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Granta announces its once in a decade Best Young American Novelists list

Sat, 04/29/2017 - 03:18
Just once every 10 years Granta issues a special issue focued on new American fiction, "showcasing the young novelists deemed to be the best of their generation--writers of remarkable achievement and promise, still in their twenties and thirties."

It's Best of Young American Novelists of 2017 list includes "21 outstanding writers who capture the preoccupations of modern America." The authors are: Jesse Ball, Halle Butler, Emma Cline, Joshua Cohen, Mark Doten, Jen George, Rachel B Glaser, Lauren Groff, Yaa Gyasi, Garth Risk Hallberg, Greg Jackson, Sana Krasikov, Catherine Lacey, Ben Lerner, Karan Mahajan, Anthony Marra, Dinaw Mengestu, Ottessa Moshfegh, Chinelo Okparanta, Esmé Weijun Wang, and Claire Vaye Watkins.

Robert Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, dies aged 88

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 10:46
Robert M. Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, died yesterday at age 88.

First published in 1974 by William Morrow, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values was a spectacularly popular philosophy book that was loosely autobiographical, tracing a father-son motorcycle trip and flashbacks to a period in which the author was diagnosed as schizophrenic. Its thesis was that quality is the basis of reality, and that this understanding unifies most East Asian and Western thought. Pirsig called this system of thought the Metaphysics of Quality.

First John Grisham bookstore tour for 25 years

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 10:10
Bestselling author John Grisham will celebrate the publication of his 30th novel, Camino Island ( June 6), with his first bookstore tour in 25 years. On his website, Grisham shares the schedule and event guidelines for the tour, which will feature a book signing and discussion/q&a at each of twelve stops.

Mark your calendars for Independent Bookstore Day!

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 08:29
Independent Bookstore Day is a one-day national party that takes place at indie bookstores across the USA on the last Saturday in April. Every store is unique and independent, and every party is different. But in addition to authors, live music, cupcakes, scavenger hunts, kids events, art tables, readings, barbecues, contests, and other fun stuff, there are exclusive books and literary items that you can only get on that day. Not before. Not after. Not online. Find events near you at the official website:

US bookstore sales down 3% year on year in February

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 08:27
February bookstore sales fell 3%, to $744 million, compared to February 2016, according to preliminary estimates from the Census Bureau. This is the third monthly drop in a row. For the first two months of the year, bookstore sales have fallen 3.6%, to $2.3 billion, compared to the first two months of 2016.

Colson Whitehead wins Pulitzer

Mon, 04/10/2017 - 17:28
Colson Whitehead has won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for The Underground Railroad.

The New York Times provides a comprehensive report on all categories, including the three prizes awarded to its own journalists...

Richard Bolles, author of "What Color is Your Parachute" dies aged 90

Mon, 04/03/2017 - 11:50
Richard N. Bolles, a former Harvard physics major, Episcopal minister and career counselor whose own twisting vocational path led to his writing "What Color Is Your Parachute?" — the most popular job-hunter's manual of the 1970s and beyond — died on Friday in San Ramon, Calif. He was 90.

Barnes & Noble hires - and fires - new CEO in just one hour!

Sat, 04/01/2017 - 05:00
In less than an hour yesterday, Doug McMillion, the president and CEO of Wal-Mart, was hired and then fired as CEO of Barnes & Noble.

McMillion, a lifelong Wal-Mart employee - was considered by many a coup for B&N. But only 20 minutes after the first press release was issued announcing McMillionhad been hired, a second release announced that he had been let go. The company described McMillion as "not a good fit" and said that "it is in the best interests of all parties for him to leave--or, in fact, not even start." B&N said it would honor McMillion's contract, which was a multi-year agreement with sizable salary guarantees.

Bob Dylan will receive Nobel prize this weekend but when will he give his lecture?

Wed, 03/29/2017 - 19:24
After months of suspense and typically inscrutable standoffishness, Bob Dylan, the elusive Nobel laureate, will finally accept his literature prize at a meeting with members of the Swedish Academy in Stockholm this weekend. Yet uncertainty remains as to how, or even when, Dylan will deliver the lecture on his subject that is required within six months of the prize ceremony (which was last December).

Henrietta Lacks' family feuds as movie release date draws near

Wed, 03/29/2017 - 05:00
Just weeks before the April 22 first broadcast of Oprah Winfrey's movie for HBO based on Rebecca Skloot's book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, the Washington Post reports on the feud that has broken out between members of the Lacks family.

