This cool article from WIRED blog Underwire goes beyond the standard "technology is scary for the publishing world" and delves into the next level of eBooks: interactive apps. One of the interviewed authors, Nashville writer and transmedia entrepreneur Amanda Havard, has created an app that integrates her YA book, The Survivors, with links to character Twitter accounts, original songs and more. She shares her experiences of forging the technology path:
“Our tagline is ‘reinventing storytelling’ and it’s the idea that we’re at this place where that’s really what we’re capable of doing. . . [I]f you use the technology in the right way—so that it isn’t doing it just because you can—and it’s thoughtful and it’s high-quality content and it’s an approach that’s truly about creating a better story experience, then that’s totally what we should do.”
Speaking of the next generation of books, big news from the Bologna Children's book fair: fart books. Yep. Children's books that smell like farts. There will be other smells, too (berries and bubblegum), but most importantly, there will be a book that smells like farts. Like moms didn't have it tough enough. Read all about it over at the Guardian.
New York Times magazine did a (very long) feature on Robert Caro, which seems fitting, as Caro has spent 40 years writing 3,388 pages on Lyndon Johnson. We recommend checking out the photos. (Did you know he writes the first four or five drafts by hand?)
Happy weekend! What are you reading?
Happy Friday, readers! Here are a few links to provide some end-of-the-day enjoyment. Do you have any articles or click-worthy links to share? What are you reading this weekend?
Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 (a play on Orwell’s 1984) is one of our 25 most anticipated books for fall. The novel comes out on October 25, but if you "like" Murakami's Facebook page, you'll gain access to the first chapter now. Check it out!
With the 10th anniversary of 9/11 looming, the Guardian Books site has commissioned "9/11 stories" from six writers, including Geoff Dyer, Will Self and Laila Lalami, that address the question of "what fiction can tell us about 9/11." You can find all six stories here.
Are you or anyone you know a struggling writer? Frustrated with your day job? Perhaps you'll feel inspired (or just amused) by this newly-released video from Open Road Media, in which authors like John Lutz and Andre Dubus explain how they paid the bills while they were trying to make it as writers:
Find more literary fun on the Open Road Media blog.
Hope everyone had a great, summery week! Today's weekly links celebrate classic favorite reads (and suggest new ones), recognize some great songwriters' books and enjoy some book-to-film if-onlys. Enjoy!
Socially important or academically fascinating books might get all the attention, but that doesn't make them great reading material. The Guardian points readers to some overlooked masterpieces.
Some examples include Evelyn Waugh's A Handful of Dust over Brideshead Revisited and Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle over Slaughter-House Five.
What are your this-over-that reading suggestions?
The New Dork Review of Books celebrates medium-crossover books -- particularly those from musicians (and disregarding "idiot celebrities"). There's something very similar between telling a story through song and through prose, as often a creative mind can tell a tale through either medium.
This week, Ron Howard's epic adaptation of Stephen King's The Dark Tower was scrapped. Flavorwire added it to "the long list of proposed book-to-film adaptations by famed directors that never saw the light of day." They listed the 10 book-to-films they'd love to see, including Orson Welles' adaptation of Heart of Darkness, Terry Gilliam's Don Quixote and Terrence Malick's Blood Meridian.
Maria Popova over at Brain Pickings has compiled a list of 7 Obscure Children's Books by Authors of Grown-Up Literature, including one of my favorites, T.S. Eliot's Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, as well as 6 others I did not expect. Mark Twain's Advice to Little Girls might be my new favorite thing - ever:
Have a wonderful weekend! What will you be reading?
What links from the week do you think are worth sharing? A few of my picks:
If you read my Q&A with Stanley Fish about the excellent How to Write a Sentence and still want to know more, see this Slate round-up of Stanley Fish's Top Five Sentences. This one is mentioned in both my piece and Slate's:
"Last week I saw a woman flayed, and you will hardly believe how much it altered her appearance for the worse." —Jonathan Swift, 1704.
