Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Monday, December 19, 2011
The only independent book store in Astoria selling mainstream titles is slated to close its doors for good this month.
Seaburn Bookstore has been losing money for years and its owner tried to shutter the shop last year.
But an outpouring of community support at the time — and a jump in sales — prompted the owner, Sam Chekwas, to keep the beloved store open. He even remodelled and added an Internet cafe to appeal to new customers.
But after sales began to slip again in June and he faced a five-year lease renewal and rent hike, Chekwas decided it was time to close the final chapter on his 16-year-old business.
He said he plans to open a small book shop in his Long Island City warehouse used for his independent book publishing and online sales business next year.
“I feel quite awful about it,” Chekwas said of the closing. “We gave it all we had. ... The sales were just not there to justify it.”
More and more customers were coming in asking for digital books for their NOOKs and Kindles, he said, and he simply couldn’t compete.
“Where we are is a high-rent area where you really have to sell a lot of books,” said Chekwas, who has had a hard time competing with online merchants such as Amazon.com, which sell books at a fraction of their cover price.
“In 10 years from now, kids that are born today may not have a need for paper books,” he said.
Matthew Flamm, a Crain’s New York Business reporter who covers media, said New York City booksellers also have to contend with high rents and a lousy economy.
“This transition to e-books is just an added blow,” Flamm said. “You may have survived Amazon as a book retailer, but the question is can you survive Amazon and Barnes & Noble as e-book sellers?”
Oren Teicher, CEO of the American Booksellers Association, which represents 1,600 merchants, said independent shops can and do survive.
“There are more independent book stores in the United States today than there were a few years ago,” he said, citing member data. “Nothing beats browsing for books in a physical store — despite all the quantum leaps forward in technology.”
Seaburn customer Danielle Rhodes, of Astoria, said she wished the shop would stay open.
“I’m sad it’s closing because it’s the only book store in Astoria,” Rhodes said. “It’s nice to walk in here and look for books.”
Read the original post HERE
Heartbreaking, to say the least. =(
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Hilarity (and swooning) ensued.
Friday, December 2, 2011
"Fulfill your inner and/or outer librarian. Prepare for 'Dewey Decimals' to take on a whole new meaning. Just be quiet."
"She Blinded Me with Library Science" Link
"What's the difference between books and boys? People pay money for used books, hey now." *snerk*
"Books Not Boys" link
"Würdwürm has an insatiable appetite for all forms of literature. But who doesn't? It's good for the mind, and the paper is delicious."
"Insatiable Reader" Link
"From the eager mind of Extreme Canadian history artist Kate Beaton comes the most accurate t-shirt a person can buy. If you've ever read a book you understand what this is about. It is crazy."
"This Shit is Crazy" Link
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Asa Butterfield, who flawlessly plays Hugo Cabret in the current adaptation of The Invention of Hugo Cabret seems to have accepted the role of Ender, according to the cast list on IMBD. And after seeing the skilled young actor's performance in "Hugo," I can definitely buy him as the brilliant child protagonist Ender Wiggin.
Deadline New York tells us a bit more about the plan for the film:
Asa Butterfield, the 14-year old title star of Martin Scorsese’s 3D film Hugo, has been offered the title role in Ender’s Game, the Odd Lot Entertainment adaptation of the Orson Scott Card science fiction novel. Summit Entertainment will release the film March 15, 2013. Gavin Hood, who helmed Tsotsi and Wolverine, is directing. Ender’s Game is a seminal futuristic novel that Card originated as a short story in 1977 and then turned into a 1985 book that won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards and spawned a series. The storyline begins on Earth after a devastating alien attack, when gifted children are recruited by a government desperate to fight back. The kids train to fight the seemingly invincible, ruthless aliens on a hyper-realistic spaceflight/combat simulator referred to as the game. A young boy emerges as a genius strategist and the planet’s best hope to destroy the alien Formic race.
Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman are producing through their K/O Paper Products banner, along with Odd Lot’s Gigi Pritzker and Linda McDonough, the author and Lynn Hendee. Digital Domain is also an equity partner.Read the original post HERE
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
As a child, I hated Thanksgiving, but if you'd asked me back then what character from a book I'd suffer through the turkey and stuffing with, I'm sure I would've spouted the name of ever babysitter from The Babysitter's Club, all the Sweet Valley High folk, Harold (and the Purple Crayon, of course), Ramona and Beezus (what a crazy meal that would be), and the list would go on and on.
Now that I'm grown, the tables have turned: I adore Thanksgiving food and am struggling to figure out which character I'd invite to dine. Part of me feels it'd want it to be someone from the Classics, to fulfill that whole Thanksgiving-feeling of history and culture--like Laurie from Little Women or Jean Valjean from Les Miserables. But then I think how fun it would be to chat with someone more modern, someone youthful who crosses lines and surprises people with his/her strength of character--like Lyra from The Golden Compass or Katniss from The Hunger Games.
Friday, November 18, 2011
Check it out! (And if you comment, you are entered into the running to win a critique from Kristen herself--whee!)
GO HERE! --> http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2011/11/18/taking-your-novel-from-good-to-great/
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
BOOK COUNTRY LAUNCHES SELF PUBLISHING SERVICES
Penguin’s Online Genre Fiction Writing Community Broadens Path to Publication
NEW YORK, November 16, 2011 -- Book Country, the online community dedicated to genre fiction launched by Penguin Group (USA) earlier this year, today introduced a suite of self-publishing tools, marking the first entry by a unit of a Big Six publisher into this fast-growing, non-traditional segment of the book industry.
