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Updated: 33 min 12 sec ago

PBS announces new show, The Great American Read, launching in May

Wed, 01/17/2018 - 05:00
Margaret Atwood, Junot Díaz, Lauren Graham John Irving, Bill T. Jones, Devon Kennard, Gayle King, Diane Lane, George R. R. Martin, Lesley Stahl and Many more will lend their voices to PBS' "The Great American Read."

The Great American Read, a new eight-part television competition and nationwide campaign created in partnership with the production company Nutopia, aims to explore the power of books and the joy of reading through the lens of America's 100 best-loved novels, as voted on by the public. PBS will also partner with top literary organizations and its nearly 350 member stations nationwide to extend the reach of The Great American Read to every community.

The Show will launch with a two-hour special event on Tuesday, May 22, 2018, at 8 p.m. on PBS stations.

PEN America to honor Stephen King with Literary Service Award

Wed, 01/17/2018 - 05:00
PEN America is honoring Stephen King with its Literary Service Award at its annual literary gala in New York City on May 22. The award is given to "a critically-acclaimed writer whose body of work helps us understand and interpret the human condition, engendering empathy and imagination in even the darkest hours."

PEN America has also named as its annual Publisher Honoree Carolyn Reidy, president and CEO of Simon & Schuster. The organization said that "under her leadership, Simon & Schuster has published many acclaimed and award-winning works of lasting cultural significance, has greatly expanded its publishing activities in international territories, and has been an industry leader in finding new audiences through digital capabilities.

Margaret Atwood faces feminist backlash on social media over #MeToo

Mon, 01/15/2018 - 05:00
Canadian author Margaret Atwood is facing a social media backlash after voicing concerns about the #MeToo movement and calling for due process in the case of a former university professor accused of sexual misconduct.

Margaret Atwood faces feminist backlash on social media over #MeToo

Mon, 01/15/2018 - 05:00
Canadian author Margaret Atwood is facing a social media backlash after voicing concerns about the #MeToo movement and calling for due process in the case of a former university professor accused of sexual misconduct.

Author of "Hillbilly Elegy" considering running for Senate.

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 11:41
J.D. Vance, who gained national recognition for his 2016 book, "Hillbilly Elegy," is seriously considering running in Ohio's key senate race, an adviser to Vance told CNN on Wednesday. This comes after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke with Vance about his run, according to sources with knowledge of the call, offering the author advice on what he could expect from a potential bid.

Vending machines that dispense short stories rather than snacks

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 12:03
While many have lamented the lost art of reading in our social media-driven world, few have actually tried to do anything about it. Short Édition is the exception. In 2011, the Grenoble, France-based startup began installing short story-dispensing vending machines in some of the country's most popular public spaces, beginning with Paris's Charles de Gaulle Airport. And now they've made their way to America.

Fire & Fury sells out as publisher Holt re-orders as fast as possible. Two more Trump books publishing next week

Mon, 01/08/2018 - 05:00
Intense demand for Fire & Fury has caught its publisher, Henry Holt, off guard as the Macmillan imprint scrambles to get copies into the marketplace.

Gauging a book's traction in the marketplace and setting its print run is, arguably, one of the trickiest aspects of the publishing process. And Holt, in this instance, underestimated demand significantly.

Although Holt is reordering as fast as it can the worry is that it may lose sales because of the current unavailability of the book. Competition is also coming. Two other books are due to publish next week--David Cay Johnston's It's Even Worse Than You Think (Simon & Schuster) and David Frum's Trumpocracy (HarperCollins)--are set to hit stores on January 16.

Before Sue Grafton was a star...

Sun, 01/07/2018 - 23:26
The New York Times offers inspiration to many authors, with a short article pointing out that crime novelist Sue Grafton (who died in late December) did not break into the bestseller lists until her sixth book, "F is For Fugitive" cracked the paperback bestseller list in 1990. After that she went from strength to strength with 10 of the books, starting with "L is For Lawless" debuting at No. 1.

Pre-Orders for Michael Wolff's 'Fire and Fury: Inside the White House' skyrocket

Thu, 01/04/2018 - 11:42
The new year has already proven unpleasant for President Trump, who has been shaken by a forthcoming tell-all about his White House. Michael Wolff's "Fire and Fury: Inside the White House", which is slated to be released by Holt next week, has shot up the charts on Amazon and driven the President to take to Twitter with angry pronouncements about former members of his inner circle.

Jacqueline Woodson named National Ambassador for Young People?s Literature

Thu, 01/04/2018 - 11:40
On Thursday, Jacqueline Woodson was named as the new National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, a position that was created in 2008 by the Library of Congress, the Children's Book Council and the literacy charity Every Child a Reader.

Fred Bass, Who Made the Strand Bookstore a Mecca, Dies at 89

Thu, 01/04/2018 - 11:39
Fred Bass, who transformed his father's small used-book store, the Strand, into a mammoth Manhattan emporium with the slogan "18 Miles of Books," died on Wednesday at his home in Manhattan. He was 89.

