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‘Focus: The Secret, Sexy, Sometimes Sordid World of Fashion Photographers’ by Michael Gross

from The Daily Mail

Group sex, a speed addiction and an affair with 18-year-old Anjelica Huston: The weird world of photographer Terry Richardson’s dad revealed in shocking new book

By JAMES WILKINSON

Dad: Terry Richardson is now a father himself, having had two kids - Rex and Roman - with girlfriend Alex Bolotow (left)Dad: Terry Richardson is now a father himself, having had two kids – Rex and Roman – with girlfriend Alex Bolotow (left)

Terry Richardson is the bad boy of fashion photography: his sexually explicit, in-your-face shoots – sometimes involving real sex acts – have earned him a following that includes Lady Gaga, Marc Jacobs and Yves Saint Laurent.

He’s also been accused of pressuring models into sex by Danish model Rie Rasmussen, a claim he denies. But as controversial as his own career has been, it can’t hold a candle to his father’s.

An amphetamine-addicted schizophrenic, Bob Richardson turned the world upside down for the fashion industry – and for young Terry, who was drawn into his disturbing world of group sex, hard drugs and violent outbursts.

The startling story was revealed by the NY Post Saturday in an excerpt from ‘Focus: The Secret, Sexy, Sometimes Sordid World of Fashion Photographers’ by Michael Gross.

Born in 1928 to a Catholic family in Long Island, New York, Richardson – initially a graphic designer – didn’t pick up a camera until 1963, when he was 35.

But when he did, he went at the job hard, telling himself he had to become a ‘legend’ in the industry and injecting himself with amphetamine-laced vitamin supplements that would let him for for days at a time without sleeping.

Fractious, arrogant, brilliant and driven, Richardson was infamous in the 1960s for causing a ruckus on sets, ruining clothing, going into tremendous outbursts and infuriating his clients.

‘I’m told you’re a genius, but I don’t see it,’ Charles Revson, owner of Revlon, told him one time.

‘Get your eyes examined,’ Richardson barked at him.

His arms bruised by needle tracks from self-administered amphetamine shots, Richardson shot glamorous models for Paris Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, bringing a gritty rock ‘n’ roll ethos that was revolutionary at the time.

But he pushed himself too far, working day and night in the grip of an ever-growing drug dependency.

[ click to continue reading at The Daily Mail ]

Posted on June 26, 2016 by Editor

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Franzen Upchuck

from The Observer

Why I Almost Committed Suicide Watching Jonathan Franzen on Jeopardy

A three-time Jeopardy champ nearly loses it seeing a slightly more famous writer at the game-show podium

Neal Pollack

I’m a Jeopardy! champion. I won three games in September of 2013. This didn’t happen during “Power Players Week.” I’m not a power player to anyone but that one guy in Pittsburgh who bought my band’s album in 2004, and also the editor of this newspaper, who wanted me to review Jonathan Franzen’s appearance on Jeopardy! Power Players Week. So here goes.

On Jeopardy, Jonathan Franzen knew all the answers. Of course he did. He’s Jonathan Franzen! They gave him a category about Birds in the first round. He got those questions right, of course. That’s like giving me a category called “Jerkin’ It.” There was also a Shakespeare category. Mr. Franzen knew those answers, too, though he didn’t ring in to answer that the Tamer of the Shrew was named Petruchio, an answer that I, sitting on my couch in my underwear while smoking a joint, knew immediately. “I should have known that,” Franzen said, fake-demurely.

Curse you, Franzen!

Then came the moment when Alex Trebek, the evil lord of knowledge, talks to the players. He and Mr. Franzen spent 30 seconds dissing Twitter, a doomsday scenario, a meeting of the ubermenschen that shattered my soul forever. “Do you think in our society, Twitter is trivializing importance?” Alex Trebek asked Jonathan Franzen. Even typing that phrase—“Alex Trebek asked Jonathan Franzen”—hurts my heart. Believe it or not, Mr. Franzen did, and then talked about how it was impossible to form a counter-argument on Twitter.

[ click to continue reading at The Observer ]

Posted on May 17, 2016 by Editor

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The Proper Pot-smoker

from Vanity Fair

The Author of How to Smoke Pot (Properly) Wants to Keep Weed Weird, Even When It’s Legal

BY ANDREA WHITTLE

Courtesy of Plume/Penguin Random House.

Passionate pothead and 15-year veteran journalist David Bienenstock came up with the idea for his latest book on January 1, 2014—the day America’s first retail marijuana stores opened to anyone 21 or older. The result: How to Smoke Pot (Properly), a pocket-size book that examines the past, present, and future of marijuana in an era of rapid change for the drug’s social acceptability. Published this month by Plume Books, Bienenstock takes readers on a humorous and informative trip through the drug’s various medicinal compounds, a timeline of the its history, and recipes that take you beyond the standard pot brownie—with pro tips from cannabis-friendly celebrities sprinkled throughout. Vanity Fair spoke to the Vice columnist, former High Times editor, and founder of a curated cannabis tourism company about marijuana culture, the double-edged sword of legalization, and how to fit in if you’re thinking of joining the so-called “green rush.”

Vanity Fair: In the book’s introduction, you write, “Please think of this humble tome in your hands not just as a handbook or a guidebook, but a call to metaphorical arms.” How would you summarize your “mission statement” for this book?

David Bienenstock: I think the book looks at where marijuana culture is right now and where we’re going, and I think it’s important amid all the excitement of legalization to realize that this culture and the people who grow and consume and share this plant are still being oppressed all over the world and even in the United States. So while we’ve gained a tremendous amount of freedom in places like Colorado and Washington, you go across the Colorado border into Kansas and you still have families being torn apart by this unconscionable war on weed. So I think the call, first of all, is to never forget that this is an ongoing campaign against this terribly misguided government policy, and that it’s [our responsibility] to participate not just in our own liberation but in everyone else’s. As long as one person is being oppressed for smoking marijuana, none of us are really free.

