We could hardly wait to try this recipe from For the Love of Cooking.
I just spent a couple of days with my sister's kids (while she and her husband took a little get-away trip in celebration of her birthday).  My niece Tatiana loves to bake, and she and her younger brother are avid readers, so we had plenty of fun of our own...baking blueberry scones, making bookplates, and - of course - talking about what we are currently reading.
What could be better than homemade scones and morning sunshine?
While the scones were cooling, Tati and I downloaded some cute bookplates as part of a birthday gift for her friend.
We downloaded the pdf for these fairy bookplates, by Valerie Greeley,
from her Etsy website ACORNMOON.
Are you curious to know what good book recommendations I came back with? My nine-year-old nephew, Peter, handed me two, as he gushed, "Aunt Wendy, you have got to read these and write about them on your blog!"
Two new friends...
I immediately started the first, Summer of the Monkeys, by Wilson Rawls. Tati informed me it's by the same author who wrote Where the Red Fern Grows.  Peter said that boys, especially, will love it.  The second one is A Tree For Peterby Kate Seredy, which - according to Peter - "might make you cry".  I'll report back about these two new friends as soon as I finish them.

Oh, and if you're wondering:
"Tatiana's Fresh Blueberry Scones with Lemony Glaze" were as good as they look! She adapted the recipe a bit:  she added an extra tablespoon of sugar to the dry ingredients, and lemon zest to the scone dough (instead of putting zest in the glaze).  She also substituted half & half for the "heavy cream" called for in the scone recipe above. [hint: if you can get Meyer lemons, they are a great compliment to the blueberries]

Passing Along the Liebster LOVE

Thank you to the talented, Route 19 Writers, for honoring Good Books For Young Souls with the LIEBSTER BLOG AWARD.  [Readers: I'm sure you're asking yourself what exactly that means.  Well, the Liebster Award originated in Germany.  The word “Liebster” is a term of endearment: “beloved” or, also, "favorite".  The idea behind the award is to bring attention to bloggers who have less than 200 followers in order to create new connections and bring attention to these wonderful blogs!]

So here we are!  I'd like to bestow the AWARD to five of my favorite/liebster blogs.  Keep writing!

1.  Kinder Days
2.  The Scrumptious Life
3.  Brian Sibley: His Blog
4.  Sewing by Stephanie
5.  Saints and Spinners

These are the rules in accepting the award:
-Add the award image to your blog.
-Thank the giver with a link back to them.
-List your top 5 picks and let them know they've been given an award by leaving a comment on their blog.
-Hope that your followers will spread the love to the blogs you've spotlighted.

Cars, Illustration Reveals, Blog Tour Soon!

I'm posting a mishmash of things today. Some good deals too! I bought that Nissan Cube! Now, teary-eyed with nostalgia, I must sell my beloved Subaru Forester asap because I need the space in the garage. SO! Anyone in the NYC area in need of a reliable workhorse with a rockin' new Pioneer digital stereo system? Only 3K. My 1998 car has 130 miles on it, but have no fear. In the last few years I've gotten new tires, a new timing belt, new brakes and muffler, and much much more (Have paperwork to show). It is in excellent condition. Email me if you want to see! kitsy84557 (at) gmail (dot) com. Perfect for buzzing to writers' conventions and hauling everything from kids, to books, to your mother-in-law.

Armonk, the peg-legged boy, "fishing" for beetles, by Catherine Stine Copyright 2011

Next, I am thrilled to say that Amazon is finally offering my illustrated YA thriller, Fireseed One at a short-term deep discount--$7.99!!! (down from $11.10) Check out Jay Montgomery's wraparound cover for it, and one of my illustrations, and you'll see why a collectors' paperback is sometimes superior to an eBook. Sometimes.
Art by Jay Montgomery copyright 2011

Also, announcing that starting on Feb 20th, the Fireseed One Blog tour, Blaze Through Winter will commence. What do you think of my banner-in-progress? We make 16 stops on the virtual high-speed blog train to some pretty fabu sites! Stay tuned for deets.

Finally, I hear Fireseed One shamelessly whining for Likers over at his Facebook page. (Somehow, the monstrous five foot tall red flower seems like a guy) If you feel so inclined, he will give you a hug with his winding boughs.

What's up in your world?

