Mega-seller Dan Brown’s next novel, which comes out May 14, features Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon on another code-cracking quest, this one inspired by Dante’s seminal poem “The Inferno.” Check out the cover, which Random House just revealed today. What do you think?
If you’ve been following recent tech rumors, then you’ve heard Apple has a roughly 7″ version of its iPad tablet in the works. Rumors say the company is planning to unveil the device, which will compete with smaller tablets like the Kindle Fire and Google Nexus 7, on October 23rd. Today, Apple sent out invites to the tech media featuring the graphic above (via Engadget) for an event to be held next Tuesday, the 23rd. Most likely, Apple will be making a strong push into the textbook market with this new device and hoping to lure new iPad users with a lower-priced device. We’ll keep you posted as we know more.
Two beloved poets passed away this week: Nobel winner Wislawa Szymborska, who died yesterday at 88, and Surrealist painter turned poet Dorothea Tanning, who died on Tuesday at 101. Both women led extraordinary, and extraordinarily different lives. By way of remembrance, we wanted to simply quote a few lines from a poem by each…
from “Miracle Fair” by Wislawa Szymborska:
A miracle, for what else could you call it:
today the sun rose at three-fourteen
and will set at eight-o-one.
A miracle, less surprising than it should be:
even though the hand has fewer than six fingers,
it still has more than four.
A miracle, just take a look around:
the world is everywhere.
An additional miracle, as everything is additional:
from “Artist, Once” by Dorothea Tanning:
enfolded as in a pregnancy,
those not-yet-painted works
to be. They, hanging fire,
slow to come—to come
out—being deep inside her,
in her warm dark, took
their time and promised.
Fast forward. Trapped in now,
she’s not all that sure.
Compared to what entwined
her mind before the test,
before the raw achievement
pat, secure—oh, such bounty
to be lived, yet untasted,
undefined—all the rest…
We’ve just released our Best Books of 2011, the 100 adult and 40 children’s titles of 2011 we think everyone should read. Now we want to know what you think. Vote on which of our top 10 picks is your favorite in the poll below, or write in your favorite 2011 book. We’ll announce the winning book in an upcoming issue of PW!
Leading up to the November 7th publication of PW’s Best Books of 2011, our reviews editors are blogging about some of their favorites from our top 100. Here’s the latest post:
The biggest surprise in poetry for 2011 is this second book by Kathleen Ossip. It’s got everything one could wish for in a new collection of poems, except, of course, like all fulfilled wishes, one didn’t know one had wished for it until the wish was granted. The poems, lyric essays, poems in prose and harder to classify pieces all bring with them a sense of the past–poetry’s long tradition and history, as well as history in general: “We were born in a tangle,” begins the title poem, which transmutes the tension of the unending US-Russia deadlock into the realm of the personal: “It was not that there was no enemy./ It was that we would never come to blows.”
This is a highly personal book, make no mistake, but set against the backdrop of the very public anxiety of the post 9/11 world, in which enemies are everywhere and nowhere.
The best stuff here is in the mode of the lyric poem, though–taut, tight, leapy lyrics that pack a ton of punch per inch:
I looked in the family and there was Armageddon too.
(Ego, undiluted, waddled fat and scared upon the earth.)
Hopelessly, we listed characters: Princess Rayanne, Hell-No,
the chunky boy with X’s for eye. Far too hip for this trip,
Avery read the encyclopedia. Removed her lifejacket.
Groped for her father’s wisdom. Laid end to end,
her mother’s love would no road pave.
Look how many registers the poem moves in and out of, how many time periods, how many tiny senses of the world. And yet this is the family, stuck together, stuck on vacation, stuck in their own minds, looking for a way in and out. It’s just beautiful. And terrifying.
10:51: Kindle Fire will cost $199. Ships November 15.
Bezos keeps stressing the notion of “premium products and non-premium prices.”
10: 44: The browser on Kindle fire will be something new:
Bezos says Amazon asked how it could use its server power to improve the speed of mobile Web browsing. A new product called Amazon Silk, a split browser that lives half on Amazon’s cloud computing systems, half on Kindle Fire.
10:43: This won’t kill the iPad, but it will be the first device to compete…
10:37: Bezos takes aim at Apple, saying the model of backing up content is “broken” as is the idea of syncing. All content on Kindle Fire is backed up in the cloud.
Whispersync works with all content on Kindle Fire. Pause a movie on the device, pick up where you left off at home on another device.
10:34: “Is there some way we can bring all of these things together into a remarkable product offering that customers would love?” -Bezos
“The answer is yes: It’s called Kindle fire.”
7″ IPS display, duel core processor. 14.6 oz, all the content.
10:29: Now Bezos is running down the various facets of Amazon’s media businesses: Amazon Prime, streaming video, MP3 store, cloud player. Lead-up to a tablet that synthesizes all of these?
10:27: Now Bezos is talking about how Amazon has spent 15 years building its media business.
Customers who don’t want touch can get a $79 Kindle! This devices ships today.
Pre-order starts today and ships 11/21. “We’re going to sell many millions of these,” says Bezos.
Also announcing Kindle Touch 3G. Same but with 3G. $99 was the wi-fi. 3G is $149.
Kindle touch will cost $99! The fabled $99 e-reader arrives.