[ click to continue reading at VF ]

Posted on May 10, 2016 by Editor

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Berkeley Bookstores Surviving

from The San Jose Mercury News

Berkeley: Independent bookstores adapt to keep customers

By Tom Lochner

Steve Lehman, a regular shopper at Pegasus Books, peruses the offerings at the independent bookstore on Solano Ave. in Berkeley, Calif., on Tuesday, April(Kristopher Skinner/Bay Area News Group)

BERKELEY — Battered by global economic forces, rising commercial rents, online buying and other changes in consumer behavior, many independent bookstores today are devising ever more creative solutions to stay in business.

Some don’t make it or simply give up — in Berkeley, Shakespeare & Co., Black Oak Books and William Stout Architectural Books closed within the last year, although the latter remains in business at its main store in San Francisco.

But many independent bookstores are experiencing a renaissance, reinventing themselves as literary community gathering venues, places not only to buy books but also to discuss them, meet their authors, listen to readings, and sometimes just to have fun.

[ click to continue reading at SJ Merc ]

Posted on April 24, 2016 by Editor

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Nabokov, Amateur Lepidopterist

from The New Yorker

Vladimir Nabokov, Butterfly Illustrator

BY 

Vladimir Nabokov began collecting lepidoptera at the age of seven. Throughout a long and protean literary career, his passion for insects remained unwavering. He published his first verses as a teen-ager, shortly before the Russian Revolution; in 1918, he fled St. Petersburg for Crimea, where he surveyed nine species of Crimean moths and seventy-seven species of Crimean butterflies. Two years later, as a first-year student at Cambridge University, he described his observations in a scholarly paper for The Entomologist. In 1940, having written nine novels in Russian and one in English, Nabokov immigrated to New York, where he became an affiliate in entomology at the American Museum of Natural History. The following year, he began working at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology, devoting as much as fourteen hours a day to drawing the wings and genitalia of butterflies. “Fine Lines,” a new book out this week from Yale University Press, reproduces a hundred and fifty-four of his illustrations, some for the first time.

For a Nabokov fan, paging through “Fine Lines,” which includes a critical introduction and several essayistic evaluations of Nabokov’s scientific oeuvre, can feel a bit like reading the second half of “Pale Fire”: one is confronted by a content-rich, almost dementedly tangential commentary on an increasingly inscrutable work. And yet, as with “Pale Fire,” the commentary is so fully intertwined with the work that, by the end, it’s impossible to imagine one without the other. The writer and the lepidopterist really do turn out to be the same person, engaged in a single, if multifaceted, project of knowledge and description. As Stephen H. Blackwell and Kurt Johnson, the editors of the volume, note, the famous four-by-six-inch notecards on which Nabokov wrote his novels were originally the medium he used for his entomological studies.

When Nabokov started studying butterflies, his dream was to identify a new species. As a child, in 1909, he proposed a Latin name for a subspecies of poplar admiral that he had spotted near his family’s estate, only to be told by a famous entomologist that the subspecies had already been identified, in Bucovina, in 1897. As an adult, Nabokov had more luck. He named multiple species, most famously the Karner blue (Lycaeides melissa samuelis), which he came across in upstate New York, in 1944.

[ click to continue reading at The New Yorker ]

Posted on April 18, 2016 by Editor

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Learning Through Writing

from the Richmond Times-Dispatch

My Life: Imparting life lessons among 10th-grade teacher’s favorite tasks

by Christina Grande

Christina GrandeCHRISTINA GRANDE

When I was in third grade, I dressed up as a teacher for Halloween. My mom sprayed my jet-black hair gray (with semi-permanent dye) and wound it into a bun. Making my look complete, she fitted me with plastic black frames, a long skirt and a button-down shirt. I stood up tall to show the camera my best prim and proper stance, putting on a serious look.

Twenty-eight years later, in classroom A2, I stand in front of my 10th-graders in leggings, flats, and hair that always hangs down my back. At this stage in my life, I am nothing like the snapshot of a teacher I saved from years ago. There is nothing prim and proper about my attire, nor is there anything prim and proper about my attitude. While I love literature and writing, my favorite things to impart upon my students are thoughts and ideas about life.

Before class, Maddie whispers to me that she has a secret to tell me afterward. Even though I know the secret will be about a boy and a crush and maybe things that will have no relevance tomorrow, I smile, because this is the essence of childhood and youth.

In Room A2 at 10 a.m., these are the details that matter. In a moment, we will talk about writing memoirs. Later on, Maddie might have to deal with her parents’ divorce and where she will spend her first separate Thanksgiving dinner — at her mom’s or her dad’s house. She might have to decide where she will apply to college or how her SAT scores compare to those of her peers. But, right now, in this moment, she will giggle and share whispers with her friend Sid. The bell has not rung. Third period has not yet begun. And right now, we are silly.

I keep this in the back of my mind as I remind myself that writing must be both thoughtful and fun. The bell rings, and I begin my lesson with a video about how to write six-word memoirs. I watch even the most disengaged kids become transfixed as they look at some examples of writers who have effectively used six words to convey their life stories. They see memoirs from famous people like Molly Ringwald who says, “Acting is not all I am,” and the writer James Frey who says, “So would you believe me anyway?”

I challenge them to create their own memoirs in 15 minutes, unsure of what will become of this short exercise. This is one of the few English classes at my school that is de-leveled, meaning that of the 17 students I teach in this course, half of them are honors students and the other half are standard-level students, who sometimes need additional support writing and crafting sentences. For this reason, I never know how to anticipate the engagement of my students.

[ click to continue reading at Richmond Times-Dispatch ]

Posted on April 4, 2016 by Editor

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Simonoff Wins Maxwell E. Perkins Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Field of Fiction

from Booktrade

Eric Simonoff Winner Of Center For Fiction’s Maxwell E. Perkins Award

ERIC SIMONOFF NAMED WINNER OF THE 2016 MAXWELL E. PERKINS AWARD FOR DISTINGUISHED ACHIEVEMENT IN THE FIELD OF FICTION

Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times

March 29th, 2016, New York, NY — The Center for Fiction is pleased to announce that literary agent Eric Simonoff, Partner of William Morris Endeavor (WME), is the recipient of its 2016 Maxwell E. Perkins Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Field of Fiction.