Bloomsbury launches high-flying Circus

Bloomsbury is to launch a new literary imprint, Bloomsbury Circus, to accommodate its expanding publishing.
The imprint—which sports an aerialist logo adapted from the publisher’s traditional Diana—will feature fiction and very select non-fiction, with a focus on fine writing. It will include both début writers and established novelists, like Liz Jensen and Patrick McGrath, but not authors from the more traditional end of Bloomsbury’s stable. Alexandra Pringle, Bloomsbury’s editor-in-chief, said its books would be "fresh and sometimes surprising", comparing Bloomsbury Circus to “Picador when it started off”.
The books will be trade paperbacks in an unusual, square-ish format (royal width and demi height), with flaps and high production values, and all priced at £12.99. There will be just one title a month in 2012, growing to four a month thereafter. Bloomsbury currently publishes 30–35 fiction titles a year, which will rise to 50 in 2012 with the new imprint.
Pringle said it was unusual for a publisher of Bloomsbury’s size not to have had additional imprints up to now. "With our new global Bloomsbury, we are publishing a lot of books with our cousins in America, and that has meant we are growing the list," she said.
“With fiction, you can’t successfully publish more than four titles a month because, selling into the fiction buyer, you have to have your lead, second lead, dark horse and a crime title. If you do more, you lose the focus. If we are going to grow, we have to do it in an exciting, imaginative way. This is a way we can grow, and continue to offer the service we do.”
Bloomsbury Circus’ launch titles include The Trapeze Artist by Will Davis, whose début, My Side of the Story, won the Betty Trask Award in 2007. The story, featuring a gay love affair in a circus setting, is "incredibly accomplished" and narrated in the past, present and future tenses, Pringle said. Meanwhile, New Zealand writer Emily Perkins’ The Forrests is "reminiscent of Virginia Woolf’s The Waves", telling of a woman’s life from birth to death "written in exquisite prose". Pringle said she had “the very highest hopes” for the novel, believing it has the potential to win a major prize.
Coming later on the list are novels from Liz Jensen and Jane Rusbridge, plus US début Wilderness by Lance Weller. All but one of the launch titles are being published with the US, and five of the first nine titles are US-originated.
Pringle said the imprint was intended to be very much one for the high street. "We hope Waterstones will love it, and it’s perfect for independents. It’s very much about the sort of books booksellers will read and recommend at Daunt’s, Foyles and Hatchards," she said.

Roald Dahl and CS Lewis among writers revealed to have refused honours

Book2Book- Friday 27 Jan 2012

List of authors to turn down OBEs, CBEs and knighthoods also includes Aldous Huxley, Robert Graves and Evelyn Waugh. Photo left - Roald Dahl.


Footnote: NZ poet Renee Liang suggested to me that a high percentage seem to be authors - interesting to muse on the reasons why, and whether there might be an equivalent list in NZ.

The Sex Diaries Project: What 1,500 Bedroom Diaries Can Teach Us About Sex

Jan 27, 2012 - Jessica Bennett - The Daily Beast

What the not-so-private sex diaries of 1,500 Americans can teach us about relationships, love—and ourselves. Jessica Bennett on the new book The Sex Diaries ProjectArianne Cohen has learned a few things from poring over the sex diaries of 1,500 people.

For starters: relationships are a lot like careers. Sure, some of us work 9 to 5—but others stay home in pajamas all day, eating crackers in bed. It can get messy.
Second: Men and women aren’t all that different. (In fact, Cohen had trouble telling their diaries apart.) Except, perhaps, when it comes to one topic: porn. Men watch it. A lot.
Lastly—but perhaps most important—it turns out that what we think we know about American relationships and what we actually know are two wildly different notions. And what’s really going on is a lot less conventional than we might have imagined.
“There’s so much variation in how people do relationships,” says Cohen, a former magazine editor whose new book, The Sex Diaries Project: What We’re Saying About What We’re Doing, hits shelves next week. “We live in a society where there’s this idea that you’re either in a long-term relationship or taking steps to get there. But if you read diaries, what you find is, that’s not what a lot of people are doing.”
The full piece at The Daily Beast.

Image Source / Corbis

So Brilliantly Clever: Parker, Hulme and the Murder that Shocked the World

Awa Press reports:
Last night a large space on the ground floor of Wellington Central Library was cleared to accommodate an unprecedented crowd who had turned up to hear Peter Graham speak about his new book, So Brilliantly Clever: Parker, Hulme and the Murder that Shocked the World. By 6pm with over 150 people present it was standing-room only. For over an hour and a half the spellbound audience listened to Graham describe the fascinating real-life events surrounding the 1954 murder of Honorah Parker in Christchurch by her teenage daughter Pauline and Pauline’s friend Juliet Hulme.
Graham then responded to numerous questions from the floor, including one from a retired policeman who wondered if Graham knew what had happened to the murder weapon. There was, Graham said, an unconfirmed report the half-brick had been used for some time as a paperweight on a detective’s desk in the Christchurch police station.

Afterwards, there was a long queue of people wanting Graham to sign the book, and, as commonly happens in his talks, a number turned out to have a long-term interest in or connection with the case. One woman showed Graham a caricature she had drawn of him during the talk.
So Brilliantly Clever, published by Awa Press in November, sold out before Christmas and an urgent reprint is now hitting bookstores. It was selected as one of the best books of the year by the Listener, Sunday Star-Times and Dominion Post and has been optioned for a television drama.

Photo courtesy Wellington Public Library.

