Thursday, November 27, 2014

Russia- Books Update from The New York Times


The first volume of a new biography argues that Stalin had social as well as organizational skills.

'There Once Lived a Mother Who Loved Her Children, Until They Moved Back In'

Reviewed by JENNY OFFILL
In three tales, women contend with ne'er-do-well children and the pressures of communal living.
Eduard Limonov


Reviewed by JULIA IOFFE
After a career as a poet, butler and media celebrity, Eduard Limonov helped organize a group of nationalist thugs.
Literary Landscapes

To Russia, With Tough Love

Masha Gessen recounts the literary history of Moscow and describes why she's become disillusioned with the city of her birth.
David Baldacci

David Baldacci: By the Book

The author, most recently, of "The Escape" was a library rat growing up: "Libraries are the mainstays of democracy. The first thing dictators do when taking over a country is close all the libraries, because libraries are full of ideas."
·         By the Book: Archive
The Kremlin's script: A majority of Russians still get most of their information from state-run TV.

'Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible'

Reviewed by MIRIAM ELDER
A British television producer's foray into the "surreal heart" of 21st-century Russia.
Vladimir Putin

'Putin's Kleptocracy'

Reviewed by RAJAN MENON
A damning account of Vladimir Putin's rise to power and his plans to restore Greater Russia.

'Twilight of the Eastern Gods'

The Moscow of Ismail Kadare's novel is full of young writers who live and drink together.
Residents at a broken main during the siege.

'Leningrad: Siege and Symphony'


Shostakovich's composition for a besieged Leningrad.

News from The Bookseller

Russell Brand described schools without a library as a "disgrace", and said public libraries closures were driven by a "fundamentalist philosophy of profit", in an entertaining and enthusiastically received Reading Agency Lecture last night (Tuesday 25th November).
The comedian and author told the audience at the Institute of Education that he had returned to visit his old school in Grays, Essex, now called the Hathaway Academy, and found that it no longer had a library.
Sylvia Day
The penultimate book in Sylvia Day's Crossfire erotica quintet has ended Jeff Kinney's two-week run at the summit of the UK Official Top 50 by a matter of just 221 copies, while Lynda Bellingham's just-released novel joined her memoir in the top 50.  
More than half of staff at Constable & Robinson have left the publisher since Little, Brown Book Group bought the company, it has emerged.
The formerly independent publisher was purchased by the Hachette division in February, with the Constable & Robinson team moving into Little, Brown’s Victoria Embankment offices in April.
Egmont UK is cutting two roles in its marketing team following last year’s merger of its two book businesses.

Sales, marketing and PR director Ingrid Gilmore confirmed that two employees will be made redundant, saying: “The restructure means that the marketing team will now consist of five roles.  These roles will work across fiction, brands and licensing, picturebooks, pre-school and non-fiction.  Previously there were two marketing teams made up of seven roles working across the separate books divisions.”

James Patterson has launched a campaign in the US to persuade President Barack Obama to draw attention to the importance of reading.
The campaign, which has the hashtag #SaveOurBooks on Twitter, asks people to sign a petition, write to their politicians, spread to word on social media and find out what more Patterson is doing to keep people reading, borrowing and buying books.
Patricia Cornwell has released an essay as a Kindle Single via Amazon Publishing’s crime imprint Thomas & Mercer.
Chasing the Ripper, which costs 99p on the Kindle store, documents her investigation of Jack the Ripper for her 2002 book Portrait of a Killer (Little, Brown).
In the book Cornwell controversially identified British painter Walter Sickert as the Ripper.

The Chinese government official behind the Shanghai Children’s Book Fair (CCBF) has said he is committed to co-operating with the team behind the London Book Fair (LBF), with further events in China under consideration.
Kan Ning Hui, whose official title is deputy director of the Shanghai Press & Publication Administration, told The Bookseller: “To make CCBF more open internationally we are thinking of working with book fairs and organisations all over the world. We are planning new co-operative projects with the London Book Fair, including a new project in China.”
Independent children’s publisher Nosy Crow was last night (25th November) named Young Company of the Year 2014 in the Growing Business Awards.
Nosy Crow beat five other companies shortlisted in the same category, including popcorn maker Propercorn and cement producer Hope Construction Materials.
The Growing Business Awards are hosted by trade magazine Reed Business and supported by the CBI in association with Lloyds Bank.

