Archive for the ‘Daily Book Links’ Category

Book Links

March 19, 2014

Award winning author? Welcome to the poor house.

Can book reviews hurt a book? Well, yeah. That’s part of the reason you will read few overly negative reviews on this blog – I don’t feel a need to help bury someone who is trying to make a living.  I bend that rule to greater degrees for increasingly famous authors, though.

Publishers need to learn from Amazon. Long story short, publishers need to get their act together and step into the new century. They’re already fourteen years late.

 

Alright, a couple of these have been sitting on the stove for a bit too long, hoping for the water to boil and something a bit more to come out about them. It’s not happening. Lately, I’ve been in a bit of a haze. Not sleeping well, kid’s been a handful at school, getting stuff around for the house, taxes, etc. Life. The whole thing is just wearing me down a bit. anyway. Try to pick up the slack this week.

March 4, 2014

Over on IO9, there’s an article debating how we read and whether it is the right or wrong way. I sort of bristle at the idea of right and wrong ways of doing most things, let alone reading. All of us have individual ways of getting from points A to B, and as long as you get there, I’m not sure the “rightness” always matters (obviously outside of doing some sort of willful harm to others as you make your journey). While people may have fewer marathon sessions with a book in their hands while reclining on the couch, I’ve come away from such sessions with little long term memory of the book I had just read – often too exhausted to remember or having passed by everything too quickly for it to gestate. By the same token, reading in too small of blocks can leave a book feeling fragmented, disconnected. In the end, I think our habits generally come to conform to how we digest what we’re reading. If we can take in a bunch of small chunks of reading and put it all together, we’ll do it that way. If we can’t, we won’t, because the experience won’t be fulfilling enough to continue (at which point we may just give up reading altogether).  Maybe a follow up question should be about how well we monitor ourselves and know how we’re reacting to what and how we read.  Our reading habits may have less to do with distractions and more to do with a lack of self-awareness.

Publisher’s weekly has an article chock full of charts and graphs about what’s popular in kid lit. Perhaps what is most frustrating is how encompassing the category “children’s literature” is for the article. Something that combines YA and picture books and tries to give an idea of what genres are popular…yeah. Not sure how well all of them overlap and how clear of a picture it paints. Might help if I was interested in that segment of publishing, though.

I don’t like Philip Roth and he has a long ass interview in The Times.  I have a (bad?) habit of tuning out things like interviews when I get the sense of something I disagree with, so most of this interview didn’t really register past my eyeballs. It seems more self-serving than anything, as he tries to get out ahead of his critics and define his legacy. If he is going to give up on writing because it was just so difficult for him, I don’t mind if he gives up on commenting about it, too. I’ve never been able to get in to his work, though.

Links links links

February 13, 2014

In case you’ve been living in a hole this morning, you’ve probably heard about how Comcast is looking to buy Time Warner Cable.   Personally, I don’t get how this doesn’t hurt consumers. Removing choice, removing competition, putting more companies under fewer umbrellas..yeah, great for rich people, kinda bones the rest of us, though. What’s especially scary is how this could work with a world without net neutrality. It’s a defacto regulation of the internet where a handful (or maybe just one) company can set prices to play. Want a blog? Pay this. Want to publish a video podcast? That’ll cost ya. Want to stream video over the internet that directly competes with legacy television powers? Oohhhh, netflix needs to find a nice bridge to crawl under and die. How does this affect publishing? Well, look at Amazon’s push into that market. Look at the gobs of fan fiction. Look at the various lit blogs (hello!) that still litter the net. If access to these forms becomes restricted in some way, don’t think they will only come for the big boys. They might be first, but they won’t be the last. The control may come from nothing else than Comcast being able to make cable so cost prohibitive (and service so miserable) that people forgo it.  People don’t trust the government because of a fear of it becoming too powerful, but don’t trust these corporations, either. We need the government and the business world to counterbalance each other, never getting too friendly and never getting too antagonistic. The problem is they’ve been buddy-buddy for too long, and maybe the idea of the internet falling under an ever smaller net will be very appealing to an espionage heavy government.

