Thursday, December 18, 2014

'Twisty Christmas Tales'

Published by Phantom Feather Press
RRP $22.00

 A great Xmas Stocking filler reviewed by Maggie Rainey-Smith

In the introduction to this Christmas collection, David Hill recalls a Christmas dinner when his uncles had to pour a whole jug of custard to douse a fire on the tablecloth.  This sort of sets the scene for the theme of the 'seriously weird' and frequently quirky Christmas stories edited by Peter Friend, Eileen Mueller and A.J. Ponder.  As the title suggests, these are 'Twisty Christmas Tales'.  There are some well known authors including the editors and some less familiar names.

                My personal favourite 'Kiwi Christmas' is a modern twist on the traditional nativity story by Joy Cowley.  The Angel Gabriel is a fantail and instead of a stable, there's a shearing shed.  In another story by Simon Fogarty, 'Santa's Sack', a problem sister gets take away in Santa's sack with promises to make her better behaved before she is given back.  Problem brothers and sisters crop up in other stories too. Santa and his reindeer move into a local neighbourhood to regroup while their home is being repaired, disguising themselves as the 'Jones Family' in 'New Neighbours' by Anne Wilkins.

                    In 'Dear Santa', a boy living in a box under Auckland Harbour Bridge writes a letter wanting a bike and some medicine for his sick brother.  'Christmas in Space' by Peter Friend involves an ingenious Christmas tree solution in a space ship with 97 families on board, taking into account the problems of weightlessness and lack of room for a real tree.    A story I really liked 'Jack in the Box' by Dan Rabarts, is about one of Santa's elves flying over New York seduced by the smell of hot dogs and the difficulties in delivering to apartment blocks.

                There seems to be a theme for everyone, with all the usual chaos and clutter that Christmas seems to bring.  There's sadness too which is always amplified at this time of year when our hearts are set on family and feeling good and wanting everything to be okay, and often it isn't.  There's an 'equality elf' in one of the stories, time travel to a Grandmother's Irish childhood Christmas, and a very mischievous Manuka Christmas tree that causes havoc.  I really enjoyed 'A Modern Kiwi Christmas' by Kerrie Anne Spicer, a story in rhyme that sees Santa shooting past Kaikoura, Cruising Cape Reinga and then departing to drop gifts to the Aussies.

                The recommended reading age is from primary to intermediate.  It is a good choice for a stocking filler and families can share the stories across the age-groups... with a few hat-tips to adults like all good children's stories.  Not all the stories will appeal to all the children, but there's probably a story for everyone.

                The sales for this collection are going to support The Muscular Dystrophy Association of New Zealand. 

Antiquarian Book News

Unpublished Austen letter to be sold

Torquay Museum is to sell a previously unseen letter penned by Jane Austen. The letter, from the author to her sister, makes a reference to her novel Pride and Prejudice – which at the time had not yet been published.

The letter is part of a collection that includes letters from Charlotte Bronte, John Keats and Abraham Lincoln given to the museum in the 1930s. Director Basil Greenwood said selling the letter could raise £200,000.


Donated Map of London

A rare 1868 map of London has been donated to a charity book store in Hereford. James Wyld's Post Office Plan of London 1868 is a linen-backed map of postal areas across central London.

It stretches from Hyde Park to the East India Docks and appears to have been hand coloured.

Its author, James Wyld, was a noted cartographer and map seller to the Queen. Had it been in tip-top condition the item might have been worth £150-£200.

The Quest of Winchester Cathedral

Winchester Cathedral wishes to find eight medieval illuminations which are missing from what is considered to be the greatest surviving 12th-century English Bible. It is suggested that these may have been stolen in the past 150 years and so it is hoped that they may still survive – perhaps in private collections.

The Winchester Bible was commissioned by the cathedral’s bishop in 1160. Christopher de Hamel, a specialist in medieval manuscripts, describes it as “the finest English illuminated manuscript outside the British Library”. It remained in Winchester and was never used as a working Bible, because not all of the illuminations had been completed.

In an essay on the Winchester Bible, published this month to coincide with an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Roland Riem, the cathedral’s vice-dean, revealed details of one of the thefts. On 16 August 1927, a thief wrote a bizarre letter to Francis Madge, the cathedral’s librarian, admitting that while he was being shown the Bible, he had removed an illuminated letter “S” from one of the manuscript’s pages. “That initial ‘S’ now ranks as the cornerstone of my possessions,” the thief wrote. The “S”, from the prologue to the Book of Joel, is indeed missing.

