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Archives: August 2010

Literary Modern Love

wordstore.JPGTwo weeks ago, GalleyCat wrote a post about Alikewise.com, a free dating site intended to connect people based on their literary compatibility. We’ve also uncovered some offline literary matchmaking.

Brooklyn’s Word Bookstore features a literary matchmaking board for literary couples to meet, greet, and potentially connect. Word calls it “Between the Covers: A Matchmaking Service for Book Lovers.” We caught up with Sherry Wasserman, senior editorial assistant at John Wiley & Sons, to find out about her experience with the matchmaking service.

Wasserman’s story began when she saw two titles she liked on hold for a customer (A Fraction of the Hole by Steve Toltz and Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman). She asked a store clerk, “Who is holding those?” and “Is he single?” Unfortunately, the gentlemen behind the books was a married man.

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Barnes & Noble to Shutter Upper West Side Superstore in NYC

barnes-noble-logo1.jpgBarnes & Noble announced today that they will shutter the Upper West Side branch–a four-story, 15-year-old bookstore.

Crain’s NY reported: “In an epic case of what goes around comes around, Barnes & Noble will follow in the footsteps of many an independent bookstore and close its four-story superstore on West 66th Street, opposite Lincoln Center. The Lincoln Triangle Store, which has an extensive music selection and a cafe in addition to books, will shut its doors at the end of January, the New York based bookseller announced Monday.”

The New York Times included a statement from the bookseller: “We want our loyal customers and booksellers to know that we are ever committed to continuing our search for a new location on the Upper West Side.”

Last week the company recorded a “consolidated net loss” of $63 million for the last quarter. $9.5 million of that came from the bookseller’s expensive, but ultimately victorious, court battle against Ron Burkle‘s investment company.

Ron Charles Takes 60 Seconds to Save Book Reviewing

Ron Charles, the fiction editor at Washington Post‘s Book World, put down his pen for a video book review last week.

He explained in the video embedded above: “I know you can’t be expected to read a whole book review in a newspaper anymore. No, you need book reviews that are fast, casual, video! So this is the first in a series of weekly video book reviews in just 60 seconds. Don’t believe me? Keep your eyes on the clock.” He tweeted the link to his YouTube upload and was met with a wave of enthusiasm.

The first video featured My Hollywood by Mona Simpson. This novel took 10 years for Simpson to complete. Her reason? “It’s the book that took me too long because it meant too much to me.”

This summer, librarian and author Michelle Zuffo created the video review site In the Stacks. Comparative literature professor Giovanna Calvino started Amateur Thursdays for video reviews as well.

Steampunk Sarah Palin

AUG100742.gifThis weekend we uncovered that image from Steampunk Palin, a one-shot comic book from Antarctic Press with a script by Fred Perry and art by Ben Dunn. Wikipedia will teach you all about steampunk if you need a refresher course.

Here’s more from the good folks at Mile High Comics: “Energy catastrophe has struck worldwide! Massive oil spills, nuclear meltdowns and more leave us desperate for viable energy sources to rebuild global society and technology. Inspired by a little tea party, Sarah Palin hits upon the answer: steam power! She begins the ‘Steam Initiative’, touting geothermal energy as the cure for what ails ya. The heads of Big Oil and Nuclear Power are less than happy with this trend, and they send their agents to do in the Rogue Republican. Luckily, she comes prepared with a set of steam-powered armor!”

The issue retails for $3.99. As Palin continues her Tea Party push, the image might come in handy. Earlier this year, artist Brian Denham gave us a peek at his cover design for the series.

6 YA Books to Read After Mockingjay

flashlightworthy.pngA week has passed since the midnight release of Mockingjay. Many readers have now finished Suzanne CollinsHunger Games trilogy.

With that in mind, Flashlight Worthy Book Recommendations posted a list of six titles to dive into post-Mockingjay. The complete list (via the Huffington Post) follows below.

Counting on our readers’ collective knowledge of books, GalleyCat Reviews regularly features curated book lists from this site. Flashlight Worthy Book Recommendations has assembled more than 390 lists–giving reading advice on everything from book club books to beach reads. Share your favorite post-Mockingjay books in the comments.

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Dick and Jane and Vampires: Behind the Scenes

dickjane.jpg

The Penguin imprint Grosset & Dunlap released Dick and Jane and Vampires this month, bringing the mash-up trend to children’s books. We caught up with Penguin designer Megan Bennett to find out how they created more than 80 mash-up images for the book.