"In combination with free access to our community and all it offers readers and writers of original genre fiction, these professional tools provide a direct path to publication for those who choose to go the self-publishing route," said Molly Barton, president of Book Country. "And the site remains a great way for authors to get their manuscripts read, critiqued and workshopped in preparation for readers."
The BookCountry.com site has attracted more than 120,000 unique visitors since going into public beta in May and has close to 4,000 members who have posted over 500 works of genre fiction and offered thousands of constructive critiques of those works. Publishing professionals have used the site to scout for new authors. A small number of writers in the community have secured agents. The new self-publishing tools will add another way for site members to reach readers.
David Shanks, chief executive of Penguin Group (USA), said, "Penguin is committed to maintaining its leadership position in digital publishing and that includes offering self-publishing services that are consistent with our overall strategy of connecting a broad variety of writers to the reading public. With its focus on nurturing and supporting new voices, Book Country is the perfect vehicle for introducing a new kind of self publishing that offers a more professional product and provides guidance that isn't currently available from other players."
While there are dozens of book packagers and self-publishing sites, Book Country is the only one that allows writers to create an eBook and a print book in one simple flow. Book Country combines a robust peer review process, a staff with decades of book publishing experience, and groundbreaking browsing tools to help writers be discovered. Book Country also provides a cover creator tool and suggests fonts and styles that would be appropriate for the book's genre. And unlike other self-publishing sites, the author can make up to 15 free formatting changes if they need to make small refinements late in the process. Three options—user-formatted eBook only, user-formatted eBook and print, and professional eBook and print—are available. Start to finish, the Book Country self-publishing process is streamlined and simple, while offering flexibility and customization.
"Self publishing is a trend that isn't going away," said Ms. Barton. "There are a growing number of authors who simply want to go directly to readers with their books. We respect that new reality and the changed landscape that technology has brought to book publishing."
In addition to being Book Country's President, Ms. Barton leads Penguin US's efforts to publish apps, enriched eBooks, and eSpecials, which are digital-only essays and short stories. As Global Digital Director at Penguin, she is applying her vision and knowledge of digital publishing to developing key elements of Book Country's offerings.
“Book Country is egalitarian and merit-based while fostering an atmosphere of encouragement and creativity,” explains Ms. Barton. “We created the site because while writing and publishing sites have proliferated in recent years, none are focused on supporting genre fiction writers from inspiration to publication.”
Visit Book Country at www.BookCountry.com.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Another thing I have to wait for? The film adaptation! But I won't have to wait too long. Firelight has already been optioned by Mandalay Pictures, according to Variety.com (and Sophie herself! I met her at a conference last month and she officially rocks.):
In a pre-emptive move, Mandalay Pictures has nabbed big-screen rights to the just-published young adult novel "Firelight." Supernatural tale, the first in a three-book series, was penned by bestselling author Sophie Jordan, aka Sharie Kohler.
Story follows twin teenage sisters, the descendants of dragons who live in secret with their endangered pride. When their mother learns that the pride has a dark plan for one of the girls who possesses the rare talent of fire breathing, she spirits the twins away to live a normal life among humans.
The Harper Teen book was one of the five selected by the YA Editor's Buzz Panel at Book Expo America in May.
Peter Guber and Cathy Schulman are producing "Firelight" via their Mandalay banner. Adam Stone will oversee for the company and serve in some producing capacity.
The pre-emptive move is the latest for Mandalay, which recently optioned the bestseller "Horns" by Joe Hill, the soon-to-be-published "Machine Man" by Max Barry and "Lonely Hearts Club" by Elizabeth Eulberg.
Mandalay just wrapped the Pierce Brosnan-Ed Harris starrer "Salvation Boulevard" and the Sean McNamara-helmed drama "Soul Surfer."
The "Firelight" deal was made by Maura Kye-Casella at Don Congdon Associates. Book scout Marcy Drogin brought the material to Mandalay.
See the original post HERE
So excited I can hardly stand it!
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
I like Amazon for its ease of shopping and quick delivery. I don't like Amazon for its requirement of proprietary DRM on Kindle and the way its trying to monopolize that aspect of the industry. I had thought I was going to give Amazon another "pro" on my little pro-con list when I first got word of the lending library endeavor. But then I kept listening.
I expected the Kindle Lending Library to be much like the Nook's Lend Me feature, something which I haven't gotten to experiment with yet given none of my friends have Nooks (that I know of, at least!). But the concept is brilliant. I'd love to be able to share eBooks with friends, just as I do with print books. It's one of my favorite ways to spread the love.
But much to my dismay, the Kindle Lending Library is only available to Amazon Prime members. Which means, there's an approximately 80-dollar price tag on that sucker. And that's not all: members can only borrow one book per month. So, really, you aren't borrowing an e-book at all. You're paying over $6.50 to read an e-book that you can't even keep.
Sure, a Prime membership gets you other features like deals on shipping from Amazon, etc., but for users who strictly wanted to partake in the library? It's no longer an option. For those readers, it makes more sense just to purchase the e-book and then have it at their fingertips to read whenever they want.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
At first I thought, "Oh man, this is going to be great!" but as I clicked in and started reading, I realized...it's kind of just mean! I know that's part of being famous and you open yourself up to scrutiny, especially when you write a not-so-good book, but come on now. Yes, some of it is hilarious, I'll admit, and the fact that many celebs have signed on to have their own work mocked is telling, but can't we create fresh humor anymore instead of just busting on other people for laughs? I've never been much for this kind of humor--SNL's constant people-bashing bothers me and only ever so often do I find those kinds of impressions actually funny. I don't get it...it's like sports fans who, instead of cheering for their own team, just put down the other teams. It drives me crazy!