A 1939 drawing of Tintin created by Herge for the cover of the weekly magazine Le Petit Vingtième sold recently for $673,468 at an auction of French and Belgian comic art held simultaneously in Paris and Brussels. The auction featured 101 works, of which 86 were purchased for a total of $2.4 million.

The India ink and crayon sketch by Herge topped an initial estimate of $440,000-$500,000. It also secured a world record for a Herge cover published in the magazine.

A comic book ‘The Hulk’, issue 18, sold for more than $8,000 at Back to the Past comics in Redford, Michigan, USA a few days ago. 

The issue is not only extremely rare but is also historic as it is the first time Wolverine from the X-Men is introduced.  Apparently the comic was found by chance.

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Ibookcollector © is published by Rivendale Press. 

The Tuesday Poem - a couple of days late !

For our second-to-last poem this year Helen McKinlay has posted a really lovely poem by Vincent O'Sullivan, the current poet laureate, plus an interview with him:

There are several really perfect lines and phrases in the poem, but this I think is my favourite: ' I hold one back and bite into it and its/taste is the taste of the colour exactly'.

PW Comics World

‘This One Summer’ Tops PW Comics World’s 2014 Critics Poll
A slowly unfolding tale of a lazy summer as unforgettable for readers as for the characters in its pages, 'This One Summer' by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki has topped our 2014 Critics Poll with six votes. more

Led by Comics, Humble Bundle e-Books Raise $4.75M
In its first year offering e-books and digital comics, Humble Bundle, the promotional site that lets readers pay what they wish for bundles of DRM-free content, released 18 bundles that generated $4.75 million in revenue. Of that revenue, $3 million was generated by comics alone. more

The 12 Comics of Christmas
Here are a dozen Christmas comics—both naughty and nice, guaranteed to entertain or, at least, suffice. more
Waid, Staples to Revamp Classic Archie Comics
Writer Mark Waid and artist Fiona Staples will relaunch the flagship Archie comics series in 2015 with updated character designs and a new storyline. more

Black Captain America and Comic Book Diversity
In a new push for diversity, comics publishers are changing the race and gender of some of their classic superheroes. more

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Is Final Proof That Peter Jackson Has Lost His Soul - Good riddance to these movies.

This third installment of The Hobbit trilogy is allegedly the shortest of all of Peter Jackson’s Tolkien films, but my theater must have been orbiting a black hole because I could swear it swallowed up 20 years of my life. Maybe it was all that slow-motion. Or maybe it was the fact that, more than any of the other films in Jackson’s ill-advised (but ridiculously lucrative) trilogy, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies feels thoroughly inconsequential — a bloated, portentous mess that, in a just world, should not exist.


Why Book Marketing (Still) Starts and Ends with the Website


www magnifying glass book marketing websiteIt’s almost 2015, and so much in the publishing industry remains in flux, from publishers’ distribution channels to their methods of driving consumer awareness and discovery—even book content itself.

From a marketing perspective, many of the techniques, platforms and strategies publishers implement to approach the market are continuing to evolve at a sometimes surprising pace as well. (Who was really marketing through Pinterest or Instagram even two or three years ago?) More often than not, those changes increase the number of choices publishers need to make to market effectively: online vs. ‘real’ world; email vs. social media vs. paid advertising vs. mobile vs. content; budgets for overall marketing efforts vs. those for specific books. The list could very well be endless.

But one thing that has remained consistent over the past decade and will remain so in the future is the importance of the publisher’s website. In fact, the website could very well be one of the most important channels allowing a publisher to be competitive, even—and especially—as everything that surrounds it changes at an ever increasing rate.

To do that, though, the site itself needs to become something more than it has been in the past. For a publisher (especially small and midsize publishers), having a robust online destination for customers to easily find and purchase your books is absolutely crucial.

The top 10 novels about 9/11

The Last Illusion author Porochista Khakpour selects her favourite fiction about the September 11 attacks on New York

Central event … New York after the attack on the World Trade Center on 11 September 2001.
Central event … New York after the attack on the World Trade Center on 11 September 2001. Photograph: Paul Turner/Getty Images
Both my first novel, Sons and Other Flammable Objects, and my latest one, The Last Illusion, are 9/11 novels. I have never minded that classification, as the attacks were a central event in both of them, just as they were in my life. Another reason is that I feel they are in good company. Critics have been quick to dismiss the 9/11 literature that has emerged, but there are several truly great books that have tackled this fairly impossible subject, and dozens more pretty good ones. These are my recommendations, published between 2003 and 2011.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid

Hamid is one of my favourite writers and this book is pretty mind-blowing. For one thing, its narrative structure is fascinating: the whole thing is a dramatic monologue. We’re in a cafe in Lahore and a Pakistani is telling his life story to an American. The Pakistani happens to be a former American – a successful Princeton graduate, who at one time had a great job and an American girlfriend. After 9/11, he retreats from it all, but the real question is: how much of a choice did he have?

