Literature

Literature
8:57 am
Wed January 2, 2013

Exclusive First Read: 'A Memory Of Light,' By Robert Jordan And Brandon Sanderson

Tor Books

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 7:26 pm

Normally, we avoid dropping our readers into the middle of an established series, but we're making an exception for A Memory of Light, the final volume in one of the most epic, sprawling works of fantasy ever written — Robert Jordan's "Wheel of Time." In progress since 1990, it now stretches to 14 volumes. Jordan himself, tragically, did not live to finish the series; his widow, Harriet, chose fantasy author Brandon Sanderson to complete the last few books after Jordan's death in 2007.

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Literature
8:00 pm
Mon December 31, 2012

December 31, 2012 Shelf Discovery: Swift Run

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin hits the slopes with Laura DiSilverio’s Swift Run.

Title: Swift Run

Author: Laura DiSilverio   

Pages: 292

Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books          

ISBN: 978-0312623814

And read Kristin's full review on NightsAndWeekends.com.

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Literature
5:55 pm
Sun December 30, 2012

Author Ben Fountain's Book Picks For 2013

Ben Fountain is the author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk and the short story collection Brief Encounters With Che Guevara.
Thorne Anderson

Originally published on Sun December 30, 2012 6:33 pm

Last spring, weekends on All Things Considered spoke with author Ben Fountain just as he released his widely acclaimed first novel, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk. Later in the year, it was nominated for the National Book Award.

We asked Fountain to share with us what he's looking forward to in the book world next year. He says he's read about 25 books for release in 2013 and tells host Jacki Lyden, "The state of American fiction is really strong, at least from where I'm standing."

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Literature
7:50 am
Sun December 30, 2012

Close Out The Year With Some Best-Selling Last Words

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun December 30, 2012 5:27 pm

People often make lists of the greatest opening lines in fiction, but closing lines really appeal to me. They're your final moments with a book and can help you remember and treasure it forever.

The last weekend of the year seems an appropriate time to consider the final words of our favorite novels and short stories. Here are some that I'm especially fond of:

The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald
"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."

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Literature
11:37 am
Fri December 28, 2012

Margaret Atwood's Brave New World Of Online Publishing

Margaret Atwood has written 13 novels, including The Handmaid's Tale and Oryx and Crake.
George Whiteside

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 9:40 pm

If you're a Margaret Atwood fan — and you've got some spare change under the couch cushions — just a few dollars will get you a stand-alone episode of the new novel she's writing in serial form.

It's called Positron, and Atwood is publishing it on Byliner, a website launched last year that's one of many new sites billing themselves as platforms for writers.

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Literature
9:40 pm
Thu December 27, 2012

Change Is The Only Constant In Today's Publishing Industry

Penguin and Random House, two of the biggest players in publishing, announced in October that they would merge.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

The publishing industry has been in flux for years. First chain stores, then Amazon, then e-books — many forces have combined to create dramatic change in the traditional publishing model.

Mike Shatzkin is the founder and CEO of the publishing industry consulting firm Idea Logical. He says one of the biggest changes happening in publishing right now is the planned merger of two of the biggest players in the field, Penguin and Random House — with whispers of further mergers to come.

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Literature
4:23 pm
Thu December 27, 2012

E-Books Destroying Traditional Publishing? The Story's Not That Simple

Publishers are finding that flexible pricing on e-books can help bring in new readers.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 9:40 pm

What counts as a book these days, in a world of Kindles, Nooks and iPads — and eager talk about new platforms and distribution methods?

Traditional publishers are traveling a long and confusing road into the digital future. To begin with, here's the conventional wisdom about publishing: E-books are destroying the business model.

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Literature
4:23 pm
Thu December 27, 2012

Libraries And E-Lending: The 'Wild West' Of Digital Licensing?

About three-quarters of public libraries offer digital lending, but finding a book you want can be frustrating — every publisher has its own set of rules.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 9:40 pm

Have you ever borrowed an e-book from a library? If the answer is no, you're a member of a large majority. A survey out Thursday from the Pew Internet Project finds that only 5 percent of "recent library users" have tried to borrow an e-book this year.

About three-quarters of public libraries offer e-books, according to the American Library Association, but finding the book you want to read can be a challenge — when it's available at all.

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Literature
6:58 am
Wed December 26, 2012

Literary Iceland Revels In Its Annual 'Christmas Book Flood'

A shopper browses in a branch of the Icelandic book chain Penninn-Eymundsson.
Courtesy of Bryndís Loftsdottir

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 2:46 am

In the United States, popular holiday gifts come and go from year to year. But in Iceland, the best Christmas gift is a book — and it has been that way for decades.

