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Archives: June 2010

Christopher Hitchens Postpones Book Tour for Chemotherapy

hitchens.pngJournalist and author Christopher Hitchens had canceled many events on his book tour recently, generating a round of speculative blog posts.

At Vanity Fair, the author provided his reason: “I have been advised by my physician that I must undergo a course of chemotherapy on my esophagus. This advice seems persuasive to me. I regret having had to cancel so many engagements at such short notice.”

Earlier this year, we wrote about Hitchens’ speech for the PEN World Voices festival, as the great author urged Americans not to be stalled by terrorist threats: “Somebody told me this evening that perhaps attendance was down at this event because of an attempted atrocity in Times Square. If that was true, I would both be depressed and I would take it as an opportunity to align what I want to talk about…the contagion of fear.” (Via Sarah Weinman)

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The Twilight Saga: Eclipse in Book Reviews

eclipseminicover.jpgEver since novelist Stephen King pointedly remarked “Stephenie Meyer can’t write worth a darn. She’s not very good,” criticizing the writing abilities of the Twilight series author has become a book reviewing sport.

To prepare for the release of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse adaptation, we rounded up a few reviews. Share your favorite Twilight reviews in the comments section.

Jane L wrote this review at Dear Author: “It is hard to say at what point I realized that this would be my last Meyer novel, at least my last Meyer novel narrated by Bella. Bella is simply too immature of a character, the conflicts too false, for me to want to continue this series. The unnatural way in which this series was elongated through the insertion of this supposed love triangle has killed even my desire to re-read Twilight, which was one of my books of the year in 2005.”

Liesl Schillinger took a stab in The New York Times: “The author is well aware of the jarring contradiction between her real and imaginary lives. On stepheniemeyer.com, her Web site (created to satisfy her ravening fans), she admits, ‘I have been asked more than once, ‘What’s a nice Mormon girl like you doing writing about vampires?” Lucky for her, while her religion’s teachings may frown on caffeine and alcohol for humans, the Word of Wisdom has a flexible attitude toward human blood for monsters; and there’s no ban on big love in the mythical world.”

Read more

Rachel Vogel Joins Movable Type Literary Group

mtlg.pngAgent Rachel Vogel has joined Movable Type Literary Group as an associate agent and international rights manager.

In her new post, she will manage a client list of “upmarket fiction and narrative non-fiction.” Previously, Vogel worked at Lippincott Massie McQuilken representing authors like Gina Shaw (Cancer, Baby: You Can Have Children After Cancer) and Rebecca Dana (Jujitsu Rabbi and the Godless Blonde). In addition, she worked as a junior scout at Maria B Campbell Associates and a production assistant at Henry Holt & Company.

Movable Type co-founder Jason Allen Ashlock had this statement: “Rachel’s going to be a major asset for us, and we’re particularly thrilled with her extensive experience in international rights … Her energy and optimism about the future of books are a perfect match for us. We’re confident that our authors will benefit from Rachel’s intelligence and that editors will be impressed with her excellent taste.”

Fox Chicago News Attacks Libraries

In an inflammatory piece entitled “Are Libraries Necessary, or a Waste of Tax Money?” Fox Chicago News attacked the local library system. You can watch the full report in the video embedded above. UPDATE: We rounded up a few reader responses to this article here.

Here’s an excerpt: “They eat up millions of your hard earned tax dollars. It’s money that could be used to keep your child’s school running. So with the internet and e-books, do we really need millions for libraries?”

Between misguided news articles and budget cuts, your local library needs your help. Check out our massive Best Library People on Twitter list to support the librarians near you. (Via Toby Greenwalt)

English Soccer Coach Will Not Write Memoir, Not Even For A Million Pounds

fabio.pngAccording to The Sun (an ever reliable British tabloid) English soccer coach Fabio Capello has refused an offer of 1 million pounds to write a memoir about the team’s 2010 World Cup Campaign.

According to The Sun, Creative Artists Agency’s Charlie Stillitano approached Capello (pictured) with the offer, but Capello turned it down. A “close friend” of Capello told The Sun that CAA kept pressing, and that Capello held his firm decision even after England was eliminated from the World Cup on Sunday.

Good for him. Crazy as it may seem, some people just don’t want to write tell-all memoirs.

Amazon Crash Victims

amazonlogocom.pngYesterday readers around the country were forced to hike to their local independent bookstores to get their literary fix. For one afternoon, the mighty bookseller site Amazon experienced technical difficulties.

