Things have been a bit crazy during the holidays but will be back to normal soon. For those in the north of America dealing with the snow and cold, stay safe and warm inside with a book. Just remember that snow and ice will melt all by itself eventually so don't take risks!
It's been 40 years since the first publication of The Anarchist Cookbook and author William Powell says enough is enough. He is no longer the angry young man who wrote about making explosives and is currently an educator who resides in Malaysia. He believes safety of students and teachers is paramount in education which, ironically, might be improved by taking his book out of print. The book has been linked to a number of violent crimes over the years, including the recent shooting incident involving Karl Pierson at a Colorado high school .
The latest publisher, Delta Press, disagrees with Powell and claims that pulling the title would be the equivalent of banning it. They say they are against banning any books. A quick scan of their self-proclaimed "world's most outrageous catalog" shows they specialize in survivalist books about shooting, self-defense and preparing for a possible dystopian future. The Anarchist Cookbook seems to fit perfectly into their mix. Barnes & Noble and Amazon keep the book on their inventory list and it can be easily ordered online.
Is an author wanting to withdraw his book from sale the same as banning it?
A lot has changed because of computers, including the interaction between writer and paper. Eudora Welty kept scissors handy in order to literally cut and paste sections from her work in progress. If she didn't like something, snip and it was gone. If it belonged in another paragraph, she would use pins to attach the clip.
Jack Kerouac wrote On The Road on sheets of paper taped together end to end as a long scroll. When the publisher said it would have to be cut up to be edited, Kerouac stormed out of the office in a rage. It was several years before his agent could find him another publisher for the book. Edgar Allen Poe attached final drafts to the original scrolls with wax, and Wallace Stevens wrote poetry on slips of paper while walking. He would later give them to a secretary to type onto regular sheets of paper.
James Joyce wrote while lying on his stomach, Virginia Woolf wrote standing up so as not to be outdone by her artist sister who also worked on her feet. Jack London could write 1,000 words a day compared to 3,000 words a day by writers like William Golding and Norman Mailer. James Joyce considered two full sentences as adequate output for a day, and Dorothy Parker once said that if she wrote five words she would have to change seven.
Author Celia Blue Johnson is an associate editor at Grand Central Publishing and co-author of a book of poetry. She did not reveal any of her own quirks while writing this book, but it's a fun read.
Sylvia L. is a German-born artist and designer who did a number of illustrations for one of my books and has branched out to do greeting cards that are now sold in retail stores and museum shops in the US and Germany. I've been asking her for a long time to do some book-related illustrations or cards and she finally agreed.
Here is her first book-themed card, made specifically for Booklikes, that shows her favorite models Chapman and Lily wondering what to do with a printed book from Santa. It's always a pleasure to see former colleagues go in new creative directions. Best of luck to her and a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday Season to everyone here at Booklikes!
For more info, click on the illustration to go to her old website, which is in the process of being upgraded for release in January 2014. She has promised more book-related cards to come soon and is already getting some advance orders from independent bookstores.
What started as a joke a few years ago has become a hot new literary mashup genre that grew out of the Amish romance fiction genre. Amish Vampires in Space has just made the Amazon top 100 download list. Author Kerry Nietz notes he has never seen quite so much buzz in the book world as this new genre has generated.
The story explores the idea of Amish farmers being rescued from a remote space colony when they discover a vampire on board the space ship, and that leads to a conflict of conscience versus survival. Apparently the Amish faith disallows staking vampires in the heart to kill them, something to remember if you are Amish and decide to take a holiday in Transylvania.
This title and others are printed by Marcher Lord Press, a publisher of Christian fantasy and science fiction. Click on the photo for more info:
The National Book Awards for 2013 were announced late last week. Here are the winners and the runners up for each category.
Fiction: James McBride
Non-fiction: George Packer
Poetry: Mary Szybist
Youth Literature: Cynthia Kadohata
Digital comics publishers are disturbed because of recent bans on certain comics titles from IOS apps such as those offered by Comixology. The latest flap is over a series called Sex Criminals, supposedly a humorous story about a couple that can stop time when having sex and use that time to rob banks.
The complaint is that Apple is vague about what standards it uses, which of course prevents publishers and writers from exploiting loopholes. This past May, Apple notified Comixology that 56 titles must be removed for sale via the distributor's IOS app. Titles are still available through other channels, just not via apps for Apple products.
Apple is notorious for maintaining strict control over all aspects of its products. What do you think? Is that the same as censorship or do they have a right to control content?
I can't remember if I cried when I read about his widowed bride
Something touched me deep inside the day the music died...
(from American Pie, Don McLean)
This is actually a bookstore in Aix en Provence, France. Wow.
Books-A-Million, the book chain based in Birmingham, AL, with stores throughout the south, will offer print-on-demand books using the Espresso Book Machine built by On Demand Books. The machine looks and functions like a large copy machine and can output any of thousands of titles as a perfect-bound book in just minutes.
BAM is trying it out at two of their primary locations as a joint marketing effort with ODB. Machines will be serviced by Xerox. Book content will come through the EspressNet system. There are many advantages to the concept of e-book meets print edition at a store, including the ability to offer far more titles and keeping costs down (no shipping or warehouse).
Pricing is based on length of the book. The machine can handle any paperback edition up to 600 pages long in sizes from 5x5 to 8x5 with a full-color cover. Major publishers involved include Penguin, Harper, McGraw Hill, Random House, Macmillan and Simon & Schuster. Hopefully this will help independent bookstores and publishers as well.