The Emperor’s Children by Claire Messud

Messud has been a great supporter of my work, so it may look biased to choose this; but many agree The Emperor’s Children is the best 9/11 novel. Messud captures the struggles of a still-very-much-alive Manhattan privileged intellectual class through the portrait of three friends, just as well as she evokes those months leading up to the attacks.

News from The Bookseller

Amazon has warned that e-book prices will rise come January following a change in VAT law in an email to self-published authors. On 1st January Amazon will “make a one-time adjustment to convert VAT-exclusive list prices provided to us to VAT-inclusive list prices” resulting in a rise in the list price of thousands of e-books.

Guinness World Records 2015 (GWR) has recorded its biggest weekly sale since being published in September, ending the two-week run at the top of the charts by vlogger Zoe "Zoella" Sugg's Girl Online (Puffin).
Penguin Random House in the UK and in the US are today (17th December) announcing new international sales-leadership structures for continental Europe.
PRH US’s Cyrus Kheradi, s.v.p., director, international sales and marketing, has named Anke Reichelt as regional sales director for Europe.
Reichelt, who is based in Berlin ,will lead an entirely U.S-publishing-focused European team with dedicated selling responsibilities for the Penguin and Random House publishing groups, as well as Penguin Random House publisher service clients.
There has been a “reluctance” shown outside of Wales to recognise the country’s “wealth of contemporary creative talent”, the chairman of the Welsh Books Council has said.
In his introduction to the organisation’s annual report, Professor M Wynn Thomas said that during the centenary year of poet Dylan Thomas’s birth, the “impression given has been that Welsh writing began and ended with Dylan, which is news to the Welsh Books Council, and would indeed have been news to the man himself, who was never averse to promoting the work of his Welsh predecessors and contemporaries”.

Darren Henley will take on the role of chief executive of Arts Council England.
Henley takes over from Alan Davey, who is leaving the organisation after seven years.
Since 1999, Henley has led Global’s Classic FM. He is the author of 27 books about musics and arts, and authored two government reviews into music and cultural education. From 2007 to 2010 he chaired the Music Manifesto, a government-backed national campaign to improve music education.
Audible has released an exclusive story about characters from the world of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series (Scholastic) on Audible.
The Collectors is set in the senior common room of an Oxford college. Two new characters, Horley and Grinstead, discuss two new works of art that Horley has added to his collection, but neither men know that the two pieces in question are about to be caught in the crossfire of a story that has travelled through time and between worlds.
The story is free to download for Audible members and is narrated by Bill Nighy.

Paddington: Michael Bond writes new short story

Michael Bond with Paddington

Paddington creator Michael Bond has written a new short story about the Peruvian bear.
The author created a letter, written by Paddington to his Aunt Lucy, specially for BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

In the letter, Paddington tells of a theatre visit to watch Hamlet and a trip to a Michelin star restaurant - both of which meet sticky ends.

The Roundup with PW

iBooks Bestsellers: No Stopping ‘Unbroken’
'Unbroken,' Laura Hillenbrand’s 2010 bestseller adapted into a film out Christmas Day, held on to the #1 spot in Apple’s iBooks store. 'Wild' by Cheryl Strayed, which also has a big screen version in theaters, rose one spot to #2, bumping 'Gone Girl,' yet another page-to-screen title, to #3. more » »

Bringing International YA Literature into English: A Panel Discussion
To launch the December issue of Words Without Borders, an online magazine dedicated to translated YA literature from around the world, a panel of editors, publishers and writers gathered to discuss bringing stories from other cultures into the English language. Click through to see how a diverse array of stories was brought together for the first time in English, and to read about publishing trends that extend beyond borders. more » »

Wal-Mart to Step Up Competition : The recent rumor that Wal-Mart could buy the beleaguered Nook division from Barnes & Noble is a clear indication that the retail chain intends to heat up its retail rivalry with Amazon.

Bookstore Manager's Textbook Scheme: A former bookstore manager at Clarke University in Dubuque, Iowa will plead guilty on Thursday to creating a fake book wholesaling company as part of a scheme to steal $302,177 from the school.

Celebs Donate Books: Stars like Jimmy Kimmel and Maggie Gyllenhaal are giving signed books, with a note about what the title meant to its famous former owner, to an online bookseller. Proceeds will go toward supporting literacy education.

The Genesis of Times New Roman: You might be surprised to learn that Times New Roman began as a challenge, when esteemed type designer Stanley Morison criticized London’s newspaper 'The Times' for being out-of-touch with modern typographical trends.

