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Updated: 1 hour 5 min ago

Did Jane Austen die of arsenic poisoning? British Library article thinks so #books

Mon, 03/13/2017 - 10:53
The British Library published an article last week suggesting that Jane Austen, who died in 1817 aged 41 in 1817, was killed by arsenic poisoning.

Previous causes of her death have thought to have been either cancer or an adrenal disorder but an article published on the British Library's website proposes arsenic as a credible cause - not due to foul play but likely from a tainted water supply or a medicinal mix-up.

The clues leading to the hypothesis include a series of increasingly strong reading glasses that were donated to the library in 1999 by a descendant of Austen, and the author's own writing in which she complained of skin discoloration ("black & white & every wrong colour"), which could also be a symptom of accumulating arsenic in the body.

Amy Krouse Rosenthal dies aged 51

Mon, 03/13/2017 - 05:00
Amy Krouse Rosenthal, a prolific children's book author, memoirist and public speaker who, dying of cancer, found an extraordinarily large readership this month with a column in The New York Times titled "You May Want to Marry My Husband," died on Monday at her home in Chicago. She was 51.

HarperCollins celebrates its 200th anniversary

Tue, 03/07/2017 - 10:22
HarperCollins is launching a global campaign to celebrate the company's 200th anniversary. Robert Thomson, CEO of parent company News Corp., says: "We're excited to celebrate this milestone anniversary and give thanks to the employees, authors, librarians, booksellers, and consumers who've been instrumental in helping HarperCollins become a part of the global literary culture over the last 200 years."

Caravan to Yale: The stolen child who became a star poet

Sun, 03/05/2017 - 18:18
Ali Cobby Eckermann, an Aboriginal poet, forcibly taken from her mother when she was a young child, is one of eight writers to win a $162,000 Windham-Campbell prize from Yale University. The committee commended her for confronting "the violent history of Australia's Stolen Generations" and her "use of nature to render the beauty of Aboriginal family bonds, as well as the pain and violence of their breaking".

Obama pens deal with Penguin Random House

Tue, 02/28/2017 - 23:05
Penguin Random House has acquired the rights for two books, to be written by former US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle respectively. Terms and other details have not been disclosed.

Plenty of book-related nominations at this year's Oscars, but few winners

Mon, 02/27/2017 - 05:00
Shelf Awareness reports that five of the nine best picture nominees at this year's Academy Awards were book related and there were plentiful book related nominations in other categories. But few award winners, particularly compared with recent years.

The winners were:

Moonlight, based on the play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue by Tarell Alvin McCraney: best picture, supporting actor (Mahershala Ali), adapted screenplay (Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney)

Fences, adapted from August Wilson's play: supporting actress (Viola Davis)

Arrival, based on Ted Chiang's "Story of Your Life": sound editing

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, based on the book by J.K. Rowling: costume design

The Jungle Book, based on the novel by Rudyard Kipling: visual effects.

Author Frank Delaney dies aged 74

Fri, 02/24/2017 - 14:48
Irish-born author Frank Delaney, 74, died on February 21 after a stroke. His books include the novel Ireland, the nonfiction book Simple Courage, and an ongoing podcast on James Joyce's Ulysses. A new novel is forthcoming from Putnam.

Louise Penny receives Order of Canada

Tue, 02/21/2017 - 10:37
Author Louise Penny has been appointed to the Order of Canada which is one of the country's highest civilian honors, recognizing "outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation."

Milo Yiannopoulos book deal cancelled after outrage over child abuse comments

Mon, 02/20/2017 - 05:00
Simon & Schuster has cancelled the publication of Milo Yiannopoulos' book, and his fellow Breitbart employees have reportedly threatened to quit if he is not fired.

Simon & Schuster's decision follows outrage over a recording that appeared to show Yiannopoulos endorsing sex between "younger boys" and older men. The remarks were made during an internet livestream and circulated in an edited video on Twitter.

Philip Pullman to write follow-up to His Dark Materials

Wed, 02/15/2017 - 10:10
Author Philip Pullman has announced a follow-up to his best-selling His Dark Materials series, published 17 years ago. The first novel in the new trilogy, called The Book of Dust, will come out in October.

Waterstones, leading UK bookstore chain, comes "back from the dead"

Mon, 02/06/2017 - 13:52
The Guardian reports on how Waterstones, the UK's leading chain of bookstores "came back from the dead... with a mixture of tough love and an unshakeable belief in the power of the physical book... declaring that his managers would be given back responsibility for their own stock, because what sold in Hampstead might not go down well in the Highlands."