Leading New Zealand Bookseller closing down

From the Parsons Bookshop Auckland Newsletter January/February 2012

After 36 years of much fun and satisfaction selling books in Auckland and throughout New Zealand, Roger is retiring and Helen is morphing.  
Roger says:
There are a number of mountains for me still to climb so I am off to Slovenia and Austria later in the year. Helen will run Parsons Library Supply from “The Alpine Hut” at home.
We have been unable to find someone to take over the shop. 
So.... we now offer you the opportunity to obtain all those books you always wanted - at HALF-PRICE
From 10am Saturday 28 January all existing stock is 50% discount.  
We wish to thank you for all your support over many years.  
Roger Parsons. 
Please use any vouchers you may have.

A Little Parsons History: 
Our New Zealand-wide business (50% mail order) has grown with the increasing interest and knowledge of New Zealand Art.  
When Helen and I studied at Victoria University in the 1960's it was not possible to study Art History.  Now the art world is a part of many kiwi lives.  Our business was built on this interest.  
Helen and I returned from overseas in 1975.  I wished to move out of the diplomatic service - bookselling was a logical choice.  Helen, as a young Mum had read every New Zealand book published in the Karori Library.  My father, Roy Parsons, had the bookselling knowledge ( and the capital!).  I had the passion to run our own business.
We started in large airy premises at the back of the National Insurance Building in Victoria Street in Auckland
In the same year London Bookshop and the Book Corner came to Central Auckland.  An article in the NZ Herald at the time questioned who would survive - we know the answer 36 years later. 
From 1980 we also ran the Art Gallery Bookshop and Exhibition Shops in the Auckland Art Gallery.  
In 1995 we moved in our current architecturally designed premises in New Gallery building. 
The success of Parsons Bookshop Auckland has been very much the product of widespread support from our customers and from our well qualified and dedicated staff.  
Bookselling has been our passion, our business and our livelihood.  We have been very fortunate.  And, somehow, Helen and I have succeeded in maintaining our personal and business partnership over all these years.

And from Helen:  
At the end of last year we had builders around our home.  One job was the refurbishing of our garden shed.  It's now lined with plywood and fully wired and fit to live in. 
And I'd been making noises about possibly doing 'order to order' library supply.
And suddenly it all fell into place over the last few days.  Suddenly these two things literally came together......
From April 2012 I will work from home.  I will morph into Parsons Library Supply.  I will work from our garden shed, which we call ‘The Alpine Hut'. Photo below shows view from The Alpine Hut.
I will essentially do special orders for difficult to find titles - NZ, Maori & Pacific.  I love sourcing those difficult titles.  And I will continue supplying all NZ titles that I can find, to certain customers. 
We do have standing orders for customers in place which can be carried on.  I will also continue to send out lists of titles.
Roger says he will do the packing and write the cheques.  It all sounds good fun.  We're getting instant great responses from all our customers.
I also wish to thank our very dedicated and loyal staff. They have worked so hard for us; always with good grace and humour. Very special thanks to you all.
So....with kind regards.....
PS This of course has no effect on Parsons Wellington which is owned and operated by Roger's siblings Julian and Beatrice

Parsons Bookshop Auckland
26 Wellesley Street East
Auckland 1010
New Zealand
Ph +64 9 303 1557

Footnote:The Bookman is feeling a little stunned by this news and I will write more about it during the next week.
At this stage .I will just wish Roger & Helen all the very best for the next stage of their lives and thank them most warmly for providing us  with one of the best specialist art bookshops anywhere in the world and one of NZ's finest independent bookstores. We will miss you.

Pinterest Tips for Writers

By Jason Boog on Galley Cat, January 26, 2012 

The social network Pinterest is growing quickly–users post images and links to a virtual pinboard and share visual thoughts with other readers.
Check it out: “Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes. Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.”
Follow this link to request a Pinterest invite. We spent some time exploring the network to find out how writers, readers and publishers could use the new site.
1. Post your favorite books on your personal Pinterest page. You can add nice images of all the books you love in your life. Be sure to follow the site’s rule: “Pinterest is designed to curate and share things you love. If there is a photo or project you’re proud of, pin away! However, try not to use Pinterest purely as a tool for self-promotion.”
2. Find other writers on Pinterest and follow their example. Novelist Shiloh Walker has a great Pinterest page, complete with sections for Characters & Clothing, Research & Scenes, and various themes from her books.
3. On your page, create separate “boards” (collections of visual links) about your influences. Just like a high school locker, this is a vivid way to show your readers what inspires you. The site offered this handy tip: “If you notice that a pin is not sourced correctly, leave a comment so the original pinner can update the source. Finding the original source is always preferable to a secondary source such as Google Image Search or a blog entry.”
4. Look for book recommendations or comment on other users’ libraries in the Film, Music & Books section.
5. Share beautiful writing tools, stationary, journals, books and other crafty items in the Gifts section of the site.
UPDATE: For publishers interested in learning more about the site, Chronicle Books added this comment: “We love Pinterest at Chronicle Books! It’s a great way to find and share inspiration around books and the topics you love. Here are our boards. And feel free to email me at if you need an invite.”

