News & Notes — 5/25/13

May 25, 2013 Uncategorized 8

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:


Worth Reading:

  • You may already have heard that author Iain Banks is seriously ill. He has late-stage gall bladder cancer, and has been given less than a year to live. A website called Banksophilia – Friends of Iain Banks has been set up for updates and for fans to sign a guestbook and leave messages. Mr. Banks is dealing with his condition with humor and grace, and is grateful for the outpouring of support he has received.
  • “Good Writing vs. Talented Writing” (Maria Popova, Brain Pickings)
  • “How Google+ is pushing its way into all Google products” (Heather Kelly, CNN)  Google doesn’t seem to get the idea that some people want or need to keep more than one online identity.  For instance, you might want to keep your professional and hobby-blogging identities separate.  But Google is making that harder and harder to do. 
  • This has nothing to do with books, but it’s awesome anyway.  A Reddit user took a photo of a young Sikh woman who happens to have facial hair, and posted it to /r/Funny.  Instead of getting angry, the young woman posted a lovely response explaining her faith and her decision not to remove her facial hair.  And then the unheard-of happened: the original poster apologized.  Sincerely.  You can see the photo and read both posts here.

Free & Bargain books:

  •  Remember that the Sync free audiobook downloads begin May 30!  From May 30 to June 5, you can download Of Poseidon by Anna Banks (read by Rebecca Gibel) and Shakespeare’s Shakespeare’s The Tempest (performed by a full BBC Radio cast.)  You will need to download the Overdrive Media Console to be able to download the audiobooks.
  • The first two ebooks in Sherryl Woods’ new Ocean Breeze series, Sand Castle Bay and Wind Chime Point, are available for $1.99 each at Amazon and Google Play.  I’ve read them (reviews to come!) and they are well-written, warm, small-town romances.  

For Writers and Bloggers:

Neil Gaiman’s writing advice, from Shared Worlds’ website
  •  When you need a hand (or just a little advice): Shared Worlds, a writers camp for teen writers of fantasy, asked a number of fantasy authors to “write advice on their own hands and send us a picture.”  
  • “What You Need to Know About Piracy” (Claire Ryan,  OK, she’s got at least one logical fallacy and I think she’s wrong about whether quoting a paragraph or two of a book in a blog post (with proper attribution) is a copyright violation (I think it falls under “fair use”.)  But on the whole, she is right on the money.  

Really Cool:  

  • For her Sorted Books project, Nina Katchedourian creates short, often pointed poems by arranging book spines or, occasionally, covers.  You can see more of her poems at the previous link, and in this post on i09.

Awesome lists:

  • “13 Fantasy Novels That Are Good Despite Their Covers” (BuzzFeed)  Worth looking at not only for the covers (some of which aren’t that bad) as for the descriptions of what the cover leads you to expect — for the cover above, “A fashion show is ruined when an old homeless man wanders onto the catwalk.” LOL!

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.

8 Responses to “News & Notes — 5/25/13”

  1. George

    Regarding the fantasy novels that are good despite their covers, I’ve always hated that one cover for The Hobbit. What were they thinking?!

    Regarding what you expect for the cover of The Way of Kings by Sanderson, “semaphore.” Laughed about that one because it reminds me of a Monty Python skit with a semaphore movie version of Wuthering Heights. 🙂

  2. Bea

    I have never seen that Hobbit cover before and I hope I never see it again. 😀

    As for the fan fiction, while I occasionally read some, I just get behind paid fan fiction. I kinda hope this venture fails.

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      I totally agree on the Hobbit cover.

      One of the things that isn’t very clear is whether Amazon or the original rights holder (or no one) is going to act as a gatekeeper for the fanfic, keeping out the stuff that’s badly written. I don’t know whether I want it to succeed or not, but I wouldn’t want to pay for bad fanfic. I’d be willing to pay for good fanfic — isn’t that essentially what the Star Trek novels are? I mean, they aren’t fanfic in that the writers were paid and sometimes even commissioned, but they are fanfic in that the writers are clearly knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the show and the characters. And some of those books are really, really good.