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October 14, 2013

The Most Famous Book Set In Every State



most-famous-books-set-in-every-state02By Melia Robinson and Melissa Stanger

Whether you come from Florida, New York, Texas, or any other state, reading a book set there can make you feel a warm nostalgia for that beloved place.

We rounded up the most famous book set in every state in America.

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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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January 29, 2013

Readers sue Armstrong and US publishers


lance_armstrong| By Charlotte WIlliams

Two US book buyers are suing cyclist Lance Armstrong and his publishers Random House US and Penguin Group USA over claims they presented fiction as autobiography. The development follows Armstrong’s confession that he used performance-enhancing drugs to win seven Tour de France titles.

The California duo, Rob Stutzman and Jonathan Wheeler, filed a complaint on 22nd January in federal court in Sacramento saying that they would not have bought It’s Not About the Bike or Every Second Counts had they known the truth. The plaintiffs said: “Both books have now been exposed as frauds.”

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January 9, 2013

Poet’s Kinship With the President


From the moment Barack Obama burst onto the political scene, the poet Richard Blanco, a son of Cuban exiles, says he felt “a spiritual connection” with the man who would become the nation’s 44th president.

Like Mr. Obama, who chronicled his multicultural upbringing in a best-selling autobiography, “Dreams From My Father,” Mr. Blanco has been on a quest for personal identity through the written word. He said his affinity for Mr. Obama springs from his own feeling of straddling different worlds; he is Latino and gay (and worked as a civil engineer while pursuing poetry). His poems are laden with longing for the sights and smells of the land his parents left behind.

Now Mr. Obama is about to pluck Mr. Blanco out of the relatively obscure and quiet world of poetry and put him on display before the entire world. On Wednesday the president’s inaugural planners will announce that Mr. Blanco is to be the 2013 inaugural poet, joining the ranks of notables like Robert Frost and Maya Angelou.

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November 4, 2011

E-book charts published in Wall Street Journal

E-book charts

| By Charlotte Williams

The first official sales charts including e-book sales data have been published in the Wall Street Journal this weekend, with Nielsen BookScan now supplying e-book sales reports to the US paper.

Killing Lincoln by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard (Henry Holt & Co) was number one across all three non-fiction charts—hardcover, e-book and combined—with The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks taking the hardcover and combined fiction top spots, losing out to Bonnie by Iris Johansen (St Martin’s Press) in the e-book only chart.

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) was among the titles that appeared on the fiction hardcover chart, but not on the e-book chart, with The Help by Kathryn Stockett (Penguin) at number nine on the e-book fiction chart and not on the hardback chart, though it appeared at number five on the combined e-book and physical sales chart.

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August 29, 2011

BOOK WORLD Bestsellers — August 28, 2011

Buy this

By Christopher Schoppa

Along with the smattering of new titles that join the lists this weekend, there’s a veritable rush for books that have been in hardcover for a considerable length of time (several with paperback options) — President Bush’s memoir, which hasn’t been on the general nonfiction list in months and months, but which might make sense in light of the forthcoming 9/11 anniversary.

Over in fiction, Kathryn Stockett’s “The Help” not only remains on the hardcover list, but rockets up to #5; and Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest,” which may not see a paperback edition before the new year (the first two titles in the trilogy have been near fixtures on the paperback list for well over a year).

As for brand new entries — Jane Fonda’s guide to living the good life in the nonfiction column, while in fiction, we have the new Terry Goodkind fantasy and, most encouragingly, the debut novel from Washington writer Jennifer Close, who chronicles the lives of three friends who juggle their own, often dysfunctional lives while going through what begins to seem like an endless parade of other people’s weddings — as bridesmaids to boot.

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August 26, 2011

Are There Too Many Books?

Traditional publishing is experiencing an upswing, but that doesn't mean the quality of print is increasing as well

By Peter Osnos

It was probably a coincidence, but on one Sunday in July, two New York Times luminaries wrote columns complaining about books. Bill Keller, the outgoing executive editor, had a piece in the magazine headlined “Let’s Ban Books, or at Least Stop Writing Them.” In the Sunday business section, Bryan Burroughs, a regular reviewer and himself the author of multiple bestsellers, took on the preponderance of business books in an essay called “Compelling Tales, Rarely Told Well.”

