Saturday, September 10, 2016

Book Tour Can Make Or Break Them: The Toothless Old Critics? (Were It Ever Thus)

“If we think of a library as a city and a book as an individual house in that city, each sentence becomes one tiny component of that house. Some are mostly functional – the load-bearing wall, the grout between the bathroom tiles – while others are the details we remember and take away, perhaps recalling their textulre and colour when we assemble our own verbal dwelling-place.”

“Not until bones have found a last resting place will shades be let across these gurgling currents, their doom instead to wander and haunt about the banks for a hundred years.” 

~Bathroom quotes

US Author Lionel Shrivers Brisvegas Writers Festival speech prompts walkout...

The legend for Giorgia Lupi's visualization of a week of indecision for the Dear Data project.
The legend for Giorgia Lupi’s visualization of a week of indecision.
For 52 weeks, Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec built their friendship one postcard at a time. Lupi and Posavec are both data visualization professionals who met at a conference, and beginning in the fall of 2014 they decided to send one postcard to each other every week with a hand-drawn rendering of an agreed-upon data set: animals they saw, drinks they drank, desires they had, compliments they gave or received. They called their project “Dear Data.” 

“Dedicate the time and the information encoded in Lupi and Posavec’s postcards is not only revealing, but poignant. As well as choosing topics around items, such as the contents of their wardrobes or the number of drinks they’d had that week, the pair also scrutinised their behaviour.
Both are mind-boggling intricate. The keys to each chart are minute, cypher-like instructions, peppered with anecdotes and asides.”

Dear Data ...

No, the Internet Has Not Killed the Printed Cold River Book. Most People Still Prefer Them

… Syrian author Iman Al Ghafari: “I did not want to leave my country forever!” | The Book Haven

Paul Davis On Crime: My Washington Times Review Of 'By Honor Bound: Two Navy SEALs, The Medal Of Honor, And A Story Of Extraordinary Courage'

Half a millennium before Carl Sagan pointed to books as “proof that humans are capable of working magic,” Galileo saw reading as a way of having superhuman powers. For Kafka, books were “the axe for the frozen sea within us,” while James Baldwin found in them a way to change one’s destiny“A book is a heart that beats in the chest of another,” Rebecca Solnit wrote in her lyrical meditation on the intimacy of reading and writing. But what, exactly, is the lifeblood pumping through that heart? Perhaps Hermann Hesse put it best in his beautiful essay on reading:

And self-published “indie” authors — in part because they get a much bigger cut of the revenue than authors working with conventional publishers do — are now making much more money from e-book sales, in aggregate, than authors at Big Five publishers....
The AAP also reported, though, that e-book revenue was down 11.3 percent in 2015 and unit sales down 9.7 percent. That’s where things get misleading. Yes, the established publishing companies that belong to the AAP are selling fewer e-books. But that does not mean fewer e-books are being sold. Of the top 10 books on Amazon’s Kindle bestseller list when I checked last week, only two (“The Light Between Oceans” and “The Girl on the Train,” both mass-market reissues of novels that have just been made into movies) were the products of major publishers. All the rest were genre novels (six romances, two thrillers) published either by the author or by an in-house Amazon imprint. Their prices ranged from 99 cents to $4.99 

There are so many ways to recommend books — tell me your favorite book or author, favorite genre, a topic of interest, astrological sign, favorite 
color, pairing books and food or drinks, geographical regions. Recommenders get creative and will go as wild as readers are willing to venture. It was with great delight that I read an article about librarians in Portland, Orgeon who are recommending books based on their patrons’ tattoos. How fun is that? Creative ways to recommend Cold River Doorstopper

When Shiba finally gets out to the West of Ireland and the Famine Road, he looks down at the sea and ponders why there was such a terrible famine when there were fish in the sea and such delicious seaweed to eat. Perhaps a fatuous observation, but one that highlights the profoundly different culinary heritages of two island nations.
Four Japanese blogs bring Japanese books to life via Godfather Steve Monaghan who loves all things Japanese ...