Amazon Hints at U.K. E-book Price Hike: In an email to self-published authors, Amazon has warned that e-book prices in the U.K. will rise come January following a change in VAT law.

The Translation That Became a Most Unlikely Bestseller

Today's Feature Story:

2014 has been a good year for French publishers with strong foreign rights sales of several titles, including Nobel Prize-winner Patrick Modiano's novel.

Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose celebrates 30 years in translation and in print this year — but still confounds even the most erudite readers.
Best of 2014:

In 2014, Publishing Perspectives covered rights and licensing around globe from Beijing to Serbia, from digital to self-publishing. Here are our top 10 rights articles of the year.

The Anton Chekhov Foundation is working to produce English translations of 528 of the author's earliest, still untranslated works.

J.K. Rowling: There Was a Jewish Wizard at Hogwarts

J.K. Rowling: There Was a Jewish Wizard at Hogwarts

By on

Hanukkah happened at Hogwarts, according a fan Q+A on Twitter with J.K. Rowling last night. Rowling introduced us to Anthony Goldstein,… Read More

Poison, Pubes and Pubs: Links You Need To See

Poison–readily available in traditional domestic settings and requiring little brute force to use effectively–has long been considered a woman’s weapon. While most poisonings are committed by men–only 39.5 percent are committed by the fairer sex–if a woman kills, she’s most likely to have used poison as her method. At The Hairpin, Meredith Haggerty wrote a piece detailing some of history’s most famous–and horrifying–female poisoners, including Lucrezia Borgia (who was said to possess a ring filled with poison that she’d use at parties), pictured above. … Read More

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Eleanor's Odyssey

Author Joan Druett writes about her latest book on her blog.

Te Tai Tamariki renamed Painted Stories

The Trustees of Te Tai Tamariki have selected from a nationwide competition the winning name and new logo.

Gavin Bishop explains below: 

“The Painted Stories Logo Competition attracted some excellent designs from some of our best illustrators and designers. The entries ranged from subtle and intellectual to witty and clever. As with all good competition entries there were several designs that could have comfortably won and when I shared the finalists with the rest of the Te Tai Tamariki Board they all agreed that several could have served us well as our new logo. But when I showed them the one I had chosen as the winner, the support for my decision was unanimous. Neroli Williams’ ‘painting rabbit’ is irresistible, combining a strong and versatile silhouetted image with a message that is  child friendly and although not inherently ‘kiwi’ in its references, is reminiscent of children’s literature as a whole.”

Children's Book News with PW

Kids Are Thriving, Reading and Hungry for More: Crunching Numbers at the Nielsen Children's Book Summit
The first Nielsen Children's Book Summit covered a wealth of data behind kids' reading and media consumption habits. Global sales, avenues of growth for publishers, and even the relationship between reading and gaming was discussed. Read our extensive coverage of a day filled with surprising findings, including kids’ book preferences of print vs. digital. more

Norman Bridwell
Norman Bridwell, creator of more than 150 titles starring the iconic Clifford the Big Red Dog, died on Martha's Vineyard on Friday, December 12. He was 86. Bridwell's famous pup, introduced in 1963, was originally going to be called Tiny. But the author's wife, Norma, suggested that the dog be named after her own childhood imaginary friend, Clifford. more


From the New York Times:
In giving books to kids, is it better to give them what they want, or give them what we want them to want? Click here
From the Bookseller:
Ingrid Selberg, head of S&S Children’s UK, will leave at the end of December. Click here
From the Guardian:
J.K. Rowling opens further windows on Harry Potter's world in the run-up to Christmas. Click here
From the Hollywood Reporter:
Judy Blume pens her first novel for grownups in 15 years. Click here
From Mashable:
The 10 Best Young Adult Books of 2014. Click here
From BuzzFeed:
The 23 Best Picture Books of 2014. Click here
From BuzzFeed:
The 17 Best YA Book Cover Designs of 2014. Click here
From the Telegraph:
Children today "miss a big chunk of innocence," says Paddington Bear author Michael Bond. Click here
From Deadline:
10-Year-Old Newcomer Ruby Barnhill to Star in Steven Spielberg's The BFG. Click here
From NPR:
How a Girl Turned Her Disability into a Superpower: El Deafo author Cece Bell. Click here
From the Guardian:
A teenage boy writes: why I'm let down by Zoella. Click here
From Bustle:
13 of the Most Anticipated YA Novels of 2015. Click here
From Tablet:
The Best Jewish Children’s Books of 2014. Click here
From Open Culture:
Neil Gaiman recites "Jabberwocky" from memory. Click here