Finally! Donna Tartt’s new novel has been announced and will hit stores October 22nd. It’s called The Goldfinch and according to the publisher’s website it is about a boy who is running through the dark underworld of art:
“A young boy in New York City, Theo Decker, miraculously survives an explosion that takes the life of his mother. Alone and determined to avoid being taken in by the city as an orphan, Theo scrambles between nights in friends’ apartments and on the city streets. He becomes entranced by the one thing that reminds him of his mother: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that soon draws Theo into the art underworld.”
The book is listed as coming in at 608 pages! So it’s another big one. But have you read Secret History or The Little Friend? Donna Tartt is the kind of writer that could make a grocery list worth reading. Looking forward to October 2013.
I think this bookshelf/table by Lema is awesome. It stores books, keeps them close, on display and still keeps the space a useful one. It’s a win, win, win, win. This creative bookshelf is called the Booken and it is being shown at an international furniture Show in Cologne. So no price yet. I could use three of these.
Game of Books has been fully funded via their Kickstarter campaign! Basically, it’s home library/book cataloging system where you earn points/skills/etc. based on the books you read… think Dungeons & Dragons meets LibraryThing. This could be a lot of fun.
You start off as an Apprentice and then level up as your reading progresses:
Apprentice Reader = Level 0+
Journeyman Reader = Level 25+
Craftsman Reader = Level 50+
Master Reader = Level 75+
GrandMaster Reader = Level 100+
At the bottom of their site, there is also a “concept demo” that shows off what your Reader/Character card would look like. Some folks might think it’s hokey (which it may be, we’ll have to see) but many like all of their virtual badges and fake pats on the back for “leveling up” across hundreds of check-in apps. And I think competition can be fun. What I am anxious to see is how well this resonates with the two budding readers in my house… this seems to be the kind of thing that my son would dig.
What do you think? Would you give Game of Books a try?
One of my favorite groups on LibraryThing is “Name That Book“. It falls squarely in the realm of “useful tools for readers”. Basically, they help you find books that you remember reading, but can’t remember the title, author, etc. The discussions are filled with hazy plots, fuzzy cover descriptions, names “that sounds like…”, etc. as people try and zero in on the elusive book title.
It’s amazing how fun the conversations can get when everyone is Googling, searching their shelves and racking their brains to help find the answer to a missing book query. Sort of like a bookish party game with 1,000 people playing.
So if you ever find yourself looking for a book from the mid-80′s about a time-travelling Congressional Page and his dog, give the helpful folks in the LT Name That Book group a chance. Many times the group-think carries the day and if you’re lucky you’ll bump into more books that you might enjoy.
If you’re not up for the discussions and want to cast a larger net, the Library of Congress also has a site set up to help people in their quest for Lost Novels. The page has links to many sites and groups all organized to help reconnect readers with forgotten books. Some of the sites are better than others, but the tips they offer are pretty universal and are worth reading no matter where you look for help.
Over the past week more than a few of my friends have declared “I plan on reading more next year.” It is a New Years reading resolution that I whole heartedly support. Just read more books. Period.
But when asked “what are you looking forward to reading?” or “what book are you going to read first?” my friends were never real sure. Except for the guy who, while admitting to having not read anything long-form in almost two years, wants to start with Moby Dick (“because the classics are important”, he said).
So I wanted to offer three tips for the newly resolved “reading more” coalition:
1. Enjoy reading. While the classics are worthwhile and we should all be well-read in the “issues of the day”, these can be heavy areas for folks trying to “get back into reading books”. So start fun. If you haven’t been able to read a whole novel in a while, start with something fast and easy. I’m thinking genre fiction here. So start there and then pick up something with more meat and literary. Once you see you can read a novel and get in the habit of making time to read, you’ll be ready to dig deeper.
2. Talk about books. I don’t care where. Just talk about them. Meet someone new at the office? At a party? Ask what they’re reading. For some reason everyone seems to talk about movies. I’m not sure why. But I promise, the more you talk about books and reading, the more worthwhile you’re reading will be. Also, once you get your groove back, be sure to check with your local libraries and bookstores about book groups and salons. Read book blogs and leave comments.
3. Join a group. This kind of piggybacks on #2, but really has a different focus. If you’re already online then check out LibraryThing or GoodReads. Both give you tools to catalog books and track your reading. They also help you dive deeper into an author or genre, discovering more hits than misses. If you’re a “connect the dots” kind of person then I also recommend Small Demons, which is cool and really deserves its own post.
Bonus Tip: Learn to read “in the cracks”. I’ve always had a ‘car book’. That is a book that I left in the car so that it was always there if I ever found myself sitting on a bench at the mall or waiting in line at the DMV. But since ebooks, I’ve also been able to read while rocking a baby to sleep, waiting in a movie theater for the show to start,or while sitting still on I-65 for 2+ hours while a wreck was cleared. These were unexpected times where I was able to read via my phone. So if you’re not scared of ebooks, give them a try the next time you find yourself twiddling your thumbs.
