News & Notes – 1/27/2018

January 27, 2018 News & Notes 14

News & Notes is a weekly Saturday post featuring book- and publishing-related news, links to interesting articles and opinion pieces, and other cool stuff


Book News

Literary Losses

Ursula K. Le Guin, award-winning and bestselling author of science fiction and fantasy, died Monday at the age of 88. LeGuin is best known for The Left Hand of Darkness, The Dispossessed, and her EarthSea Cycle, beginning with A Wizard of EarthSea, but she also wrote short stories, poetry, children’s books (the charming Catwings series), essays, and several books on writing. Her work won praise from fellow writers, and she won multiple Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards. In 2014, the National Book Awards recognized her with its lifetime achievement award. Her career spanned most of her life; she submitted her first short story at age 11, and was still writing in her 80s.

(You can read my full tribute/obituary here.)


Worth Reading/Viewing


Awesome Lists


Bookish Quote


That’s it for this week!

14 Responses to “News & Notes – 1/27/2018”

  1. Kari @ Kari Reads and Writes

    Thanks again for a wonderful and informative post. I shrugged at Walmart teaming up with Kobo. They are obviously trying to bolster their commerce wars with Amazon by doing this. I’ve never had a Kobo, so I don’t know.

    I am quite ambivalent about the award for books without violence against women. I addressed this topic this week on my blog, about how some books trigger me, but I don’t like censorship and somehow this seems like it, if authors pay attention to it. Just not sure, unless it is only used like a rating system like G, PG, PG-13…
    Kari @ Kari Reads and Writes recently posted…A Week of Bookish Days- 1/26/18My Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Given how well thrillers sell, and how many of them involve violence against women, and how much of that there is in the real world… I don’t think writers are going to self-censor based on a single prize. But it might make some authors think about how they present that violence, and whether it’s gratuitous or not. And it will highlight books that don’t focus on violence against women, which means people who would rather read something else will at least know about a few good alternatives.

      I didn’t have a Kobo, but when I had my Sony Reader, I bought books at Kobo using Adobe Digital Editions, and transferred them onto my Sony Reader from there. The Kobo website isn’t as easy to navigate as Amazon’s, but it’s not bad. I got some good books from Kobo. Now that I’ve switched to Kindle, of course, I can’t read them because the format and DRM aren’t compatible.

      I don’t know that Walmart will be able to match Amazon’s sales, but they’ll probably pick up a little of the market. For one thing, there are people who object to Amazon on principle (for a variety of reasons), and will welcome another alternative besides the Nook. Of course, Kobo readers have been available online through the company’s website, but they haven’t had a lot of name recognition. Frankly, I suspect Kobo will get more out of this deal than Walmart does, but I could be wrong.

      • Kari @ Kari Reads and Writes

        Hmm… I worded that badly and need to reiterate, and reread the article. I don’t think authors will try to change based on an award. I just felt like the award is judging the book, not making a decision on the quality of writing but rather about the plot that was invented (even though I agree there is too much violence in books nowadays, you can have a great book– well-written, entertaining– with violence in it). Take out the topic “violence” and substitute another topic– say, “gay rights”. If an award is given to books that don’t include any plot about this, do we think that’s okay? Well, I’m still wording this poorly so forgive me… and forget about it :)…

        I was being a bit snarky about Walmart because they are obviously trying to move in on Amazon’s territory, re: holiday commercials offering free two-day shipping like Prime does without having to join a program, and emphasizing their online store and how you can even buy groceries/household goods that way.

        I agree that Kobo stands to do better than Walmart out of the deal. Amazon (and Bezos) is a giant to be contended with. But Walmart gets to move in a wee bit closer to Amazon territory by having the e-readers and their e-books offered.

        For better or worse, I’m currently an Amazon Paperwhite and Fire customer.
        Kari @ Kari Reads and Writes recently posted…A Week of Bookish Days- 1/26/18My Profile

        • Lark_Bookwyrm

          Oh, I completely understand feeling a little snarky about Walmart! I do, myself. 🙂 You’re absolutely right; they’re trying to compete with Amazon by becoming like Amazon. I don’t think they’ll succeed, in the long run; I suspect Amazon has too much of a head start and too much name recognition. I have mixed feelings about Amazon’s reach, to be honest… but at the same time, I’m a pretty loyal customer. I’m a Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Fire user too, and I’ve got way too many Kindle books to consider switching ebook platforms yet again. I’m in it for the long haul at this point!

          I think I see where you’re coming from on the award issue. (And it’s a pity that it’s hard to convey tone of voice in a comment, because I didn’t mean to come off as confrontational about it! Just offering my perspective.) Yes, I might feel differently about an award focused on a different issue, particularly if my views and values on that issue were at odds with those promoted by the award. On the other hand (and now I need to go reread the article, too!) I got the impression that they would still be looking for the best thriller that fits the parameters, rather than rewarding a book just for fitting the parameters. As an analogy: You might give offer a prize for the best fairy-tale retelling, or best locked-room mystery, or even best YA fantasy without a love triangle.* Those are all narrower fields than “fantasy” or “mystery” or “YA,” but it’s still about finding the best within that category. And I think, in a way, that’s what this award is trying to do, while at the same time bringing attention to the pervasiveness of violence against women in (particularly in!) mystery and crime fiction.

          Thank you for a good and thoughtful discussion! I’m happy to continue it, if you have further thoughts on either subject. This is part of what I love about blogging—the chance to exchange views about books and things related to books, with smart and thoughtful people who have the same love for books I have, but different experiences and ideas.

          *Seriously, that trope is feeling a little overused these days, at least to me!

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Reason, perhaps; a lot of it is typical “canon” and that has always been dominated by white male authors. Excuse for it, not so much. He could certainly have included more women and POC authors if he had tried.

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      I wasn’t at all surprised by McCrum’s list—disappointed, like you, but not surprise. Much of it is pretty typical “canon literature,” which has always been dominated by white male authors. I’m not denying that there were fewer women published in the 16th, 17th, 18th, and even 19th centuries, nor that many of the writers and books he chose are good. But there’s a lot more variety out there if you look for it, and female authors of equal calibre but less renown (precisely because they are female.)

  2. Nicole

    I have no shelf control either. 😀

    I’m not surprised about that list. It’s surprisingly hard to find “must-read” lists that are balanced with regard to author gender/race/etc. The ones that don’t specify are usually white male dominated, and the ones that respond to them are usually POC or female dominated. (That’s why I made my own “must read” list, combining the other ones I found.)
    Nicole recently posted…Sunday Summary ~ 28 January 2018My Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      I’ve noticed the same thing. And if I were creating a must-read list for myself, I would do what you’ve done, and build my own based on multiple lists. 🙂

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