Saturday Morning with Kim Hill: 28 January 2012 on Radio NZ National

8:15 Kate Camp in Berlin
8:30 Marcus Chown: tweeting the universe
9:05 Sharad Paul: skin and books
10:05 Playing Favourites with John Jamieson
11:05 Michel Tuffery: Pacific projections

Producer: Mark Cubey
Wellington engineer: Carol Jones
Auckland engineer: Jeremy Ansell

8:15 Kate Camp
Kate Camp is the 2011 recipient of the Creative New Zealand Berlin Writers' Residency. She is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently last year's The Mirror of Simple Annihilated Souls (Victoria University Press, ISBN: 9780864736215), which won the Poetry category at the 2011 New Zealand Post Book Awards.
8:30 Marcus Chown
Writer and broadcaster Marcus Chown is cosmology consultant of the weekly science magazine New Scientist. His many books include last year's Solar System (Faber/Touch Press, ISBN: 978-0-571-277771-1), developed from the Solar System iPad App. His new book, written with Govert Schilling, is Tweeting the Universe: Tiny Explanations of Very Big Ideas (Faber, ISBN 978-0571278435).

9:05 Sharad Paul
Dr Sharad Paul (left-Glenn Jeffrey photo) is director of the Skin Surgery Clinic in Auckland, and teaches skin cancer surgery in Australia and New Zealand. He is the Chair of the Skin Cancer College of New Zealand, owns the Baci Lounge bookstore café, and his latest novel is To Kill a Snow Dragonfly (Fourth Estate India, ISBN: 978-93-5029-139-9). Dr Paul is a finalist in the 2012 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Awards.

10:05 Playing Favourites with John Jamieson 
Dr. John Jamieson is Senior Translator for NZTC International. He began his career working for the Translation Service of the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs, then worked as a freelance translator before joining NZTC in 1988, specialising in the translation into English of legal, financial and business documents from over 25 western and eastern European languages.

11:05 Michel Tuffery
Michel Tuffery, MNZM, is a New Zealand-based artist of Samoan, Rarotongan and Tahitian heritage. His Siamani Samoa suite of paintings, sculpture and multimedia installations addressing Germany's brief history in Samoa is currently on show at Pataka Museum in Porirua (to 19 February 2012). His next project, First Contact, is a giant digital artwork projected onto the western wall of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. First Contact has been commissioned as the opening night free public event at the New Zealand International Arts Festival 2012, and will run nightly for the duration of the Festival (24 February to 18 March).
First Contact 2012 PIC CREDIT Artist Concept Image by Mi

Preview: Saturday 4 February
Kim's guests will include Wael Ghonim, Ted Noten, Megan Salole and Antony McCarten.

Monday 6 February: Waitangi Day Special at Puke Ariki, New Plymouth
On Waitangi Day from 8am to midday, Kim Hill and Paul Diamond (Curator, Maori, at the Turnbull Library) will host a Korerorero at Ouke Ariki, with invited guests.
On Sunday 5 February at Puke Ariki, we will be recording a one-hour panel discussion that will play as part of that programme.
Members of the New Plymouth public are invited to come along and be part of the audience on both the Sunday and Monday. Entry is free, but seating is limited.

The 5 Books That Inspire the Most Tattoos

PW - Gabe Habash -- January 24th, 2012

Source: Rate My Ink
What’s just as interesting as a tattoo is the story behind the tattoo, and that’s certainly true for the subcategory of tattoos that are inspired by famous literary works. We spent an untold number of hours combing the Internet’s two most extensive literary tattoo sites: Contrariwise: Literary Tattoos and The Word Made Flesh, then cross-checking the most frequently occurring tattoos with Google searches and Google image searches, all to get to the bottom of what books inspire the most tattoos and why. And though this isn’t a scientific ranking, it’s the closest anyone’s come to tabulating which books inspire the most tattoos, given the Internet’s evidence.
What you’ll find below shows a fascinating effect: as you look past the superficial design, you’ll find a wholly specific reason, wholly specific to the individual. It’s why one person can have an “I am nobody” tattoo from Sylvia Plath and someone else can have an “I am I am I am” tattoo from Sylvia Plath–it shows how we all treat stories and writing differently.
For the five titles link here.

Washington DC Named America’s Most Literate City

By Jason Boog on Galley Cat, January 26, 2012 

For the second year in a row, Washington DC has been named America’s most literate city. New York City has moved up to the 22nd place on Central Conneticut State University’s annual list.
Here’s more about the study that began in 2003: “Drawing from a variety of available data resources, the America’s Most Literate Cities study ranks the largest cities (population 250,000 and above) in the United States. This study focuses on six key indicators of literacy: newspaper circulation, number of bookstores, library resources, periodical publishing resources, educational attainment, and Internet resources.”
We’ve listed the top ten most literate cities below–what do you think? (Via Publishers Weekly)

Top Ten Most Literate Cities in America
1. Washington, DC
2. Seattle, WA
3. Minneapolis, MN
4. Atlanta, GA
5. Boston, MA
6. Pittsburgh, PA
7. Cincinnati, OH
8. St. Louis, MO
9. San Francisco, CA
10. Denver, CO

Salman Rushdie case shows importance of book festivals

After this week’s Salman Rushdie controversy, Hay director Peter Florence asks: who should literary festivals give a voice to? 

