Book reviews, new books, publishing news, book giveaways, and author interviews

Bookish links 26 Oct: writers are monsters, bookshop event tips, eds are (not) dead more!

book news Bookish links 26 Oct: writers are monsters, bookshop event tips, eds are (not) dead & more!

RIASS stuff:

Why I wish my parents were readers

Interview:'Steven Lochran: Action books give young readers a sense of agency

Interview: Steve Rossiter on editing an anthology of interlinked stories

Reverse Chronology and The Night Watch by Sarah Waters

Im putting together a list of single sitting classics and modern classics. Feel free to add your suggestions!

Giveaway: Arcadian Genesis by Greig Beck'(five copies up for grabs! This giveaway is open to all and is courtesy of Momentum Books)

Other bookish stuff:

I had a bit of a chuckle at this Life in Publishing TumblR.

Penguin and Random House are in talks to become the One House To Rule Them All.'A huge, if not entirely unexpected, announcement. The article suggests that publishers are having to band together in order to compete with the huge tech companies who are doing very well in the digital book market.

In addition, Kingfisher is going to be integrated into Macmillan, with staff reductions foreseen.

An interview with Colm Toibin'Toibin, who has recently released'the novella length'The Testament of Mary talks books and writing in this interview. I was intrigued by his thoughts on having to be a terrible monster in order to write. Someone might have told you something they shouldn't have told you, and you have to be prepared to use it because it will make a great story. You have to use it even though the person is identifiable. If you can't do it then writing isn't for you. You've no right to be here. If there is any way I can help you get into law school then I will. Your morality will be more useful in a courtroom.

Tips for a successful bookshop event'In addition to some fun anecdotes worth reading, this post contains tips including: dont be a jerk (and try not to be your usual shy, introverted self, which can come across as jerk-like), invite lots of people (your mum and all of your friends count), promote the event, try not to oversaturate the market (ie host too many events close to each other in too brief a period), keep it fun and light, come up with your own questions in case the audience doesnt ask any, offer bribes and food, and show your appreciation to all involved.

A sneak peek at the new iBooks 3, which looks quite pretty indeed.'Improvements on earlier versions include a scrolling screen, updated collection organisation, and social network sharing options. Theres also an option to read on a sepia or white on black screen for those who find it too hard to stare at a blazing white screen. That said, Ive been reading on my new iPhone, which has a retina screen, and Im finding it surprisingly easy on my eyes, unlike my old Android and its insta-retina burn.

Linda Green talks about what it was like to sign her first book deal''I would have liked to say there was a bidding war but the truth is there wasn't. Only one of the publishers, Headline Review, came back with a modest offer of a two- book deal. My agent sounded almost apologetic when he rang me. If he could have seen me grinning inanely at the other end of the phone he would have realised just how ecstatic I was. This reminds me of another author, who upon hearing of her book deal, went, wow! That much? Sure! Absolutely! only to have her agent respond, no, not that much. That much'thousand.

On the bookshop as a village'Often, the bookstore is the first stop when things happen. Good news, like a pregnancy, can bring folks in to buy books about birth and child rearing. Bad news, such as illness or divorce, brings folks in for help navigating what is about to come. In all these instances, the bookstore is the place where people come for information and comfort. Our job as booksellers is not to comment, but to be supportive and listen when folks want to share and not to pry even when we're worried

So US chain Dennys is launching a Hobbit menu. As you do, I guess.'And I can only suppose that all those second breakfasts and elevensies will help bolster those profit margins

And speaking of The Hobbit, heres an excerpt from the new graphic novel.

A follow up from yesterdays post on gender skewed packaging: Nosy Crow offers a personal post'The author comments that her role as a parent is separate from her role as a publisher, and talks about her own beliefs (feminist, progressive), and how these influenced the reading material she offered her daughter. Interestingly, she adds: 'My daughter's interest in pink, fairies and princesses was just a phase. Like any parent, I determined our own boundaries: Barbie was out, classic Disney Princess films were in, for example. But I don't think there would have been much to be gained, and, there was independent reading motivation to be lost, if she hadn't had access to'Rainbow Magic'and the other pink-fairy-princess books she had on her shelves or borrowed from the library. They weren't all she read, any more than pink princess books are all Nosy Crow publishes, but they played a part in developing her reading confidence and her pleasure in books.

An interview with Garth Nix'I liked Nixs thoughts on defining and differentiating dystopian/postapocalyptic fiction (and have an article forthcoming about this myself!) The teaming up with 'post-apocalypse' also can create problems, since there are quite a few dystopias that exist right now that haven't required an apocalypse to create them. I dont entirely agree with his definition of what makes a dystopia, however: I think its less everything gone wrong than it is well-meaning yet poorly thought out interventions resulting in a scenario that can be construed either as positive or negative depending on your perspective. For me, dystopia has a lot to do with personal ideology, and I think that ambiguity of whether something is good or bad for all is what makes it so fascinating.

Canada creates its own Orange Prize for womens fiction

Is the editor dead?'A lengthy and thoughtful recap of a discussion panel thats definitely worth reading. The role of the editor is indeed up for interrogation. However, he made a strong case for the importance of the editor: editors are crucial tastemakers; more importantly, the editors role is to add value to a writers work. If editors are to continue, however, they need to adapt to the current situation, to think harder and more creatively about how to add value.

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