AP style for first time allows use of they as singular pronoun #grammar

Wed, 03/29/2017 - 03:36
The Associated Press Stylebook says it is "opening the door" to use of the singular they. A new stylebook entry, which was announced last week as part of the AP's session at the 21st national conference of ACES: The Society for Editing in St. Petersburg, Fla., for the first time allows use of they as a singular pronoun or gender-neutral pronoun.

Chet Cunningham, author of more than 450 books, dies aged 88

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 13:44
Prolific writer Chet Cunningham, author of more than 450 books including Westerns, thrillers, military history, medical guides, died March 14 aged 88. Cunningham "credited his output to his daily deadline training as a journalist and to a work ethic that usually had him in his home office for 10 hours a day."

New Bill Would Let Trump Pick the Next Register of Copyrights #books #copyright

Fri, 03/24/2017 - 11:01
With a search for the next Register of Copyrights currently underway, a bill introduced in Congress yesterday would let Donald Trump make that appointment, rather than Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden.

Currently, the Register of Copyrights is appointed by and serves at the sole discretion of the Librarian of Congress, who oversees the Copyright Office.

The bill was introduced with 29 bipartisan cosponsors and is supported by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and Senate Judiciary Committee Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).

Colin Dexter, creator of the Inspector Morse novels, died Tuesday

Tue, 03/21/2017 - 05:00
The crime writer Colin Dexter, creator of the much-loved character Inspector Morse, has died at the age of 86.

A statement from his publisher, Macmillan, said: "With immense sadness, Macmillan announces the death of Colin Dexter, who died peacefully at home in Oxford this morning."

Oxford comma dispute that could cost millions!

Fri, 03/17/2017 - 05:00
The New York Times reports on a class-action lawsuit about overtime pay for truck drivers that hinges on perhaps the most polarizing punctuation mark - the Oxford comma.

National Book Critics Circle Awards

Fri, 03/17/2017 - 05:00
The winners of the 2016 National Book Critics Circle Awards were announced last night:

Fiction: LaRose by Louise Erdrich
Nonfiction: Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
Poetry: House of Lords and Commons by Ishion Hutchinson
Biography: Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin
Autobiography: Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
Criticism: White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson

Read so you know the world

Fri, 03/17/2017 - 05:00
Libyan author Hisham Matar offers an inspiring ode to the power of books in The New York Times:

"Whenever I was encouraged by my elders to pick up a book, I was often told, 'Read so as to know the world.' And it is true; books have invited me into different countries, states of mind, social conditions and historical epochs; they have offered me a place at the most unusual gatherings....

How many times, and in ways that did not seem to require my consent, have I suddenly and in my own bed found myself to be Russian or French or Japanese? How many times have I been a peasant or an aristocrat? How many times have I been a woman? I have been free and without liberty, gay, disabled, old, loved and loathed....

"This is why literature is the greatest argument for the universalist instinct, and this is why literature is intransigent about its liberty. It refuses to be enrolled, regardless of how noble or urgent the project. It cannot be governed or dictated to. It is by instinct interested in conflicting empathies, in men and women who are running into their own hearts, in doubt and contradictions. Which is why, without even intending to, and like a moon to the night, it disrupts the totalitarian narrative. What it reveals about our human nature is central to the conversation today."

Reading Without Walls Month to debut in April

Thu, 03/16/2017 - 05:00
Reading Without Walls Month makes its debut this April. This program, an annual celebration of reading and diversity, is inspired by the platform of the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, Gene Luen Yang. The National Ambassador program is a partnership between the Children's Book Council, Every Child a Reader, and the Library of Congress.

Richard Wagamese, one of North America's leading indigenous authors dies aged 61

Wed, 03/15/2017 - 12:38
Canadian author Richard Wagamese, one of the leading indigenous writers in North America, died March 10. He was 61. Wagamese began his writing career in 1979, first as a journalist, then as a radio and television broadcaster. In 1991, he became the first indigenous writer to win a National Newspaper Award for column writing. His debut novel, Keeper 'n Me, was released in 1994 and won the Alberta Writers Guild's Best Novel Award. His other books include Medicine Walk, Dream Wheels, Indian Horse, One Native Life and One Story, One Song.

Robert James Waller, Bridges of Madison County author, dies aged 77 #books

Mon, 03/13/2017 - 11:49
Robert James Waller, whose gauzy, romantic novel "The Bridges of Madison County" became a runaway best seller on its publication in 1992 and the basis of a popular film, died on Friday at his home in Fredericksburg, Tex. He was 77.

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