Bennett explained: “This book was truly a collaborative project. After the author, Laura Marchesani, had brilliantly reinterpreted text from the original Dick and Jane stories to fit the addition of Vampire to the plot, it was my job to see that the illustrator did the same with the addition of Vampire into the illustrations. Laura and I worked together, using her manuscript, to compile the art suggestions for each story.

She added: “Then, I amassed a sort of digital library of original Dick and Jane illustrations from the previous stories that would be used in this book. This library was passed along to the illustrator, Tommy Hunt, with the illustration suggestions.”

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Google & Arcade Fire Launch Customized Music Video

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Today Google, Arcade Fire, and artist Chris Milk have launched a music video that actually incorporates Google Maps and Google Street View images of the viewer’s hometown into the video. The viewer enters a street address into the browser, generating a customized music video for an Arcade Fire song.

The viewing experience depends on Google’s Chrome browser, but it is a breathtaking to watch your hometown float across the screen (especially if you live far from home) as a bittersweet Arcade Fire tune plays in the background. This kind of customized video experience could have countless applications for digital books–adding better book trailers, customized maps, or new layers of story interactivity.

Check it out: “Today we’re excited to launch a musical experience made specifically for the browser. Called “The Wilderness Downtown,” the project was created by writer/director Chris Milk with the band Arcade Fire and Google. Building this project on the web and for the browser allowed us to craft an experience that is not only personalized, but also deeply personal for each viewer. “The Wilderness Downtown” takes you down memory lane through the streets you grew up in. It’s set to Arcade Fire’s new song “We Used to Wait” off their newly released album The Suburbs (which you may be familiar with, especially if you were one of 3.7 million viewers who live-streamed Arcade Fire’s concert on YouTube earlier this month). The project was built with the latest web technologies and includes HTML5, Google Maps, an integrated drawing tool, as well as multiple browser windows that move around the screen.”

Kobo Books Opens NYC Office; Ami Greko & Jan Ehrlich Join Staff

kobologo.jpgThe Canadian eBook company Kobo has opened a New York City office, building a staff “focused on publisher relations and content acquisition for the US market.”

To staff this new office, the company has hired Ami Greko as vendor relations senior manager and Jan Ehrlich as magazines and newspapers senior director.

Here’s more from the release: “With Kobo and US publishers, it’s been a long-distance relationship. Lots of planes, a river of email, plenty of phone and Skype. And like all long-distance relationships, it starts to get a little tired. Another meal at the airport. You wonder if they’re seeing someone else. You want more. Someone has to move. We asked the publishers if they could all move to Toronto. They said something about the lease on their Manhattan apartment and how they were focused on their career right now. It looks like it’s up to us.”

Guardian First Book Award Longlist Announced

guardian logo.jpgThe £10,000 Guardian First Book Award recognizes the debut publication of a writer each year. The 2010 longlist includes five fiction titles, four non-fiction titles, and one poetry collection.

The Guardian will announce the shortlist in late October, and the winner will be revealed in December. The fiction titles are: Black Mamba Boy by Nadifa Mohamed, Mr Chartwell by Rebecca Hunt, Boxer, Beetle by Ned Beauman, Things We Didn’t See Coming by Steven Amsterdam, and Your Presence is Requested at Suvanto by Maile Chapman.

The nonfiction titles on the list are Bomber County by Daniel Swift, Being Wrong by Kathryn Schulz, Romantic Moderns by Alexandra Harris, and Curfewed Night by Basharat Peer. The poetry compilation is The Floating Man by Katharine Towers.

The Guardian wrote: “Last year’s winner was the Zimbabwean writer Petina Gappah, for her collection of short stories, An Elegy for Easterly. She joined a roster of winners from the 12-year history of the award that includes Zadie Smith, Alex Ross and Jonathan Safran Foer.”

Thomas Pynchon Defends Ian McEwan Against Plagiarism

pynchonletter.jpgIn 2006, the reclusive novelist Thomas Pynchon rose to the defense of Ian McEwan during a controversy over alleged plagiarism in McEwan’s novel, Atonement.

Pynchon mailed a typewritten letter to the novelist’s British publisher, declaring: “Writers are naturally drawn, chimpanzee-like, to the color and the music of this English idiom.” The excellent Letters of Note site has a copy of the letter, where Pynchon dismissed the scandal and urged readers to be grateful for the book.

Check it out: “Memoirs of the Blitz have borne indispensable witness, and helped later generations know something of the tragedy and heroism of those days. For Mr. McEwan to have put details from one of them to further creative use, acknowledging this openly and often, and then explaining it clearly and honorably, surely merits not our scolding, but our gratitude.” (Via The Millions)

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