The Center for Fiction is dedicated to celebrating, supporting and furthering the creation and enjoyment of the art of fiction and is the only non-profit literary organization in the United States devoted entirely to this art form. The award will be presented to Mr. Simonoff at the Center’s December 6 Annual Benefit and Awards Dinner in New York City. Upon the announcement Mr. Simonoff said: “I am enormously honored to receive the Max Perkins Award and to be added to the list of previous recipients, all of whom are professional heroes of mine.”

The Maxwell E. Perkins Award recognizes an editor, publisher, or agent who over the course of his or her career has discovered, nurtured, and championed writers of fiction in the United States. It honors Maxwell E. Perkins, of Scribner, one of the most important and admired editors in American literary history. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe, and Ernest Hemingway are three of the many writers he supported over his long career.

Eric Simonoff was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and grew up across the Delaware River in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. He studied classics at Princeton University. Five days after graduating in 1989 he began his first job in publishing as editorial assistant to 2009 Maxwell Perkins Award recipient Gerry Howard. In 1991 he joined the literary agency Janklow & Nesbit Associates where he eventual rose to become Managing Director. In 2009 he moved to the William Morris Agency (which shortly thereafter became WME) to co-run their global book department. He has served on the board of directors of the City of New York Graduate Center and currently is a member of the board of directors of Poets & Writers Organization.

Among the clients he represents are Jhumpa Lahiri (winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Interpreter of Maladies), Phil Klay (winner of the National Book Award for Redeployment), Edward P. Jones (winner of the Pulitzer Prize for The Known World), Karen E. Bender (National Book Award finalist for Refund), Kate Walbert (National Book Award finalist for Our Kind), Jonathan Lethem (winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Motherless Brooklyn), ZZ Packer (chosen by The New Yorker as one of the twenty best American writers under 40 and a PEN/Faulkner finalist for Drinking Coffee Elsewhere), Chris Adrian (selected by The New Yorker for the same list), Daniel Alarcon (also on The New Yorker’s list and winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award for War by Candlelight), Philipp Meyer (another on The New Yorker’s list and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for The Son), Joseph Boyden (winner of the Scotiabank Giller Prize for Through Black Spruce), Vikram Chandra (winner of the David Higham Award and the Commonwealth Writers Award for Red Earth and Pouring Rain), Stacy Schiff (winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Vera), Nam Le (winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize for The Boat), Sam Lipsyte (winner of the Believer Book Award for Home Land),Yaa Gyasi (author of the forthcoming debut novel Homegoing), in addition to bestselling authors Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child, Walter Kirn, Mary-Louise Parker, Bill O’Reilly, Susan Casey, James Frey, Trenton Lee Stewart, Amanda Vaill, Danielle Trussoni, Calvin Trillin, James Bradley, Ben Mezrich, Buzz Bissinger, Karen Thompson Walker, and many others.

[ click to read full release at Booktrade ]

Posted on March 30, 2016 by Editor

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Danielle Paige’s YELLOW BRICK WAR – Next Installment in the DOROTHY MUST DIE Series

from hypable

Danielle Paige discusses writing the way home in ‘Yellow Brick War’ (plus exclusive teaser!)

BY  MICHAL SCHICK

Danielle Paige shares her thoughts on Wicked developments and new challenges in Yellow Brick War, and we have an exclusive teaser for Dorothy’s return.

The Dorothy Must Die series follows the Kansas-born Amy Gumm through an Oz subsumed under by Dorothy Gale’s reign of terror. The third installment, Yellow Brick War, takes the battle back to the cornfields, where Amy must not only battle the enemies of her old life, but find a way to save Kansas from Dorothy’s nefarious plans.

[ click to continue reading at hypable.com ]

Posted on March 13, 2016 by Editor

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Thanks, Ricki Hall

from the Express and Star

World Book Day: What are the stars reading?

bookdayRicki Hall recommended James Frey’s novel

From a biography of a Second World War hero to a literary thriller about a man born out of wedlock to a feminist leader – the favourite reads of Black Country stars are revealed as World Book Day is celebrated around the globe.

Today is the 19th year of World Book Day, a celebration of authors, illustrators and books, which aims to inspire youngsters to explore the pleasures of reading by providing them with the chance to own a book of their very own.

Wolverhampton mechanic turned model Ricki Hall, aged 28, said A Million Little Pieces by James Frey was his favourite book.

Originally sold as a memoir and later marketed as a semi-fictional novel following accusations of literary forgery, it tells how a 23-year-old alcoholic and drug abuser copes with rehabilitation in a twelve steps-orientated treatment centre.

He said: “Hope you’ve read the sequel, My Friend Leonard!”

[ click to read full article at Express and Star ]

Posted on March 4, 2016 by Editor

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Umberto Eco Gone

from NPR

Italian Author And Philosopher Umberto Eco Dead At 84

by MERRIT KENNEDY

Italian writer Umberto Eco attends an event at the Paris Book Fair on March 30, 2010.Ulf Andersen/Getty Images

Internationally acclaimed Italian author and philosopher Umberto Eco has died at age 84. His death was confirmed by his American publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Born in a small Italian town in 1932, Eco is perhaps best known for his 1980 mystery novel The Name of the Rose, which is set in a monastery in the 14th century. It was an unexpected international bestseller, launching his career as an author.

Eco didn’t publish his first novel until he was 48, when a friend suggested he write a detective story. Before that, his focus was medieval studies and semiotics. And even after he published novels, he said “I am a philosopher … I write novels only on the weekends,” the BBC reported.

Here’s how Eco described his transition into fiction in an interview with The Paris Review:

“I have long thought that what most philosophical books are really doing at the core is telling the story of their research, just as scientists will explain how they came to make their major discoveries. So I feel that I was telling stories all along, just in a slightly different style.”

He told NPR’s Scott Simon last October that several of his novels like Foucault’s Pendulum and Numero Zero focused on characters that he affectionately termed “losers” — because “they are more interesting than the winners.”

“They have a more complicated philosophy,” Eco told Scott. “And then in the world, there are more losers than winners, and so my readers can identify themselves with the characters.”