I guess this turned to a slight rant about media these days in general and their lack of originality.
Anyway, take a peek at what the HuffPo has to say (and watch a sample video) and choose for yourself. I'm undecided:
Among the many lessons you'll learn when attending "Celebrity Autobiography: The Next Chapter": Joining the "mile-high" club is a lot more physically demanding, and considerably less erotic, than it looks. Italian really is the language of love -- at least for one of the world's biggest pop superstars.
And finally, don't ever, ever f**k with America's sweetheart.
Ironically, a bevy of America's sweethearts both past and present are among the many celebrities given a humorous roast in "Celebrity Autobiography," the laugh-out-loud, endearingly kitschy show currently playing at New York's Triad Theatre. A unique comedy stand-up/cabaret/one-act theatrical hybrid, the show features a talented rotating cast (many of them well-known stars or media personalities in their own right) reading verbatim, usually with a wink and a nudge, from a vast array of celebrity memoirs. The self-indulgent, often eye-rollingly smug musings of a number of Hollywood and MTV A-listers, from Justin Bieber to Suzanne Somers to Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino, lend the show its crispy comedic edge.
The show is a mix of monologues using straightforward passages read aloud from a given book and what creator Eugene Pack likes to call "mash-ups": different celebs' accounts on a similar theme (for example, celebrity diets) or a specific incident (a clever segment that weaves together varying accounts of the Elizabeth Taylor/Eddie Fisher/Debbie Reynolds love triangle is one of show's highlights). Yet Pack insists the show is meant purely for humor rather than to be mean-spirited toward the material's A-list, and often legendary, authors.
"When you listen to these passages, it's funny to discover what people are willing to reveal, how they reveal it and how seriously they take it," Pack, who says he developed the idea for the show after reading excerpts of Vanna White's autobiography, told The Huffington Post. "We don't ever want the show to be perceived as being skewering of celebrities. A lot of the performers in the show are actually admirers and, in some cases, close friends of those who wrote the books. If anything, we're making fun of memoirs in their own right and why we, as an audience, are fascinated by these details."
Once Pack had firmed up the idea for "Celebrity Autobiography," he and co-producer Dayle Reyfel began scouting out material for the show via used book shops as well as the hottest new releases on the celebrity memoir market. The pair continue to refresh the evening's program with fresh passages; over 300 biographies have been covered in the show to date.
"You usually can skim through the book and see if the tone is right for the show," noted Reyfel, who also performs regularly. "Burt Reynolds has so much great material in his book; some books really are golden from beginning to end."
No doubt the success of "Celebrity Autobiography" also rests on the shoulders of its many performers. The Oct. 10 line-up featured Tony Danza, "Saturday Night Live" alum Rachel Dratch and Sherri Shepherd of "The View" (who revealed a surprisingly natural talented for mimicking celebrities' accents) but Kristen Wiig, Ryan Reynolds, Justin Long and even "Brady Bunch" matriarch Florence Henderson are among those who've also dropped in for a performance.
"It's a wonderful surprise for the audience," said "Saturday Night Live" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm" scribe Alan Zweibel, a regular performer in the show who lends a particularly dry wit to most of his readings. After recalling one night when he was required to physically lick Henderson during the show, Zweibel noted that, in many cases, the unintended joke is actually on the audience rather than the authors: "What's pervasive is the absolute, unmitigated ego of these celebrities who think that we care about these minute details of their lives. At the same time, everybody's got a story, and there is always someone out there who is buying these things."
Reyfel says she and Pack also maintain a running "wish list" of performers they hope to eventually feature in the show, including Ricky Gervais and Bette Midler. And to those who feel "Celebrity Autobiography" is too harsh on their idols, Pack is quick to point out that celebrities themselves have, in some cases, even suggested their memoirs for use in the show. "Brooke Shields wants us to read from her book," noted Pack. "Everyone usually seems game to jump in and really go for it."
See the original post HERE
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Natalie's traveled the world researching, tasting, and exploring some of the best bargain wines. She's taken those experiences and blended them up to provide not only entertaining anecdotes and delicious recommendations but also to give the amateur wino some real knowledge about wine. I, for one, am stoked to give it a read.
To celebrate, I just may have to raise a glass of my own favorite bargain wine find--Apothic Red (also known in my apartment as the "house red"). I'm not sure what it is about this vino, but something about it is just right!
Happy Release Day, Natalie!
Check out her book trailer below for more info and visit her website:
Monday, October 31, 2011
According to Publishers Lunch, this past weekend marked the inaugural weekend edition:
Starting [Saturday, October 29, 2001], the WSJ's Weekend edition will feature their own ebook bestseller lists. Like the NYT lists, the Journal will present both ebook-only lists for fiction and nonfiction, as well as combined print and ebook lists in both categories. All titles are eligible--self-published, children's, backlist, etc.--as long as they have a minimum price of 99 cents or higher.
Nielsen BookScan is aggregating the data for the WSJ, drawing on what the release calls "all major retailers," said to include Amazon, Nook, iBookstore, Sony and Google eBooks among others.
Like the other WSJ charts, the new lists will be positional only, and will not reveal actual ebook sales. Nielsen declined to indicate if or when ebook data from major retailers might be incorporate into the BookScan subscription product.
