Weekly Book News Roundup

Book News

  • On March 12th, celebrated author Terry Pratchett, best known for his Discworld series of novels, died at age sixty-six. Pratchett had suffered from early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. “The world has lost one of its brightest, sharpest minds,” said Transworld Publishers’ Larry Finlay.
  • In today’s digital age, writers are frequently told that promoting their work on Twitter is not just an option, but a necessity.  New York Magazine talks to twelve writers, editors, and journalists about the challenges and complexities of self-promotion.
  • Still in our digital world for a moment: “If there is an individual alive in 2015 with the genius and vision of James Joyce, they’re probably working for Google, and if there isn’t, it doesn’t matter since the operations of that genius and vision are being developed and performed collectively by operators on the payroll of that company, or of one like it.” At the Guardian, Tom McCarthy examines the current state of fiction writing in the age of digital saturation.
  • If owning and operating a New England Inn is your dream, enter an essay contest and you could win the Center Lovell Inn in southwest Maine. Current owner Janice Sage, who won the Inn in an essay contest twenty-two years ago, will judge essay submissions on the subject, “Why I would like to own and operate a country Inn.” A $125 entry fee is required.
  • Was 1925 really “the greatest year in the history of literature”? The BBC has declared it so. They searched “for a cluster of landmark books” and then asked if said books “continue to enthrall readers and explore our human dilemmas and joys in memorable ways.” 1925, which featured works from Woolf, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Dos Passos and Dreiser, came away the winner.

So… there are some of the bigger stories that made the news in the book world this past week.  And, of course, it makes me wonder some things:

  1. Do you follow book awards? Do they influence your reading in any way? If so, do you have a favourite book award?
  2. How do you feel about authors and self-promotion? Is this something you encounter frequently?
  3. I was reminded of this hilarious (to me) xkcd comic today (shared below). Can you be a bit of a book snob? Also: have you always wanted a secret bookshelf? 🙂

Bookshelf © xkcd

Happy reading!

7 thoughts on “Weekly Book News Roundup

  1. 1. Yes, I love the awards – I love seeing the lists, and checking out the books I’ve never heard of. It’s a good way to get to know about new-to-me authors. The GGs are probably my favourite. I also like the Bailey’s, because it’s all women.
    3. I don’t think I’m a book snob, but maybe other people think I am. I try not to be, anyway.
    Of course I have always wanted a secret book shelf! Who doesn’t? One that my kids don’t know about would be wonderful. 🙂

    Also, I’m very excited for Margaret Atwood’s new novel!

  2. I should really remember to answer my own questions with you! 🙂

    1. I really do love book awards. Sometimes I feel conflicted about it though, because so many wonderful (and equally or even better) books fly under the radar, while other books are celebrated over and over again. I think my favourite awards are the Women’s Prize, the Giller Prize, and the Booker Prize.

    2. Authors and self-promotion are tricky for me. I totally understand the need, and from some authors I don’t mind it at all – but they know how to do it well. I get very frustrated with authors whose only M.O. is push, push, push, to the exclusion of everything else. I find it alienates more than it helps. Some authors should not be let loose on social media. :/

    3. I really try to not be a book snob… but then I see a comic like the one I linked, and I laugh so hard and realize I am such a book snob. Awareness counts for something… right (she says lamely).

  3. 1. I love the longlists, because that’s usually where I might find something new I hadn’t heard of that I might love, I like them for bringing books we might not have heard of into the open and I like seeing authors do well and sharing their inspiration. My favourites are the Baileys Women’s Prize, the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize (IFFP) and sometimes the Booker, though lost interest in that one last year!

    2. A secret bookshelf is like a metaphor for a really great book! It transports us elsewhere.

    3. I probably am a bit of a book snob as there are many genres I won’t seek out, unless I’ve heard of a particularly great book/writer that is a step above its own genre. That said, I read around the world which perhaps balances that out, I aim to read books from as many cultures and influences as possible.

  4. Love book awards! Love looking at their longlists and the shortlists! Find many reads that I wouldn’t have known about from the many book awards out there. Love it.

    Was excited to see that Atwood has a new one coming out…but kind of disappointed that it’s another futuristic one. 😦 Wah.

    I am probably more of a book snob that I should be – or then I try not to be – or then I do try to be. 🙂

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