[ click to continue reading at NPR ]

Posted on February 20, 2016 by Editor

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Harper Lee Gone

from The Washington Post

Harper Lee, elusive author of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ is dead

By Emily Langer

Harper Lee at the White House in 2007. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view,” Atticus Finch tells his daughter, Scout, in one of the most memorable passages of the classic novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” — “until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

Few people in the world could claim to really understand Harper Lee, the novel’s elusive author, who has died at 89 in Monroeville, Ala.

She withdrew from public life shortly after her book was published in 1960, only to reappear in old age with the sensational release of “Go Set a Watchman,” a manuscript identified as a long-lost early draft of the book that decades earlier had vaulted her to literary renown.

“To Kill a Mockingbird,” a coming-of-age story set in the Depression-era South where Ms. Lee grew up, received the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1961 and sold more than 40 million copies, becoming one of the most cherished novels in modern American literature. One oft-cited survey asked respondents to name the book that most profoundly affected their lives. Ms. Lee’s novel ranked near the top, not far behind the Bible.

[ click to continue reading at WaPo ]

Posted on February 19, 2016 by Editor

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Once Upon A Long, Long Time Ago….

from BBC News

Fairy tale origins thousands of years old, researchers say

An illustration of Beauty and the BeastResearchers found Beauty and the Beast was about 4,000 years old / PA

Fairy tales like Beauty and the Beast can be traced back thousands of years, according to researchers at universities in Durham and Lisbon.

Using techniques normally employed by biologists, academics studied links between stories from around the world and found some had prehistoric roots.

They found some tales were older than the earliest literary records, with one dating back to the Bronze Age.

The stories had been thought to date back to the 16th and 17th Centuries.

Durham University anthropologist Dr Jamie Tehrani, said Jack and the Beanstalk was rooted in a group of stories classified as The Boy Who Stole Ogre’s Treasure, and could be traced back to when Eastern and Western Indo-European languages split more than 5,000 years ago.

Analysis showed Beauty And The Beast and Rumpelstiltskin to be about 4,000 years old.

And a folk tale called The Smith And The Devil, about a blacksmith selling his soul in a pact with the Devil in order to gain supernatural abilities, was estimated to go back 6,000 years to the Bronze Age.

[ click to continue reading at BBC News ]

Posted on January 23, 2016 by Editor

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The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F†ck by SARAH KNIGHT

from The Observer Short List

sarah knight1

Minimalist Emotions: The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck

By
A parody of Marie Kondo’s decluttering bible, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Sarah Knight’s new humor book provides tips on how to cut down on unwanted obligations and feelings. It’s also small and white.

This post is from Observer Short List—an email of three favorite things from people you want to know. Sign up to receive OSL here.

[ click to read at The Observer ]

Posted on January 1, 2016 by Editor

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Cult Easton Ellis

from The New York Times

Bret Easton Ellis on Living in the Cult of Likability

By 

BRET EASTON ELLIS by Jeff Burton

This is an article from Turning Points, a magazine that explores what critical moments from this year might mean for the year ahead.

Turning Point: Uber becomes one of the world’s most valuable start-ups.

On a recent episode of the television series “South Park,” the character Cartman and other townspeople who are enthralled with Yelp, the app that lets customers rate and review restaurants, remind maître d’s and waiters that they will be posting reviews of their meals. These “Yelpers” threaten to give the eateries only one star out of five if they don’t please them and do exactly as they say. The restaurants feel that they have no choice but to comply with the Yelpers, who take advantage of their power by asking for free dishes and making suggestions on improving the lighting. The restaurant employees tolerate all this with increasing frustration and anger — at one point Yelp reviewers are even compared to the Islamic State group — before both parties finally arrive at a truce. Yet unknown to the Yelpers, the restaurants decide to get their revenge by contaminating the Yelpers’ plates with every bodily fluid imaginable.

The point of the episode is that today everyone thinks that they’re a professional critic (“Everyone relies on my Yelp reviews!”), even if they have no idea what they’re talking about. But it’s also a bleak commentary on what has become known as the “reputation economy.” In depicting the restaurants’ getting their revenge on the Yelpers, the episode touches on the fact that services today are also rating us, which raises a question: How will we deal with the way we present ourselves online and in social media, and how do individuals brand themselves in what is a widening corporate culture?

The idea that everybody thinks they’re specialists with voices that deserve to be heard has actually made everyone’s voice less meaningful. All we’re doing is setting ourselves up to be sold to — to be branded, targeted and data-mined. But this is the logical endgame of the democratization of culture and the dreaded cult of inclusivity, which insists that all of us must exist under the same umbrella of corporate regulation — a mandate that dictates how we should express ourselves and behave.

Most people of a certain age probably noticed this when they joined their first corporation, Facebook, which has its own rules regarding expressions of opinion and sexuality. Facebook encouraged users to “like” things, and because it was a platform where many people branded themselves on the social Web for the first time, the impulse was to follow the Facebook dictum and present an idealized portrait of their lives — a nicer, friendlier, duller self. And it was this burgeoning of the likability cult and the dreaded notion of “relatability” that ultimately reduced everyone to a kind of neutered clockwork orange, enslaved to the corporate status quo. To be accepted we have to follow an upbeat morality code where everything must be liked and everybody’s voice respected, and any person who has a negative opinion — a dislike — will be shut out of the conversation. Anyone who resists such groupthink is ruthlessly shamed. Absurd doses of invective are hurled at the supposed troll to the point that the original “offense” often seems negligible by comparison.

[ click to continue reading at The New York Times ]

Posted on December 10, 2015 by Editor

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Dorothy Must Die NYT #3 Woo-hoo!

from The New York Times

DMDNYT3

[ click here to buy DOROTHY MUST DIE ]

Posted on December 5, 2015 by Editor

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Shaq Debuts LITTLE SHAQ

from The New Yorker

Big Shaq

by Jonathan Blitzer

Shaquille O’NealILLUSTRATION BY TOM BACHTELL

There are fifty-two million items in the New York Public Library, if you count the artifacts, like pieces of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s skull and the walking stick that Virginia Woolf carried to the river’s edge. The other day, Thomas Lannon, a curator, was riffling through the collection, trying to find some objects that might interest Shaquille O’Neal, who was coming to the library that night as part of the N.Y.P.L.’s conversation series to talk about his new children’s book, “Little Shaq.”