Amazon is in talks with Chinese regulators to sell their Kindle devices in China, according to a report from Soho IT. Amazon senior vp Marc Onetto is quoted as saying that talks are centered around copyright issues, and that there is no timetable for when the devices might launch in China, if at all. Amazon recently dropped the Joyo name (after the company it acquired in 2004 to gain a foothold in China) and rebranded its Chinese website to Z.cn.
Atria will release Gary Schwartz's THE IMPULSE ECONOMY: Understanding Mobile Shoppers and What Makes Them Buy as a "smart book", with 1,000 copies stickered with an RFID chip that allows mobile phones to access special content.
Finally, in the latest e-reader rumors department, a grammatically-challenged source tells the Digital Reader that Barnes & Noble will announce its newest Nook Color on November 7 and is expanding their in-store Nook boutiques in preparation.
Read the original post HERE
Topping these first WSJ e-book lists were Bonnie by Iris Johansen (fiction e-book) and Killing Lincoln by Bill O'Reilly (nonfiction e-book).
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
I'm not the only one baffled by this change in concept, and I'm certainly not the only one who misses true VH1 and early MTV style video programming ("Pop-up Video" anyone? which apparently has made a recent reprise). Even people in the music biz are curious about this crazy evolution. Take former Blender editors Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum, for example. They were so intrigued they've investigated the matter for us viewers in their new book I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution.
The Observer's "Very Short List" tells us a little bit about it:
Can you imagine a world without MTV? If so, the joke’s on you, because MTV hasn’t been itself for something like 20 years now—ever since it strayed from its raison d’être and pretty much stopped airing music videos.
In this fascinating oral history, ex–Blender editors Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum tell the story of Music Television’s incredible first decade. The authors have done their homework, interviewing hundreds of VJs, musicians, and industry insiders—most of whom sound like they’ve been waiting years to get these stories off their chests. It all makes for riveting (if occasionally revolting) reading, and a book we expect to see on the best-seller lists.See the original review HERE
I'm not typically one to be instantly curious about nonfiction titles, but this one jumped out to me. I may have to check it out.
While I decide though, let's flash back to the "Pop-up Video" phenomenon I mentioned earlier...I cannot stop thinking about it now!
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
And what trailer did I see before the show but the ever-so-awaited ONE FOR THE MONEY!
Finally being released in January 2012, it actually looks pretty fun!
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Last week, Barnes & Noble confirmed that they will be removing a number of DC Comics products from their stores due to DC's recent deal with Amazon, according to ICv2.com:
Cv2 has confirmed that Barnes & Noble, the world’s largest bookseller, is removing 100 of DC’s bestselling backlist titles from its 705 retail stores in the U.S. The action is being taken as a result of DC’s exclusive deal with Amazon on those titles for the Kindle Fire (see “Watchmen on Kindle”), making them unavailable for Barnes and Noble’s Nook e-reader. Amazon priced at least some of those titles at $9.99, or roughly half the price of the print editions (see “Kindle Launches Graphic Novel Price War”). It appears that the action, at least for now, applies only to the brick and mortar stores; BN.com is still offering Watchmen (at $10.87) as of this writing.
Barnes & Noble appears to be making an example of DC for other publishers thinking of giving Amazon exclusive content for the Kindle, and is willing to lose some sales to make its point clear.
We haven’t heard what the term of the DC exclusive with the Kindle is, but there will be a window of at least some months, including the all-important holiday season, with vastly reduced availability of those titles in chain bookstores. This will offer an opportunity for all of B&N’s competitors, and will undoubtedly hurt DC’s graphic novel sales through the end of the year.
As we wrote when this started, “DC’s deal with Amazon for the Kindle Fire is a potentially disruptive game-changer that could have far-reaching impacts on the market for physical and digital graphic novels in the future.”Read the original article HERE
The piece goes on to provide a list of the graphic novels in question, including beloved titles like THE SANDMAN, THE GREEN LANTERN and FABLES.
With this big development, you can bet my ears will be open for commentary at the Con the next few days. I'm sure exhibitors and wanderers alike will have much to say...
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
On June 14th, Werner Herzog, documentary filmmaker and narrator, reads aloud the hilarious childrens' book for adults Go the F*ck to Sleep by Adam Mansbach at the New York Public Library.
The Outlet tells us more:
The evening at the New York Public Library began with a recording of Werner Herzog reading a dirty book. Well, it isn’t a dirty book per se. What we have is a children’s book for adults that utilizes a double narrative from a frustrated parent. One is the straightforward lullaby that the child is meant to hear. The other is the internal monologue of a parent whose rage crescendos when the unaware child just won’t “go the fuck to sleep.” Said dual nature came across seamlessly when treated with Herzog’s narration last night, and with what one can hope will be multiple audio versions coming out in the future, I can see Go the Fuck to Sleep becoming a conduit for some pretty damn amazing performance art.And now....the video:Read the full article HERE
P.S. Can I just add how amazing it is that Samuel L. Jackson narrates the audio version?!
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
A legislation passed in 1993, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" gave homosexuals the right to serve in the military--if they keep mum about it. A bogus law if I ever heard one. Sexual preference has no bearing on one's ability to protect and defend. Pure and simple.
