Readersforum's Blog

May 29, 2014

Maya Angelou Dead at 86

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By Dan Kedmey.

The celebrated poet, author and civil rights activist passed away on Wednesday in her North Carolina home

Maya Angelou, the acclaimed poet, author and civil rights icon who wrote lyrically of her childhood in the Jim Crow south, died Wednesday morning. She was 86, and her death was confirmed by a family representative and by officials at the Winston-Salem mayor’s office in North Carolina, where she had been living.

Angelou had been honored with more than 50 awards, including the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, for her collected works of poetry, fiction and nonfiction, most notably her groundbreaking memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which made history as one of the first nonfiction best-sellers by an African-American woman.

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August 7, 2013

Be Kind: George Saunders’ Advice to Graduates Goes Viral

smile“To the extent that you can, err in the direction of kindness,” the author said in his commencement address

By Melissa Locker

Be kind.

That’s the gist of George Saunders’ advice to the class of 2013, delivered in a convocation speech at Syracuse University. While the graduation address was given months ago, thanks to a recent feature in the New York Times, it’s become the speech that keeps on giving. In fact, the sage advice in Saunders’ address has gone viral, spreading across the Internet on blogs, Twitter and Facebook.

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April 17, 2012

How Small E-Booksellers Could Help Break the Amazon-Apple Duopoly

Filed under: e-tailers — Tags: , , , , , , — Bookblurb @ 6:12 am

Ruth Curry and Emily Gould of Emily Books

By Keith Wagstaff

It’s a scary time for publishers. Last Wednesday, the Department of Justice filed a major antitrust lawsuit against Apple and five big publishers for allegedly price-fixing e-books. The goal was apparently to prevent Amazon, which dominates the market, from deflating prices of hardcover books by pricing those books’ electronic versions as low as $9.99 in order to persuade people to buy its line of Kindle e-readers and its Kindle Fire tablet.

Ironically, the antitrust lawsuit could end up creating a monopoly where Amazon dictates all the rules of the game. The question is: Why don’t publishers look elsewhere?

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September 3, 2011

All-TIME 100 Best Nonfiction Books

Filed under: Books — Tags: , — Bookblurb @ 9:46 am

  Politics and war, science and sports, memoir and biography — there’s a great big world of nonfiction books  out there just waiting to be read. We picked the 100 best and most influential written in English since 1923, the beginning of TIME … magazine

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July 25, 2011

Judge and jury

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , , , , — Bookblurb @ 7:59 pm

Should novelists double as book critics? Suddenly one prominent reviewer — and author — isn’t so sure

By Erin Keane

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There was a time early in his career when book critic Lev Grossman loved nothing more than a good old-fashioned hatchet job.

“I felt really angry at novelists whom I considered overrated, who I saw as sucking up the cultural oxygen that should have gone to more deserving writers. I really went after them,” Grossman admits.

But Grossman, the chief book reviewer for Time, has softened over the years, and he admits that has something to do with his own success as a novelist. “The Magicians,” his dark fantasy novel set in a universe part J.K. Rowling and part C.S. Lewis, became a 2009 best seller. A second installment, “The Magician King,” arrives next week. And suddenly Grossman is thinking about hanging up his literary judge’s robe.

“When a critic writes a novel, it’s like one of those movies where the cop crosses the line and gets tossed in jail along with the people he put there,” he said. “There’s no question, writing fiction has changed the way I review.”

Empathy, as it turns out, killed the assassin — empathy for readers, whose contradictory reactions have left him less eager to declare a book categorically “good” or “bad.” And empathy for authors, with whom he now identifies.

Grossman, however, is far from alone in his dual role with its peculiar tensions. The book review page is an odd cultural territory, often inhabited by such hybrid creatures — unlike their contemporaries in other disciplines, where the lines between critic and artist are more pronounced.

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April 26, 2011

The 2011 TIME 100

Meet the most influential people in the world. They are artists and activists, reformers and researchers, heads of state and captains of industry. Their ideas spark dialogue and dissent and sometimes even revolution. Welcome to this year’s TIME 100.

Franzen, Jennifer Egan and Patti Smith are the writers on Time’s list of the 100 most influential people of the year.

                                                                                                                                           …read more

January 21, 2011

The Roar of the Tiger Mom

Filed under: Authors — Tags: , , , — Bookblurb @ 6:34 am

Photo-Illustration by Jim Naughten for TIME

By Annie Murphy Paul

It was the “Little White Donkey” incident that pushed many readers over the edge. That’s the name of the piano tune that Amy Chua, Yale law professor and self-described “tiger mother,” forced her 7-year-old daughter Lulu to practice for hours on end — “right through dinner into the night,” with no breaks for water or even the bathroom, until at last Lulu learned to play the piece.

For other readers, it was Chua calling her older daughter Sophia “garbage” after the girl behaved disrespectfully — the same thing Chua had been called as a child by her strict Chinese father.

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Your Best E-Reader May Be No E-Reader

Filed under: Media — Tags: , , , , — Bookblurb @ 6:29 am

Philip Nealey / Photodisc / Getty Images

I have a lifelong friend — let’s call her Mom — who used to sneer at the very notion of e-books. Then she got an Amazon.com Kindle as a gift and sheepishly discovered that she adored it. But when her Kindle broke, she started reading the e-books she’d already bought from Amazon on her BlackBerry, using the Kindle app available for that phone. And she quickly realized that the phone that was already her constant companion was the ideal e-reader for her.

She’s got plenty of company.

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