Lannon was stumped. He’d considered original Superman comics, but they’re stored off-site. “Shaquille O’Neal isn’t really a scholar,” Lannon said, as he wheeled two boxes into a makeshift greenroom. “But he does have a doctorate”—in education, and also a master’s in business. One of his many nicknames is the Big Aristotle.
When Paul Holdengräber, the library’s resident interviewer, started the series, the staff created a tradition: before each event, the curators pull objects geared to the speaker’s interests. George Clinton was shown correspondence between Timothy Leary and Allen Ginsberg about psychedelics and jazz. Werner Herzog looked at a register of executions at San Quentin, and Patti Smith got to hold the Woolf walking stick.

[ click to continue reading at The New Yorker ]

Posted on November 11, 2015 by Editor

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HOME IS BURNING by Dan Marshall

from The Guradian

Home Is Burning: the profanity-laced terminal illness memoir with fart jokes

Dan Marshall’s book about his father’s death – while his mother was stricken with cancer – is possibly the most scatalogical memoir of its kind ever, and now Hollywood has come knocking

The Marshall family on 22 September 2008, the day of Bob’s death. (Left to right): Dan, Michelle, Tiffany, Bob, Chelsea, Debi, Greg. Photograph: Gary Neuenschwander/Supplied

Dan Marshall sips an iced coffee under a Los Angeles sun and mulls the notion of Hollywood sanitising his memoir, the story of how he and his siblings dealt with terminally ill parents during an anguished year in the Mormon capital of Salt Lake City. Marshall shakes his head and gives a faint smile. “It’d tear the balls off the thing if they made it PG-13.”

It would indeed. Home Is Burning, published this month and due to be made into a film, dives deep into the pain and grief of caring for a father who slowly wastes away, and a mother who hovers close to death. It also plumbs the cacophonous dysfunction of a family stumbling through the ordeal with black humour, fart jokes, painkillers, booze, feuds, sex and swearing – epic, ungodly, obscene, unrepentant, relentless swearing.

“It’ll have to be R-rated,” says Marshall. “There’s a lot of death and dying but with South Park humour applied to normally difficult and sentimental situations. I’m making jokes about wiping my dad’s ass.”

The 300-page memoir jokes about everything: the cruelty of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, which killed Bob Marshall in 2008; the brutal side effects of Debi Marshall’s cancer treatment; the vicious sibling arguments; the pious Mormon neighbours.

One unforgettable section details Debi’s declaration that she will perform oral sex on her husband – by then confined to a bed and respirator – daily until he dies. “My mom was beyond proud of the blow-job-a-day goal. I don’t know if it was because she was all fucked up on Fentanly or what, but she seemed to bring it up any chance she got. ‘A blow job a day. Not a bad deal,’ I heard her explain to a visitor. ‘You wouldn’t think it, but his penis is still strong.’”

The Marshall clan is barging into a terminal illness genre rife with sentimentality – think The Fault in Our StarsBefore I DieTuesdays with Morrie – with a unique strain of profane, scatological humour. Prominent memoirists have endorsed Home Is Burning. James Frey, author of A Million Little Pieces, called it hilarious and heartbreaking. Justin St Germain, author of Son of a Gun, deemed it self-aware and ruthlessly honest: “Dan Marshall might be a self-described spoiled white jerk, but he’s also a depraved comedic genius.” Publishers Weekly called him the literary love child of Dave Eggers and David Sedaris.

In person Marshall, 33, is softly spoken, almost shy. He mocks himself in the memoir as a dumpy, boozy, gummy bear-chomping screw-up. But the figure who settles into the corner of a restaurant terrace, seeking shade on a baking afternoon, is somewhat reformed. He has quit drinking, jogs and has, by his own measure, matured.

[ click to continue reading at The Guardian ]

Posted on October 31, 2015 by Editor

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ENDGAME Gold Won – Congratulations to Froylan Moreno del Rio!

from The Las Vegas Sun

Claiming Gold

By 

The first puzzle in the “Endgame: The Calling” high-stakes apocalyptic book trilogy brought to life by bestselling authors James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton was solved just 24 hours before today’s deadline.

To win “Endgame,” the winner had to solve an interactive puzzle comprised of clues leading to a real-life $500,000 cash prize. Froyal Moreno del Rio solved the puzzle and this afternoon unlocked the gold vault at Caesars Palace for the big payoff.

Book 2, “Sky Key: An Endgame” was published Tuesday. The New York Times bestselling authors were on hand at Caesars to autograph copies of both books. No word yet on the title of Book 3 or its publication date, but more puzzles and cash prizes await.

[ click to continue reading at the Las Vegas Sun ]

Posted on October 12, 2015 by Editor

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ENDGAME: SKY KEY (Second novel in Endgame Series – Available Today!)

GET YOUR COPY OF SKY KEY

The second book follows the group of teens on their worldwide search for three ancient keys that will save not only their bloodlines but the world.Courtesy of Harper Collins

GET YOUR COPY OF SKY KEY

 

Posted on October 6, 2015 by Editor

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Bustle’s Alien 8

from BUSTLE

8 Awesome Books About Aliens To Celebrate The Discovery Of Water On Mars

by 

Our world may have just turned into a science fiction novel because Monday morning NASA announced that it found water on Mars. This major scientific announcement was teased Thursday when NASA sent out a press release stating “Mars Mystery Solved” using information from the NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. This isn’t the first time scientists have found water on Mars — ice has been found at the poles — but it is the first time liquid water has been discovered. It marks a turning point in the study of the planet and whether it could be hospitable to life.

“Our quest on Mars has been to ‘follow the water,’ in our search for life in the universe, and now we have convincing science that validates what we’ve long suspected,” said John Grunsfeld, astronaut and associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, in the NASA announcement. “This is a significant development, as it appears to confirm that water — albeit briny — is flowing today on the surface of Mars.”