Rush Hour: How 500 Million Commuters Survive the Journey to Work

From Lewis Carroll’s White Rabbit to Einstein’s theory of relativity, the everyday commute has inspired some extraordinary ideas

The Guardian,

Rush hour in Beijing
An unlikely tourist attraction … rush hour in Beijing. Photograph: Getty Images
In his 1967 book The Revolution of Everyday Life, the Belgian situationist thinker Raoul Vaneigem wondered how much humanity could possibly remain in people “dragged out of sleep at six every morning, jolted about in suburban trains” and “tossed out at the end of the day into the entrance halls of railway stations, those cathedrals of departure for the hell of weekdays and the nugatory paradise of weekends, where the crowd communes in a brutish weariness”. While they might flinch at the unflattering wording, quite a few of the world’s half a billion commuters would surely agree with Vaneigem that the part of the day they spend getting to and returning from work is dead time that simply has to be endured.

And yet there is a small but distinguished body of literature about this banal routine. I can think of three minor classics – Roger Green’s Notes from Overground, Marc Augé’s In the Metro and Christopher Ross’s Tunnel Visions – that have found a strange, melancholic poetry in the somnambulant iterations and thrown-together community of the daily commute. To this list we can now add Iain Gately’s Rush Hour. It is not as lyrical as these books, nor as personal, although it does begin with him shivering one wintry Monday on platform one at Botley station in Hampshire, waiting for the 07.01 to London Waterloo. But he too finds this daily ritual full of anthropological interest and surreal juxtapositions.

Shardik by Richard Adams – back in print in a 40th anniversary edition

The extraordinary fantasy novel by the author of Watership Down is back in print in a 40th anniversary edition

The Guardian,

Mono Print
Richard Adams’s second novel, Shardik, convinced him to quit the office. Photograph: Topham/PA
All writers love the book that allows them to give up their day job. And although Richard Adams’s debut novel, Watership Down, is his most celebrated, it was Shardik, his second, that convinced him to quit the office. Published in 1974, it is a heady piece of fantasy centred on the creation of an animal-based religion, in which a giant bear is the object of worship of a developing human society riven by territorial and ideological dispute. It’s hard to see direct similarities with the work of other writers, although there are echoes of CS Lewis and Tolkien. And big animals were definitely in the air (or sea); Jaws was also published that year.


James Patterson Goes Full ‘Fahrenheit 451’ With Burning Book Video


Burn, Baby, Burn


The best-selling author talks to The Daily Beast about why he’s setting books on fire to get the president’s attention.

Author James Patterson is calling out President Obama with a video of burning books.
The best-selling author has released the video of individuals, including children, burning books to draw attention to what he believes is a lack of emphasis in the U.S. on reading.

The Roundup with PW

Shop on Amazon, Underground: Amazon is the first advertiser to use the New York City transit system digital kiosks as pop-up stores to drive sales of holiday gifts.

Shakespeare 'First Folio' Found: A rare and valuable William Shakespeare 'First Folio,' the collection of plays credited with being the reason his literary legacy survived, has been discovered in a provincial town in France.

Hollywood's 25 Most Powerful Authors: Books by these writers — ranked in order of influence by the 'Hollywood Reporter' — are source material for more than 300 movie and TV projects and have helped rake in billions in box office and revenue.

What to Read Over Thanksgiving: It’s the time of year when you might want to disappear into a book – and especially one about families even more dysfunctional than your own.

Ferguson Library Stays Open: In the tumultuous aftermath of the announcement Monday evening of a Grand Jury’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown in August, many public services in the area have shut down. But not the Ferguson Municipal Library.


