Archive for the 'Book News' Category

BEA: Meet the Bestsellers Lunch

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

The last event I attended was a free lunch on Sunday afternoon.  Yep, I’m all about the free lunches.  This lunch featured best-selling authors Michael Connelly and Dean Koontz promoting their new books. 

Personally, I was fascinated by both the interview and subsequent audience questions.  Honestly, I’ve never read a Michael Connelly book and I’ve only read one Dean Koontz book.  But I very much enjoyed learning about how some of their stories came about, their struggles with the industry, and their writing process. 

Here are a few highlights:

*Dean Koontz said that the idea for his Odd Thomas books came while he was writing another book and in a few hours he had the whole first chapter handwritten.  He has never had that experience before or since.  (it was also the first time he ever handwrote anything).  He said that normally he gets 10,000-15,000 snail mail letters a year, but the year his Odd Thomas book released, he got 50,000.  Wow!

*Both authors enjoy the actual process of writing.  They don’t have any auto-buy authors.  It seems they feel they’ve passed from the being a reader to being a writer.  (my interpretation)

*Michael Connelly is always planting seeds for future stories in his books.

*They have both formulated characters and dialogues based on real people.

*Dean Koontz feels he can write strong female characters because he had strong females in his life, and not any strong men.

After the lunch, we got to get our books signed.  It was very cool.  It’s the first time BEA has done this, but hopefully not the last!

BEA: Sunday Morning Author Breakfast

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

If I ever have the chance to go to BEA again, I will be signing up for every last one of these!  It was such a cool chance to hear from the author’s themselves.  A word to the financially wise though, just sign up to be allowed in (you still receive the same ARCs), don’t pay 20 dollars for a bagel like I did.  If I had known that was the extent of the “breakfast” I would have gladly sat in back!

I didn’t know which authors would be at the breakfast when I registered, I registered so late in the game, I just tried to choose a day I thought I could make it.  I was lucky, though, because it was a very interesting panel.

John Hodgman, who I know as the guy who plays the PC in the Mac commercials (he’s also on the Daily Show, I guess) was the sort of moderator.  He has also written two books!  He was very funny and talked a bit about the unsuccessful adaptation of books to film, and of course how wonderful books are since that is why we are were all there. 

He was followed by Ted Turner.  Ted has written a book called Call Me Ted which will be released in November.  In fact, they did not give us an ARC of this book, but rather a cap that says Call Me Ted.  I do think this could lead to confusion if I try to wear it.  In any case, he talked a bit about how wonderful his life has been…how he’s been on seven continents in one year, etc.  They then opened up the floor for questions and people asked what the best moments of his life were, his thoughts on the current election, etc.  Somehow he mentioned that the book would be enjoyable for everyone and even had something for young people…a chapter called integrity.  This is when things fell apart in my opinion, because he said, “I’ve never been caught cheating on my taxes…I’ve never been a polygamist…” etc.  Um, if that’s all integrity is, we have some problems.  They managed to quiet him down at this point and introduce the next author.

 I have Reading Lolita in Tehran in my TBR pile, but haven’t read it yet.  I wish I had though, because Azar Nafisi was absolutely fascinating.   She shared a bit about how hard it was to come to the United States from Iran and see that people judged the Iranian culture by what they saw from the Iranian government.  She shared how she felt stripped and robbed of her heritage and culture because it wasn’t acknowledged.  She said something to the effect of, “a culture is measured by the people who are trying to bring change,” and noted how unfair it would be to judge American culture by slavery and segregation.  She also talked a bit about her upcoming book, Things I’ve Been Silent About, which I haven’t yet read, but can’t wait to.  (we did not receive an ARC of this one either, but a special edition of RLIT with an excerpt–it’s due out in December)  When we are silent about something unjust, we are complicit in the crime.  (she said something to this effect..not an exact quote)  So the book will be about many of her experiences in Iran.  Absolutely loved her.

Finally, Dennis Lehane spoke about his upcoming book The Given Day (available in September), which apparently took him five years to write.  He talked a lot about how books are superior to everything else and got a few digs in at Ted Turner (I’ve been to seven continents…through reading!).  I enjoyed it for the most part, he was funny as well.  Sure more people might watch Two and a Half Men than will ever read The Kite Runner, but who will remember it when’s it over? 

Fascinating lunch! I also really enjoyed the people I sat with, there’s just something so wonderful about being with other book lovers.  Perhaps we book bloggers should have a convention?