Soldiers have suffered in silence for years, though, treated as if the disparate nature of sexuality and dedication isn't so disparate at all. Our Time: Breaking the Silence of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (Penguin Press, October 2011), a new book of essays edited by Josh Seefried, finally gives those soldiers a voice. More than 45 active-duty LGBT soldiers share their first hand accounts in this powerful and gracious collection. Seefried explains why in his Introduction:
These soldiers are an example for service in the post-"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" military. They are a reminder that respect and professionalism is already a part of our culture. What we need now is leadership. Gay service members must lead from the front openly and straight colleagues must help create an atmosphere of acceptance and respect. This is the message that the men and women who contributed to t his book are sending with their stories. It's now our time. (Our Time, 5)It was enlightening as I began to read Our Time. I personally have a great deal of respect and am in full support of the LGBT community at large. But even so, I guess I never really understood exactly what people go through when they're unable to publicly recognize who they truly are. It's something that the hetero population can't grasp--who we feel attracted/connected to, who we love, who we want to spend our lives with is just allowed to be. It's unquestioned and natural, making it difficult to imagine what it'd be like if we couldn't just be. Reading these soldiers' stories gave me a perspective I otherwise wouldn't have really seen. I could spout my thoughts about equality and same-sex marriage and all the things, but until now, I hadn't sincerely understood the disgrace, the fear, the loneliness that so many people are forced to deal with every day, in and out of the military.
While some of the accounts may feel repetitive at times, I think that's part of the point. This is not discrimination that only rare cases deal with--it's a common occurrence that needs to stop. One particular essay, though, by Tania Dunbar, touched me very deeply, sending literal chills through me as I read:
Tania Dunbar is a warrant officer in the U.S. Army. She was deployed in Iraq at the time of writing this, and is currently stationed in Georgia.
I have been in the Army for almost twelve years. My very first day in basic training, I knew I had found my calling. I also knew that I was gay, and I wasn't supposed to be there. My recruiter had made me sign a piece of paper saying I was not gay, have never had sex with anyone of the same sex, and had never attempted to marry anyone of the same sex. I signed it because I did not understand the extent to which the Army was going to make me hide a part of myself.
For the past eleven years I have had to conceal my family from my friends. Soldiers, with whom I sweat, bleed, and cry, can't ever meet the woman I love. Soldiers who depend on me for sound judgment and advice can never know who I myself go to when I need advice or solace. Friends who would die for me can't ever meet the person who makes me want to live. Don't get me wrong--there are a few soldiers who know I am gay, but it takes a long time to learn if you can trust someone with a secret that can ruin your career. So I don't make friends easily, I never have get-togethers at my home, and I don't go to military functions very often. For me, home life cannot mix with work life.
I am in Iraq now, separated from the love of my life, and I can't share that pain with anyone. If I am hurt or I die while in combat here, my girlfriend will not be notified. She wouldn't even be able to visit me in the hospital. We have to depend on an intricate web of lies and code words to get us through a year of separation. I find it strange to think that I am in a foreign country, making sure that other people are able to exercise their democratic rights, ensuring that they get their basic civil rights--to life, liberty, and happiness--while I don't get those same basic rights. And yet our allies allow homosexuals to serve openly in their militaries; they are deployed with us, and enjoy full rights.
Department of Defense Directive 5120.36, issued in July 1963 by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, clearly states: "Every military commander has the responsibility to oppose discriminatory practices affecting his men and their dependents and to foster equal opportunity for them, not only in areas under his immediate control, but also in nearby communities where they may live or gather in off-duty hours."
That directive was issued to deal directly with racism in areas surrounding military communities fifteen years after Executive Order 9981, in which President Truman ordered the military to integrate. It was an obvious example of the military righting a wrong, just as the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" will be. The message--that military leaders have a responsibility to create an environment of tolerance and equality---is the same.
I love the Army and I love my girlfriend, and I should not have to choose between them. I volunteered to sacrifice my life for this country, but I can't even hug my girlfriend good-bye before I deploy. You have asked me to deploy twice to protect other people in other countries. You have asked me to stand vigil against terrorists in our country. I am asking the same from you now: I am asking you to treat me equally, protect me from injustice, and help me when other try to hurt me.
(Excerpted from Our Time: Breaking the Silence of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" by Josh Seefried. Reprinted by arrangement with The Penguin Press, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc. Copyright (c) Joshua David Seefried, 2011.)
When I finished this essay, I spoke aloud in my empty apartment, "Wow. I get it now." Obviously, without experiencing it myself, I'll never fully "get it," but if each and every one of us can get just a tiny bit closer to really understanding, imagine what the world could be like.
While the repeal is certainly a step in the right direction, we all know old stigmas and biases still remain. We can only hope that the discrimination and harassment that so many soldiers have dealt with prior to and under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" decreases as homosexuality begins to be acknowledged--and hopefully embraced--by all.
The Last Word: An inspiring collection shot through with a chilling hopefulness about the things we're all capable of if we truly open up to one another.
Monday, October 10, 2011
Check it out --> http://bookcountry.com/Industry/Article.aspx?articleId=120815
Friday, September 30, 2011
Any dog or cat owner will speak of a favored toy that, in the course of being gnawed, shredded, punctured, torn, eviscerated, has become an indispensable companion to their pet. They will recount with wonder their pet's specific manner of ravaging this toy, or even try to convince you that a deliberate pattern of transformation is at work. But do they ever really see this bedraggled object of their beloved pet's desire?
For our new photo book "Chewed," we decided to take a close look at these comically distorted creatures. We began by coaxing these casualties of tough love from pet-owning friends. Soon we were swamped with boxes containing plush animals, rubber squeakies and unidentifiable bits and pieces. We photographed these slobbery victims in a formal yet humorous style as seen through the eyes of the adoring pet.