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

Rather than through the eyes of space explorers or humans on Earth, I Am Number Four is told by an alien. Teenage John Smith and eight other Loric aliens have sought refuge on Earth, hiding from their enemies of the Mogadorian aliens. But one by one, the Loric aliens are being picked off. And now John, the fourth person on the list, seems to be up next. He’s awaiting his emerging magical powers, which he’ll need to use to fight against his enemies to save himself, his alien friends, and the entire human race on Earth.

[ click to read full list at BUSTLE.com ]

Posted on October 5, 2015 by Editor

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Changing The Subject

from The New York Times

‘Changing the Subject,’ by Sven Birkerts

By 

Photo by MARA PARKS

Sven Birkerts is an anxious man. By turns he is frightened, terrified, alarmed, filled with dread. On one occasion he shudders in his core; mostly he is just plain worried. What concerns him, a concern he is eager to transmit to us, is the rapid spread of computer, Internet and telephone technologies and more specifically what those technologies are doing to our minds. Forever glued to screens of one kind or another, clicking compulsively on the links others provide for us, we are losing the ability to concentrate, growing more itchy and agitated by the day, allowing our consciousness to be fragmented and dispersed. Our very selfhood is under threat as we are invited to think of achievement as a collective, rather than individual goal, a contribution to Wikipedia rather than a distinctive personal statement. At every step the Internet or GPS navigator puts us at a remove from the world and from our fellow human beings, deprives us of the agency we enjoyed when we had to go out and find things for ourselves rather than have them suggested to us. “Rewired,” as neuroscientists have now demonstrated, to adapt to the fitful back and forth of the web, our brains are no longer fit for the sustained attention that literature requires. Fewer young people are choosing to study the humanities. Fewer great works of art are being produced. There is a real risk of individuality being submerged in system. To make matters worse, a vast majority of people seem entirely happy with this state of affairs, to the point that anyone questioning the value of the new technologies is immediately deemed a Luddite if not a dinosaur.

[ click to continue reading at NYT ]

Posted on October 2, 2015 by Editor

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The Raw-crafting of A Book

from Mental Floss

Watch the Intensive Process of Book Printing

by Rebecca OConnell

Though many have embraced e-readers, it’s hard to beat the look and feel of a real print book. In fact, there are some who prefer to make books the old-fashioned way: By printing with letterpress and stitching everything together by hand. San Francisco-based Arion Press does just that—and in his show Raw Craft, Anthony Bourdain followed its artisans through the process, revealing just how much work goes into making a book almost entirely by hand. From proofreading the copy aloud to hand-sewing the binding, each tome assembled at Arion gets an enormous amount of attention and care. The result is a volume that’s also a work of art.

[ click to continue reading at Mental Floss ]

Posted on September 26, 2015 by Editor

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THE FATE OF TEN – #1. Thank you, Readers. Thank you.

from The New York Times

[ click to view full list at NYT ]

Posted on September 14, 2015 by Editor

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Woo-hoo! Full Fathom Five Author SJ Hooks Hits #3 on Barnes & Noble Top Nook Books List

Pick up ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS now for yourself – only $2

Posted on September 13, 2015 by Editor

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The Fate of Ten

from Entertainment Weekly

See the electrifying trailer for The Fate of Ten, the penultimate I Am Number Four book — exclusive

by Isabella Biedenharn

On Sept. 1, Pittacus Lore’s I Am Number Four series gets nearer to its close, as The Fate of Ten—the series’ second-to-last book—hits shelves everywhere. The Fate of Ten sees the Garde stretched across North America: John is fighting the Mogadorians in New York City, where his human friend Sam has suddenly developed a Legacy; Six, Marina, and Adam are in Mexico where they’ve reached the Sanctuary, but can’t escape. Can they fight this war without destroying each other, and humanity itself?

Check out the electrifying, exclusive trailer above, and read the prologue [here].

[ click to continue reading at EW ]

Posted on August 19, 2015 by Editor

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Is this a Graffix which I see before me, The chalice toward my hand? Come, let me toke thee.

from CBS DC

To Smoke Or Not To Smoke: Scientist Says William Shakespeare Used Marijuana

A South African researcher says traces of cannabis were found in fragments of clay pipes discovered in William Shakespeare’s garden. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

LONDON (CBSDC) – The man who wrote Hamlet and MacBeth may have been enjoying some Midsummer Night’s Dreams.

South African researchers examined some 17th-Century clay tobacco pipe fragments found in William Shakespeare’s home town of Stratford-upon-Avon, reports Time Magazine.

They examined 24 fragments, including some had been excavated from the site of the Bard’s personal garden.

Using advanced gas chromatography methods, they detected cannabis on eight of the fragments, including four that were confirmed to dome from the garden.

[ click to continue reading at CBS DC ]

Posted on August 10, 2015 by Editor

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Oliver Sacks’ Heart-wrenching Goodbye

from The New York Times

Oliver Sacks: My Periodic Table

Aidan Koch

I LOOK forward eagerly, almost greedily, to the weekly arrival of journals like Nature and Science, and turn at once to articles on the physical sciences — not, as perhaps I should, to articles on biology and medicine. It was the physical sciences that provided my first enchantment as a boy.

In a recent issue of Nature, there was a thrilling article by the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Frank Wilczek on a new way of calculating the slightly different masses of neutrons and protons. The new calculation confirms that neutrons are very slightly heavier than protons — the ratio of their masses being 939.56563 to 938.27231 — a trivial difference, one might think, but if it were otherwise the universe as we know it could never have developed. The ability to calculate this, Dr. Wilczek wrote, “encourages us to predict a future in which nuclear physics reaches the level of precision and versatility that atomic physics has already achieved” — a revolution that, alas, I will never see.

