Saturday, August 30, 2014

Books Update from The New York Times

'The Bone Clocks'

In David Mitchell's "The Bone Clocks," a 15-year-old girl runs away from home in 1984 and becomes entrapped in an otherworldly battle between good and evil that will follow her for 60 years.
Also in the Book Review
Rick Perlstein

Rick Perlstein: By the Book

The author, most recently, of "The Invisible Bridge," would like Chekhov to write his life story. "Sometimes I think he knows me better than I know myself, even when he's ostensibly writing about Russian ladies over a hundred years ago."

'Suspicious Minds'

A psychiatrist and his philosopher brother discuss how mental illness reflects culture.

'Your Face in Mine'

A man undergoes a surgical procedure to transform from white to black.
Andy Coulson in 2012 and Rebekah Brooks in 2011, before they were charged.

'Hack Attack'

David Carr reviews "Hack Attack," in which Nick Davies traces his campaign to uncover the full extent of the British phone-hacking scandal at Rupert Murdoch's News of the World.
Brittani Sonnenberg

'Home Leave'

A restless executive subjects his family to an itinerant existence on three continents.

'The Narrow Road to the Deep North'

A frail humanity survives the unspeakable in Richard Flanagan's novel of the Burma-Thailand Railway.

'Mr. Gwyn and Three Times at Dawn'

A celebrated British author embarks on a strange new career in these linked novellas by Alessandro Baricco.
Vanessa Manko

'The Invention of Exile'

A Russian immigrant, deported from the United States, attempts to reunite with his family.

"A Jolt to the Heart" launched in Christchurch

Felicity Price's eighth  was launched at  Paper Plus Merivale earlier this week.

Set against the backdrop of a city in turmoil during the drama of destructive aftershocks, post-traumatic stress, and the strains of trying to rebuild lives and find a new normal for everyday existence, A Jolt to the Heart reveals the tremendous tenacity of people under pressure and the enduring power of love to overcome the odds. 

Photo shows author Felicity Price with publisher Quentin Wilson.

Journalist Revisits a Celebrity Biographer’s Fraudulent Ways

The late author’s editor would not talk to reporter David Cay Johnston. Neither would Simon & Schuster spokesperson Paul Olewski.

But there it is, nonetheless, detailed in the latest issue of Newsweek magazine. The litany of errors and fabrication committed by celebrity biographer C. David Heymann, who passed away two years ago in New York City:
It’s too bad CBS didn’t want to hear more, because all the celebrity bios Heymann wrote for them and other publishers — dealing with JFK, Bobby Kennedy, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe — are riddled with errors and fabrications. An exhaustive cataloging of those mistakes would fill a book, so a sampling from his long career will have to suffice.

Lincoln's Watchdog

Shelf Awareness

Ever-vigilant Sammy "acts as security" at the Abraham Lincoln Book Shop in Chicago, according to owner Daniel R. Weinberg.

Who really won?! The speech awards from Wednesday night's New Zealand Post Book Awards