Television drama has taken the place of film or even the novel as the best way to communicate ideas, Sir Salman Rushdie has said.
Sir Salman Rushdie has been told he is the target of Mumbai assassins Photo: GETTY
There are two sides to what happened in Rajasthan last week, when Salman Rushdie pulled out of the Jaipur literary festival, after death threats that turned out to be dubious – and both sides are true. On the one hand, almost everything everybody did made an ugly situation worse. The nadir was reached when the decision was made that Rushdie could not appear even onscreen as a moving image. The next logical step would be to ban cartoons of him.
The flipside is that everyone involved won something. Nobody died, and in a country of extreme volatility the police will regard this as a blessed relief. Rushdie is now much more famous in India than he was this time last week. The government can say that they respect the values of the Muslim community in an electoral battleground where they need to win. And festival organiser Sanjoy Roy’s team can enjoy the notion that people across the world have now heard of a literary festival in Jaipur. Even the Imam and his extremist followers can claim they prevented a writer from visiting his homeland...
So is this the end of freedom of speech in the world’s largest democracy? Should India hang its head in shame? Follow the hashtags. The overwhelming response from the wry, unbullyable and free-thinking Indian tweeters is, more or less: It’s about time I got round to reading The Satanic Verses – if it gets people so engaged, it must be worth looking at.
Banning books doesn’t work. Not if you want people not to read them. It has never worked. Lady Chatterley, Madame Bovary, Harry Potter, The Golden Compass, Animal Farm, The Lorax, The Da Vinci Code, Catcher in the Rye… There’s a pattern here, and it’s a mystery that politicians are too stupid to see it.
Would it have been different at the Hay festival? Maybe. I hope so. We have the luxury in Britain, fought for over hundreds of years of hard-won democracy, of being able to tool up in defence of Freedom of Speech. When we’ve had to provide security for an event here, we’ve done so to protect the rights of people whose opinions I deplore – the former Pakistani president and general, Pervez Musharraf and George W Bush’s mastiff, John Bolton.
Full piece at The Telegraph.

Why Salman Rushdie's voice was silenced in Jaipur - William Dalrymple

A planned videolink with Rushdie at the Jaipur Literary Festival presented the directors with an impossible decision: cause a riot or uphold a vital principle

Salman Rushdie's video conference called off at Jaipur
The debate after the videolink with Salman Rushdie was cancelled. Photograph: Getty Images/Himanshu Vyas/Hindustan Times