Below are excerpts from delightful and poignant short stories by contributors who were inspired by their favorite "Chewed" photograph: visit www.chewedbook.com.
Though Bunny is now missing the upper half of its body, one can easily imagine the lack of hesitation Dog displayed as it plucked Bunny's black button eyes from its face, the satisfying snap of thread as the flat discs popped from the soft skull.
The entire head was obviously devoured. And no matter how cute those floppy, bent-at-the-tip ears may have been, they were not cute enough to stop Dog from seizing and pulverizing them with his wolf-powered, drooling, gaping maw.
Bunny's throat was gleefully sawed open with inch-long front incisors, esophagus stuffing flying through the room as Dog shook his head violently, rabidly from side to side.
Torso? Gone. Belly? Gone...
Never get divorced in California. When they say you split everything down the middle, they mean everything. What hurt most is that I was there from the beginning - a corny Hollywood story you've heard a million times, but I really thought they were different. I'd been a prize in the free throw game at the Santa Monica pier for almost a year; it's not that nobody wanted me, they all did, but I was always just out of reach (10 in a row), til he came along, Johnny Nesbitt...
Q. *Gracie. What happened?
A. I can't remember the details. I blanked out. But I'll be honest I loved every minute of it. We'd been polite for years and then one day *Georgie just lost it and he started going for it.
Q. Is there any part of it you regret?
A. In my line of work it's what you expect. You come off the assembly line fresh and fluffy and you pray for this to happen. I don't know how I can explain it to you except to say it's what I'm created for.
Q. But from the looks of things there was violence.
A. Violence? Are you kidding? Try Ecstasy!
Q. Did you learn anything?
A. I learned to surrender. To live my life. I faced my worst fears and was delighted with the outcome. Okay maybe I'm not as beautiful as I was ten years ago but who is? I considered plastic surgery but I hate it. It's so obvious and desperate. Better to look your age...
See the original post HERE
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Here's what Amazon had to say in their press release (courtesy of Engadget.com):
Millions of people are already reading on Kindles and Kindle is the bestselling e-reader in the world for four years running. Today, Amazon is excited to introduce an all-new Kindle family: three all-new Kindle e-readers that are smaller, lighter, and more affordable than ever before, and Kindle Fire - a new class of Kindle that brings the same ease-of-use and deep integration of content that helped Kindle re-invent reading - to movies, TV shows, music, magazines, apps, books, games, and more.The press release also details the specific content-related features of the Fire, which Engadget.com managing editor, Darren Murph, points out seems to be Amazon's focus:
"We've now reached the magical two-digit price point for Kindle - twice: the new Kindle and Kindle Touch are only $79 and $99. Kindle Touch 3G is the new top of the line e-reader with free 3G - no monthly fees or annual contracts - and is only $149," said Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com Founder and CEO. "Kindle Fire brings together all of the things we've been working on at Amazon for over 15 years into a single, fully-integrated service for customers. With Kindle Fire, you have instant access to all the content, free storage in the Amazon Cloud, the convenience of Amazon Whispersync, our revolutionary cloud-accelerated web browser, the speed and power of a state-of-the-art dual-core processor, a vibrant touch display with 16 million colors in high resolution, and a light 14.6 ounce design that's easy to hold with one hand - all for only $199. We're offering premium products, and we're doing it at non-premium prices."
The all-new Kindle Fire - with all the content, Amazon's revolutionary cloud-accelerated browser, free storage in the Amazon Cloud, Whispersync, 14.6 ounce design that's easy to hold with one hand, brilliant color touchscreen, and a fast and powerful dual core processor - is only $199. Customers in the U.S. can pre-order Kindle Fire starting today at www.amazon.com/kindlefire and it ships November 15.See the press release HERE
It's also quite clear that Amazon's hoping to make a bigger splash on the content side of things than has been made already by Apple, and with the deals flowing like wine, we wouldn't be shocked if it does just that.I'm not sure how I feel about this whole "Amazon Fire" thing. The name in itself makes me crazy--I keep thinking of e-bookcases being set aflame! And while I feel like Amazon is slowly taking over the world, it is nice to see more than just the iPad out there and at a more reasonable price.
Monday, September 26, 2011
Reading Rainbow host LeVar Burton has raised funds for a follow-up to his beloved public television show, a series of smartphone and tablet enhanced eBooks for kids. His new company is called RRKidz.
The new website includes Burton’s trademark slogan from the show: “Coming Soon … but you don’t have to take my word for it.” Burton summarized the show with a twitter hashtag: “Reading Rainbow for today’s connected kids.”
Here’s more from FishbowlLA: “Fifteen months after indicating to New York Times columnist David Pogue at a Macworld event that he was raising money for a start-up, actor LeVar Burton is fully focused on the twain of education and enhanced children’s e-books. He tells Venture Beat that his company RRKidz has got $3 million in seed funding and is compiling a library of 300 iPad and Smartphone titles, with roughly 50 of those to be voiced by Burton himself. The actor is partnered on the project with Buffalo’s WNED-TV, rights-holder to the 1983-2006 PBS series Reading Rainbow.”
See the original post HERE
I'm impressed and excited by Burton's initiative here. It makes me happy to see that he's so much more than just a host and really invested in Reading Rainbow's goals and mission statement.
Yay for reading!