Booksellers NZ- 

Written by Elizabeth Heritage, freelance writer and publisher

Tena koutou ladies and gentlemen, and welcome back to the second annual Elizabeth Heritage* New Zealand Post Book Awards Speech Awards. 
These prestigious awards recognise excellence, wit and verbal strangeness in the speeches given at the NZ Post Book Awards ceremony by authors, judges, publishers, and associated distinguished personages.
The first speaker, Nicola Legat, chairperson of the Book Awards Governance Group wins the Most Deft Handling Of One Of The Elephants In The Room Award. As we all know, this is the last year that New Zealand Post are sponsoring the book awards. Possibly in honour of the departing New Zealand Post logo, the whole space at Te Papa was decorated vivid red, including red lighting and red orchids entirely submerged in vases on all the tables (not a metaphor for NZ publishing, we do hope and trust). Legat, one of the first speakers, wasted no time in addressing this issue head on. Have they lost New Zealand Post sponsorship? Yes. Have they found a replacement corporate sponsor? No. On the upside, PANZ, the NZSA and Booksellers NZ will be forming a trust to take the awards forward.
Congratulations to judge Miriama Kamo, who wins the Best Hint Award for warning us early in the evening that the winners were “not in all cases a foregone conclusion” (note precise phrasing) and that the judges were “absolutely confident in their decisions” (see Exciting Shock Revelation later on).
This year’s Most Heartfelt Speech Award goes to Rebecca Macfie, author of Tragedy at Pike River Mine from Awa Press, which won the NZSA E. H. McCormick Best First Book for Non-fiction. Judge Dick Frizzell described her winning book as “passionately dispassionate,” and this was exactly the characteristic she displayed on the podium, speaking with authority, humility and gravitas. Bravo.
Frizzell is also a winner - he gets the coveted Most Blokey Speech Award, for the way he interspersed his excellent prepared remarks with charmingly informal asides (“ya know what I mean? … it’s a winner, obviously, because it won”). I was also very taken with something he said to me afterwards about the judging process: “It felt good to be part of that distribution of worth.”
Poet Vincent O’Sullivan, whose book Us, Then won the Poetry Award, is the recipient of the Vive La Revolution! Award. He quoted Kiwi poet ARD Fairburn, who said “poets of the world, unite! – you have nothing to lose but your daisy chains”, before noting that there are currently more publishing poets in Aotearoa than there are Commisioned Officers in our armed forces. He ended with a battle cry: it’s not too late to take the barricades!
Sir Michael Cullen once again picks up the Most Off-Topic Speech Award, managing to pretend to talk about the book awards while actually delivering several well-placed political barbs: “I have not received an apology [for non-attendance tonight] from Judith Collins, but then why should we be singled out”; he can’t wait for John Key’s autobiography Look, At The End Of The Day and Winston Peters’ My Life And Death As A Stand-Up Comic. This got a good laugh - though not as much as the audio track from the finalists promo video (particularly the sounds accompanying Max Gate).
Congratulations to judge Kim Hill, who wins the Most Deft Handling Of The Other Elephant In The Room Award. Naturally we were all expecting the superstar The Luminaries to sweep the board. Our first hint that this may not in fact be the case came when it failed to win the the Neilsen Booksellers’ Choice Award. There was an audible ‘hmm’ noise of taken-abackedness in the room. When it won the People’s Choice Award and the Fiction Award, we were all lulled into a false sense of security. But – Exciting Shock Revelation – it is not the Book of the Year! Instead, that honour goes to Jill Trevelyan’s splendid biography of iconic Wellington art dealer Peter McLeavey, from Te Papa Press.
Hill commented that The Luminaries “polarises readers”, drawing some in immediately but not hooking others ‘til the end. It didn’t polarise the judges though - when I asked Frizzell whether the judges’ decision was unanimous, he replied “oh, shit yeah”. So why did McLeavey win? “Jill’s book just cleaved closer to home” (we paused while I acknowledged his excellent pun) “It’s about our cultural evolution as a nation”. Hill agreed: “it’s descriptive of a huge era”.
Finally, I am excited to announce that Eleanor Catton is the first ever recipient of the new Genius Book Angel Award. As an inveterate attender of booky events, I have heard her speak many times now, and she always impresses me with her grace and mana. Tonight was no exception. Graciously, she announced that all her prize money from tonight’s winnings would be put towards a grant for writers to enable them to take time to read. This grant does not yet have a name, although Catton is thinking maybe horoeka (lancewood), since that is a tree that “begins life defensively then becomes more confident”. What an absolutely fantastic idea. I agree wholeheartedly with an overheard comment from the audience: “she just gets it so utterly right every single bloody time.”
So that’s it for 2014: congratulations to all the finalists and winners. Sponsorship willing, I’ll see you all again for more strange and marvellous book awards speeches next year. 
Share your opinion of the book awards with Elizabeth Heritage at 
Written by Elizabeth Heritage, freelance writer and publisher

* Elizabeth's views are her own, and are not representative of the view of Booksellers NZ, the Book
Awards Governance Group, or New Zealand Post. 

Amis novel rejected by German publisher

Martin Amis’ new novel The Zone of Interest, set in a fictionalised Auschwitz, was turned down by the author’s usual publisher in Germany, Hanser, The Guardian reports.

Gallimard, Amis' customary publisher in France, will also not publish the book, which is to appear instead from publisher Calmann-Lévy.
Amis reportedly told German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that the manuscript wasn't "sufficiently convincing" for publisher Hanser, which has published his five previous books. No other publisher has yet bought the German rights.

In his interview with the German paper, Amis said he thought Hanser had rejected the book on literary merit, not because of the subject matter. "Germany has reached a stage where younger people are eager to talk about the past, and the country has developed a sober perspective on that criminal period in its history. That's why I was surprised when the publisher rejected the book," he said.
The publisher did not understand the main character, SS officer Angelus "Golo" Thomsen, he added.
Amis said he thought Gallimard rejected the book because of a change in editorial direction, not because of a problem with the subject matter.