Eleanor Oliphant and Reservoir 13 among category winners of Costa Book Awards

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 05:00
The category award winners for the UK's Costa awards have been presented. The overall winner will be named January 30.

First novel: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman

Novel: Reservoir 13, by Jon McGregor

Biography: In the Days of Rain, by Rebecca Stott

Children's: The Explorer, by Katherine Rundell

Poetry: Inside The Wave by Helen Dunmore (who died last June)

Christmas Week Sales Jump 7% Over 2016

Tue, 01/02/2018 - 11:12
While holiday unit sales of print books got off to a slow start Thanksgiving weekend, they ended on a strong note. Print unit sales increased 7% in the week ended Dec. 24, 2017, over the comparable week in 2016 at outlets that report to NPD BookScan. The gain was driven by the retail and club channel, where unit sales were 8% higher than the week ended Dec. 25, 2016. Sales through mass merchandisers fell 2% in the week compared to 2016.

Sue Grafton dies aged 77.

Fri, 12/29/2017 - 05:00
Sue Grafton, author of the alphabetically titled detective series that began in 1982 with "A Is for Alibi," died of cancer on Thursday night in Santa Barbara, Calif. She was 77.

With the publication of her latest book in August, Ms. Grafton's alphabetical series had reached "Y Is for Yesterday."

"She was adamant that her books would never be turned into movies or TV shows," her daughter wrote on the author's website, "and in that same vein, she would never allow a ghost writer to write in her name. Because of all of those things, and out of the deep abiding love and respect for our dear sweet Sue, as far as we in the family are concerned, the alphabet now ends at Y."

The pretensions of book thieves...

Thu, 12/28/2017 - 12:15
Electric Lit asks indie bookstores which books are most frequently stolen and why - and finds a link between pretentiousness and book theft. For example, this comment from Lexi Beach, owner of the Astoria bookshop in Queens:

"The conclusion we've come to is that people steal books that they think will make them seem smart but perhaps have no intention of reading (and hence don't want to pay for?). The link seems to be a sense of pretentiousness, looking at the specific books that walk."

Electric Lit includes a P.S. directed at any would be book thieves: Independent bookstores are magical, endangered places. Stealing from these small, often struggling establishments is a mortal sin and the Book Gods will smite you. If you must kidnap books (which you shouldn't, because libraries exist) then steal from big box stores instead.

Book World, the fourth-largest bookstore chain in the USA, to close.

Thu, 12/28/2017 - 05:00
Book World, the fourth-largest bookstore chain in the USA is closing. Founded in 1976, Book World sold hardcovers, paperbacks and sometimes tobacco in malls, downtowns and vacation areas across the Upper Midwest. It endured recessions, the expansion of superstores like Borders and Barnes & Noble, and then the rise of Amazon. But the 45-store chain could not survive the shifting nature of shopping itself, and so announced its liquidation.

Golden Globe nominees based on books.

Fri, 12/15/2017 - 13:23
Signature (a Random House website) looks at the many 2018 Golden Globes nominees based on books:

It is officially that time of the year – awards season is upon us. As usual, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has kicked things off with the announcement of the 2018 Golden Globe Awards nominees. The literary world is represented in this year's lineup with a smattering of great adaptations leading the charge in both film and TV. While the slate of nominees is populated with a few of the marquee titles you'd expect – "Game of Thrones" got it's annual nod, for instance – a few surprises cracked the surface as well. It looks to be another interesting year at the Golden Globes. Let's have a look.

Merriam-Webster names "feminism" its word of the year.

Tue, 12/12/2017 - 07:59
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year for 2017 is feminism. The word was a top lookup throughout the year, with several spikes that corresponded to various news reports and events.

Novelist and short story writer John Boyne claims "women are better novelists than men".

Tue, 12/12/2017 - 07:22
In an opinion piece in the Irish Times, John Boyne writes:

So I'm going to make a claim now that will probably get me kicked out of the Fraternity of Underappreciated Male Authors (FUMA) and blacklisted from the annual Christmas football game. Here goes:

I think women are better novelists than men.

There, I've said it. While it's obviously an enormous generalisation, it's no more ludicrous than some half-wit proudly claiming never to read books by women. For the record, purporting to love literature while dismissing the work of female writers is like claiming to be passionate about music while refusing to listen to anything but Ed Sheeran. However, I'm going to try to back up my sweeping statement...

Journalist Simeon Booker dies aged 99

Tue, 12/12/2017 - 05:00
The great Simeon Booker, one of the bravest journalists of our time, faced dangers far worse than a petulant president's social media feed. Booker refused to be cowed--and ultimately helped change the nation. His life's work should be a lesson to us all about the power of truth to vanquish evil.

Booker died Sunday at 99. At the height of his career, few could have imagined he would live so long.

As Washington bureau chief for Chicago-based Johnson Publications, publisher of the newsweekly Jet and the monthly magazine Ebony, Booker went to the Deep South to cover the most tumultuous events of the civil rights movement--life-threatening work for an African American journalist.

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