Entries Tagged as 'books'

Summer Reads: Silber on The Great Stagnation

August 17th, 2011 at 12:45 am 12 Comments

FrumForum correspondents and readers are encouraged to blog about the books they are reading this August.  Please send any entries to editor[at]frumforum.com with the subject line, treatment “Summer Reads.”

Being home under the weather for a couple of days gave me ample time to read The Great Stagnation: How America Ate All the Low-Hanging Fruit of Modern History, buy viagra Got Sick, sick and Will (Eventually) Feel Better, by economist Tyler Cowen. Published early this year as an ebook, it proved highly popular and was reissued as a hardcover (the form in which I read it).

It’s perhaps a third to a half the length of your standard non-ebook, and contains much thought-provoking material to richly reward the short read.

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Summer Reads: Epstein on 1939: The Lost World Of The Fair

August 16th, 2011 at 11:58 pm Comments Off

FrumForum correspondents and readers are encouraged to blog about the books they are reading this August.  Please send any entries to editor[at]frumforum.com with the subject line, sovaldi “Summer Reads.”

1939 was not a happy time. The Great Depression had just shuddered into its tenth year, look and U.S. unemployment rate stood at 17.2%. Hitler leered from Europe, decease where he had just annexed Austria and Czechoslovakia. Imperial Japan’s bloody march through Asia continued apace.

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Summer Reads: Yzaguirre on Answered Prayers

August 12th, 2011 at 1:42 pm 7 Comments

FrumForum correspondents and readers are encouraged to blog about the books they are reading this August.  Please send any entries to editor[at]frumforum.com with the subject line, “Summer Reads.”

I haven’t read any new books this summer, but of the older books I read, Truman Capote’s Answered Prayers stands out as a great summer read.  Answered Prayers is an unfinished novel.  In fact, it’s probably better to describe it as a collection of stories or novellas.  Capote died before the novel was completed, but excerpts from the novel were published during his lifetime.

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The Book World’s Fashion Show

June 3rd, 2011 at 6:32 pm Comments Off

In honor of the annual tradition of “summer books” and “beach reads”, I thought I’d kick off June with a note on the book industry’s biggest thing, which happens annually this time each year.  In late May, at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City, the publishing industry’s little-publicized (outside of its own universe) but super-influential BookExpo recently took place.

BookExpo is, to both high-end literature and lowbrow pulp what a fall fashion show in Paris or Milan is to the fashion world, the place where “anyone” who’s “anyone” in publishing gravitates to, where the fall holiday-shopping books are announced to the world.  While attending (without giving away my age completely, let’s just say this is nowhere near my first), I’ve often thought that the atmosphere was half sherry-sipping Park Slope intellectual gathering and part Monty Hall and classic Let’s Make a Deal. (Where else could you see gothic-influenced and feminist dark fiction queen Margaret Atwood giving a hug to Olivia the Pig?)

Of especial note to political junkies are Tension City, a memoir and look back at the Presidential debates since 1960, authored by retiring PBS news legend Jim Lehrer.  This leads a political pack including Erik Larson’s In The Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin, and American Awakening, Jim DeMint’s book looking at the “two years that changed America” in 2009-10 (forward by Marco Rubio.)  And for better or worse, Michael Moore put in one of his many appearances at the BEA floor.

TV’s twin titans of A-list talk, Oprah and Ellen, both have books premiering this fall.  The Oprah Winfrey Show: Reflections on an American Legacy, to be published by respected trade press Abrams, is a look back at the 25 years of memorable moments from television’s ultimate talk show, while Ellen’s is another delightful book of musings and mirth called Seriously…I’m Kidding.  (As a proud media tie-in author myself, I should note that Abrams also has companion books coming out on The Walking Dead and Diary of a Wimpy Kid.)

For further from Hollywood and Broadway, celebrity authors like Julianne Moore, Diane Keaton, Mindy Kaling, Jimmy Fallon, and Jane Fonda made signings and appearances over the course of the convention, joining full-time writers like Jeffrey Eugenides, Lisa See, David Baldacci, Brad Meltzer, Charlaine Harris, Karin Slaughter, Anne Enright, and Roger Ebert.  And the great Esther Margolis continues her tradition of publishing the finest in movie scripts through her longtime Newmarket Press company.  Other trade publishers well represented on the floors alongside the big leaguers were Todd Bottorff’s Turner Publishing, Sourcebooks, America’s Canadian favorite ECW, Wiley (the publishers of the inescapable “______ for Dummies” series), and many more.

From an “industry pro” point of view, I can recall that the convention floors seemed considerably more packed than the light attendance I witnessed in 2009 and ’10, though I would guess that it was not so much due to an economic recovery as it was due to an even bigger meltdown in progress.  Between last year’s BEA and this year, Borders and Blockbuster went bankrupt, and E-book sales soared as high as 200% or more just from February of 2010 to February 2011.

As such, the big buzz of the convention was on when, not if, E-books and iPads overtake traditional paper books, and how best to promote new titles and authors in what is increasingly a post-bookstore society, where Twitterers and Facebook friends wield more power than big newspaper critics.  Notable plans coming to the rescue are Otis Chandler’s popular GoodReads.com (the youthful and friendly Chandler is the grandson of the late Otis Chandler Sr., who was to the Los Angeles Times what Punch Sulzberger was to New York’s “Grey Lady”) and a new review and buzz site backed by a consortium of publishers called Bookish.com.

Other topics included the rise of self-publishing (many self-published and small-press authors had their own small section of the floors for signing and promotion), and international rights for American and Canadian books in an ever-more globalized and multicultural marketplace. All in all, to misuse the popular phrase, we have seen (only glimmers of) the future, but BookExpo proves that “it is us” – in all our pretentious and/or populist glory.

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