The 2012 Politics & Prose Holiday Gift Guide is out. It’s a free PDF download from their site as well. There are a gazillion good recommendations, but very few that you won’t find featured at one of Birmingham’s local bookstores. But, if you’re on this site you are probably of the ilk that enjoys scrolling through pages and pages of book covers and book reviews. I know I do.
One thing that I find particularly worrisome is the lack of books about books. The section under Biblio-graphic has one book My Ideal Bookshelf and there is also the new slipcased issue of the Book of Kells, which isn’t really about books per-se, but I think most bookish folks would appreciate the new edition as well as the place in book history that the Book of Kells holds. Anyway, this must be rectified! I am now on a mission here at the end of 2012 to chronicle the 10 Best Books about Books published this year.
Tomorrow, December 1st, 2012 is the third annual Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day. The day was started as a way to encourage parents to get their kids in bookstores and browsing; simply to instill a love of books and bookstores. Needless to say Take Your Child to a Bookstore has grown into more of a movement as bookstores offer deals and the group’s plans have grown. However you approach it, getting kids into a bookstore and getting them excited about all of the possibilities offered is a great idea.
The group’s map only lists two shops in Alabama as “officially” participating, Capital Book & News in Montgomery and Page and Palette in Fairhope. Are there others? No doubt, every day is a great day to get the kids into bookshops, but it’s nice when something crops up to put indie bookstores back in the media. You can keep up with the Take Your Child to a Bookstore folks on their Facebook page or site.
I love articles like this one over at The Paris Review where a writer got to go book shopping with Michael Dirda. It is so cool that one of the greatest book reviewers alive and one who has written about “the classics” spends so much time in the SciFi section of used-bookstores. The whole article is worth reading as it shares a love of books, book hunting and the joy of serendipity.
A great quote by the article’s author:
“. . . you don’t get to be the best-read man in America by giving a damn about someone else’s taste.”
Oh to bump into Michael Dirda, who says he has about 10,000 books and is “a sucker for pretty books”, in a book store aisle. Over the course of the article Dirda declares Joseph Mitchell’s Up in the Old Hotel as “. . . the greatest book ever”. So that one is now on my ‘books to read’ list.
I also took the time to make a list of the books that Dirda recommends or buys throughout the story. So if you’re looking for something worthwhile, these might be worth looking up. What’s fun is that not all of them are “stuffy”. There are spaceships and sailboats too!
Rick Brant’s ‘Electronic Adventure’ series
anything by Tom Swift
Arnold Bennett’s The Card
Pym (the edition edited and annotated by Harold Beaver)
M.F.K. Fisher’s Two Towns in Provence
Joseph Mitchell’s Up in the Old Hotel
Alberto Manguel’s Black Water: The Book of Fantastic Fiction
Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man
Dorothy Sayers’s Omnibus of Crime
Josephine Tey’s The Daughter of Time
Harry Kemelman’s The Nine-Mile Walk
Ross Thomas’s Chinaman’s Chance
Two Alabama bookstores are featured in the soon-to-be-released book My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop. Both the Alabama Booksmith and Fairhope’s Page & Palette made the cut! The book, published by Black Dog & Levanthal, hits bookstore shelves on November 13th and is a collection of essays written by famous authors about their favorite bookstore haunts. You can get a preview of the book over on Scribd where the publisher is sharing some essays. Be sure to check out the publisher’s own site as well so you can check the map and add your own favorite bookstore and share your story.
It looks to be a great read of not only some of nation’s neatest local bookstores that writers enjoy, but also dives into WHY they enjoy them. Rick Bragg wrote the feature on the Alabama Booksmith while Fannie Flagg wrote about Page & Palette (where the rumor is she got locked in a closet!?) I hear the book is indeed a true celebration of the impact bookstores have on their communities and the creative readers that pass through the doors. This is one book I am really looking forward to.
