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Bookish News – 24 October 2014

24 Oct

Here’s the book news making the rounds online today:

Book News

  • From NPR: Lily King, Roz Chast and Kate Samworth have all taken home the inaugural Kirkus Prize. The winners in the award’s three categories — fiction, nonfiction and young readers’ literature — were announced Thursday night at a ceremony in Austin, Texas. Each author received $50,000.
  • How “curationism” influences our reading identities — over at Quill & Quire, David Balzer examines how the art world’s obsession with curationism came to influence our personal reading identities
  • From NPR: We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live, a proposed documentary about iconic author Joan Didion, is currently being funded through Kickstarter. Didion’s nephew Griffin Dunne is producing the film, which will piece together the author’s life and legacy through her memories, old footage, and interviews with over a dozen artists including Vanessa Redgrave and Patti Smith.
  • Why do we love Sherlock Holmes and Jack the Ripper? At the New Republic, Britt Peterson investigates our fascination with Victorian crime stories, and reviews three contemporary books on the subject. Peterson discusses how these books “to varying degrees…both indulge our own detective-fever, and seek to de-sensationalize the people who originally experienced it—sometimes a tricky juggling act.”
  • From the Paris Review: Is transrealism “the first major literary movement of the twenty-first century”? “Transrealism argues for an approach to writing novels routed first and foremost in reality. It rejects artificial constructs like plot and archetypal characters in favor of real events and people, drawn directly from the author’s experience. But through this realist tapestry, the author threads a singular, impossibly fantastic idea, often one drawn from the playbook of science fiction, fantasy and horror … ”

Father’s Day Book Recommendations

9 Jun

Book Shop

I have been compiling a list of excellent books that would make wonderful gifts for Father’s Day. I think there is something on this big list for every reading father, or father-figure, in your life. (If you are stuck on what to get someone who says they are not a reader, you could always try to show them the bookish light! I have had success giving nonfiction books to people who claim to not be readers and it has been met with great success!)

Anyway, here…the giant list:

Fiction Recommendations:

Classic Literature:

  • My Antonía, by Willa Cather
  • East of Eden, by John Steinbeck
  • Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes – this Edith Grossman translation, as linked, is excellent!
  • Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley – this Penguin edition I have linked is awesome.
  • The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas (pére)
  • Moby Dick, by Herman Melville – Yes, seriously! And, again, advocating for this particular edition to which I have linked you.

Contemporary Literature:

Canadian Literature:

Graphic Novels:

Nonfiction:

So – as you can see, it’s a huge list. I do hope you find something of interest here and would love to know about the books you plan to give as gifts.

If you would like a personal recommendation, I would be happy to make one for you. Just give me three books you (or your dad) love(s) and I will offer an excellent suggestion. Or two. Or three. You can post your request in the comments below. :)

I have linked all the above books to Goodreads. It is a great place to read book descriptions, and see what others think. When it comes time to buy, I encourage you all to visit an independent bookseller for all your book shopping. These stores are vital parts of our communities and it would be wonderful for you to support a local business. (If you need a recommendation here, I would be pleased to help.)

Happy Father’s Day, and happy reading to you all!

The Transcriptionist, by Amy Rowland

13 May

New in bookstores today, The Transcriptionist, by Amy Rowland.

The TranscriptionistFrom the book’s description: No one can find it. That’s the first thing. The Recording Room is on the eleventh floor, at the end of a rat-hued hallway that some workers at the newspaper have never seen; they give up on the ancient elevator, which makes only local stops with loud creaks of protest. Like New Yorkers who refuse to venture above Fourteenth Street, there are newspaper workers who refuse to go above the fourth floor for fear of being lost forever if they leave the well-lit newsroom for dark floors unknown. In this room you’ll find Lena. She works as a transcriptionist for the Record, a behemoth New York City newspaper. There once were many transcriptionists at the Record, but new technology and the ease of communication has put most of them out of work, so now Lena sits alone in a room on the building’s eleventh floor, far away from the hum of the newsroom that is the heart of the paper. Still, it is an important job—vital, really—a vein that connects the organs of the paper, and Lena takes it very seriously. And then one day she encounters something that shatters the reverie that has become her life—an article in the paper about a woman mauled to death by lions in the city zoo. The woman was blind and remains unidentified, but there is a picture, and Lena recognizes her as someone whom a few days before she had met and talked to briefly while riding home on a midtown bus.

Amy Rowland

Amy Rowland

Obsessed with [understanding the woman's death], Lena begins a campaign for truth that will ultimately destroy the Record’s complacency and shake the venerable institution to its very foundation. In the process she finds a new set of truths that gives her the strength to shed what she describes as her “secondhand life” and to embrace a future filled with promise, maybe even adventure. An exquisite novel that asks probing questions about journalism and ethics, about the decline of the newspaper and the failure of language. I am so happy to recommend this wonderful debut novel to you.  I had trouble putting it down as I was completely swept into Lena’s world. In our ever more technologically dependent world, human connection has become a more important issue – we are all plugged in all the time, but how much of our time is spent engaging with people in meaningful and important ways?  Rowland explores this theme beautifully in her book, as Lena attempts to solidify her presence in her own life, in an increasingly alienating world.

Amy Rowland wrote a great essay, sharing how the idea for The Transcriptionist came about.

Bookish News – 14 April 14

14 Apr

Jennifer Dawson:

Today’s book news roundup.

Originally posted on The Offprint:

* i endorse this use of ‘chick lit’. maybe. heh. over at elle magazine (!!), they have a pretty great bookish feature: chick lit vs. lit chicks. elle asked 12 awesome female writers to recommend their favourite books authored by women.

* donna tartt was awarded the pulitzer prize for fiction, for her novel the goldfinch.

* as today (!!) sees the 75th anniversary of The Grapes of Wrath, many tributes to the novel and its author have been appearing. i thought this was an excellent essay in the globe and mail.

* from the guardian, and still with steinbeck for a moment: When Steinbeck was stumped for a title for his novel, his wife saved the day. Literary history is full of marital interventions.

* hmmm, seems the ‘authors guild’ has filed an appeal in its copyright infringement lawsuit against google.

View original 265 more words

Contest Alert: Win a Copy of ‘The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry’

2 Apr

he Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is a really lovely novel. If you love books, reading and dream of owning a bookstore, I think you will really enjoy this novel.

From the book’s description:

A.J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island—from Chief Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who’s always felt kindly toward him; from Ismay, his sister-in-law, who is hell-bent on saving A.J. from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who persists in taking the ferry to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.’s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, A.J. can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.

And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It’s a small package, though large in weight—an unexpected arrival that gives A.J. the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew. It doesn’t take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J., for the determined sales rep Amelia to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light, for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.’s world. Or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn’t see coming.

As surprising as it is moving, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is an unforgettable tale of transformation and second chances, an irresistible affirmation of why we read and why we love.

The book is featured in today’s edition of  The Afterword Reading Society, in the National Post.

To be entered in this contest, please leave a comment below. I will draw the winner at 6pm (EST) tomorrow, April 3rd. So, QUICK! Comment now to be entered.

Thank you, and good luck!

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