Do you write? Are you supposed to be writing right now but you are procrastinating instead? You’re not alone.

Finally, I made these today. They are still cooling in the fridge, so I won’t know how they are for awhile yet, but I’m looking forward to it. I had another lit link or two, but I want to re-read them first. Things have been a bit up in the air in Casa el Loose Leaf Bound. We’re looking at buying new flooring for the house, I’m finishing a cedar chest and a writing desk, and we just found out the wife is pregnant with a parasite…er, kid. Yeah. They only become parasites later, right? as they leech off your time, your vitality, and your will to live. Anyway. There ya go. Also, I ate too much peanut stir fry and I’m kind of nauseous now. Too much info.

 

Books Links

February 6, 2014

Well, Haruki Murakami has horribly insulted some town in Japan.  Within his newest short story, a woman tosses a smoke from her car window and the main character makes the comment that all people from this woman’s town must be horrible litterers. I omit the name of the town from my blog in fear of bringing their wrath down upon me.

Amazon is venturing into publishing.  Okay, they’ve been there awhile but the Seattle Times is finally writing about it. Good read.

Alright, so JK Rowling isn’t exactly thrilled with having Hermione and Weasley become an item.  I’ve since seen debates springing up across the web about it. Yes, Harry was perfect for Hermione. Weasley and Hermione had a genuine romantic give and take.  The only one perfect for Harry was Ron. Wait…no, I think that last one was just me.  My only real response at this point  is who cares?  She wishes she had written the books differently. Okay. Most authors probably have similar wishes at some point. She isn’t kicking your dog, she isn’t irrevocably destroying your faith in God. She’s just saying, “hey, maybe I could have done something different.” Big deal.

Book Links

January 28, 2014

Dean Koontz had a hangout on Google+ the other day. Go here if you’re interested. I’m not a big fan of their video player, it keeps wanting to close when I switch tabs and try to come back to it later, but from what I have listened to in snippets and pieces, it seems like a good one. It’s also a long one (~54 minutes) so you’ll have to set aside a chunk of time to watch it entirely. I sort of wish they would have just an audio version for us folks who maybe don’t h ave a killer internet connection and who don’t want to put up with buffering, lag, and everything else. Or google can get their own high speed installed in more places (preferable).

Have a cup of coffee, chat about Murakami. This is actually one of a serious of articles about Haruki Murakami. This one’s about a jazz cafe turned book cafe where Murakami fans gather and gab. I liked it, but I’m a Murakami fan. So…

And here’s a link I haven’t put up before, but probably should have. It’s an organization for independent book stores. I always have a B&N link with stories I review, because I’m really not a fan of Amazon’s practices related to the book industry,but I should push the independents more, too.  For a vibrant community, and a healthy industry, support your local book stores.

Book Links

January 22, 2014

Slow week so far. Been hard finding anything I particularly want to write about, and the week has been chock full of tediousness with various kid related activities.

12 Historic Literary Bars.  alternatively named: Places Hemingway Was Publicly Drunk

Literary Scarves.  Cute. Not really a fan of them, but I like the idea.

Retro posters to save our libraries.  I wonder if that includes the bookless library in San Antonio.

All Your Poems Belong to..ME. Apparently there was quite a bit of plagiarism going on last year. So it’s not just Shia stealing from other people to make a buck…

Book Links

January 20, 2014

Pew has a new poll out about e-readers. Most people still read actual printed books. About 28% of people have read an e-book.  They also say that half of America owns a tablet or e-reader.  I’m not entirely sure what you’re supposed to take from that. Tablets can be used for so much more than reading, that part of me has serious doubts that anyone gets a tablet for reading a novel on. You get it for movies, for skyping, for screwing around the on the interwebs. If you get something like the Surface with a keyboard, you can even be productive with one of the things.