Here is a complete listing of all the bookstores and the author’s that wrote about them:
- Fannie Flagg—Page & Palette, Fairhope, AL
- Rick Bragg—Alabama Booksmith, Homewood, AL
- John Grisham—That Bookstore in Blytheville, Blytheville, AR
- Ron Carlson—Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, AZ
- Ann Packer—Capitola Book Café, Capitola, CA
- Isabel Allende—Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA
- Mahbod Seraji—Kepler’s Books, Menlo Park, CA
- Lisa See—Vroman’s Bookstore, Pasadena, CA
- Meg Waite Clayton—Books Inc., San Francisco, CA
- Daniel Handler and Lisa Brown—The Booksmith, San Francisco, CA
- Dave Eggers—Green Apple Books, San Francisco, CA
- Pico Iyer—Chaucer’s Books, Santa Barbara, CA
- Laurie R. King—Bookshop Santa Cruz, CA
- Scott Lasser—Explore Booksellers, Aspen, CO
- Stephen White—Tattered Cover Book Store, Devner, CO
- Kate Niles—Maria’s Bookshop, Durango, CO
- Ann Haywood Leal—Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT
- Florence and Wendell Minor—The Hickory Stick Bookshop, Washington Depot, CT
- Rick Atkinson—Politics and Prose Bookstore, Washington, DC
- Les Standiford—Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL
- Robert Macomber—The Muse Book Shop, Deland, FL
- David Fulmer—Eagle Eye Book Shop, Decatur, GA
- Abraham Verghese—Prairie Lights, Iowa City, IA
- Luis Alberto Urrea—Anderson’s Bookshops, Naperville, IL
- Mike Leonard—The Book Stall Chestnut Court, Winnetka, IL
- Albert Goldbarth—Watermark Books, Wichita, KS
- Wendell Berry—Carmichael’s Bookstore, Louisville, KY
- Edith Pearlman—Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, MA
- Mameve Medwed—Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA
- Henry Louis Gates, Jr.—Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, MA
- Simon Winchester—The Bookloft, Great Barrington, MA
- Nancy Thayer—Mitchell’s Book Corner, Nantucket, MA
- Elin Hilderbrand—Nantucket Bookworks, Nantucket, MA
- Jeanne Birdsall—Broadside Bookshop, Northampton, MA
- Martha Ackmann—Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA
- Ward Just—Bunch of Grapes Bookstore, Vineyard Haven, MA
- Ron Currie, Jr.—Longfellow Books, Portland, ME
- Nancy Shaw—Nicola’s Books, Ann Arbor, MI
- Katrina Kittle—Saturn Booksellers, Gaylord, MI
- Ann Patchett—Mclean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, MI
- Kathleen Finneran—Left Bank Books, St. Louis, MO
- Barry Moser—Lemuria Books, Jackson, MS
- Jack Pendarvis—Square Books, Oxford, MS
- Jill McCorkle—Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC
- Carrie Ryan—Park Road Books, Charlotte NC
- Laurent Dubois—The Regulator Bookshop, Durham, NC
- Lee Smith—Purple Crow Books, Hillsborough, NC
- Angela Davis-Gardner—Quail Ridge Books & Music, Raleigh, NC
- Ron Rash—City Lights Bookstore, Sylva, NC
- Ian Frazier—Watchung Booksellers, Montclair, NJ
- Joan Wickersham—The Toadstool Bookshop, Peterborough, NH
- Carmela Ciuraru—Community Bookstore, Brooklyn NY
- Matt Weiland—Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn, NY
- Kate Christensen—Word, Brooklyn, NY
- Mick Cochrane—Talking Leaves Books, Buffalo, NY
- Caroline Leavitt—McNally Jackson Books, New York, NY
- Arthur Nersesian—St. Mark’s Bookshop, New York, NY
- Francine Prose & Pete Hamill—Strand Bookstore, New York, NY
- Chuck Palahniuk—Powell’s Books, Portland, OR
- Larry Kane—Chester County Book & Music Company, West Chester, PA
- Ann Hood—Island Books, Middletown, RI
- Mindy Friddle—Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC
- Adam Ross—Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN
- Douglas Brinkley—BookPeople, Austin, TX
- Terry Tempest Williams—The King’s English Book Shop, Salt Lake City, UT
- Robert Goolrick—Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA
- Howard Frank Mosher—Galaxy Bookshop, Hardwick, VT
- Jon Clinch—Northshire Bookstore, Manchester, VT
- Jonathan Evison—Eagle Harbor Book Co., Bainbridge Island, WA
- Tom Robbins—Village Books, Bellingham, WA
- Sherman Alexie—Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA
- Garth Stein—Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA
- Ivan Doig—University Book Store, Seattle, WA
- Lesley Kagen—Next Chapter Bookshop, Mequon, WI
- Liam Callanan—Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI
Yes, I know. It is Banned Books Week here in the states. But it is also the last Buy A Friend A Book Week of 2012, which I think is much cooler. While it doesn’t carry the emotionally charged fear of being told what not to read, it’s a great idea that encourages you to match up the right book with the right friend and make it happen. That’s it. It’s that simple.
Pick a friend. Pick the book. Buy from a local bookshop. Deliver said book. It is the best of all worlds.
I have my friend picked out this time (BAFAB week happens four
times a year) and the title list narrowed down to three possible books. I just need to see what’s in stock around Birmingham. The next BAFAB week isn’t until the first week of January 2013. Until them you can follow BAFAB Twitter, though as you can tell from their tweet stream they are really only active during BAFAB weeks.
Anyone else going to give this a try this week?
Blogs I Like
- Alabama Booksmith
- B’ham Public Library
- Book Chase
- Book Patrol
- Bookshelf Porn
- Exile Bibliophile
- Fine Books Blog
- Loud poet
- Nathalie Foy
- Oh My Godwin!
- Reed Next’s Next Read
- Turn the Page
- AL.com Books
- AL.com Books Forum
- Alabama Center for the Book
- Alabama Writers' Forum
- Bham Wiki
- Book TV
- Menasha Ridge Press
- The Literacy Council
- Book Art
- Book Collecting
- Book Column
- Book Covers
- Book Design
- Book Reviews
- Book Sale
- Book Talk
- Bookstore Ideas
- Digital Publishing
- Free Books
- Friday Finds
- Gifts for Book People
- New Releases
- On the TV
- On the Web
- Publishing Industry News
- Site News
- Tools for Readers
- Upcoming Titles