Monday, February 29, 2016

Quicksand by Henning Mankell review – moving intelligence and honesty

Henning Mankell’s memoir finds the late author reflecting on the passage of aeons and toxic legacies

henning mankell portrait
Henning Mankell: a man in limbo. Photograph: Eamonn McCabe for the Guardian
Written between his cancer diagnosis in January 2014 and a reprieve the following May (he died in October 2015), Quicksand is a series of reflections by the celebrated creator of Wallander in which he recalls his formative experiences and his life in Africa, Paris and Sweden.

Mankell confronts his own mortality with moving intelligence and honesty, meditating on vast spans of time that cannot be fully apprehended by intellect or imagination, from the last ice age to the ones to come, and from the earliest civilisations to modern society. Above all he is preoccupied with the terrible legacy of his own time: the mountain cathedrals built to house nuclear waste, which have transformed the cave from the birthplace of art to the keeper of secrets best forgotten.

“I am in the middle of something,” writes Mankell. It is a poignant and polyvalent statement from a man in limbo yet still grappling with the essential question of his existence.
 Quicksand is published by Harvill Secker (£18.99). 

Henry James: the old master from the new world

Woman in love: Uma Thurman in the 2000 film adaptation of The Golden Bowl by Henry James
The Telegraph - 28 February 2016 •

One hundred years after his death, the life of Henry James remains a study in contradiction, says Bernard Richards

Faced with a towering genius of literature, there may be a tug of war between America and England as to who should claim Henry James for their pantheon. Yes, he had American roots and many of his habits of mind had an American tincture but he lived in England for a long time, and dealt with English society in much of his fiction.

James, who died 100 years ago this week, would have hated the fascination his devotees have for his life. He regarded the work of a writer as more important than the life, and a number of his short stories about writers emphasise this point, including the classic case of The Aspern Papers, where the quest for relics of an early American writer who lived in Venice threatens to obscure the writings themselves    MORE

Saturday, February 27, 2016

12 Globe-Trotting Books To Inspire The World Traveler

Huffington Post
books

A shift in perspective, or at least a quick, cool dip into the mind of another person, is the objective of travel, and also of reading great books. So if you’re both knowledge-hungry and couch-bound, pick up a road trip saga or family drama set during a listless beach vacation. Here are some options:

1. The Vacationers by Emma Straub
2. French Milk by Lucy Knisley
3. 10:04 by Ben Lerner
4. The Lost Time Accidents by John Wray
5. The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty by Vendela Vida
6. A Brave Man Seven Storeys Tall by Will Chancellor
7. Blood, Bones and Butter by Gabriella Hamilton
8. Anywhere But Here by Mona Simpson
9. Out of Sheer Rage: Wrestling With D.H. Lawrence by Geoff Dyer
10. Sea and Sardinia by D.H. Lawrence
11. The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
12. Open City by Teju Cole

(Read more here)

Latest News overnight from The Bookseller

Pearson
A "tough year for Pearson" has resulted in a "modest" 2% decline in sales of £4,468m in underlying terms, according to the educational publisher's annual results released this morning. 
Zadie Smith
Penguin Random House announced at its conference in Birmingham yesterday it will be publishing novels from both Ali Smith and Zadie Smith this year.
JS Group
The JS Group has reported a surge in e-textbook sales, with digital now accounting for 13% of the academic retailer’s book revenue.
The Diagram Prize
Academic texts on the human posterior and animal entrails, a tome on famous birdwatchers and a photography book showcasing the beautiful architecture of bus stops in the former Soviet Union are among the titles nominated for the 38th Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year, administered by The Bookseller.
The Martian
Five of the Best Picture nominees at this Sunday's Oscars are adapted from books, with The Martian by Andy Weir (Del Rey) leading the pack of film tie-ins, with 113,991 units sold.
Joseph Knox
Waterstones crime buyer Joseph Knox is publishing a debut series of crime novels with Transworld Publishers, following a “highly competitive” 10-way auction. 