Writer sends lamb chop into space to promote his book

A writer and a graphic artist decide to send a lamb chop into space and spend five months recovering the footage 

Chops away! Author Nikesh Shulka prepares to launch the lamb into space

This is quite possibly the most elaborate marketing scheme ever to have been devised.
To promote his new book Meatspace, author Nikesh Shukla and graphic artist Nick Hearne decided to take things literally and send a piece of meat into suborbital space.

Attached to a fork, hanging from a weatherballoon rigged with a GoPro, the tandoori lamb chop ascended from a field in the Cotswolds at a 325 metres a minute, for just over an hour and a half, before the balloon burst at around 25,000 metres.

Nikesh and Nick set the lamb chop in motion were expecting the landing site to be somewhere in Andover, Hampshire - but the GPS failed to activate to tell them the chop's location.
Luckily, or so it seemed, the friends were contacted by a farmer in Dorset who said he'd found their chop in his threshing machine.

Top Four Best Practices For Writing Great Book Blurbs

Book2Book Tuesday 25 Nov 2014 

When you sell your book online, your book description, or blurb, must be persuasive enough to compel people to buy.

Breaking the cycle of poor literacy standards - one step at a time

Hedgehog and her Hoglet
Hedgehog and her Hoglet was produced by a team of parents in Salford

Each year across Greater Manchester, two out of every five children are defined as being "not school ready" when they're assessed at the end of their Reception year.
While some of those 16,000 youngsters may eventually catch up with their peers, independent research carried out for the government suggests the majority will struggle to do so.

Literacy problems often go down through the generations, prompting education ministers and educationalists to pose the question: "What can be done to break the cycle?"
In order to encourage families to spend more time reading together, one scheme has seen a group of young parents from Greater Manchester producing their own children's book.

The Hedgehog and her Hoglet is based on the experiences of new mothers and fathers in Pendleton and Little Hulton in Salford.

Many struggle to read themselves and own few, if any, books. 

Greatest Hits: 7 Popular Book Reviews from 2014

We’ve had a great year so far and it’s all thanks to you, our supporters and readers! In the spirit of the holidays, we decided to put together a list of our seven most popular reviews. As you’ve noticed, we review books of all kinds, and this list is no different. Sit back, relax, and peruse. There are plenty of wonderful books here to further fill your shelves! 

Letting it Go: My Quest to Be as Organized as Oprah (a review of It’s All Too Much by Peter Walsh)
“This isn’t a book about living within your means but about what living means… if you take his advice to heart, it will change your life.”

Living Like a Parisian at Work and at Home (a review of Lessons from Madame Chic by Jennifer L. Scott)
 “Many of these focus on how important food and presentation (clothing, beauty, etc.) are to the French. While in France, I adopted many of the French routines: a multi-course meal each night, dressing my best both in and outside the home, taking time to stop and enjoy the arts and culture around me.”

The Case for Nancy Drew (a review of Nancy Drew by Carolyn Kleene)
“We are creating generations of voracious, impatient readers, and it’s superb.”

Why Stephen King’s Road to Hell is Paved with Adverbs (a review of On Writing by Stephen King)
“Basically, it’s self-help for people who snub their noses at self-help.”

It’s Always Something: Lessons I learned as an Editor in Hollywood (an editor reflects on his time working with actress and comedian Gilda Radner)
“No one in the hotel paid much attention to me. This was Beverly Hills, after all, where movies, not books, were the local currency.”

The Princess Bride You Didn’t Meet in the Movie (a review of The Princess Bride by William Goldman)
“The first thing to know is that the beloved movie very little resembles the book that inspired it. How is that possible? Simply read the introduction and you will see how much more complex, how much darker and more emotionally satisfying the book is.”

Crank is the New Go Ask Alice (a review of Crank by Ellen Hopkins)
 “This is what makes Hopkins’ work so special – her writing feels intensely personal and intimate; the reader knows the character and goes on this tragic journey along with her.”