10:18: New feature called “x-ray” that lets you look at “the bones of the book,” by which Bezos means looking up various historical references and real characters mentioned on a particular page. Amazon has “pre-calculated all of the interesting phrases” in a book, so along with the book comes a “side-file” with all of this information included.
10:14: Unveils Kindle Touch with infra-red touch display. This is a surprise, sort of…no tablet yet. But this is very cool. New kind of touch display that, Bezos says, enables readers to switch hands. With infra-red touch, Amazon has revised the tap zones so it’s easier to turn pages no matter how it’s held.
Bezos is running down all the things Amazon has enabled the Kindle e-reader to do: e-ink, real page numbers, Kindle singles,
10:05: Jeff Bezos takes the stage…
10:03: The event opens with a video of cool professionals touting the virtues of the old-fashioned Kindle.
10:01: Nuthin’ doing yet. Some speculation: I think we’re likely to see an inexpensive, lightweight tablet that will be, like the Kindle, a pipeline into Amazon’s various content stores and fairly low-powered in terms of other functions. Not expecting, for instance, a fancy Web-browsing experience. This will be the t
Someone’s coming on stage and taking a cover off of something on the podium…
9:50: Things haven’t started yet, but we’re seated in front of a stage with a big Amazon logo projected on the screen. The conversation here is all about whether and what kind of a big deal this announcement might be. Also, lots of complaining about the cold and the heat while waiting to get in. Things are supposed to start at 10.
9:25: I’m here with a whole lot of other journalists waiting to get in to the Amazon event where we are expecting to see the unveiling of Amazon’s tablet offering, rumored to be called the Kindle Fire.
The British Library just released a really, really cool iOS app that lets readers read books from the library’s 19th Century collection in the original, as it were. It’s called, unsurprisingly, British Library 19th Century Collection. These are gorgeously presented scans of the original texts from the library. You get to see everything, from the covers to the endpapers and everything in between. The reading experience is frankly just stunning, and offers something not too far from what it would really be like to hold these rare editions in your hands. Here, for instance, is me reading the first page of The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe:
So, we’ve got 10 codes that will give you free access to everything in this app. Head over to our Facebook Page (and please “Like” us while you’re there) and see if you can grab one from the note posted there. But first you’ve got to download the app itself, which is free (this link will take you to iTunes). Then enter the code inside the app for free access to the gated contents. We’ll give out five codes in the morning and five in the afternoon.
There’s nothing more fun than the old-fashioned desert-island books poll–y’know: what are the five books you’d take if you were being shipped off and marooned on a desert island. An e-bo0k-age version of that poll occurred to me this morning: what are the five books you keep in the cloud?
Here’s what I mean: are there five books (of any kind) that you want to (or actually do) have on your e-reader, iPhone, iPad, Google eBookstore account, Kobo app, Nook Color, etc, at all times, just in case, for book emergencies? The cloud lets us keep these all-important books handy without having to carry around a heavy bag full of books.
This is my list of five e-books, some of which I actually have in my cloud-library, some of which I wish I could have. I’d love to know your five in the comments below (and I know it’s a lot of poetry, but what can I do? It’s what I like…):
1) The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens (I’ve got this one, in a Kindle edition from Random House)
2) Mr. Sammler’s Planet by Saul Bellow (My favorite novel, but currently unavailable in digital form…ay!)
3) The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson (Believe it or not, while there are lots of public domain editions, the authoritative Johnson edition is not available digitally)
4) The Collected Poems of Robert Frost (Same problem as Emily Dickinson)
5) The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (There are lots of good e-book editions of this one…)
What are your five desert island books in the cloud?
It’s time for another iOS app giveaway. PW has been trying to bring some attention to app developers we think are doing cool things and also giving away a few free copies of the apps to lucky readers who race over to our Facebook page and claim a promo code before they’re all gone.
This week, we’ve got codes for Penguin’s Family, developed by OceanHouse Media, which has been bringing out very nice app versions of classic Dr. Seuss, Bernstein Bears and other books. The apps are great for kids, with read-aloud feature and smart touch screen enhancements that let kids explore language and pictures at the same time, while still offering a pretty traditional book-like experience.
Penguin’s Family is part of OceanHouse’s series of Smithsonian apps–the other is about the mighty T-Rex. Penguin’s Family, written by Kathleen M. Hollenbeck and Illustrated by Daniel J. Stegos, follows the story of a family of Humboldt penguins as they teach their newborn how to survive in the world.
We’ve got 10 codes to give away, and we’ll post five today and five tomorrow in a note on our Facebook page. They’re first-come-first-serve, so head over there now and grab one!
In anticipation of upcoming state budget cuts, the University of California Press has elected to suspend its award-winning poetry series, New California Poetry, according to LA Times Jacket Copy. The series, which is extremely well-regarded in the poetry world, won some mainstream attention recently when one of its authors, Keith Waldrop, won the National Book Award for his 2009 collection Transcendental Studies: A Trilogy.
UC Press director Alison Mudditt told Jacket Copy that most books in the series “sell around 1,000 copies” and that the series “requires substantial support.” 1,000 copies represents typical, and, in many cases, strong sales for a poetry title, and much poetry is published by nonprofit presses, so UC’s experience is pretty standard for poetry publishing.
This news will come as a significant blow to many poetry readers and publishers. According to Jacket Copy, the series will publish three titles slated for 2012, and the press is seeking funding to relaunch the series in the future.