Francis Crick was convinced that “the hard problem” — understanding how the brain gives rise to consciousness — would be solved by 2030. “You will see it,” he often said to my neuroscientist friend Ralph, “and you may, too, Oliver, if you live to my age.” Crick lived to his late 80s, working and thinking about consciousness till the last. Ralph died prematurely, at age 52, and now I am terminally ill, at the age of 82. I have to say that I am not too exercised by “the hard problem” of consciousness — indeed, I do not see it as a problem at all; but I am sad that I will not see the new nuclear physics that Dr. Wilczek envisages, nor a thousand other breakthroughs in the physical and biological sciences.

A few weeks ago, in the country, far from the lights of the city, I saw the entire sky “powdered with stars” (in Milton’s words); such a sky, I imagined, could be seen only on high, dry plateaus like that of Atacama in Chile (where some of the world’s most powerful telescopes are). It was this celestial splendor that suddenly made me realize how little time, how little life, I had left. My sense of the heavens’ beauty, of eternity, was inseparably mixed for me with a sense of transience — and death.

I told my friends Kate and Allen, “I would like to see such a sky again when I am dying.”

“We’ll wheel you outside,” they said.

[ click to continue reading at The New York Times ]

Posted on August 9, 2015 by Editor

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Nikki Finke’s Hollywood Dementia

from VULTURE

Nikki Finke Is Now Making Up Her Stories (Sort Of)

By

Photo: Jen Rosenstein

For Nikki Finke, fiction was always the enemy. “As a journalist, that was the worst thing you could say about something,” she says. “That’s fiction.”

In the years she spent covering the entertainment industry for the L.A. Times, L.A. Weekly, and her own Deadline website, Finke became famous — and famously feared — for telling the unvarnished (and highly entertaining) truth about everyone in Hollywood, even her own business partner, Jay Penske. “I am a very old-school journalist,” she says throatily over the phone from her home in Los Angeles. “I believe you make the comfortable uncomfortable, and that’s the whole point of doing it. A friend of mine who is in the business always used to say, Why do you always act surprised when people hate you for something you have written? And I said, But it’s the truth! My feeling was always the truth trumps everything. You know, the point is to try and get at that. As uncomfortable and difficult as it is.”

One thing the truth doesn’t trump: non-compete clauses.

Last year, a legal battle with Penske over Deadline resulted in Finke walking away with a reported multi-million-dollar settlement and a sworn promise not to report about the industry for anyone else. For a while, it seemed Penske had done something people in the industry had been trying to do for years: Put Finke out of commission. Under their agreement, Finke couldn’t even go online and expound about the Sony hack — the kind of cataclysmic event that would have had the old Finke, who goes on reporting benders the way studio executives used to go on coke binges, sleepless for days.

Finke clears her throat. (“In 2010, I completely had an operation to remove a parathyroid and they paralyzed one of my vocal cords. I couldn’t talk, I would croak. Of course all the agents would go, ‘That’s so sexy.’”) “The hack presented Hollywood the way it really is,” she says. “It demonstrated what Hollywood insiders have always known.” (She’s being careful, but you can hear it in her voice: TOLDJA!)

[ click to continue reading at VULTURE.com ]

Posted on August 3, 2015 by Editor

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LOCAL AUTHOR FESTIVAL: James Frey to give free talk at Avon Public Library on Thursday, July 30, from 6 to 8 p.m.

from The Hartford Courant

Local Literary Events Include Author James Frey, Twain Summer Program

James FreyAuthor James Frey, who gained fame and notoriety from his 2003 memoir “A Million Little Pieces,” will give a free talk at Avon Public Library on Thursday, July 30, from 6 to 8 p.m. as part of the library’s Local Author Festival that runs through Aug. 24. (Bebeto Matthews / Associated Press)

Avon Local Author Festival

The Avon Free Public Library‘s free Local Author Festival will run through Aug. 24 at the library, 281 Country Club Road.

Children’s Night is Tuesday, July 28, at 7 p.m., with Donna LeBlanc, author of “Explorations of Commander Josh: Book One — In Space” (SDP Publishing, $14.95); Shannon Mazurick, author of “Gemma: The Search For The Gem” (AuthorHouse, $15); J. C. Phillipps, author of “The Simples Love a Picnic” (HMH Books for Young Readers, $16.99); and Martha Ritter, author of “The Nearly Calamitous Taming of PZ” (Bradley Street Press, $13.99).

Author James Frey, who gained fame and notoriety from his 2003 memoir “A Million Little Pieces,” will give a free talk at the library on Thursday, July 30, from 6 to 8 p.m. Frey also is co-author with Nils Johnson-Shelton of “The Calling” (HarperCollins, $10.99).

Local authors will sell and sign books at the library’s Farmers Market from 4 to 7 p.m. on Mondays. Glenn Maynard, author of “Desert Son” (Black Rose, $15.95) and Nan Arnstein, author of “Rocky Shores” (CreateSpace, $16) will sign on Monday, July 27.

In addition, the library is offering a free Story Walk on its grounds during July and August based on the children’s book “Market Maze,” by Roxie Munro, a story about collecting things to take to a farmers market. Visitors can solve the maze and find objects hidden in pictures.

Information: 860-673-9712, ext. 235.

[ click to read at The Hartford Courant ]

Posted on July 28, 2015 by Editor

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Gertrude Stein Remembered

from Real Clear Politics

The Inimitable Style of Gertrude Stein

By Carl Cannon

Image from France Culture

Sixty-nine years ago today, as the first crop of baby boomers was being born, iconic American expatriate Gertrude Stein died in Paris. Her life partner, Alice B. Toklas, was at her deathbed.

In one of their last conversations, Toklas later wrote in her autobiography, Stein asked about the meaning of life: “What is the answer?” she inquired.

When Toklas failed to reply, Stein laughed and said, “In that case, what is the question?”

Born in Pennsylvania in 1874, Stein had lived in Paris as a girl before her parents brought her back to the United States. She lived in San Francisco and across the bay in Oakland as a young woman before gravitating to Baltimore, where she had relatives, and then to France after the turn of the century.

It was in Paris that she made her reputation. A famed wit, hostess, and avant-garde writer, she collected artists more than art. Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse were friends and frequent visitors, and after World War I, she and Alice Toklas expanded their salon-type dinners to include a cohort of restless young American writers that included Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and John Dos Passos.

