News & Notes is a weekly Saturday post featuring book- and publishing-related news, links to interesting articles and opinion pieces, giveaways on this and other blogs, and other cool stuff.
Books & Ebooks in the News:
- Today is ‘Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day’. (I wish I could, but she’s 2,265 miles away, give or take a little.) Not all bookstores are taking part; you can find a map of participating bookstores here.
- Amazon is developing a drone delivery service, according to Jeff Bezos on 60 Minutes this week. Yes, really: little drone airplanes delivering your order. (Huffington Post) The Internet being what it is, within a day there were parodies and jokes popping up all over the place. Some of them are laugh-out-loud funny.
- The Goodreads Choice Awards are up. Alas, none of my picks won – but some very good books did.
- The Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal by Amazon and Overstock over a ruling requiring Internet retailers to pay NY sales tax. That means the ruling stands, which gives legal weight to states’ efforts to collect tax on Internet sales. (New York Times)
- Norway’s National Library is digitizing all books published there. (Good E Reader)
- Another study confirms: Reading literary fiction increases empathy (and genre fiction doesn’t.) The fact that empathy increases when people read literary fiction doesn’t surprise me, but the finding on genre fiction does. There’s some very good fiction out there which gets marketed as genre but has more complex characters that require more work on the part of the reader (which appears to be key to increasing empathy.) I can think of a number of examples in both Mystery and SF/Fantasy, for example. (Scientific American)
- As many as 1 in 4 Kindle Top 100 titles are self-published. That’s frankly amazing. (Good E Reader)
- “Two Fair Use Rulings, One Clear Message”: James Grimmelman discusses the recent rulings in the Google Books scanning case and a similar case brought by the Authors Guild against Google’s library partners. (Publishers Weekly)
- Patrick Rothfuss responds to 5-star Goodreads reviews of his not-yet-finished-let-alone-published third book. Classy and amusing.
- “Literary self-loathing: How Jonathan Franzen, Elizabeth Gilbert and more keep it at bay” (Michele Filgate, Salon.com)
- “Actors on Actors Who Act Shakespeare” Brannagh, Fiennes, Dench, and others on the Shakespeare actors they most admire.
For Writers & Bloggers:
- Quick and Dirty Tips for Writing a Kick-Butt Author Bio (Jessica Gray, for the Teatime Romance blog) Probably equally applicable to bloggers for their “about me” blurb.
|Jim Kay’s newly-imaged Harry Potter|
- “Harry Potter’s New Image Revealed”: Bloomsbury, J. K. Rowling’s UK publisher, is bringing out a new, fully-illustrated edition of the Harry Potter books with pictures by Jim Kay. The first volume is scheduled for Sept. 2015, and Bloomsbury will issue one a year after that. They hope to publish globally. (The Guardian) I like Kay’s picture of Harry, but is it my imagination or does he look like a cross between a young Daniel Radcliffe and a young Skandar Keynes?
|NPR’s Book Concierge|
- NPR’s Book Concierge: Our Guide to 2013’s Great Reads offers over 200 titles in Pinterest-style images. Click on a title and a short review pops up.
- 100 Notable Books of 2013 – Since this is from The New York Times, it does pretty much ignore genre fiction and children’s, YA, and New Adult titles, but it’s a good list nonetheless.
- Best Books of 2013 from the Huffington Post offers fewer titles but gives mini-reviews of their picks.
- Fabulous First Lines from 2013 Children’s & YA books (Publishers Weekly’s Shelf Talk)
- Warp Your Kid’s Mind With Some Great Sci-Fi This Holiday Season (Jason Sheehan, NPR)
- Best Picture Books of 2013 (Huffington Post)
- 30 ‘Guilty Pleasure’ Books That Are in Fact Awesome (Buzzfeed) And Mercedes Lackey’s 500 Kingdoms novels top the list!
- Celebrity READ Posters of the 80s and 90s and a few from the 2000s for good measure. (Bookriot)
- “Maurice Sendak’s Little-Known and Lovely Posters Celebrating Books and the Joy of Reading” (Maria Popova, Brain Pickings)
That’s it for this week!
I’m always on the lookout for interesting articles, lists, and links for News & Notes, so please let me know if you see (or write!) anything that might be good for this feature. You can leave me a comment or send me an email — my address is on the About/Review Policy/Contact page.