It was also seemingly apparent that he just flipped through some books, found some lines he found funny, and just wrote them down to make fun of them. Yes, some of the excerpts he pulls might make you cringe and giggle, but he's taken them out of context and completely disregarded the fact that some of the authors may not have even meant those lines seriously. I know more than one author who landed on that list and it's not uncommon in some snarky and spunky PNR for sex scenes to be written tongue-in-cheek, with the purpose of taking a common convention and pushing it beyond its limits intentionally for a laugh of its own. In addition, some of the quotes Allen pulls here aren't even from sex scenes. For example, Nicole Peeler's quote about "seaweed pubes" (yes, gross sounding haha) was actually describing an underwater character's hair. It had nothing to do with sex.
All that to say that Allen was not winning any points in my book. Even when confronted by an author about his misuse of her work, he recognized that he took it out of context and shrugged it off, not caring that he's characterizing her in an unfair negative light knowingly. For that, my respect for him dwindled even further.
Then, last week, I see that his oh-so-hilarious (*insert sarcasm here*) article has made it into the Huffington Post. Good, just what we need--his obnoxious opinion to be put in front of more viewers. Yay.
I was upset, to say the least. Not only for my friends, whose talent is immense, but for how this man was being made out to be a credible source for this kind of thing when he surely doesn't deserve the role. It did offer some solace to know that any PNR fan probably doesn't take his opinions to heart, that anyone with a head on her shoulders would see that you can't judge a book, or even a sex scene, by a sentence or two. The only people who would really find this amusing in the first place are the ones who don't read the genre, so at least it wasn't deterring sales for readers who actually are interested. In fact, for me, it made me more curious to read these books he highlights, to see for myself if he's just being an unfair jerk (I know. I'm *awesome* with the insults haha) or if there is truth in his commentary. I'll admit that I know there are instances of both on this list. And I will also say that, in general, Allen makes some good and accurate points about writing a sex scene in general. But my opinion definitely isn't stemming from what Allen chooses is "a cheesy sex scene." I'll be using my own legitimate judgment, thankyouverymuch. I hope you will too!
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
With the upcoming 10-year anniversary of 9/11, it was naturally the main focus of our chat. The heroism of those on the planes, the hatred of those orchestrating the acts, the fear and pain that settled over the nation, that still pierces so many people with just the thought of the sunshine-filled nightmare of a day.
It changed all of our lives forever. Whether we were 43 (like my parents), 17 (like me), 12 (like my friend), or 7 (like, I don't know who), it affected every one of us.
And now, a decade later, Assouline Publishing is honoring the subtle and not-so-subtle ways it's turned our world upside-down with a new book, Art for Heart: Remember 9/11. This compilation not only commemorates September 11, 2001 but also will support the museum and memorials devoted to the event, according to GalleyCat:
The book features a collection of drawings created by young children shortly after the terrorist attacks.
All of the proceeds will be donated to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, a not-for-profit organization that operates the memorial and museum at Ground Zero. Museum director Alice M. Greenwald wrote the introduction and political journalist Christy Ferer wrote the forward.
Here’s more from the release: “In Art for Heart, the innocence so profoundly disrupted that day is nowhere better demonstrated than in the words and drawings created by children following the attacks. Straightforward and heartfelt, these works reveal the human instinct to bear witness, provide comfort, and attempt to make sense out of the unthinkable.”Read the original post HERE
Friday, September 2, 2011
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
The stigma of "geekiness" or "dorkdom" that seems attached to the genre is fading and the 28-year-old football fan who secretly enjoys Robert Jordan doesn't flush so red when sharing that morsel of information.
I'm loving this new-found confidence, and the fact that NPR released the top 100 audience picks for their favorite science fiction and fantasy novels just buttresses the notion that things are changing. It's not to say that lists like this don't already exist from popular websites/magazines/newspapers/etc, but it's nice to see it front and center like this. (The New York Times actually wrote an interesting piece recently on the topic too.)
That said, let's see what NPR found out:
More than 5,000 of you nominated. More than 60,000 of you voted. And now the results are in. The winners of NPR's Top 100 Science-Fiction and Fantasy survey are an intriguing mix of classic and contemporary titles. Over on NPR's pop culture blog, Monkey See, you can find one fan's thoughts on how the list shaped up, get our experts' take, and have the chance to share your own.
A quick word about what's here, and what's not: Our panel of experts reviewed hundreds of the most popular nominations and tossed out those that didn't fit the survey's criteria (after — we assure you — much passionate, thoughtful, gleefully nerdy discussion). You'll notice there are no young adult or horror books on this list, but sit tight, dear reader, we're saving those genres for summers yet to come.
Tolkien's seminal three-volume epic chronicles the War of the Ring, in which Frodo the hobbit and his companions set out to destroy the evil Ring of Power and restore peace to Middle-earth. The beloved trilogy still casts a long shadow, having established some of the most familiar and enduring tropes in fantasy literature.3. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
In the first, hilarious volume of Adams' Hitchhiker's series, reluctant galactic traveler Arthur Dent gets swept up in some literally Earth-shattering events involving aliens, sperm whales, a depressed robot, mice who are more than they seem, and some really, really bad poetry.
Young Andrew "Ender" Wiggin, bred to be a genius, is drafted to Battle School where he trains to lead the century-long fight against the alien Buggers.4. The Dune Chronicles by Frank Herbert
Follows the adventures of Paul Atreides, the son of a betrayed duke given up for dead on a treacherous desert planet and adopted by its fierce, nomadic people, who help him unravel his most unexpected destiny.