BEA: Jeff Bezos and Chris Anderson

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

My feet were killing me and I planned to attend the session with Jeff Bezos (CEO of Amazon) so I  headed to the room early to snag a seat.  I could see immediately that this was going to be a popular session as there were already several people in attendance thirty minutes before it was to start.

So I sat down.  My feet were pleased.  The room filled up quickly and became standing room only.  My feet thanked me for my foresight.  I quickly learned from the introduction that Jeff Bezos had not bothered to be at BEA for 8 years.  Perhaps that was the reason for the popularity.  Or perhaps people were eager to learn more about the big POD scandal.   In any case, what we were treated to was a thirty minute commercial for the Kindle.  Which made me want one.  One of the gals sitting next to me had one and pulled it out.  This was my first chance to see one in person and I wanted it.  But admittedly, ten minutes into the commercial I was ready to hear about something else.  I do have to say that Bezos is quite entertaining and easy to listen to.  He also spoke about how you can look up words you don’t know on the Kindle and thus discovered his vocabulary wasn’t as good as he thought.  I’ve learned that same lesson in my job, when students ask me what a word means, I often need to look it up to fully explain it.

Luckily, thirty minutes into the presentation Chris Anderson came out and started asking questions.  At first, it was a bunch of questions about the Kindle and vision, etc.  The ultimate vision for the Kindle is to eventually have every book that has ever been in print available within sixty seconds.  Simon and Schuster announced they’d be moving towards that goal by offering 5,000 more of their titles in ebook format by the end of the year.   Anderson did ask about the POD scandal and I actually thought Bezos stumbled through his answer a bit.  I love what he said, but I’m not sure it really applies.  His ultimate answer was that Amazon has to do what is best for their customers.  But the line I liked was:  “When you pioneer in something, you have to be willing to be misunderstood.”

They closed the session talking about his passion for space.

I’d love to know your thoughts on the Kindle and ebooks in general.  Do you read them?

BEA: Climate Change and the Book Industry

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

Hi everyone!

I’m attending BEA this week and blogging it for you all…the book lovers!  BEA stands for Book Expo America and is basically a big event where the publishers push all their new titles for the Fall to booksellers and librarians.  It’s overwhelming, but amazingly good fun.

I’m a nerd of the first order and so I just love to be around book lovers.  It makes me very happy.  When I received a press release that Green Press Initiative would be hosting panels on the book industry and climate change I was really interested in seeing what would be said.  Let’s face it, I probably have a few dozen trees shaped like books in my house and always feel a bit guilty about the paper that makes books.

I have to admit I was incredibly impressed by the measures some of the publishing companies are taking to combat global warming.  I don’t think they are really doing anything where I work, so  perhaps I’m easily impressed!

What they names as being the major problem was inertia.  Isn’t that always the problem?

New World Publishing spoke first on what they are doing and I thought there were some really cool things.  For example, they use solar power, encourage their employees to use public transportation, carpool, or bike and they always print on both sides of the paper in the office.  It’s such a simple thing, but I think it helps the environment incredibly!  Furthermore, they actually have an employee who started composting for them!  One of their future goals is to put up window awnings to help reduce the use of air conditioners.  I just think it’s so interesting how we can do all these little things help our planet.

Random House spoke next and I have to admit I found a lot of wisdom in what they said about  how first you need to know what impact you are currently having.  I think it helps to view things in light of a big picture and know what changes you can make.  It was encouraging to me that their environmental program has been really popular amongst their employees and they are seeing some financial benefit as well.

One thing the panel discussed is that if China and India don’t get on board with working to avert climate change, there is no point in all of our efforts.  (someone brought up this question)   The rep from Powell’s bookstore said, if nothing else, we need to serve as a moral model.  Good word!

For more information on this issue, you can visit Green Press Initiative.

More tomorrow!

Bookish News

Friday, April 11th, 2008

Megan Crane is one of my favorite chick lit authors. Her books are not only fun to read, they also have substance. It’s in the little things, the small scenes or random thoughts a character has that make you realize…hey, that’s just like me! Her latest book, Names My Sisters Call Me, releases today. It is my favorite of hers yet, though they are all wonderful. I highly recommend that you check it out if you enjoy chick lit with substance. (which is sort of silly to me, because I think most chick lit has substance–but I think her books are especially good) To celebrate the release of her book, you can visit her blog for a conversation between her and Liza Palmer

Amazon is hosting one incredible contest right now. I mean, can you even imagine having written a book people would hope to spend a weekend with?