Lessons from Jerry Mitchell, the cold river case reporter

“Virtually every film in modern memory ends with some variation of the same disclaimer: ‘This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events, is purely coincidental.’ The cut-and-paste legal rider must be the most boring thing in every movie that features it. Who knew its origins were so lurid?” Duncan Fyfe explains. You Know Who’s Responsible For That ‘Any Similarity To Actual Persons Is Coincidental’ Disclaimer In Movie Credits? MediaDragon Rasputin, That’s Who

“I’d pick up others along the way. All would be serendipitous. I’m going to learn from them not only how to handle a book tour better, but how to *be* better, fully stop" The Books A New Author Reads On Book Tour Can Make Or Break Them 

“The Library of America usually restricts itself to Melville, Twain, Hawthorne and the other distinguished dead. But a handful of times it has been so sure of a novelist’s importance that its austere black volumes started appearing while the writer was still alive. Eudora Welty, Saul Bellow and Philip Roth got the call. Ursula K. Le Guin is now on this very short list.” Rarity ...

Casualty: To live at all is miracle enough ...
Doorstoppers ...Let's have a frank word about door stoppers
“The nightmare reviewer is the reviewer who has some sort of agenda that precludes him or her responding sincerely to the book. Often that agenda is seeming clever and/or taking someone who has received more than her fair share of attention down a notch. But again, there are people who are just on a different wavelength from you, and it’s not that they misunderstand your book — it’s that they really in their heart of hearts don’t like it. That’s actually fair.” Criticism’s Sting: The Author Curtis Sittenfeld on Book Reviews

The Toothless Old Critics? The decline of intellectual life has been a trope of intellectual life since Socrates, who, Plato tells us, believed writing “will create forgetfulness in the learners’ souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust to the external written characters and not remember of themselves.” More than 2,000 years later, the terms have shifted, but not the argument.Cynthia Ozick Has Issues — And Come To Think of It, So Do We

“A growing share of Americans are reading e-books on tablets and smartphones rather than dedicated e-readers, but print books remain much more popular than books in digital formats. Americans today have an enormous variety of content available to them at any time of day, and this material is available in a number of formats and through a range of digitally connected devices. Yet even as the number of ways people spend their time has expanded, a Pew Research Center survey finds that the share of Americans who have read a book in the last 12 months (73%) has remained largely unchanged since 2012.

 “My parents were both village teachers. The village was full of women. And they had to work very hard during the day, there were no men left in the village, and after they were done with work – the village was full of benches – they would all come outside and they would talk. It was scary to listen to them, but it was also very interesting. They talked about war about death about loss, because some lost their husbands recently and this was much more exciting and much more interesting than reading the books that we had in the house.” Nobel Prize Winner Svetlana Alexievich On How She Learned To Listen 

The Keepers Registry acts as a global monitor on the archiving arrangements for electronic journals. The Keepers Registry was developed by EDINA, the national data service centre at the University of Edinburgh, and the ISSN International Centre in Paris. It was first developed as outcome of the Jisc-funded Piloting an E-journals Preservation Registry Service (PEPRS) project, and the beta service first launched in 2011. There is further background information on the PEPRS project website. The Keepers are the participating archiving agencies acting as stewards of digital content. There are currently twelve participating agencies. Each agency runs a programme for the archiving of e-journals and is making metadata on the journals in their programme available to The Keepers Registry. The ISSN Register, which contains bibliographic metadata for all journals which have been assigned an ISSN, is at the heart of The Keepers Registry. The ISSN Register is used both as an authority source for ISSNs and to enrich the supplied records.
The Registry has three main purposes:
  • To enable librarians and policy makers to find out who is looking after which e-journal, how and with what terms of access.
  • To highlight the e-journals which are still “at risk of loss”.
  • To showcase the organisations (the keepers) which act as digital shelves for access over the long term.
View the Keepers Registry blog for recent news and announcements, read our selected Bibliography, and view our Development Roadmap.”

“I’m aware more than I was before I had books published that any review is a bit arbitrary – it’s not really, say, The New York Times that’s authoritatively weighing in on the quality of a book, though it seems this way to the public. It’s actually one reviewer weighing in (maybe a daily reviewer like you, but maybe a random novelist like me who reviews one or two books a year), and all of us as individuals have quirky, subjective taste.”