5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series by George R.R. Martin
As the Seven Kingdoms face a generation-long winter, the royal Stark family confronts the poisonous plots of the rival Lannisters, the emergence of the Neverborn demons, the arrival of barbarian hordes, and other threats.
On the plane home to attend the funerals of his wife and best friend, Shadow, an ex-con, encounters an enigmatic stranger who seems to know a lot about him. When Shadow accepts the stranger's job offer, he finds himself plunged into a perilous game with the highest of stakes: the soul of America itself.
This tale of a handsome farm boy who, aided by a drunken swordsman and a gentle giant, rescues a beautiful princess named Buttercup comes with a slyly humorous, metafictional edge: Goldman claims to have merely abridged an earlier text by one "S. Morgenstern" (actually a pseudonym) and peppers his text with clever commentary.
At 13 volumes and counting, this sweeping — some would say sprawling – richly imagined epic chronicles the struggle between servants of the Dark One and those of the champion of light known as the Dragon Reborn.
Farm animals overthrow their human owners and set up their own deeply (and familiarly) flawed government. Orwell's mordant satire of totalitarianism is still a mainstay of ninth-grade reading lists.
Gibson's groundbreaking debut novel follows Case, a burned-out computer whiz, who is asked to steal a security code that is locked in the most heavily guarded databank in the solar system. A seminal work in the genre that would come to be known as cyberpunk.
[...]16. I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
Isaac Asimov changed our perception of robots forever when he formulated the laws governing their behavior. In I, Robot, Asimov chronicles the development of the robot through a series of interlinked stories: from its primitive origins in the present to its ultimate perfection in the not-so-distant future — a future in which humanity itself may be rendered obsolete.
Check out the complete list HERE
Other authors on the list? Robert A. Heinlein, Anne McCaffery, Patrick Rothfuss, Ray Bradbury, Neal Stephenson, Roger Zelazny, and Brandon Sanderson.
What is YOUR favorite science fiction/fantasy novel??
Sunday, August 28, 2011
I haven't so whole-heartedly appreciated a character in who knows how long. I even quoted him this week to a friend and bookmarked some lines to share with you all here. It's amazing how powerful and relatable Koontz was able to make his main character in such a commercial genre:
"Recognizing the structure of your psychology doesn't mean that you can easily rebuild it. The Chamber of Unreasonable Guilt is part of my mental architecture, and I doubt that I will ever be able to renovate that particular room in this strange castle that is me.""Life [...] is not about how fast you run or even with what degree of grace. It's about perseverance, about staying on your feet and slogging forward no matter what.""We are not strangers to ourselves; we only try to be."
But don't worry, the whole book isn't teeming with such wise phrasings. However, it is full of intensity, adrenaline, and heart.
Monday, August 22, 2011
So when I saw them pop up on GalleyCat today, naturally I was intrigued. Their lyrics in themselves are poetic and powerful--maybe they're doing a book? I thought at first. But no. No, they have put out a video of one of their hits...and based it off Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace.
GalleyCat tells us more:
The new video for “Calamity Song” by The Decemberists reenacts a scene from David Foster Wallace‘s masterpiece, Infinite Jest. We’ve embedded the video above–what do you think?
In the video, a group of teenagers play Wallace’s imaginary Eschaton game, a combination of tennis match and computer simulation for nuclear war. Follow this link if you want to play the game in real life. Singer and novelist Colin Meloy told NPR he had just finished reading Infinite Jest and wanted the video to be a tribute to the late novelist.
Check it out: “I had this funny idea that a good video for the song would be a re-creation of the Enfield Tennis Academy’s round of Eschaton — basically, a global thermonuclear crisis re-created on a tennis court — that’s played about a third of the way into the book. Thankfully, after having a good many people balk at the idea, I found a kindred spirit in Michael Schur, a man with an even greater enthusiasm for Wallace’s work than my own. With much adoration and respect to this seminal, genius book, this is what we’ve come up with. I can only hope DFW would be proud.”
See the original post HERE
I'm not going to lie: I've never read David Foster Wallace. Thus I don't have much of an opinion on this, but I thought it was cool anyway. ;)
Thursday, August 18, 2011
But now? Now I'm making up for lost time. All I want to read is faeries.
I'm not sure what it is about the mystical beauties that I find so compelling lately--maybe I'm just craving an escape from the everyday. But whatever it is, over the past few years, I've been flocking to the most enchanting and engaging faerie-filled YA series:
This trilogy is one of my favorites. Holly Black's writing hooked me from the first page of book one. She meshes the modern and faerie worlds with such ease and believability. Definitely a fun and exciting ride you don't want to miss.
Melissa Marr's "Wicked Lovely" series
I've only read the first one of these books so far, but the rest are now in my queue! Marr takes the concept of solstices and uses it in an imaginative and engrossing way. Her villians are as "likeable" as her heroes, a task not easily fulfilled but one that makes for a strong, fascinating read full of emotional contradiction.
Jenna Black's "Faeriewalker" series
I powered through this trilogy. Black kept me simultaneously deeply engrossed and hovering on the edge of my seat. Her writing is smooth and pacing is quick--I would not be surprised if you read the entire series in a week (or less).
Laini Taylor's "Faeries of Dreamdark" series
This series is lushly written and sophisticated YA fantasy with a literary bent. Leisurely but enjoyable reads overflowing with detail, beauty, and power. Taylor hasn't gotten nearly as much attention as the other authors on this list but certainly not due to lack of talent!
Clearly, I need more recommendations... ;)