A radical move was to no longer do business through sales reps and no longer sell window space (a loss of 27 UK Pounds a year, approx $34 USD). "Instead, a small team of buyers – in close consultation with Daunt himself – would select titles to feature as books of the month across all the stores, while individual managers were free to tailor much of their stock to their customers' tastes."

The Guardian goes on to focus on one of the stores most successful books, The Essex Serpent> by Sarah Perry, which will publish in the USA in June.

George Orwell's dystopian classic "1984" tops the USA bestseller charts less than two weeks into the Trump presidency. Other dystopian classics also on the rise.

Thu, 02/02/2017 - 10:23
George Orwell's dystopian classic 1984 is the #1 selling book in the USA following the first week and a half of the presidency of Donald J. Trump.

Sales of other dystopian classics are also up considerably such as Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale," which has seen sales rise over 200% year to date.

Sebastian Barry wins Costa Book of the Year with "Days Without End"

Wed, 02/01/2017 - 05:00
Sebastian Barry's Days Without End has won the overall Costa Award: Book of The Year. The judges called it, "A miracle of a book – both epic and intimate – that manages to create spaces for love and safety in the noise and chaos of history." It's Barry's second Costa win, following The Secret Scripture in 2008.

New York Times eliminating a number of bestseller lists

Fri, 01/27/2017 - 05:00
Publishers reacted with a mixture of dismay, confusion and surprise at the announcement from the New York Times that it will eliminate a number of its print and online bestseller lists, effective February 5.

Although it is still unclear exactly which lists have been dropped, the NYT has confirmed that the bestseller lists for graphic novels and manga, as well as the lists for mass market paperbacks, middle-grade e-books and teen e-books have been eliminated.

Four movies based on books nominated for best picture Oscar

Wed, 01/25/2017 - 05:00
Four of the nine best picture nominations for this year's Academy Awards, which will be presented February 26, are based on books:

  • Lion, adapted from Saroo Brierley's memoir A Long Way Home
  • Arrival, based on Ted Chiang's short story, "Story of Your Life"
  • Fences, adapted from August Wilson's play which explores the evolving African-American experience and examines race relations, among other themes.
  • Hidden Figures, based on the book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly, subtitled: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race

A complete list of nominees based on books can be found at Shelf Awareness.

Ebook sales fall 16% year on year

Tue, 01/24/2017 - 10:28
Unit sales of ebooks were down 16% in 2016 compared to 2015 according to recently released figures from Nielsen. Possible contributing factors include rising prices since (now at about $8 per book) and the decline in dedicated e-readers with book buyers increasingly using a tablet or smartphone to read on - apparently, consumers who use dedicated e-book readers have consistently been found to purchase more e-books than consumers who use other devices to read.

Kelly Barnhill wins the Newbery Award for "The Girl Who Drank The Moon"

Mon, 01/23/2017 - 05:00
The American Library Association (ALA) today announced their annual awards for the top books, video and audio books for children and young adults – including the Caldecott, Coretta Scott King, Newbery and Printz awards – at its Midwinter Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia.

The winner of the John Newbery Medal is Kelly Barnhill for The Girl Who Drank The Moon. For a list of all winners, see the ALA's press release, linked below

Author sued for publishing unauthorized children's versions of classic works

Fri, 01/20/2017 - 14:22
Fredrik Colting, who was sued by J. D. Salinger's estate several years ago for publishing an unauthorized sequel to "The Catcher in the Rye," is now being sued by four literary estates, representing Arthur C. Clarke, Jack Kerouac, Truman Capote and Ernest Hemingway. In addition, Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster have filed a copyright lawsuit against Mr. Colting and his partner, Melissa Medina, for releasing illustrated children's books based on those authors' works.

The complaint, which was filed Thursday in Federal District Court in Manhattan, claims that KinderGuides are "unauthorized derivative" works that lift the plot, characters and settings from copyrighted books. "Colting once again proceeds to brazenly infringe the rights of different authors, and the authors' heirs and publishers, in complete disregard of copyright law," the complaint says. "If defendants truly wish to introduce young children to the classics, there are literally thousands of public-domain works from which they could choose."

Every book Barack Obama has recommended during his presidency

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 05:00
Entertainment Weekly have collated a list of all the books Barack Obama's has publicly recommended these past eight years.

President Obama talks about what books mean to him with Michiko Kakutani

Mon, 01/16/2017 - 11:48
In a wide ranging interview with Michiko Kakutani, the chief book critic for The New York Times, Barack Obama talks about books and what they mean to him.