The Guardian's Books Blog has a great post on "extreme book design." The subhead tells you all you need to know: "Setting fire to fields, tangling with tarantulas: it's all in a day's work for a book jacket designer."
Reynolds Price died last week, and John Williams at The Second Pass has excerpted a few nice quotes from a 1991 Price interview with the Paris Review. BookPage reviewed Price's Letter to a Godchild: Concerning Faith.
Though the world is still glued to the live account of the Chilean mine rescue operation, a book about the 69-day saga has already been sold in the U.K. (it's currently on submission in the U.S., and has been sold in Germany and France.)
Guardian journalist Jonathan Franklin's 33 Men, Buried Alive will be published by Transworld's Bantam Press in early 2011. It's "based his on-the-scene reporting, which has included private conversations with the miners and the rescue team," according to the deal report in Publisher's Lunch.
More on the deal here.
What book blog posts caught your attention this week? My picks:
Twitter's #dearpublisher hashtag takes off
Posted by The Guardian's Books Blog
Most of you avid tweeters probably already know by now that a #dearpublisher thread took off on Twitter early in the week—readers, book bloggers, authors and publishers engaged in an online conversation about what's great—and what needs to change—within the industry. The Guardian's books blog describes this trend and samples a few publisher responses, such as: "Reading the #dearpublisher chat – keep them coming, people, we're listening!" from @PanMacmillanAus.
Did you participate in the thread? Do you think that publishers will take note of your suggestions? Is Twitter an appropriate forum for this type of conversation?
Spotlight on Bookstores: *Hub City Books* in Spartanburg, South Carolina
Posted by She is Too Fond of Books
This specific post is about Hub City Books in South Carolina, although I really want to draw your attention to the entire "Spotlight on Bookstores" series on She is Too Fond of Books, which highlights bookstores from around the country. I've spent time in California, Arkansas and New Mexico this summer, and in each destination I've made a beeline to the nearest bookshop—even if you're looking for a mainstream paperback that you could get at home, no indie bookstore has quite the same flavor, and it's fun to see the variety. (I recently peeked into a used bookstore in Albuquerque and there were no shelves . . . only stacks of books, as far as the eye could see! In San Francisco there was a bookstore that also sold beautiful bookshelves made from unfinished wood, with tons of varnish to choose from.)
Have you been to any of the bookstores in the "Spotlight" series? Want to give a shout-out to your favorite bookstore? Have at it in the comments section.
If you thought Lionel Shriver couldn't come up with a more provocative topic than health care to use as inspiration for fiction, think again—the author is planning to frame her next book around the issue of immigration.
In a March interview with Chicago's Victoria Lautman, Shriver said that she had an idea for her next book, although "it's not very advanced."
She continued, "For many years now I've wanted to tackle the subject of immigration, and especially to try to be a little sympathetic with this side of the equation where you're the host population and you're a little uncomfortable with it. This is political dynamite and I'm sure I'm going to hate myself for taking this on. It is self-destructive to come anywhere near this topic, but I can't resist it." Turns out she's already come near it at least twice in articles that hint at the ways she might tackle the issue. The Standpoint Magazine interview in particular provides a lot of food for thought.
Shriver said she plans to start the book after the publicity for So Much for That dies down. Although I find the premise intriguing, I can't help but hope immigration is handled with a lighter touch than health care was in So Much for That, where the dialogue occasionally crossed into preachy polemic territory. (Read my BookPage review of that book here.) But who am I kidding? I'll read it regardless; Shriver's fierce intelligence and priceless observations on human nature make anything she writes a worthwhile read.
At the Guardian, they're running an interesting series of brief essays by writers about "the writers who inspired them." Though some of the writers veer off course to describe artists (Margaret Drabble, for example, chooses Van Gogh—and John Banville shares a story about his yellow Lab, Ben!), all are worth reading.
It got me thinking about who my literary hero would be. I'm not a writer myself (unless blogging counts!), but maybe in the "if I ever write a novel . . ." sense. Who is yours?