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Updated: 1 hour 47 min ago

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.

Bertelsmann looking to raise stake in Random House to 70+ percent, after Pearson announces it may sell. #books

Mon, 03/13/2017 - 11:47
German media group Bertelsmann is looking to raise its stake in its Random House joint venture with Pearson from 53 percent to between 70 and 75 percent and will find a long-term partner if necessary for the rest, its chief executive told Der Spiegel. The news comes after Britain's Pearson (which currently owns 47 percent of Random House) said in January it may seek to sell its stake after a massive profit warning.

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.

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