Monthly Archives: June 2011

Literature-Map Scientifically Lets You Find Your Next Book

Gabe Habash -- June 20th, 2011

Having a tough time picking your next summer read? Head over to Gnod’s Literature-Map to get some help.

Here’s how it works: type in an author’s name and watch a constellation of similar authors explode around the name, distance relative to similarity. An example: entering current “It Author” Jennifer Egan yields matches for Helen Zahavi, Téa Obreht, Elizabeth McCracken, and Tana French.

It’s tempting to enter every author that comes to mind. Searching for Robert Coover’s map turns up three authors that are practically on top of one another: Donald Barthelme, Steve Millhauser, and George Saunders, which leads us to conclude that, because we’ve never seen all four in the same place at the same time, Coover, Barthelme, Millhauser, and Saunders are, in fact, the same person.

Using its self-adaptive system, Gnod also has a suggestion search, which lets you type in three authors you enjoy and get a recommendation from that. There are also searches for movies and music!

The PW Morning Report: Monday, June 20, 2011

Craig Morgan Teicher -- June 20th, 2011

Today’s links!

Borders Bidder: Borders says it will name a bidder by July 1 and commence the sale of all its assets. From Reuters.

Book Scanning UK: PaidContent reports that Google is about to scan 250,000 out-of-copyright books for the British Library.

Will the Home Library Survive?: The Independent wonders whether the home library will survive the rise of the e-book.

Jimmy Connors Memoir: HarperCollins has signed up a memoir by the tennis star, due in June 2012. From AP.

Radcliffe on Pottermore: He says he knows nothing… From the LA Times.

Goodnight Keith Moon: That’s the title of the latest in a growing string of bedtime book parodies. From the Guardian.

Galley Grab: Salon reports on Abebooks recent sale of rare galleys.

Did ‘The New York Times’ Like ‘The New York Times’ Documentary in Their Review? No, They Did Not

Gabe Habash -- June 17th, 2011

The new documentary Page One: Inside the New York Times, which hits two Manhattan theaters today (and expands next week), tells the story of America’s premier newspaper and its flux status among new, threatening technology. So, in light of the new release, The New York Times has posted its review. The verdict: not good.

In an effort to preserve journalistic objectivity, the paper assigned Michael Kinsley, a regular Times contributor but not on staff, to write the review. He had some not-nice things to say about the film.

“All of these people know far more than I do about The Times and are better positioned to judge the movie,” Kinsley says in the review, “…having seen Page One, I don’t know much more than I did before. The movie is, in a word, a mess.”

Other highlights: “It [the film] flits from topic to topic, character to character, explaining almost nothing…Like a shopper at the supermarket without a shopping list, Page One careers around the aisles picking up this item and that one, ultimately coming home with three jars of peanut butter and no 2-percent milk.”

But what’s most interesting about all this isn’t the film itself or the review separately—it’s the two of them together. Separately, they’re a documentary film and a piece of entertainment criticism. Together, however, they’re a strange meta-journalistic bundle in which the reviewer, Kinsley, first acknowledges the strangeness and then proceeds to bulldoze the film in all significant areas. Would The Times have been better off running a feature article from a staff reviewer like A.O. Scott or Manohla Dargis about this weird, unique situation, a deeper study on the nature of art and criticism and journalism and objectivity, instead of outsourcing a review? Which would have been more valuable?

But, now that the review has been written, and the review is unequivocally negative, how do the powers that be at the paper feel about it? Do they want the public to see a movie about them if that movie is “a mess”?

What adds even more intrigue to this story is that Page One has received generally favorable reviews: it sits at 79% on Rotten Tomatoes at the time of this writing. Maybe The Times wins, if for no other reason, than the fact that its own internal review, perhaps in part because of its negativity, has succeeded in drawing far more attention than any other outlet could possibly hope for.

The PW Morning Report: Friday, June 17, 2011

Craig Morgan Teicher -- June 17th, 2011

Today’s links!

Kindle Spam: Reuters looks at the Spam books clogging Amazon’s Kindle store.

New Nook Reviewed : Good E-Reader takes a good look at the new Nook Simple Touch.

App Hope: Book publishers in the UK are hopeful about the potential of apps, reports the Guardian.

Kinney on ‘Wimpy’: Jeff Kinney tells EW about the present and future of his wildly successful book series.

More on Pottermore: Futurebook has some details about what it might be, maybe, sorta…

Annie’s Book Shop Turns 30: The Nashua bookseller celebrates its 30th year. From the Nashua Telegraph.

Evanovich Speaks: She tells USA Today all about her love of entering the world of her character Stephanie Plum.