On Tuesday afternoon this week I was faced with one of the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make.
It was the last afternoon of the Jaipur Literature Festival, of which I am co-director, and more than 10,000 people were milling around the grounds of Diggi Palace, the festival venue, eagerly waiting to hear Salman Rushdie speak by video link from London. For three weeks we had waited anxiously for this moment, ever since Maulana Abdul Qasim Nomani of the Deoband madrasa had called for the Indian Muslim community to oppose Rushdie's visit to our festival. For those three weeks we had been negotiating with various government agencies, the police, a spectrum of intelligence agencies and local Muslim groups to try to make sure that Rushdie could still be heard. Despite a great deal of pressure, we had kept our invitation open and had refused to back down from our position that Rushdie had every right to return to the country of his birth and to discuss his work.
Then at about one o'clock a large number of Muslim activists appeared in the property and gravitated to the back of the lawns where a huge crowd had gathered to hear the videolink. Some of them went into the central courtyard of the palace to make their namaz (pray), and according to some reports, the maulana in charge told his followers that if anyone was killed that day they would die a martyr. Then they sought out our producer, Sanjoy Roy, and told him that they were prepared to use any amount of violence in order to stop Rushdie's voice being heard. Others talked to the press: one told a reporter from the Times of India that "rivers of blood will flow here if they show Rushdie", while the Muslim Manch representative Abdul Salim Sankhla was quoted as saying: "We will not allow Rushdie to speak here in any form. There will be violent protests if he speaks." While all this was happening, some of the other activists were turfing school children out of their seats and intimidating festival guests.
The videolink was due to start at 3.45pm. At three o'clock, as Rushdie was already on his way to the television studio, as crowds were gathering, and as the number of activists/thugs was increasing alarmingly, Sanjoy, my co-director, the author Namita Gokhale and I were called to the security control room by the Jaipur commissioner of police. He had more bad news for us. As well as the activists gathering inside the festival venue, hundreds of protesters were now massing threateningly in the municipal gardens just outside. He was quite clear: the videolink could go ahead, they had the resources to make sure it wasn't interrupted, but "there would be violence in the venue and worse outside" if we didn't call it off. We asked what exactly this meant. He said that his officers had asked if they could use force, and that they were expecting "serious trouble". What might this entail? Lathi (truncheon) charges and police shooting? It was a possibility, he said.
What do you do in this situation? The crowd is getting restless, more and more protesters are entering the property, Rushdie is now sitting in the studio in London waiting to speak and Barkha Dutt, the gutsy Indian television host who is to interview him, is all set to begin. You have three to five minutes, maximum, to make a decision. If you give in to the intimidation, you put at risk all the principles upon which literary life is based: what is the point of having a literary festival, a celebration of words and ideas, if you censor yourself and suppress an author's voice? But equally, can you justify going ahead with a literary event, however important, if you know that you will thereby be putting at risk the lives of everyone who attends – including the authors who have come at your invitation and hundreds of school children and elderly people – as well as knowingly igniting a major religious riot in one of the most crowded towns in northern India with a long tradition of tensions between different communities?
That tradition of tension lay in part behind the problems we were now facing. In 2007, when literary events in Jaipur were still in their infancy, Rushdie was our first big international star, and his presence at the festival was a milestone for us. It raised our profile beyond anything we could have hoped or imagined. Rushdie came unannounced, with no bodyguards or police protection, and spoke brilliantly, sitting drinking tea and signing books for his fans, while giving avuncular advice to younger writers who had never met a writer of his stature. No objections were raised, no politicians got involved, no problems arose.
This time, however, the political situation in India is much more volatile. The 2012 festival happened to coincide with a razor-edge election in the all-important north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, a poll in which the vote of the Muslim community was deemed to be crucial. It also came only four months after the Rajasthan government found itself in trouble with its Muslim voters after the Rajasthan police fired on a crowd of angry Muslim protesters at Gopalgarh, an hour's drive east of Jaipur, killing 10 people.
All this meant that when, at Rushdie's request, we announced his name on our website, and when Maulana Nomani of Deoband then called for Rushdie to be banned from India, not a single Indian politician was willing to state clearly and unequivocally that he was welcome in the country in which he was born, which he loved, which he had celebrated in his fiction and to whose literature he had made such a ground-breaking contribution.
Full story at The Guardian.

The future of books, today

There is much talk of bright tomorrows for publishing at New York's Digital Book World expo, but how optimistic are readers?

Digital reader
Reading the runes about the digital future. Photograph: Ocean/Corbis

While we've all been thinking about Andrew Miller and the Costa's new enthusiasm short stories and Rushdie's troubles in Jaipur, in New York, publishers have been looking to the future.

Many reports from the Digital Book World conference are brimming with positivity, with the independent publisher Dominique Raccah singing the praises of books created "at the end of a community-building process", the author and futurist David Houle celebrating the astonishing fact that "more books [were] published this week than … in all of 1950" and Barnes and Noble's James Hilt suggesting that the flood of data sweeping through an industry which is finally catching up with the digital age "helps us all". But gloom isn't that far behind – optimism "wanes" when executives are asked about the future for publishing and readers alike.

When I phoned Neil Gaiman last week to ask him about the stramash over Apple's new iBooks Author app , he said publishing these days was like "the Klondike. Nobody knows what's going on. All they know is that there's gold in them thar hills and they want to try to get hold of it."

Gaiman gives "traditional publishing" five or "maybe 10 years … But that isn't going to mean fewer books. There'll be a lot more books – people will just find them differently." After seeing a Kindle in 2007 and downloading 14 books between waiting in the departure lounge and the plane doors being shut he's convinced electronic books will "dominate the world", but he wouldn't begrudge Apple a slice of his income. "You don't write books to make money," he said. "You do it because this is what you love doing." The music industry shows a possible future for publishing, he continued. "There are fewer rock stars travelling the world in their private jets than there were in the old days, but there's a lot more good music."

With Amazon's hit man on their trail and the customers they're all supposed to be focusing on signing up for Amazon's latest cult in droves, hearing the future of books being compared to the present travails of the music industry can only deepen publisher gloom. But what does it mean for readers? The future is coming, whatever device you're reading it on, but does Gaiman's future of "a lot more books" that you "find differently" fill you with despair or delight?

INFOGRAPHIC: Most Quoted Books of 2011

By Jason Boog on Galley Cat, January 25, 2012

Bookstore owner and novelist Ann Patchett wrote the most quoted passage on Goodreads last year in State of Wonder: “Never be so focused on what you’re looking for that you overlook the thing you actually find.”
During the same period, City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare was the most quoted book on Goodreads. Nearly 130,000 quotes were added to the social network last year–we’ve included a Goodreads infographic linking to all the most popular quotes of 2011.
If you want to share book quotes on Facebook, you can also follow this link to enable Goodreads on your Facebook Timeline. The new app connects with your Goodreads account, making the books and quotes you read a permanent part of your Facebook memories.