Bruce Springsteen to publish children's book

Outlaw Pete is based on his 2009 song about a bank-robbing baby

Bruce Springsteen: children’s book is ‘a meditation on sin, fate and free will’
Following in the footsteps of musicians including Paul McCartney, Madonna and Dolly Parton, Bruce Springsteen has written a children’s book.
Titled Outlaw Pete, the book is based on Springsteen’s 2009 song of the same name, and was illustrated by Frank Caruso.
The publishers Simon & Schuster said that the book is “based on the celebrated song about a bank-robbing baby whose exploits become a meditation on sin, fate, and free will.”
Bruce Springsteen Outlaw Pete
Bruce Springsteen’s book Outlaw Pete.

Inside Dr. Seuss Inc.

Most children's book franchises fade over time, but Dr. Seuss's fantastical empire is hatching more sales than ever; Horton trumpets 'Anti-Bullying Day'

Aug. 28, 2014 - The Wall Street Journal
Theodor Seuss Geisel died in 1991. The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

In the early 1950s, a former ad man and modestly successful children's book author published a series of illustrated stories for children in magazines like Redbook. They were short, two-to-three page spreads with stamp-sized drawings and minimal coloring. He hoped to publish them in book form but another project gained steam.
In 1957, he published a book that became an immediate best seller, turning him into a global publishing phenomenon. By approaching learning to read as zany and fun instead of boring and dull, the book altered the children's literature landscape. His name was Theodor Seuss Geisel and the book was called "The Cat in the Hat." While some of the magazine stories eventually made it into a book during his lifetime, others never did.

Cathy Goldsmith, an executive for Random House, is the last remaining employee to have worked directly with Geisel. Noah Rabinowitz for The Wall Street Journal

On Sept. 9, Random House will publish "Horton and the Kwuggerbug and More Lost Stories," the second collection of Dr. Seuss's forgotten magazine work. The previous volume, "The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories," reached No.1 on the New York Times best-seller list when it was released in 2011. Random House is betting even bigger on "Horton," with an extensive marketing campaign and a large first print-run of 250,000 copies. "It tickles me that a whole new generation will get to read and experience these characters, some new and some familiar," said 

Space Opera strikes up again for a new era

From Guardians of the Galaxy to Ancillary Justice, sci-fi is returning to alien worlds where distinctly earthly, political dramas play out

Friday 29 August 2014   

NASA Robonaut 2
Invitation to new worlds … NASA's Robonaut 2. Photograph: Keystone USA-ZUMA/REX

Science fiction is not a genre. The most successful literary tradition of the 20th century is as impossible to neatly categorise as the alien life forms it sometimes imagines. But "sci-fi" does contain genres. The rigorous scientific speculation of Hard SF. The techno-cynicism of Cyberpunk, or its halfwit cousin Steampunk. The pulp fictions of Planetary romance and the dark visions of the sci-fi Post-Apocalypse. These genres flow in and out of fashion like the solar winds. After years condemned to the outer darkness of secondhand bookshops, Space Opera is once again exciting the imagination of sci-fi fans.

At the box office Guardians of the Galaxy has resurrected the kind of camp space adventure made popular by Flash Gordon, while on the printed page Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie has scooped the prestigious double honour of Hugo and Nebula awards. Stories of space exploration have never lacked popularity. In the early 20th century when it was still possible to think space might be crowded with alien civilisations, stories like EE "Doc" Smith's Lensman series were immensely popular. But as we probed the reality of outer space we found only infinities of inert matter and a barren solar system.


Obituary Note: Pierre Ryckmans (Simon Leys); Winifred Dawson

Shelf Awareness

Belgian author and China scholar Pierre Ryckmans, who was better known under his pen name Simon Leys, died August 11. He was 78. The Guardian reported that "his diary dissecting Maoism and the cultural revolution, Les Habits Neufs du Président Mao (The Chairman's New Clothes, 1971), echoed the title of the Hans Christian Andersen fable and made its thesis plain in its first few words.... His novella The Death of Napoleon (1991) was filmed as The Emperor's New Clothes, with Ian Holm in the title role."


Winifred Dawson, a librarian who "inspired five of Philip Larkin's poems--more than did any of the other women in his life," has died, the Guardian reported, noting that the poet's new biographer, James Booth, described their relationship as a "romantic friendship."

Aussie Libraries Testing 'Buy It Now' Buttons

Shelf Awareness

The Australian Library and Information Association, Australian Booksellers Association and Public Library Services South Australia announced plans for a "proof of concept trial" in coming months for "buy it now" buttons in library catalogues, Books+Publishing reported. If the trial is successful, a national rollout is planned for 2015-16.