Iceland publishes more books per capita than any other country in the world, with five titles published for every 1,000 Icelanders. But what's really unusual is the timing: Historically, a majority of books in Iceland are sold from late September to early November. It's a national tradition, and it has a name: Jolabokaflod, or the "Christmas Book Flood."

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Literature
10:41 am
Tue December 25, 2012

No Sugar Plums Here: The Dark, Romantic Roots Of 'The Nutcracker'

E.T.A. Hoffmann's original story, "Nutcracker and Mouse King," is darker and spookier than the ballet version most people know.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 4:20 pm

This is the time of year when one man's work is widely — if indirectly — celebrated. His name used to be hugely famous, but nowadays, it draws blank stares, even from people who know that work. We're speaking about E.T.A. Hoffmann, original author of The Nutcracker.

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Literature
8:02 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

December 24, 2012 Shelf Discovery: Father Gaetano's Puppet Catechism

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin finds trouble in the toy box in Father Gaetano’s Puppet Catechism by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden.

Title: Father Gaetano’s Puppet Catechism

Author: Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden           

Pages: 163

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press       

ISBN: 978-0312644741

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Literature
4:43 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

Staff Picks: Our Favorite Music Books Of 2012

Nishant Choksi

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 11:55 am

In 2012, writers who tackled musical topics dove deep, got weird, burrowed into a niche; we joyfully followed them to depths we never would have expected when the year began. We devoured works of criticism, history, biography and the Zen of John Cage and Tony Bennett.

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Literature
4:18 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

David Sedaris Reads From His 'Santaland Diaries'

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 6:30 am

You might not expect "Santa's Helper" to be a career-altering gig, but for David Sedaris, it changed everything. The writer and humorist spent a season working at Macy's as a department store elf. He described his short tenure as Crumpet the Elf in "The Santaland Diaries," an essay that he read on Morning Edition in 1992.

Instantly, a classic was born. Sedaris' reading has become an NPR holiday tradition. Click the "Listen" link above to hear Sedaris read his tale.

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Literature
4:14 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

5 Young Adult Novels That You'll Never Outgrow

Nishant Choksi

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 4:05 pm

This was a strange and wonderful year for young adult fiction — but also a confused and divisive one. We learned that 55 percent of young adult fiction was read by adults. Debates raged over what constituted a young adult novel versus an adult novel. Apologetic grown-ups sneaked into the teen section of the bookstore, passing subversive teens pattering into the adult paranormal and literature and mystery shelves.

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Literature
6:01 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

Don't Hide Your Harlequins: In Defense Of Romance

fortunes of love

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 9:03 am

Hi, my name's Bobbi. I read romance.

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Literature
6:00 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

Romantic Reads From Shakespeare To Steampunk (Heavy On The Steam)

Nishant Choksi

Originally published on Sun December 23, 2012 12:41 pm

My favorite "best of the year" list is the Bad Sex in Fiction award, even — or perhaps because — it eschews the romance genre. This year's winner was just announced: Nancy Huston's Infrared, whose heroine celebrates the "countless treasures between [her] legs." But I'm not writing a Best Romance of the Year list, because I don't think the idea even works for my genre.

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Literature
5:58 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

In 2012's Best Mysteries, Mean Girls Rule

Nishant Choksi

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 10:56 am

Mean girls and their ingenious female creators top my mysteries and thrillers list this year. Maybe it takes the special discernment of a female writer (who's presumably suffered through the "Queen Bee and Wannabee" cliques of middle school) to really capture the cruel mental machinations that can hide behind a pair of shining eyes and a lip-glossed smile.

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Literature
4:17 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

Self-Publishing: No Longer Just A Vanity Project

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 5:44 am

They used to call it the "vanity press," and the phrase itself spoke volumes. Self-published authors were considered not good enough to get a real publishing contract. They had to pay to see their book in print. But with the advent of e-books, self-publishing has exploded, and a handful of writers have had huge best-sellers.

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Literature
3:58 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

In 'Red Pyramid,' Kid Heroes Take On Ancient Egypt

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 5:43 pm

If there was a recipe for the best-selling writer Rick Riordan, it would go something like this — start with a love of storytelling, fold in more than a decade of teaching middle school English, combine that with two sons of his own who don't quite share their dad's love of literature, and marinate all of that with a deep passion for mythology.

Riordan has sold tens of millions of kids' books. He hit pay dirt with the Percy Jackson series — it's about an everyday kid who has superhero powers because he's the secret son of Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea.

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Literature
8:01 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

December 17, 2012 Shelf Discovery: The Snow White Christmas Cookie

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin gets buried in holiday murder and mayhem with David Handler’s The Snow White Christmas Cookie.

Title: The Snow White Christmas Cookie          

Author: David Handler

Pages: 264

Publisher: Minotaur Books

ISBN: 978-1250004543

And read Kristin's full review on NightsAndWeekends.com.

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