The New York (Mayor’s) Review of Books

By  - New York Times - Published: January 25, 2012

He controls a global publishing empire, but few would call him bookish. His city is a hotbed of writers and critics, but when it comes to literature, he pleads ignorance.

Librado Romero/The New York Times
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg

"Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy," was written by John le Carré.

Jack English/Focus Features - Gary Oldman stars in the film adaptation of "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy."
So it came as something of a plot twist last week when Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, visiting a high school English class in the Bronx, confessed that he was not averse to a spy novel now and again.
“Have any of you ever read ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy,’ by John le Carré?” the mayor, a touch of excitement in his voice, asked a classroom of wide-eyed 11th graders.
The reply came in the form of a deafening silence, but Mr. Bloomberg was unfazed. “I like spy stuff,” he said, then offered praise for another book by Mr. le Carré, “The Honourable Schoolboy”: “It’s 600 pages, it’s mostly description, there is almost nothing that happens. But it’s fascinating!”
Indulging in a tale of make-believe is rare for a time-is-money workaholic whose regular literary diet consists of periodicals (The Economist, The Financial Times, Aviation Week), political histories (“The Power Broker,” by Robert A. Caro), and entrepreneurial bibles (he has been known to hand out “The Innovator’s Dilemma,” by the Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen, to friends and colleagues).
Virtually the only other work of fiction publicly endorsed by the mayor has been “Johnny Tremain,” the 1943 patriotic children’s story that Mr. Bloomberg frequently cites as a favorite. His personal library now has several first editions, gifts from friends.     
But most of the mayor’s reading material is news and nonfiction, according to aides, colleagues and friends who spoke about his habits. One former colleague, informed that the mayor had admitted to reading a novel, responded in shock: “That’s not the Mike Bloomberg I know.”
When Mr. Bloomberg began planning a run for the mayor’s office, his advisers gave him biographies of Fiorello H. La Guardia and Robert Moses. The mayor is currently reading “On China,” by Henry Kissinger, according to a City Hall spokesman; others said he had enjoyed histories of Prohibition, the Bronx in the 1970s, and World War I aviators.
The mayor likes his iPad, but prefers his books on the printed page. He reads at night and on the road. And in what appears to be a lifelong habit, he often tears out magazine articles that he wants to read later and carries around the torn pages in a folder.

Random House and Sesame Workshop Step into Digital Reading

Random House Children’s Books and Sesame Workshop are expanding their four-decade-plus licensing relationship, adding e-books and apps to their extensive Sesame Street print publishing program. The first of 19 initial ebook titles, Elmo Says Achoo! and Elmo’s Breakfast Bingo, were released on Wednesday.
“E-books are a major initiative for us,” says Chris Angelilli, v-p and editor-in-chief, Golden Books. “We want to publish licensed and original titles alike in every conceivable format for young readers.”
Random House is Sesame Workshop’s oldest licensee. “We’re very proud that books were the first licensed product for Sesame Street,” says Jennifer A. Perry, v-p worldwide publishing at Sesame Workshop. “Now we’re taking that longstanding program into the digital realm. It’s the next logical step.”
The initiative will focus on early learning and reading readiness titles, with digital editions available in all channels where Random House distributes e-books. The first raft of titles, to be released through June 2012, will be mostly Step into Reading books, along with some from the Happy Healthy Monsters series. “We publish a lot of board and novelty books, but those don’t translate as well to ‘e’,” Angelilli says.
Of the 19 initial titles, six have audio tracks—voiced by longtime Sesame Street actor Bob McGrath—and one is interactive, with the rest being read-alongs. The bulk are based on print titles, but some original e-books are planned as well, including a Step into Reading digital storybook app in the works now.
The digital-origin titles may eventually make their way into print. “Our hope is that we can work in both directions, both print to digital and digital to print,” Perry says.
Random House is the first of Sesame Workshop’s 30 print publishers to which it has granted e-book rights, but an announcement of a deal with a second publisher is forthcoming. “Where our publishers have a digital publishing program, we want to support that strategy,” Perry explains.
Meanwhile, the licensor has a number of digital-only e-book licensees, including Impelsys, which currently publishes 160 titles for Sesame Street’s own e-book site and the iOS platform; Callaway Digital Arts for the two bestselling Sesame Street e-book apps to date, The Monster at the End of This Book and Another Monster at the End of This Book, both available on iTunes; ScrollMotion for 10 iOS ebook apps to date; and Nokia Research Center for mobile apps that run on Nokia Lumia phones. As with the television show, the Workshop researches and tests all of its digital content and shares many of its findings with the industry at venues such as this week’s Digital Book World conference.
“Digital certainly plays a supplemental role in children’s reading,” says Perry, who notes that Sesame Workshop’s digital revenues are growing every quarter. “It’s all about storytelling, both in digital and print.”
Random House has acquired e-book rights from several of its other licensors aside from Sesame Workshop, including Mattel (Barbie) and Mattel’s newly acquired HIT Entertainment division (Thomas & Friends), Henson Productions (Dinosaur Train), Cartoon Network (Generator Rex), and Zinkia (Pocoyo).
“It’s true that most preschoolers don’t have their own Nook or Kindle, but their parents and caregivers do, and young kids are fascinated and mesmerized by digital devices,” Angelilli says. “It’s intuitive and comes naturally to them. It’s difficult to predict exactly where it will go, but e-books are an exciting new format and it’s impossible to deny their importance.”

