Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Interview with R. L. Stine

The author of the Goosebumps series talks on (we told you we loved this site). "I'm optimistic about kids reading. Sure, there are lots of other means of entertainment. But, take a look at the children's publishing business today. It's HUGE! When I started out, children's publishing was a tiny business. Today, the children's department is the profit center for many publishers. What does this mean? It means kids are reading, despite all the dire predictions." More...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

International Thriller Award finalists

We're fans of the Big Thrill website, and fans of many of these writers. There's a few new ones we've still got to check out. List.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Douglas Adams lecture

The author of Hitchhiker's Guide was a wonderful speaker. Here's a lecture he gave at UC Santa Barbara.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Call me Orson

Orson Welles reads a little bit of Moby-Dick on YouTube. 'Nuff said. Link.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

L. Frank Baum

The late nineteenth century was a simpler time, emotionally. Sensitive boys like Lyman Frank Baum, the future author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, were not given Adderall to sharpen their focus or Lexapro to soften it. Often they were simply packed off to vigorous military schools for the stiffening that was thought necessary for young gentlemen. We read this in the Spiked review of Finding Oz: How L. Frank Baum Discovered the Great American Story, by Evan I. Schwartz. Who was Baum, and what, if any, hidden meanings are behind Oz? We tend to concur with those who simply think that he was writing stories for kids. Find out more here.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Free audiobooks Pt 2

A long time ago we pointed to as a source for audiobooks. Now Lifehacker links us to There is obviously a lot of free material out there for audio fans, a group we proudly claim membership in. (Right now I'm listening to Traveler by Ron McLarty—fantastic, and read by the author. Alas, it wasn't free, though.)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Book brackets

I was reading today about some book brackets people were running in honor of March Madness (which, by me, is simply madness—my connection to basketball is nonexistent). I have to admit I wasn't impressed by any of them. So, I made my own.

Have fun.

What do women want?

Well, not all women, perhaps, but the readers of genre romance novels? A couple of Canadian researchers have some answers, based on their analysis of romance novels. These readers want, in descending order, doctors, cowboys, vaguely noted "bosses," princes, ranchers and knights. The reason is, apparently, that these are all seen as good providers and protectors; in other words, it's all biological. Check it out: Link.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Curious George

There's an exhibition of the work of H.A. and Margret Reys, authors of the Curious George books, at New York's Jewish Museum. As Ann Levin points out on, perhaps the little monkey's curiosity and love of travel reflect the authors' own lives on the run as German Jews in Paris on the eve of the Nazi invasion. "Two days before the Germans marched into Paris, they fled on bicycles carrying drawings for their picture books, including one about a mischievous monkey then called Fifi." More...

Children's publishing and online content

The Washington Post sums up the situation. The reading of childrens' books leads to the reading of adults' books. But there are enormous numbers of distractions from reading for kids these days, and publishers are adjusting by incorporating online content to support their books. Will it work? Nobody knows. But do we need to develop tomorrow's readers today? No question about it. (Via.)

Danielle Trussoni

I'm literally in the middle of reading Angelology, so I was pleased to discover that the author, Danielle Trussoni, is the guest blogger this week at Powell's. The book is about the war between humans and, well, a certain offspring of angels. More I will not say, but I will admit to enjoying it.

Books in the age of the iPad

So much is written about digital publishing these days that we've almost stopped following the subject. Wouldn't it be better if we could just fast forward a couple of years and see what happened? I'd hate to have bought the wrong e-reader! Anyhow, this article discusses the classic concept of "the medium is the message," applied to books and, specifically, iPads. If it's all text, it doesn't matter much, but if it's gorgeous layouts and illustrations, then aren't we talking gorgeous hardcover book? And if it's video or music, then maybe it's iPad? As I say, if we could only fast-forward a few years...

Nicholas Sparks and Miley Cyrus

I've seen a lot of articles on Nicholas Sparks, and people either love him or they don't. USA Today does a piece on him and the star of the film he just wrote, and for once it all sounds so real. (Link.) Although as always, Sparks goes out of his way to distinguish romances from love stories. "(Romances) are all essentially the same story: You've got a woman, she's down on her luck, she meets the handsome stranger who falls desperately in love with her, but he's got these quirks, she must change him, and they have their conflicts, and then they end up happily ever after...The themes in love stories are different. In mine, you never know if it's going to be a happy ending, sad ending, bittersweet or tragic. You read a romance because you know what to expect. You read a love story because you don't know what to expect."

The movie, The Last Song, will be released next week.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

All about the good "doctor"

All right. He wasn't a doctor. But in this interview we learn why Theodore Geisel adopted the name Seuss as a young man. And we learn a lot more too. Fascinating!

The Second Pass interviews Donald E. Pease: "From 1925 to 1940 he was one of the best known adult humorists and satirists. He contributed regularly to magazines such as The New Yorker and Judge, and developed a reputation as a quick wit. He made most of his money by producing ads for an insecticide called Flit, and he produced an ad campaign that used the punch line, “Quick, Henry, the Flit!” that entered into popular culture...During the Depression, Geisel had what today would probably be the equivalent of a $500,000 income because of the work he had done for Madison Avenue." More...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The most beautiful bookstore in the world?

Judge for yourself: Link.

Friday, March 12, 2010

What makes a bad book? has published a series of 40 small essays on the subject of bad books, which names some names, some of which don't strike me as all that bad, although others might disagree. Some, on the other hand, are dreadful. One does wonder why some books remain popular despite their seemingly objective lack of quality, but how objective is quality, anyhow? Here's the pdf of the list.

The game of editing

I haven't looked at this site too closely yet, but I thought I'd pass it along. I came at it through the back door, reading a blog about something else entirely. It's called Bite-Sized Edits, and it allows visitors to edit books line-by-line, for fun and profit. Which is, I guess, what I do for a living. Check it out!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

TV interview with Neil Gaiman

A nice piece from CBS. I had no idea what Gaiman's first published book was! Link.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The making of a book cover

Ever wonder how impossible works of art are created on a computer? This timelapse clip shows a book cover in the making. Fascinating. (From Boing Boing.)

Great opening lines

Not all from musty classics, either. A couple of them are not be suitable for children. Link. It made me really want to read Franny and Zooey again!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Mad as a hatter

Like or dislike the new Timothy Burton movie, it's certainly opened the floodgates on classical Alice information. Here's a fun piece on the phrase "mad as a hatter," from the NY Times.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Another great list of award contenders

The American Booksellers Association has announced its finalists for the 2010 Indies Choice Book Awards. List. There's some good stuff here! Check it out.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Read Across America

March 2 is Dr. Seuss's birthday, celebrated by NEA as Read Across America Day. (Pass the green eggs and ham, please.) Link.