Meanwhile, UNESCO’s list of “new titles and editions” of books published in the United States for 2009 totaled 288,355, a number that has doubtless increased since then, as books long out of print are revived in digital versions. BookStats 2011,the annual comprehensive report just released by the Association of American Publishers and the Book Industry Study Group, concluded that book sales, in terms of revenues and copies sold, have steadily increased in the period of 2008-2010. Overall, the report supports the belief that publishing is on an upswing, contrary to the widely held but incorrect assumption that competition from other forms of media was diminishing the venerable book world. In the press release accompanying the report, Dominique Raccah, CEO of SourceBooks and chair of the committee that did the survey, said: “The BookStats study indicates that the publishing industry is healthy and growing during a time of unprecedented change… Publishers in every sector of our business have made significant investments in content and technology to better serve their audiences’ needs and those efforts seem to correlate with the results we’re seeing.”

So there you have the contradiction in perspectives: Keller’s piece was especially cranky, and I’m guessing was intended to be wittier than it turned out to be. Burroughs, whose Barbarians at the Gates set a standard for business narratives, summarized his view this way: “Of the sprawling mass of books that spill across my desk, far too many just aren’t very good… some are too technical, some not technical enough. Some topics are hopeless.” Nonetheless, books are pouring forth — and, in the midst of the digital surge, are actually selling in aggregate better than ever.

In fact, among the various forms of information and entertainment, books are distinctive because there are so many of them. Every movie, television program, news organization, and the top tiers of websites combined represent a relatively small number compared to the books being published. Books do fall into categories, such as fiction, nonfiction, and textbooks, and subcategories like politics, economics, history, romance, science-fiction and so on; yet, most books have to be considered separate entities with their own strategy for reaching an audience.

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August 19, 2011

How book stores can compete against Amazon:

 John Hodgman suggests ‘downloading pods’

By John Cook continues to grab market share from traditional book stores, and just last month Border’s bit the dust. But resident expert John Hodgman — appearing Tuesday night on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart — offers some sage advice on how brick-and-mortar bookstores can actually compete.

For one, he suggests getting rid of the “old-fashioned” book shelves, replacing them with “beautiful, well-appointed downloading pods.”

“Book lovers simply seal themselves inside, strip down to their underwear, pick up a cold slice of pizza and start downloading the great works of literature in between bouts of masturbation and YouTube,” he said. “It is all the fun and isolation of home, with the inconvenience of a 20-minute car ride.”

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August 14, 2011

Virginia School District Removes Sherlock Holmes Book From Reading List

Sherlock Holmes may have captivated and enthralled readers worldwide, but the legendary fictional detective seems to have drawn the censure of a parent from a central Virginia county.

The Albemarle County School Board has removed Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s first Sherlock Holmes book, “A Study in Scarlet” from the sixth grade reading list.

Brette Stevenson, a parent of a Henley Middle School student originally challenged the book in May on the grounds that it is derogatory toward Mormons, reports the Daily Progress.

Stevenson complained that the book portrayed Mormons in an offensive light. She said that the book was not suitable as an introduction to mystery and deductive reasoning.

“‘A Study in Scarlet’ has been used to introduce students to the mystery genre and into the character of Sherlock Holmes. This is our young students’ first inaccurate introduction to an American religion,” Stevenson told the board.

She suggested replacing the book with Doyle’s fifth book “The Hound of the Baskervilles, which, she considered was a better introduction to mystery.

A committee commissioned to study the book published in 1887 said in a report that it was not “age-appropriate” for 11 and 12 year old students. more


August 2, 2011

Borders Intellectual Property on the Block

Filed under: Bookshops — Tags: , , , , — Bookblurb @ 5:59 pm

By Judith Rosen

With Borders’ going-out-of-business sales underway, the company is getting ready to sell off its next most valuable property, its intellectual assets: trade marks, trade names, logos, Internet domain names, and customer information, including e-mail addresses and purchasing history. If the sales procedure is approved at the next hearing on August 10, a bid deadline will be set for September 8 at 5 p.m., followed by an auction on September 14 at 10 a.m.

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