A Book Blogger is giving away two copies of Joshilyn Jackson’s The Girl Who Stopped Swimming. Stop by her blog to learn how you can win!

Here’s a list of the 110 best books. (supposedly) Spot your favorite on that list?

I have a copy of Melanie Wells My Soul to Keep to giveaway. Read my review and if you are interested in a copy of this book, look for the weekend discussion question which will be posted tomorrow. Participate in the weekend discussion and you’ll be entered to win….simple as that!

Sisterchicks Go Brit

Thursday, April 10th, 2008

sisterchicks-go-brit.jpgThis May (which is in just a few weeks) a new Sisterchicks book will be available. This book is titled “Sisterchicks Go Brit.” If you love traveling either real travel or vicarious travel, you will love these books. Sisterchicks is a series of five (soon to be six) books of women traveling together – in some cases the women are single, but in others they leave husband and children behind for a period of time and go off on a chick adventure. Some of the places Robin Jones Gunn has included are Mexico, Italy, Hawaii, Mexico, and Finland. I read “Sisterchicks do the Hula” before I went to Hawaii and it got me even more excited about the trip.

The characters change – we don’t always have the same main characters, which help to make the books engaging. I am really excited about the new book because Great Britain is one place I would really like to visit. I have my book on order at – can’t wait!

Some Bookish News and Weekend Discussion

Friday, April 4th, 2008

A Little Bit of News:  If you are a fan of Ted Dekker, is running a special where you can get 10 dollars off of your entire order if you purchase his latest book, Adam.  I’ve heard it’s a good one, so you might want to check it out!

Did you know it’s Buy a Friend a Book Week?

Julie (aka Booking Mama) has a guest post and giveaway going on right now for Janna McMahan’s book Calling Home.

Weekend Discussion Question:  Where do you get most of your books from?  The library?  The bookstore?  Online?  Used bookshops?  Directly from the publisher for review?  Someplace else?

Weekend Discussion: Book Covers

Friday, March 21st, 2008

Recently I’ve seen these three book covers:

elle.jpg I loooovvvee this cover. And I love the title, Love Starts with Elle (by Rachel Hauck). This book doesn’t come out until August!! How dare they tempt me with this gorgeous cover and most beautiful title and then make me wait so long!

And then there’s this one:

groom.jpg I think this is just one of the most beautiful and enticing covers I’ve seen in awhile. I mean it’s just gorgeous and perfect for spring! Only one more month to wait for this one! (The Convenient Groom by Denise Hunter)

And last but certainly not least is this one:

constantheart_web.jpg I mean wow!!! What a gorgeous cover!! (A Constant Heart by Siri Mitchell) But guess how long we have to wait? Until October!!!

So as you can see, I’m easily swayed by the cover of a book. I love a beautiful cover and truth be told I love to look at the cover while I read a book and also after I finish a book I love.

What about you? What are some of your favorite covers? Have you ever liked a cover more than a book? What are some books you’re looking forward to? Do you like these covers?

Bookish News Around the Web

Friday, February 29th, 2008

Random House is offering the full text of Beautiful Children, Robert Bock’s debut novel, for free online until midnight.  You can visit to e-mail or print the text.

To celebrate her new series sister-to-sister, Virginia Smith is giving away a five hundred dollar shopping spree!  Click here to learn details.

Likewise, to celebrate her Awaken My Heart book, Diann Mills has a contest going for a free stay at a Bed-and-Breakfast of your choice.

Oprah Winfrey’s latest book club pick is the fastest selling one yet!  What in the world?  It’s called A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle.  Then I remembered that A Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren used to be a big seller, too.  I think people are hungry for purpose!

We’ll be announcing a month long contest tomorrow here at the nook, and so come by and see what it’s all about!  Have a great weekend everyone!

Book News: Before Green Gables

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

beforegreengables.jpg It seems that it is fairly popular to tell additional tales of classic and well loved characters. There have been many versions of The Phantom of the Opera for example, as well as Scarlett the sequel to Gone With the Wind and many other such books. It’s a bit like glorified fan fiction!

But I was somewhat surprised to see a book that tells the tale of Anne before she arrives at Green Gables! After all, the Anne series had several installments and seemed fully fleshed out.

I haven’t read it yet, but I hope to read it sometime in the future. It seems that this book was approved by the heirs of L.M. Montgomery and is probably perfectly delightful.

So I guess we can expect that one hundred years or so from now we will be getting additional tales about the characters in the world of Harry Potter!

Are there any retellings or modern sequels of classic tales that you like? Do you ever write fan fiction?