In a statement, the ALIA explained: "If a library user finds that the book they want to borrow is on a wait list, or they come across a book they want to own on the library catalogue, they can click on 'buy it now' and they will be given options to buy the print or e-book from a choice of physical and online Australian retailers with price and availability information."

ALIA and the ABA have met with "a range of interested parties, including representatives of Boomerang Books, Dillons Norwood Bookshop, ALS Library Services and the three partners," and "will be talking to the Australian Publishers Association, e-lending software providers, library management systems vendors, POS providers and their members."

"We hope that the 'buy it now' button will deliver real benefits to users and revenue to authors, publishers, booksellers and libraries,' said ALIA CEO Sue McKerracher.

The Man Who Made Off With John Updike’s Trash

Who really owns a great writer’s legacy?

It should have been an ordinary bike ride.
For 22 miles under the glare of late-May sunshine, 48-year-old Paul Moran pedaled his green bicycle past lobster traps and sailboats along the Massachusetts coast north of Boston. He liked taking the backroads from his Salem home to Singing Beach, a popular destination in an otherwise sleepy seaside town.

When he approached Beverly Farms, where Easter egg-colored colonials are flanked by hydrangea shrubs, Moran wound down the street where the novelist John Updike lived. This was in 2006, three years before Updike’s death. Updike had moved to Beverly Farms in 1982, and though his presence there may have been understated, it was no secret. Moran often rode by Updike’s house on his scenic bike route. This time, as it turned out, the writer was ambling outside as Moran approached. In his hands were two bulky plastic bags with blue drawstrings. And as Moran cruised by, he began to wonder what Updike was throwing away.

Eventually, he circled back down Updike’s street. He saw an open recycling bin and thought he might find a copy of The New Yorker stickered with the writer’s name and address—something that would make for a quirky conversation piece. And so Moran decided to hop off his bicycle and walk over. He noticed that one of the garbage bags next to the bin had already been torn open—perhaps, he thought, by someone seeking aluminum cans or glass bottles, which can be returned for 5 cents apiece in Massachusetts. Spilling out of the bag, he saw smooth rectangles of red leather. Upon closer inspection, he realized Updike had thrown away a collection honorary degrees from schools like Dartmouth College, Bates College, Emerson College, and Salem State College, all in pristine condition.

Boxes of slides taken on various Updike family trips and holidays (Paul Moran)

Authors Teaching Authors and the Idea of "Slow PR"

Today's Feature Story:

When Maria Mutch needed advice on how to handle PR of her debut memoir, she found guidance and solace through Grub Street Writer's Launch Lab in Boston.

For an ebook distributor to succeed in a developing market, they need to adapt to methodologies, in particular payment mechanisms, already prevalent in that market.
More News from PP:

New Adult literature is an emerging literary genre that, in many cases, is a sexed-up version of young adult fiction. But some booksellers remain unsure how to market it.
Frankfurt 2014:

Find out who to meet, what to see, and book publishing trends to discuss at the Frankfurt Book Fair. Download our Frankfurt 2014 Preview magazine here.

Why Book Criticism and Literary Culture Needs a Poptimist Revolution

When bestselling author Jennifer Weiner was profiled by The New Yorker in January 2014 in an article called “Written Off,” writer Rebecca Mead made sure to outline Weiner’s two audiences: one, the loyal readers of her books, who propel them onto the best-seller list, and number two, a pricklier sort, consisting of the “writers, editors, and critics… who have given Weiner a parallel notoriety, as an unlikely feminist enforcer.” 
The short version is that, through Twitter (and her following, which currently numbers about 93K), Weiner used her platform to needle such august institutions as The New York Times Book Review and everyplace else with mediocre VIDA counts regarding the amounts of space they give to reviewing and considering the three books that “matter” for the season written by male authors like Jonathan Franzen and Jeffrey Eugenides, while simultaneously ignoring the span of women’s writing, and, additionally, commercial fiction. … Read More

The Roundup with PW

Children's Led PRH in First Half of 2014
Penguin Random House posted total revenue of 1.46 billion euros in the first half of 2014 and operating EBITDA of 159 million euros, parent company Bertelsmann reported Friday morning. PRH CEO Markus Dohle, in his letter to PRH employees, called the performance “solid,” with the publisher's children's business having a particularly good period. more »

Books-A-Million Has Solid Quarter
Citing continued improvement in its core book business, Books-A-Million reported that it cut its net loss for the second quarter ended August 2, 2014 to $3.0 million from $9.1 million in the comparable period last year. Total sales in the period fell 0.5%, to $108.3 million, while comparable store sales inched ahead 0.1%. more »