Shakespeare First Folio found in French library

The book – one of only 230 believed to still exist - had lain undisturbed in library at Saint-Omer for 200 years

Although the book, originally believed to contain 300 pages, has around 30 pages missing and no title page, it will still be the centrepiece of the French library’s exhibition next summer. Photograph: Denis Charlet/AFP/Getty Images
A rare and valuable William Shakespeare First Folio has been discovered in a provincial town in France.
The book – one of only 230 believed to still exist - had lain undisturbed in the library at Saint-Omer in the north of France for 200 years.

Medieval literature expert Rémy Cordonnier was searching for books to use in a planned exhibition of “Anglo-Saxon” authors when he stumbled across the 1623 tome in September.
Cordonnier, a librarian, said that at first he had no idea that the battered book in his hands was a treasure.

C.K.Stead tells me we have one here in Auckland, in the Grey Collection.

The Spontaneous Overflow of Powerful Feelings: Poetry as a Political Response

By on

The Spontaneous Overflow of Powerful Feelings: Poetry as a Political ResponseAfter listening to failed prosecutor Bob McCulloch debase the English language for 15 minutes on Monday night, repeatedly exculpating himself in favor of blaming social media, I felt ready to turn to the language of poetry. But I have to admit that I wasn’t (emotionally) ready for Tuesday’s post-Ferguson outpouring of what I’ll just call, for the sake of shorthand, response poems. Thankfully, as yesterday proved, response or reaction poems don’t have to be politically reactionary. … Read More

Independent Publishing as the Source of Bibliodiversity

Today's Feature Story:

Susan Hawthorne argues that independent publishing is the source of cultural diversity, bringing bibliodiversity to confront megapublishing and bookselling.

Digital storytelling offers a unique opportunity to convey the urgency of a crisis and cross cultures, as demonstrated by the project

The Los Angeles Review of Books looks at the rediscovery of the novelist John Williams, whose book, Stoner, has become a surprise global bestseller.

Authors In the News: Bookselling Authors, Picoult, MacArthur Fellow McHugh

Publishers Lunch

The American Booksellers Association says that over 400 independent bookstores will host authors who have volunteered to work alongside booksellers as part of the Indies First initiative this Saturday -- which is the American Express-promoted Small Business Saturday. The ABA reports that more than 1,200 authors have enrolled in the various year-round initiatives that are part of the larger Indies First banner. They have a state-by-state listing of scheduled author appearances and other in-store promotions here.

Jodi Picoult visits the UK and gives the Telegraph a candid interview she probably wouldn't give to an American newspaper, which in turn gets pitched to a local audience (the headline quote is "It's really hard to love America sometimes"), but the internet doesn't know the difference. Among her comments: "I write women's fiction...And women's fiction doesn’t mean that's your audience. Unfortunately, it means you have lady parts" and "Please don't get me started on Nicholas Sparks," she says, rolling her eyes. "I haven't had enough caffeine yet."

Picoult decries the marketing of women's fiction in relation to comparable titles by men: "If a woman had written One Day [by David Nicholls], it would have been airport fiction. Look at The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides. If I had written that, it would have had a pink, fluffy cover on it. If Jenny Eugenides had written it, it would have had a pink fluffy cover on it. What is it about? It’s about a woman choosing between two men. What is The Corrections about, by Jonathan Franzen? It’s about a family, right? And I'm attacking gun control and teen suicide and end-of-life care and the Holocaust, and I’m writing women's fiction? I mean, I can't tell you. When people call The Storyteller chick-lit, I actually break up laughing. Because that is the worst, most depressing chick-lit ever."

Picoult also believes Americans should see more of the world, and said half-jokingly: "You know how they have mandatory military service in Israel? I think there ought to be mandatory travel in America. I've really thought about this a lot."

