon stock. The process deeply annoyed Busk, but not because of any indignity he may have felt in being checked for contraband. What bothered him was the time it required after an exhausting day — up to 25 minutes, all of it unpaid.

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March 25, 2013

Diagram Prize Winner 2013: ‘Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop’ Wins Year’s Weirdest Book Title

By JILL LAWLESS

A supernaturally tinged barnyard manual has won Britain’s quirkiest literary award, the Diagram Prize for year’s oddest book title.

“Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop” by Reginald Bakeley was awarded the prize Friday by trade magazine The Bookseller.

The book took 38 percent of the votes in a public ballot, beating finalists including “How Tea Cosies Changed the World,” “Was Hitler Ill?” and “God’s Doodle: The Life and Times of the Penis.”

“Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop” is subtitled “and other practical advice in our campaign against the fairy kingdom.” It is described by its Massachusetts-based publisher, Conari Press, as “the essential primer for banishing the dark fairy creatures that are lurking in the dark corners and crevices of your life.”

Diagram Prize overseer Horace Bent said it was no coincidence “in these austere times that a book aimed to assist members of the public frugally farming their own produce proved the most popular title.”

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March 10, 2013

Bookish Has a Dirty Little Secret

bookish_logo1-250x57By Nate Hoffelder

When Bookish launched a couple weeks back I didn’t think much of the site. The press release claimed that Bookish would be a great community that would help readers find their next book, only there was no community and the discovery engine was less than amazing.

I suspected at the time that Bookish would turn out to be little more than a marketing tool for the 3 publishers who financed the site, and today I learned that my suspicions were correct.

Peter Winkler, writing for The Huffington Post, noticed that all of the books promoted on Bookish were published by either Hachette, Penguin, or Simon & Schuster.

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February 19, 2013

Should You Publish Your Own Novel? Four Things to Think About

stock-photo-sale-books-image16596310By Holly Robinson

After writing five novels without selling any of them, I lost heart. What was I doing wrong? I had sold many articles and essays to national magazines. I had a terrific agent (and still do). I was a ghost writer who regularly penned celebrity memoirs. I had even sold a memoir of my own to none other than Random House, the Big Daddy of Publishing. Yet I couldn’t sell a novel.

“Maybe you’re no good at fiction,” my inner child whined.

Yet, there was one novel that I still liked. I couldn’t stand to keep it in a drawer, so I decided to make the leap into self publishing. The book has sold pretty well and has been nominated for a couple of awards.

Great! I was an indie author and proud of it. Then the unbelievable happened: a scant two weeks after becoming an indie author, an editor at NAL/Penguin bought my newest novel. I nearly passed out with excitement, but I was also plagued by doubt. Should I take the offer?

I’d heard all sorts of horror stories about writers giving away the bulk of their royalties to publishers that gobbled up profits in huge percentages. We indie authors keep most of our sales. Was I doing the right thing, saying yes to a publisher when I’d already done the tough work of going indie?

For anyone out there trying to make the same decision, I want to share what I’ve learned so far:

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January 28, 2013

Pole Dancing In Libraries?!

Pole dancer in club.Pole-dancing classes at the library? That’s apparently what one public library in Scotland is offering as a way of getting more readers through its doors, according to a report in The Guardian.

The event will take place on “Love Your Library Day,” and is described as “pole fitness.” Local musicians will also be performing that day.

Libraries around the world are trying to find new ways to make money and keep readers interested in their services. In Barcelona, the local government recently encouraged libraries to open bookstores inside their premises, while San Antonio, TX this week announced a bookless public library, with a design based on that of the Apple store.

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January 8, 2013

Goodreads Infographic: What Was The Most Reviewed Book Of 2012?

r-MOST-REVIEWED-BOOK-large570Today, Goodreads came out with an awesome infographic that reviews their past year. It reveals some pretty interesting information.

Their most reviewed book on the popular website in the last year was Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl (if you haven’t read it yet, we suggest that you do). Given the size of the site’s audience – 13 million registered users submitting over 20 million reviews – that most likely makes it the most reviewed book online this year.

Their most added quote? It was from John Green’s fantastic 2012 YA novel The Fault in Our Stars: “I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once.”

Check out this infographic to discover even more:

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