It was to Hemingway, supposedly, that Stein said, “You are all a lost generation.”

Other than the “lost generation” line, Gertrude Stein’s most famous quote is probably her put-down of a teeming California city. Many decades before Jerry Brown resuscitated his political career by becoming mayor of Oakland, Stein dismissed the place by saying simply: “There is no there there.”

Actually, that five-word description — and three of them are the same word — come at the end of a longer, punctuation-less sentence. These days, one must type it carefully, or the spellcheck function on the computer will correct it for you — the consecutive “theres” being confusing to an intelligence of the artificial kind.

Gertrude Stein’s brainpower was the opposite of artificial. Her deathbed conversation with Alice B. Toklas? She was witty that way all the time.

Oakland wasn’t the only place subject to the Stein wit. She was dismissive of entire regions of the U.S., notably the Midwest. Referring to her pal Ernest Hemingway, she once said, “Anyone who marries three girls from St. Louis hasn’t learned much.” (For the record, Hadley Richardson and Martha Gellhorn were both St. Louis natives, but Pauline Pfeiffer, his second wife, was Iowa-born. But you get the point).

As for that lack of a comma in the Oakland put-down, it wasn’t an accident, either. That was Stein’s signature style.

[ click to continue reading at Real Clear Politics ]

Posted on July 27, 2015 by Editor

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Owner of The Red Wheelbarrow Identified

from The New York Times

The Forgotten Man Behind William Carlos Williams’s ‘Red Wheelbarrow’

image from cliparts.co

For decades, much has depended on his red wheelbarrow, streaked with rain, next to some white chickens, even if no one has known — or perhaps even wondered — exactly who he was.

But now, the owner of the humble garden tool that inspired William Carlos Williams’s classic poem “The Red Wheelbarrow” will finally get his due.

On July 18, in a moment of belated poetic justice, a stone will be laid on the otherwise unmarked grave of Thaddeus Marshall, an African-American street vendor from Rutherford, N.J., noting his unsung contribution to American literature.

“When we read this poem in an anthology, we tend not to think of the chickens as real chickens, but as platonic chickens, some ideal thing,” William Logan, the scholar who recently discovered Mr. Marshall’s identity, said in an interview.

The discovery doesn’t change the meaning, he said, but “knowing there was a man with a particular wheelbarrow and some chickens does help us understand the world the poem was embedded in.”

Williams’s 16-word poem, first published in 1923, was hailed as a manifesto of plain-spoken American modernism. Williams himself declared it “quite perfect.” A staple of classrooms and anthologies, it has inspired endless debates about its deeper meaning — how much of what, exactly, depends on the red wheelbarrow? — not to mention provided the name of an English-language bookstore in Paris, a craft beer from Maine and an episode of “Homeland.”

But Mr. Logan, a professor at the University of Florida who has contributed to The New York Times Book Review, may have taken the poem’s fullest measure yet. His roughly 10,000-word essay on the poem, published in the most recent issue of the literary journal Parnassus and titled simply “The Red Wheelbarrow,” considers the poem from seemingly every conceivable angle.

[ click to continue reading at nytimes.com ]

Posted on July 22, 2015 by Editor

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Frank Zachary Gone

from Town & Country

Remembering a Meeting with Frank Zachary

A tribute from Town & Country editor in chief Jay Fielden.


Jonathan Becker

A few weeks after I started editing Town & Country, I took a flight down to Florida to see a very important person—Frank Zachary, who edited Town & Country from 1972 to 1991. Under his bowtied command the magazine became a handbook for the way to live it up in America that was chronicled with documentary-like detail by the snapshot virtuoso Slim Aarons. Zachary, 97 and living in a retirement home in Delray Beach, generously shared memories and advice—”Don’t lose your nerve!”—from his two-decade tenure, while we sat on a back porch that overlooked a grassy yard encircled by a chirping mass of Florida jungle.

In the weeks since that visit Frank’s voice sometimes echoed back in the heat of things. One of the most memorable understatements he muttered that afternoon was, “Life’s a little lonely without deadlines.” Whenever I remembered that, the oft-occurring how-will-we-get-it-all-done-in-time chest-tightening moments immediately melted away.

[ click to continue reading at Town & Country ]

Posted on June 13, 2015 by Editor

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Full Fathom Five Digital’s Samantha Streger on “Getting Past Genre in Digital Acquisitions”

from Digital Book World

Getting Past Genre in Digital Acquisitions

By:

SSF3The growth of ebook publishing has heralded the growth of genre publishing—and it’s no wonder: Readers gravitate toward online communities that mirror their interests. By publishing genre-oriented ebooks, publishers and authors can cater to established communities of readers.

And since ebooks can often be produced inexpensively and sold at lower prices than many of their print counterparts, they’re perfect for those communities of voracious readers. At the height of the ebook boom, a low-priced, commercial genre title could find amazing traction. The author Amanda Hocking is one famous example of this type of success. Between 2010 and 2011, her self-published, $2.99 paranormal romance ebooks sold over a million units.

But the boom years are over, and many of the hit-making formulas acquiring editors and indie authors developed just a few years ago are bringing diminishing returns. Facing a much more competitive market than ever before, digital fiction publishers need to rethink their acquisition strategies.

Today, a paranormal romance ebook priced at $2.99 is just one of many thousands of paranormal romance ebooks priced at $2.99 or less. And that’s to say nothing of the huge number of ebooks that are available for free. Many publishers have found that the value of giving away free ebooks in order to build up reviews has all but disappeared.

Genre fiction in particular risks becoming a victim of its own success. Because it’s become an established winner in the digital space, the marketplace is now so over-saturated that digital publishers can’t afford not to think more creatively about how they acquire new content.

That was our guiding principle in October 2014 when we launched Full Fathom Five Digital. We planned to release commercial fantasy, romance, horror and thriller ebooks—but how to stand out in a sea of these genres? The experiment is still in its early days, but we’ve already learned a lot about what seems to work and what doesn’t when it comes to digital acquisitions. Here are five of them:

[ click to continue reading at Digital Book World ]

Posted on June 3, 2015 by Editor

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