50 Novels to make you a better person. So, if you’re not a good person, I guess this is for you. I’m not sure if they’ll actually make you better or not. If you take the time to read all 50 of these things, you’re just not going to be intereacting with other people as much. So there’s that. 50 books to cripple your social life.

I don’t know why, but as I get older I have started to care more and more about history.  Maybe it’s an appreciation for our race’s progress. Maybe it’s an existentialist grab to replace belief in divinity. Maybe I’m just becoming a bigger and bigger bore. I don’t know. But I do know that  The British National Archives is digitizing the diaries of a bunch of British soldiers from World War I. So, if you’re a bit into history, or war, or reading the secret thoughts of men you don’t know, check it out. Might be interesting.

Book Links

November 15, 2013

Harper Collins has an app for that. I found it a bit humorous that they are considering this the “leading edge” but every small step forward is a step forward. They could have been doing this for quite awhile, and it is still a long way from straight up bundling, but it is something. What I find funny, though, is that it doesn’t mention this material being available for people who buy the digital book. I assume they are, but I also wonder if this isn’t a way they are going to try to keep pushing people to hard copy.

Litographs. Entire books that you can wear and lend to friends. I’m waiting for the brail version.

 

And writing makes you healthier. I think it would help everyone to take 15 minutes a day to think about why they should be happy about their lives.

Book Links

October 23, 2013

9 Books to scare the hell out of you. A good list with some I didn’t expect. I still have a hard time seeing lists like this with an array of newer titles while leaving anything by King, Rice, Matheson, etc. off. I know The Shining can only be on so many lists, and newer works deserve (and need) the exposure, but it’s still a bit weird for me. Nice seeing Shirley Jackson get some much deserved love, though. Despite her greatness, I think she gets overlooked at times.

 

Irma Boom: objectification of the book. I love books as physical objects, and Boom takes this to wonderful places. If you don’t know her work, check it out. You will enjoy it.

 

Libraries of the Rich and Famous.  I love the clutter of Keith Richard’s library, but I think Woody Allen’s tastes would most mirror my own. If I was filthy rich, that is.

 

We don’t read as well as we used to.  A new study from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development shows that American adults had a lower reading proficiency than their counterparts from twenty years ago.  It’s a bit of a thing that “young adult” books are becoming increasingly popular with adults, that it is common to see someone with some salt in their beard or grey in their hair lugging around Twilight or The Hunger Games, and it’s always assumed it’s because young adult fiction is becoming so well done. Maybe it’s because more and more people can’t handle more difficult reads.  This isn’t to say young adult novels are bad, but they are not really difficult, either. Anyway. There is my moment of fire in a crowded theater for this post.

Finally, David Bowie has a list of 100 must read books.

Book Links

September 30, 2013

Leave it to Texas. They have decided to open a new library…without any books. It might make budgetary sense, but the idea of a library being essentially a Mac Cafe doesn’t sit well with me. Maybe it is just a cultural inevitability, though. I know there have been sales numbers over the past year that has shown the market for ebooks slowing, and that there is a renewed hope for paper and cardboard to hang on as the present and future principle form for books, but I just don’t see it.  Not with wages stagnating, population growth and growing urbanization making living spaces smaller, and the general desire to comfortably lug whatever the hell we want with us to wherever we want to take it.  Hardcopy books will likely, eventually, go the same way hard copy movies and music appear to be going: towards a niche market.

Please don’t buy my book on amazon. Author Jamie Clarke wants you to buy his book direct from the publisher, instead. He has  a website up promoting his cause, and I encourage folks to go and check it out. And if you want his book, buy it from the publisher (and get it early!).  As always, I support the majority of antiAmazon sentiment, but I’m not familiar with Clarke’s work. I’ll be checking it out, though.

Finally, TC Boyle has a new collection of stories coming out. 15 years worth of stories covering 900+ pages. I enjoy Boyle’s work, though I haven’t made enough of a dent in his last collection. Still, I look forward to this one.