Service has since returned to normal, but a few GalleyCat readers wrote in with tales of book publicity woe stemming from the short-lived technical difficulties–illustrating how much the publishing industry depends on the online bookseller. Share your thoughts about the Great Amazon Crash of 2010 in the comments section.

Debut novelist Tracy Davis wrote: “I had this huge campaign aimed for today for all my Facebook and Twitter friends who had bought my novel and loved it to tell all their friends about my book My Husband Ran Off with the Nanny and God Do I Miss Her. DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY TEXTS AND E-MAILS I RECEIVED COMPLAINING THAT THE NOVEL WASN’T EVEN AVAILABLE???? I looked like an idiot and lost a ton of sales, as well as my credibility!”

Author Dr. Marc Kossmann had his own conspiracy theory about his new book, Hey, You… Don’t Stand Out — Get Out!: “Talk about bad timing. We scheduled a massive PR campaign for our book launch today! We hit #2 best seller status in the entrepreneurship category at 3:37 pm, and then all hell broke loose. Now, I’m not saying we crashed Amazon… but…”

Elena Kagan Dodges Twilight Saga: Eclipse Question

eclipseminicover.jpgIn an uncomfortable bit of political theater, Senator Amy Klobuchar attempted to ask Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan a question about The Twilight Saga: Eclipse adaptation. The adaptation of Stephenie Meyer‘s beloved novel arrives in theaters today.

The Washington Post has the complete exchange: “‘I keep wanting to ask you about the famous camp of Edward vs. Jacob or the vampire vs. the werewolf,’ Klobuchar said. ‘I wish you wouldn’t,’ Kagan responded.”

Follow this link to watch a video clip of the exchange. Last week we reported on blog tour, where she made the surprising (or not surprising) confession: “I’m really burned out on vampires.” (Via Ron Charles)

Double Duty: Penguin is Looking for Not One, But Two Senior Designers

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penguinlog063010.jpgWe’ve got a two-for-one deal today. Penguin is looking to fill two senior designer positions — one for Viking and Penguin, and the other for its Putnam, Perigee and Avery imprints. As you can imagine, this gig focuses on designing book covers much like last week’s “Work of Art” challenge, only better.

The two best candidates will have the opportunity to work with both fiction and non-fiction titles, while designing for both hardcover and paperback. Your primary duty will be to create original art, but you’ll also be developing pre-press files for print and be required to maintain a grasp on competitive covers.

As much as you’ll be using your own creative ideas for each project, you’ll also need to collaborate with illustrators, photographers, outside designers and photo stock houses, so make sure you can play nice with others. If this sounds like the job for you, polish up your portfolio and apply here.

RELATED: Attend Mediabistro Career Circus on August 4 in New York City to find out where the jobs are, develop a career plan and engage with media peers and leaders.

Libraries Expand eBook Offerings In Organized Effort

open library.pngThe Wall Street Journal has a story about a new effort by libraries to expand the selection of titles available as free eBook loans.

The project, led by the nonprofit digital library Internet Archive, calls for “a one-stop website [openlibrary.org] for checking out e-books, including access to more than a million scanned public domain books and a catalog of thousands of contemporary e-book titles available at many public libraries.”

Here’s how it works: “To read the books, borrowers around the world can download and read them for free on computers or e-reading gadgets. Software renders the books inaccessible once the loan period ends.” According to the article, two-thirds of American libraries offered eBook loans last year, but those were mostly relegated to contemporary chart-toppers.

This sounds like a great idea, and we’re excited to see it come to life. Of course it bears similarities to Google’s ongoing effort to digitize everything, ever, and the Author’s Guild–which was not a fan of Google’s incessant scanning–is keeping an eye on it. That’s good. But for now, the article gets us excited. Much as we love brick-and-mortar libraries, we can’t help but imagine how much money we’ll save on late fees when our eBooks automatically return themselves.

OR Books Rushes Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Title

deepwater.jpgOR Books and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) will team up to rush a book about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Entitled Deepwater Horizon: The Oil Disaster, Its Aftermath, and Our Future, publication is set for September 20, 2010.

NRDC is an environmental group with 1.3 million members, and executive director Peter Lehner will co-write the book with journalist Bob Deans. OR Books co-publisher John Oakes will also work closely on the project.

Lehner had this statement: “The book is not so much about BP as it is about how we got to the point where drilling in inacessible spots became hugely profitable for oil companies … There is a real need for an assessment of the situation that goes beyond criticizing one
company’s incompetence. Our oil addiction and how we get rid of it has to be at the heart of these discussions.”

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