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Archives: June 2009

UnBeige Makes the Kidd/Vanderbilt Connection

It’s no secret that Stephanie Murg, the co-editor of mediabistro.com’s design industry blog, UnBeige, is a huge Chip Kidd fan (just like us!), so we weren’t surprised to see her writing about the cover Kidd designed for Obsession, an “erotic tale” by Gloria Vanderbilt, which features striking photography of mannequin heads from the author’s personal collection (which Murg links thematically to an earlier Kidd cover for a Haruki Murakami novel). UnBeige also showcases the first page of the novel—Kidd created the interior look-and-feel as well as the cover—so you may want to check that post out…

Literati Show Their Pride at LGBT Parade

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Photographer Miriam Berkley went to last Sunday’s Gay Pride parade along Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue where she spotted bestselling novelist Susan Isaacs (top row, with the hat) holding up a banner for the National Organization of Women and historian Blanche Wiesen Cook (bottom row, center) being interviewed by a member of Queers for Economic Justice. That’s Virginia Woolf scholar Jean Mills and playwright Clare Coss on either side of Cook, by the way…

The parade took place on the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, widely recognized as the tipping point which set the modern gay rights movement in motion.

Dr. Askhari Johnson Hodari

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What I appreciated about my Featured “Book of Color” Pick of the Day is that in The African Book of Names it is more than just a list of 5000 African names. There is a meaning behind each name and it is apparent that the author, Dr. Askhari Johnson Hodari, put a lot of time and attention into choosing each and every one of these names.

More than just a baby book, it is noted that many prominent people in history changed their names later in life. People such as Sojourner Truth, Muhammad Ali and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar all took names as adults.

Dr. Hodari is also one of the most sought-after experts on African names and for over 20 years has consulted in the naming and or renaming of hundreds of babies, children and adults.

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

B&N Faces Amazon in App Store

bnapp.jpgIn its debut today, the brand-new Barnes & Noble iPhone app hit the number three spot on the “Top Free Apps” list in Apple App Store’s “Books” category–going head-to-head with two Amazon digital reader applications.

Today Barnes & Noble Bookstore launched their first iPhone app, a way to shop (and read reviews) via smartphone. Readers can also access web-only extras like videos, book lists, and information about 50,000 in-store events around the country. The free app is the third most popular free offering in the Books category, followed by Amazon’s Kindle for iPhone and Amazon owned e-reader, Stanza.

Here’s the gee-whiz special feature, from the release: “Barnes & Noble has partnered with LinkMe Mobile from Evryx Technologies, Inc. and Spotlight Mobile, Inc. so that users can simply snap a photo to search millions of products. Using the iPhone or iPod touch camera, just snap a photo of the front cover and within seconds get product details, editorial reviews, and customer ratings–even find and reserve a copy in the store closest to you.”

Inside Michael Jackson’s Library

moonwalk1.jpgThe late pop singer Michael Jackson published three books during his lifetime, and read like a writer–he reportedly owned 10,000 books and shopped at Los Angeles bookstores throughout his career.

According to an LA Times interview with the former owners of Dutton’s Books, Jackson would occasionally visit the Brentwood bookstore. He gravitated towards the poetry section, and his favorite poet was Ralph Waldo Emerson.

The article also quoted Bob Sanger, Jackson’s lawyer: “We talked about psychology, Freud and Jung, Hawthorne, sociology, black history and sociology dealing with race issues … But he was very well read in the classics of psychology and history and literature . . . Freud and Jung — go down the street and try and find five people who can talk about Freud and Jung.”

Bernard Madoff Sentenced; Books To Come

logo-main.gifFederal judge Denny Chin sentenced Bernard Madoff to 150 years in prison today. In March, Madoff plead guilty to eleven criminal counts related to his collapsed Ponzi scheme.

The WSJ reports that the judge approved a “preliminary forfeiture order” of $170 billion against the former investor, reportedly leaving him “penniless.” There’s nothing left to do except write a book. Back in January, eight different writers were shopping books about the scandal.

The website DailyLit has already serialized a book about the Madoff scandal, here’s a link: “The stranger-than-fiction story of how one well-respected money manager built a business empire over decades by means of a classic Ponzi scheme. (This is a fraudulent investment strategy which pays returns to early investors with money put in later by subsequent investors.)”

Literary Internet Reacts to Alice Hoffman’s Tweet

As GalleyCat editor Ron Hogan explained so well this morning, novelist Alice Hoffman made waves in the Twitter-stream yesterday when she published critic Roberta Silman‘s telephone number and email address on Twitter–urging her fans to respond to a review in The Boston Globe.

The Twitter page with the post in question has disappeared but Hoffman still uses this Twitter page. The post generated a long stream of responses about the heightened interaction between authors, critics, and readers in the 21st Century.

This morning, three MediaBistro editors (no strangers to reader criticism themselves) debated this Twitter-versy during the Morning Media Menu. In addition, Afterward, Edward Champion, Literary Saloon, and Gawker analyzed the tweet read ’round the literary world.

Wattpad Launches Google Android Application

wattpad2.jpgThe writing website Wattpad launched an app for Google Android smartphones today, bringing billions of pages from the site’s library to mobile phone readers.

Since 2006, Wattpad has focused on creating a community of authors and readers sharing stories across digital platforms. According to a company release, the site has 2.5 million visits every month between the website and mobile site. Readers can access Wattpad on 1,000 different phone models including Nokia, BlackBerry, Apple iPhone, Google Android, Motorola, and Sony.

Here’s a statement from Wattpad COO Eva Lau: “With over 20 new Android-based phones available before the end of 2009, Android has definitely reached critical mass … We are extremely pleased to bring the Wattpad experience to all Android users.”

Read Your “Texts From Last Night” in a Book

tfln.jpgThe curators of a web-based collection of bad text messages, “Texts From Last Night,” just scored a deal with Penguin’s Gotham Books–giving readers a book-length collection of texts like “I just found ‘pokemon orgy’ in my search history” and a vast library of NSFW messages.

The site’s creators were represented by William Morris Endeavor’s Erin Malone, the agent behind the book, “Stuff White People Like.” The NY Observer looks at the deal and profiles Gotham editor, Patrick Mulligan. The editor has turned a number of blogs into books, including “Chuck Norris Facts” and “I Can Haz Cheezburger.”

Here’s a quote from Mulligan, explaining his method: “You have to be confident that you can curate the material in such a way that it still hits its audience while also taking advantage of the book medium. For the books that I’ve worked on … my aim is that the person in the bookstore who picks up a copy will fall in love with the material the same way as someone who stumbles onto the website.”

Reprinting Michael Jackson

Moonwalker-The-Storybook-cover.jpgIn the wake of Michael Jackson‘s tragic death last week, Macmillan decided to reprint 85,000 copies of Michael Jackson: The Magic and the Madness–a biography by J. Randy Taraborrelli.

According to Bookseller, the book has jumped to the top of the Amazon bestseller list, and is currently listed out-of-stock in the UK. Last week GalleyCat collected the books Jackson wrote during his lifetime, and we wonder if any reprints are scheduled for these long out-of-print titles.

Here’s more from the article: “However, no new book on Jackson appears to have been commissioned since Taraborrelli’s book, and this is the only title on the singer in Amazon.co.uk’s top 100 list.”

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