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Archives: April 2009

Featured Book of Color

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Award-winning illustrator, Kadir Nelson is my Featured “Author of Color” today. In his book, Change he portrays simple sketches that take one back to the days when life was simple. In almost a child-like vision, we’re able to see this historic event of Barack Obama’s ascension into office in terms anyone can understand.

In a small formatted book, this book is a wonderful addition to anyone who’s collecting Barack Obama memorabilia.

A two-time recipient of the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award and the Caldecott Honor, Kadir Nelson is one to watch and likely will end his career with a body of work that will be talked about for years to come.

Jeff Rivera is the author of Forever My Lady and founder of www.GumboWriters.com

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Online Poll Estimates 70 Percent of Kindle Readers Are Over 40

amazon_kindle_21.jpgFollowing a straw poll of 700 Amazon Kindle users, CNET estimated that seventy percent of the digital reader’s users are over forty-years-old.

While the article doesn’t claim that the poll is scientific, the study should make publishers think about where to target their e-book resources. If these numbers are believed, only 15 percent of all Amazon Kindle users are under 30-years-old. Is the Kindle 2′s $359 price-tag keeping out younger readers?

Here’s more from the post: “Like I said in my previous post, if you look at the Amazon thread, a lot of senior folks bought the Kindle–and now the Kindle 2–partially because the digital reader is easier to handle than regular books for arthritis sufferers. It also helps that you can increase the font size, if you have trouble viewing small print in books.”

Anne Waldman Saves the Chapbook

“We didn’t wait around to be discovered. We discovered ourselves,” poet Anne Waldman told Galleycat–reviving the singular art of the poetry chapbook.

In this video interview, the celebrated poet explains what she learned about self-publishing over the course of her career. In addition to writing, Waldman co-founded of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa Institute with Allen Ginsberg–a fitting teacher to conclude National Poetry Month.

Last week Honor Moore, editor of “Poems from the Women’s Movement,” hosted a poetry reading at Saint Peter’s Church in Manhattan–bringing together generations of renowned poets to celebrate the release of the Library of America anthology. GalleyCat interviewed a number of these poets, including Erica Jong about the lack of publishing parity and Honor Moore about how “Male Approval Desire” hobbles women.

Richard & Judy Release Summer Reading List

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UK television hosts and literary taste-makers Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan announced their summer reading list this morning. The reading series will open with “Past Imperfect” by Julian Fellowes on May 13, followed with “Guernica” by Dave Boling on May 20.

Bookseller has the complete list of eight lucky authors. Earlier this week, a drop in sales by the celebrity duo’s book picks was reported.

Here’s more: “Each week the couple will rate and review a title, joined by two celebrity guest critics. Actors Joanna Lumley and Dominic West are already lined up to review Fellowes’ book.”

Edwidge Danticat and Salman Rushdie Headline PEN World Voices Festival

DanticatEdwidge.jpgEarlier this spring, Salman Rushdie bemoaned America’s “paucity” of translated works, but the PEN World Voices Festival’s headline reading featured writers from Hungary, India, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Canada. Most of the headliners focused on raw and violent significance of the theme: “Evolution/Revolution.

Péter Nádas read about a political execution, Sergio Ramírez pondered murder in Nicaragua, and Rushdie studied a fictional Islamic guerrilla training camp. Raja Shehadeh held the Cooper Union crowd in rapt attention with a tense meeting between a Palestinian and a pot-smoking Israeli soldier in the West Bank. “This beautiful day and your gun don’t go together,” the main character tells the soldier, initiating a suspenseful conversation beside an idyllic river.

Author Edwidge Danticat (pictured) studied a different kind of culture clash. She read the Haitian poem “Tourist” by Felix Morisseau-Leroy, which opened with these powerful words: “Don’t take my picture, tourist / I’m too ugly / Too dirty / Too skinny / Don’t take my picture, white man.”

(For more PEN Fest coverage, check out these book trailer tips.)

Everything You Wanted to Know About Wolverine But Were Afraid to Ask

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When comics fans think Wolverine, they often think Chris Claremont: The author (seen here at far left) spent 15 years writing the adventures of the X-Men for Marvel Comics, as well as an acclaimed series starring the metal-clawed mutant that was illustrated by Frank Miller. On Wednesday night, Claremont dropped by the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art for a panel discussion with Matthew K. Manning (center), the author of Wolverine: Inside the World of the Living Weapon, an illustrated guide to the character’s history that coincides with the release of X-Men Origins: Wolverine tomorrow.

Joining Claremont and Manning were Karl Erickson and Peter Sanderson of MOCCA, and Susan Stockman of DK Publishing.

(photo: Jennifer Wendell)

Arthur C. Clarke Award Winner Announced

song_large.jpgNovelist Ian R. MacLeod has won the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Science Fiction. His novel, “Song of Time,” took the £2,009 award for England’s prestigious literary prize.

According to the Guardian, the shortlist included “Anathem” by Neal Stephenson and “Martin Martin’s On the Other Side” by Mark Wernham. In other award news, Ursula K. Le Guin recently won her sixth Nebula Award.

Arthur C. Clarke Award judicial chair Paul Billinger explained the choice: “This was a very strong shortlist and it was a particularly intense and long shortlist meeting this year … What swung it in the end [for "Song of Time"] was the emotion, the feeling from it–and the characterisation.”

Poet Craig Arnold Disappears in Japan

arnoldcraig.jpgUS poet Craig Arnold disappeared while climbing a volcano in Japan on April 26, and literary types around the world have rallied to keep up the search for the missing author.

By Japanese law, rescuers are only required to search for three days, and friends worry that the search could end prematurely. Arnold was living in Japan with a U.S.-Japan Friendship Commission’s U.S.-Japan Creative Artists Exchange Fellowship, and has written two books of poetry: “Shells” and “Made Flesh.” UPDATE: Friends and family have created this Facebook page following the search.

Here’s more from a report on HTML Giant: “He had traveled to the island to visit the volcano, as he has been working on a book on the subject of volcanoes for some time. His plan was to stay only one night and leave the next day. (Craig has visited many volcanoes around the world in recent years as is very experienced with visiting them.)” (Link via, photo via)

How to Build a Better Literary Panel Discussion

14648.jpgHow do you build a better literary panel discussion? The NY Observer talked to a star-studded line-up of literary experts at the opening gala for the PEN World Voices Festival, getting some varied answers to that burning question.

New Yorker festival organizer Rhonda Sherman explained that journalists and authors David Remnick, George Packer, and Adam Gopnik are some of the best moderators in the business. PEN American Center President Francine Prose (pictured) recalled a recent panel that lasted, amazingly, five-and-a-half hours.

Sherman also offered this sage advice: “In general, it’s not a party unless there’s blood on the floor … There needs to be tension on a panel. You need to have some disagreement. If everyone agrees on the panel, it’s a total snooze-a-thon.” (Via Literary Saloon)

The Barack Obama Book Club

netherland.jpgPresident Barack Obama is reading Joseph O’Neill‘s “Netherland” right now, the NY Times reports–more good news for the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award winner.

This bit of presidential intelligence came out at the end of a much longer interview about the economy, but journalist David Leonhardt thought the tidbit was worth including at the top of the piece. Last week novelist Colson Whitehead discovered that the President had already read his book.

Here’s Whitehead’s happy Tweet: “Nexis find: Chicago Sun Times 1/22/03, in Meet Obama Q&A: Last Movie Seen…Last Good Book Read: John Henry Days [!]” (Via Afterword)

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