Andrew Franklin
Profile m.d. Andrew Franklin has spoken out again to condemn library cuts, telling Publishing Scotland's annual book conference that "shameful" destruction of libraries in the UK, alongside cuts to education in England and Wales, constituted a "a crime against humanity" that we will "pay the price" for over the years to come.
Emirates Airline Festival of Literature
Isobel Abulhoul, founder and festival director of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, said the Think Twice campaign calling for UK authors to boycott the event is “disappointing”.
Girl Online
Secondary pupils say their favourite book is Zoella’s Girl Online, although Jeff Kinney dominates the top 10 of most read books in schools, according to a new survey.
RELX Group
Revenue at the RELX Group, formerly known as Reed Elsevier, increased 3% to almost £6bn last year, with net profit rising 6% to just over £1bn.
Emma Watson and Gloria Steinem
Global goodwill ambassador for UN women Emma Watson and political activist Gloria Steinem enthralled an audience of 950 people at an event to mark the launch of Watson's new feminist book club.
First Story
The London Book Fair has named First Story, a charity which aims to “change lives through writing”, as its 2016 charity of the year.

The Roundup with PW

Profits Jump at Penguin Random House
Pearson reported that its share of adjusted operating profit from Penguin Random House rose 30% in 2015 over 2014, hitting 90 million pounds from 69 million pounds in 2014. more »


Facebook's AI Uses Children's Books: Facebook is using the text of novels such as 'The Jungle Book' to train it's artificial intelligence network.

A Publishing Expert's Bookstore: Former editor, literary agent, journalist, and author Lynn Rosen explains why she opened an independent bookstore.

The Northern Lights- In Pictures: Preview how physicist Melanie Windridge captured the mysteric cosmic wonder in her new book 'Aurora.'

Jane Smiley's First Picture Book: The Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist discussed 'Twenty Yawns,' her new children's book about bedtime.

arians: Check out five titles that shaped the career of a library science student, including 'The Time Traveler's Wife.'


Ruapehu Writers Festival

Tickets are on sale now for the country’s newest, and quirkiest, writers festival, to be held in Ōhakune in March. And even if you can’t make it, you can still be involved by donating to its crowdfunding campaign
A pony ride with a popular children’s author, a literary waterfall walk, poets on bikes and a venue like something out of Twin Peaks: this doesn’t sound like the average writers festival. But then the first ever Ruapehu Writers Festival, which will be held in Ōhakune on 17–20 March, is not an average writers festival.
Locals and visitors alike will be able to enjoy a long weekend of events celebrating reading and writing – including readings, panel discussions, workshops, sessions for children and a poetry slam. It will feature around 40 New Zealand writers, from the well-known to the up-and-coming. Tickets and season passes are on sale now, and a you can help by supporting its Boosted crowdfunding campaign, which runs until the end of February.  MORE

Seriously? A “Museum Of Digital Reading”?

WORDS Posted:  

“The Museum of Digital Reading (in French, Le Petit Musée de la lecture numérique) will be the first permanent exhibition space in Europe dedicated to the history of reading devices.”

Pearson Closing the Book On Difficult 2015; Strong PRH Results Could Ebb In 2016

Publishers Lunch

Pearson reported full-year results for a rough 2015 that are line with their previously-reduced guidance, and their January announcement of plans to cut 4,000 jobs and take restructuring charges of £320 million in 2016.

For 2015, sales of £4.468 billion fell by 2 percent (£72 million), and adjusted operating profit of £723m was down by the same 2 percent (£9 million). Actual operating profit, however, swung to a loss of -£404 million (compared to profits of £348 in 2014). The two big movements of the year are found in their "statutory profit" of £823 million. On the positive side, sales of the FT, The Economist Group and PowerSchool yielded £1.214 million on a pre-tax basis. But the company suffered mightily with impairment of goodwill and intangibles of £849 million, "primarily reflecting challenging market conditions in our Growth and North American businesses."

One bright spot was Penguin's 47 percent of Penguin Random House (which helps you see why they were happy to hold onto to their stake for a little longer). Remember that Penguin only reports their share of trade publisher's profits, and even that is reported on an after-tax basis (and Pearson had a lower tax rate this year). Full PRH results will come via Bertelsmann's annual report, not due until March 22.