9 Great Book Covers (You’ve Probably Never Seen)

Gabe Habash -- June 16th, 2011

The only thing that beats a great book cover is a great book. These are the books that you bring on the subway in order to be seen reading them on the subway. Here are nine of our favorites, all of which also double as arguments against e-Readers:

1. The Penguin Book of Gaslight Crime (cover by Jaya Miceli)

2. The Great Perhaps by Joe Meno (cover by Jamie Keenan)

3. Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy (cover by David Pearson)

4. Small Crimes in an Age of Abundance: Stories by Matthew Kneale (cover by David Drummond)

5. The Short Novels of John Steinbeck (cover by Jen Wang)

6. Chronic City by Jonathan Lethem (UK edition, cover by Miriam Rosenbloom)

7. We Are the Friction (cover by Lizzy Stewart and Jez Burrows)

8. Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald (UK edition, cover by Coralie Bickford-Smith)

9. Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov (cover by Michael Bierut)

The Paris Review Goes Digital

Craig Morgan Teicher -- June 16th, 2011

Today the Paris Review announced it is now offering a digital subscription through the Zinio platform.  Digital subs start with this summer’s issue and cost $30 for a year, meaning four issues.  Zinio offers an easily accessible PDF iteration of the magazine viewable on iOS devices and on the Web.

The Paris Review is among the elder statesman of lit mags, so it’s significant of a new era that it, too, should go digital under the new editorship of Lorin Stein. So, if you are looking for something to read…

The PW Morning Report: Thursday, June 16, 2011

Craig Morgan Teicher -- June 16th, 2011

Today’s links!

Borders to Save More Stores: PaidContent reports on a deal between Borders and its lenders that could save more stores.

Apple Vs. Amazon: CNN wonders whether Amazon will comply with Apple’s new in-app purchase rules, and, if not, whether Apple will book the Kindle app from the App Store.

Brooklyn Book Fest: Here’s a list of confirmed authors appearing at this year’s Brooklyn Book Fest. From the Brooklyn Paper.

Saving a Bookstore from Hockey Fans: A Vancouver resident defends his local bookstore from rioting hockey fans. From the Globe and Mail.

More Potter: JK Rowling has unveiled a mysterious Web site at www.pottermore.com. From Digital Spy.

Publishers Remember 9/11: AP looks at publishers’ low-key plans for 9/11 remembrance this year.

Timothy Leary’s Papers: the New York Public Library has bought them. From the NYT.

Bloomsday 2011: How Technology is Embracing James Joyce’s Masterpiece

Gabe Habash -- June 15th, 2011

June 16th marks the 107th anniversary of “Bloomsday,” the twenty-four hours that encompasses the story of James Joyce’s Ulysses. The book, considered by many to be the greatest literary achievement of the 20th century, has also been thought by others to be narrowly accessible. Or, to put it bluntly: unreadable.

But 107 years after Leopold Bloom’s odyssey around Dublin, you can find insight into Ulysses in ways Joyce never could have imagined. Whether it’s podcasts, Twitter, and even comics, here are just a few of the ways technology has turned a book once thought to be “for the elite” and made it more accessible to the common man:

*”Ulysses Seenis the book done in comic form, directly on your monitor (and also for the iPad). The site also includes a comprehensive Reader’s Guide to make sense of it all.

*On Bloomsday itself, the @11ysses Twitter account will be filled with the novel’s story, boiled down to 140 characters by volunteers who “thoughtfully, soulfully, fancifully compose a series of 4-6 tweets to represent a section.” More information can be found here.

*Also on Bloomsday, New York’s WBAI will broadcast and stream on their website the 30th annual Bloomsday reading, which includes the likes of Alec Baldwin, Garrison Keillor, and John Lithgow. More information can be found here (http://wbai.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=11356&Itemid=1)

*And for the obsessive, NPR profiled Joyce scholar Frank Delaney, whose podcast Re: Joyce breaks the book down one sentence at a time, one per week. The episodes can be found here. Delaney has taken a year to finish the first chapter of the book, and he estimates the remaining seventeen will take him between twenty-eight and thirty years.

The PW Morning Report: Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Craig Morgan Teicher -- June 15th, 2011

Today’s links!

Go the F**k to The Top of the Bestseller List: Meet Adam Mansbach, the dad behind Go the F**k to Sleep. From Salon.

Bizarre Minister: Australian booksellers call their Small Business Minister’s remark about the upcoming death of bookstores “irresponsible” and “bizarre.” From Smart Company.

Apple Bypass: How publishers can get around Apple’s App store with HTML5 Web apps. From Mediashift.

Book Flogger: The Philadelphia Inquirer looks at how an author must flog her book daily to promote it.

Che Diary: An unreleased Che Guevara diary has been released in Cuba. From the Guardian.

Barnes & Slowble: A survey finds that B&N has some of the slowest customer service among e-tailers.

The ‘Waste Land’ Model: Salon looks at how the new T.S. Eliot app is the best example yet of a book app.

Test Your Literature IQ…How Well Do You Really Know Books?

Gabe Habash -- June 14th, 2011

Let’s say it’s a slow afternoon at work. Let’s say you like books. You can’t read at work, because that’d be too obvious. So what do you do?

There aren’t enough literary timewasters online (you can only paste so many text chunks into I Write Like before you get angry at seeing you write just like Dan Brown), but there is Sporcle.

Sporcle is a massive quiz website. How massive? 6,000 quizzes (and almost 200,000 user-created quizzes). Luckily for bookworms out there, there’s a category for “Literature.” 

Here are some of our favorite quizzes at PW to get you started:

*Can you name these books from their famous opening lines?

*And how about from their last page lines?

*How many of the Modern Library 100 can you name?

*Can you name the works of literature from their less exciting versions?

*And something just for the book lover who also happens to love cats.

Just don’t blame us if your work productivity plummets.