Poet Heather McHugh has found an altruistic, moving way to spend her MacArthur "genius" grant money, which she was awarded five years ago. As KPLU reports, McHugh set up a nonprofit called Caregifted, awarding week-long vacations to people who have spent a decade or more taking care of a family member full-time. "I can see how hard some lives are and how much they deserve tribute," McHugh told the Seattle radio station. "They do it for their families, they do it out of love, but what they do benefits everybody and nobody's thinking about it. Nobody's waving thank you at them." Getaways awarded by McHugh to caregivers include Victoria, B.C.; Maine; and Napa Valley. "They ask for the simplest things on vacation. They want to go for a walk when they want to. They want to read a book."

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Global Education Systems –Kiwi reading resources that sell worldwide

From PANZ Newsletter

Tracy Strudley (left) and Jill Eggleton pictured visiting school children in South Africa

Educator and children’s author Jill Eggleton, and Tracy Strudley, sales and marketing director are the two dynamic women who, as Global Education Systems, create reading and learning resources and market their products internationally.

Next year they will make their presence felt in the trade market with a brand new range of products for pre-school learning called Bud-e.

Tracking back to the publishing company’s beginning, Key Links, their reading resources series, was begun by Jill in 2004, and gained momentum when Tracy brought her international educational sales marketing skills to the company in 2006.

Their major educational series in the reading resource field – Key Links, has collections of texts for shared, guided and independent reading, including teacher resources, for students from 5 to 10 plus years.


The Kathleen Grattan Prize for a Sequence of Poems 2014

: Janet Charman, judge, and Julie Ryan, winner of the 2014 Kathleen Grattan Prize for a Sequence of Poems

The winner of the 2014 Kathleen Grattan Prize for a Sequence of Poems, run by International Writers' Workshop NZ Inc, has been announced with the $1000 prize awarded to Julie Ryan of Orakei for her sequence, On Visiting Old Ladies.
The catalyst for Ryan’s sequence of nine poems was memories of her life in Kaitaia, where she lived from the age of 8 to the age of 18, and visiting the old ladies in the district who had stories to tell, none about fishing!
“I have met many more interesting old ladies since then," she says.
The judge this year was Janet Charman of Avondale, a well known poet and previous winner of the Kathleen Grattan Prize, since published as at the white coast by Auckland University Press. She says of this year’s winning work, “A sequence that immediately jumped out at me as intellectually chewy; fascinating; astutely and provocatively nutty; overall an entirely rewarding read.”   
She adds she was privileged to read the well structured and very high quality sequences of poems in the 2014 group of offerings for the Kathleen Grattan Prize.
Runner-up in this very strong group was Janet Newman of Levin for beach.river.always.  Newman is studying for a Masters of Creative Writing at Massey University and her poems about the conflicted relationships that exist between people and nature will form part of her MCW thesis.
About the Winner
Julie Ryan also writes as Julie Haines and published her first novel, Swimming with Big Fish, earlier this year. She can be contacted on 09 578 0498 or by email to
About the Competition
The Kathleen Grattan Prize for a Sequence of Poems has been made possible by a bequest from the Jocelyn Grattan Charitable Trust. It was a specific request of the late Jocelyn Grattan that her mother be recognised through an annual competition in recognition of her love for poetry and that the competition be for a sequence or cycle of poems with no limit on the length of the poems. It is one of two poetry competitions funded by the Trust, the other being the prestigious Kathleen Grattan Award run by the publishers of Landfall magazine.
This is the 6th year the prize has been contested. Previous winners are:
2009: Alice Hooton for America.
2010: Janet Charman for Mother won't come to us, and Rosetta Allan for Capricious Memory.
2011 Jillian Sullivan for how to live it
2012 James Norcliffe for What do you call your male parent?
2013 Belinda Diepenheim for Bittercress and Flax.

International Writers' Workshop NZ Inc (IWW) was founded in 1976 by poet Hilda B Whyte and meets twice a month from February to November at the Northcote Senior Citizens Villa in Northcote. IWW's main aim is to inspire writers by means of workshops and competitions across fiction, nonfiction and poetry.
For further information about the Prize, contact Sue Courtney, President, International Writers' Workshop NZ Inc,, email, phone (09) 426 6687.