War, Cheap Alcohol, and Good Old-Fashioned Journalism


Off the Shelf
By Julianna Haubner    |   Friday, February 26, 2016
Though I spent most of my high school and college years writing for newspapers, I never wanted to be a journalist after graduation. I do, however, like reading journalists’ memoirs, which is how I landed on The Taliban Shuffle. This high-octane memoir has been made into a film starring Tina Fey, Margot Robbie, and Billy Bob Thornton called Whiskey Tango Foxtrot  and will be in theaters March 4. READ MORE

The TV-Novel Complex

dickens

By

Throughout its history, television has often relied on literature for a shot of self-esteem. In the 1950s, when TV lost its luster as a luxury item, when it became a mass product, it looked to literature for a boost – especially in Europe, where broadcasters in Germany and England adapted thousands of plays and novels for their “high cultural value.” Later, in the 1970s, American broadcasters needing to hook viewers over long stretches of time copied a hyper-literary “British” model that relied on adaptations of novels, old and new. Thus was born the television “miniseries,” or “novel for television,” the most noteworthy example of which was Alex Haley’s Roots, adapted by ABC in 1977.
…Read More

Do Teens Read Seriously Anymore?

A common sight in malls, in pizza parlors, in Starbucks, and wherever else American teens hang out: three or four kids, hooded, gathered around a table, leaning over like monks or druids, their eyes fastened to the smartphones held in front of them. The phones, converging at the center of the table, come close to touching. The teens are making a communion of a sort. Looking at them, you can envy their happiness. You can also find yourself wishing them immersed in a different kind of happiness—in a superb book or a series of books, in the reading obsession itself! You should probably keep on wishing.

It’s very likely that teen-agers, attached to screens of one sort or another, read more words than they ever have in the past. But they often read scraps, excerpts, articles, parts of articles, messages, pieces of information from everywhere and from nowhere. It’s likely that they are reading fewer books. Yes, millions of kids have read Harry Potter, “The Lord of the Rings,” “The Hunger Games,” and other fantasy and dystopian fictions; also vampire romance, graphic novels (some very good), young-adult novels (ditto), and convulsively exciting street lit. Yet what happens as they move toward 

adolescence? When they become twelve or thirteen, kids often stop reading seriously. The boys veer off into sports or computer games, the girls into friendship in all its wrenching mysteries and satisfactions of favor and exclusion. Much of their social life, for boys as well as girls, is now conducted on smartphones, where teen-agers don’t have to confront one another.   MORE

The 22nd annual conference of the New Zealand Studies Association (NZSA)

  Mountains, Rivers, Forests and Lakes:
Viewing Nature in New Zealand and the Pacific

The 22nd annual conference of the
New Zealand Studies Association (NZSA),
together with Franklin University Switzerland
and the Journal of New Zealand and Pacific Studies

Lugano, Switzerland, 30 June - 3 July 2016
 A 4-day international conference,with a boat trip on Lake Lugano and conference dinner.
The conference venue is Franklin University Switzerland,
overlooking the lake and city centre.

Keynotes:
Associate Professor Mick Abbott
Associate Professor Deidre Brown
Associate Professor David Callahan
James George
Professor Eric Pawson
Professor Vanessa Smith

The New Zealand Studies Association has a long and strong history in promoting New Zealand Studies, which now extends within the Pacific region through its twice-yearly Journal of New Zealand and Pacific Studies. Building on the successes of the conferences in Vienna (2015), Oslo (2014), Nijmegen (2013), Gdansk (2012), Frankfurt (2009), Florence (2008), London (2007), and Paris (2006), this major event will be held at Franklin University Switzerland.

Proposals for 20 minute papers to be sent by 1 March to Ian Conrich (ian@ianconrich.co.uk). Papers can consider all themes within any of the following strands [1] Wildlife and nature [2] The animal kingdom [3] Farming, forestry, fishing [4] Natural heritage [5] Landscape, seascape, skyscape [6] Outdoor recreation and tourism [7] Polynesia and Pasifika [8] Maori culture [9] New Zealand culture [10] Ecology and conservation. Definitions within these parameters are broad.The conference fee will include annual membership to the NZSA, which for 2016 includes a twice-yearly journal. A selection of papers from the conference will be published in the refereed Journal of New Zealand and Pacific Studies, published by Intellect.


The conference will accept proposals on a range of subjects including the following: literature, history, film, music, art, cultural studies, sociology, geography, geology, tourism, war studies, politics, international relations, identity and multiculturalism, anthropology, Maori Studies, Pacific Studies, archaeology and museum studies.

Patched: The History of Gangs in New Zealand - 4th reprint