Beijing Book Fair 2014: The Sweet Spots
The second day of the Beijing International Book Fair saw crowded aisles in the International Hall and packed booths of established rights agencies. Interest in e-book rights was also on the rise. more »

Springsteen's 'Outlaw Pete' to Become Illustrated Book
Simon & Schuster has acquired world rights to 'Outlaw Pete,' an adult picture book based on Bruce Springsteen's song of the same name about a bank-robbing baby. Cartoonist and writer Frank Caruso will provide illustrations to accompany Springsteen's lyrics from the song, which appeared on his 2009 album 'Working on a Dream.' more »

Greer: E-books 'Should Cost Pennies': Writer Germaine Greer has said that e-books should “cost pennies” and accused people of having an “irrational attachment to the [printed] book."

Two guys, Two Books: Sipped drinks, berry tarts and the new literary book tour.

World's Most Expensive New Book : 'Cosmetic Surgeon Marketing Motto: The Secret Recipe To Grow Referrals' includes a $10,000 Consultation Certificate which entitles each buyer of the book to eight one hour one-on-one consultation telephone calls with the authors.

Please Do Not Distrub: Ten things that happen when you can't put down a good book, rounded up at Buzzfeed.

Best Pinterest Boards for Bookish Types: There’s a big, wonderful world of bookish websites out there. Book Riot points you to some of its favorites.

Festival Underway

The Festival has started and we have record numbers coming to see the fascinating
line-up of authors and sessions.

Many sessions have sold out, but we still have tickets to some of our international writers today. 


Philosophy in the Gardens: 10-11am

The Best Possible Taste: 12.30-1.30pm

The Storyteller: Diane Setterfield: 3.30-4.30pm

Fiercely Hopeful: Anis Mojgani 6.30-7.30pm

Words + Music: Kristin Hersh 8-9.15pm


Free Family Events:

And come and see our wonderful New Zealand writers

Secrets & Spies
Lessons From Adversity
We Need No Names

Limited tickets available to some sessions....


Friday, August 29, 2014

Standing Room Only for Sunday 31 August 2014 on Radio New Zealand National

12:39 Variables and binaries

Artist Ash Kilmartin explains her fascination with the night sky, specifically astronomical equipment, and observatories like the one at Mt John in the McKenzie Country. She has an exhibition at the Physics Room in Christchurch called Variables and binaries, named for two types of stars whose behaviour is studied by observers at Mt John.

12:47 Christchurch Arts Precinct update

Updates on two crucial projects for the Christchurch arts sector – the green light recently given to a new Music Centre as part of the new Arts Precinct, and the soon to be unveiled restored Isaac Theatre Royal after its 40-million dollar makeover.

1:10  At the Movies with Simon Morris

1:34 Once in a lifetime

A new book of essays offers the first substantial critique of the Government’s Christchurch Recovery Plan. More than 50 essayists have contributed to Once in a Lifetime: City-building after Disaster in Christchurch. We have a round table discussion with co-editor and Gap Filler co-founder Ryan Reynolds, When a City Falls documentary maker Gerard Smyth – and the Director of the contemporary art space, The Physics Room, Melanie Oliver.

1:47 Audio Guides for children at Te Papa

Te Papa believes that all people regardless of age should have access to art, and that a child’s experience of art is equally as valid as that of an adults. In support of this, they have launched a new audio guide for children as part of Ngā Toi (an on-going and interchangeable exhibition of artworks) which features audio of children talking about selected art works.  

2:05 The Laugh Track

The director of the Christchurch Fringe Festival, Sam Fisher.

2:26 Nga Whaotapu o Tamaki Makaurau – The Sacred Chisels of Tamaki Makaurau

It’s a troubling time right now for Māori carvers. Only a small number of young artists are being trained and a lack of work sees many of them leaving the country and older carvers simply giving up. For Auckland carver Rewi Spraggon the situation came to a head last year when he spotted an adze for sale at a local market.

2.35 Crime writing

Craig Sisterton (right) is one of the judges of the 2014 Dame Ngaio Marsh Best Crime Novel Award, being announced at the Christchurch WORD Festival. How is crime writing defined these days? And who’s won this year’s award?

2:50 Allan Marriott

Christchurch novelist Allan Marriott talks about The Witzke Woman, based on the life of a Polish woman who migrated to New Zealand as a child.

3:05 The Drama Hour

Accountability by Roger O’Thornhill. A black comedy about the Gleiwitz incident and the start of World War Two.
Warning: This play may be upsetting to some listeners and we advise discretion

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