2012 Hippocrates Awards for Poetry and Medicine

One week to go to the 31st Jan deadline for entries to the 2012 Hippocrates poetry & medicine awards for unpublished poems on a medical theme of up to 50 lines written in English in either of 2 categories: an Open International Prize and a UK NHS-related Prize for an unpublished poem. With a 1st prize for the winning poem in each category of £5,000, the Hippocrates prize is one of the highest value poetry awards in the world for a single poem. In each category there is also a 2nd prize of £1,000, 3rd prize of £500, and 20 commendations each of £50.  Anyone in the world may enter the Open category. The NHS category is open to UK National Health Service employees, health students, and those working in professional organisations involved in education and training of NHS students and staff. The Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine is a major supporter of the 2012 Hippocrates Awards, which are also supported by the Cardiovascular Research Trust.

For these entries, medicine may be interpreted in the broadest sense. Themes for prize entries may include the nature of the body and anatomy; the history, evolution, current and future state of medical science; the nature and experience of tests; the experience of doctors, nurses and other staff in hospitals and in the community.  Other topics might include experience of patients, families, friends and carers; experiences of acute and long-term illness, dying, birth, cure and convalescence; the patient journey; the nature and experience of treatment with herbs, chemicals and devices used in medicine. In the 2010 and 2011 awards, winning entries covered themes ranging from recollection of effects of his own stroke by New Zealand Poet CK Stead; to a relative’s experience of cancer; reflections on the early days of the NHS; and the impact of ageing.

Walcott and Hargreaves promote literacy for NLT

26.01.12 | Charlotte Williams - The Bookseller

Theo Walcott, Owen Hargreaves and Joey Barton are among the football stars helping to promote reading this year through The National Literacy Trust's annual Premier League Reading Stars programme.
Each of the 20 players, one from each of the Premier League clubs, has chosen his favourite adult and children's titles, with choices including seven books by Roald Dahl, plus authors such as J K Rowling, Julia Donaldson and Dan Brown. Other choices include classics such as To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, chosen by Tottenham Hotspur player Niko Kranjcar; The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, chosen by West Bromwich Albion's Paul Scharner; and Dracula by Bram Stoker, chosen by Joey Barton of Queens Park Rangers.
More recent titles were chosen by Norwich City's David Fox who picked Operation Mincemeat by Ben Macintyre as his adult title, and Liverpool's Charlie Adam who chose May I Have Your Attention Please?, James Corden's 2011 memoir.
Theo Walcott picked his own children's book, TJ and the Hat-trick, and Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J K Rowling as his adult title, with Fulham player Mark Schwarzer choosing the children's title he co-authored, Megs and the Vootball Kids, as well as Destined to Live by Ruth Greuner. Stoke City Carlo Nash is the other author in the squad, choosing his book Family Adventures in Style, written with Dr Jill Nash, as his adult title.
The website will showcase 20 films featuring the players, who set 100 literacy challenges and explain why they chose their books and what they enjoy about reading. Children are offered prizes to complete the challenges, with a child who completes all 100 given the chance to win some signed memorabilia.
National Literacy Trust director Jonathan Douglas said: "Our research shows that a quarter of boys (28.3%) say that a sportsperson could inspire them to read. So getting footballers on board gives us a new and powerful strategy to get boys reading."
The programme, launched today at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium by player Theo Walcott and Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall, is delivered by the National Literacy Trust and funded by Arts Council England and the Premier League, and has run since 2003. This year, it has been funded to work with 1,000 schools and libraries in need, and will reach 30,000 young people. Any school or library can fund their own resource pack to take part.

David Nicholls: 'I'm desperate that the next book shouldn't disappoint people'

Tim Walker - The Independent - Thursday 26 January 2012


Press Release
Annual Event Continues to be Co-Located with BookExpo America

Norwalk, CT, January 26, 2012: Reed Exhibitions has purchased the Book Blogger Convention, an annual day-long conference devoted to providing support, instruction, and social time for people who blog about books. The Book Blogger Convention was founded by Trish Collins of Hey Lady! Watcha Readin’? and Michelle Franz of Galleysmith, both devoted book bloggers who sensed a need for bringing the community of book bloggers together so that they might share information and learn from each other. In order to capitalize on the captive community of book industry professionals who attend BookExpo America (BEA), North America’s largest annual book industry gathering, the Book Blogger Convention was launched in 2010 in co-location with BEA. It will continue to be co-located with BEA and it will be fully integrated into the overall activity of the convention itself.

“We are delighted with this purchase and we look forward to advancing and building what Trish and Michelle have so effectively created in the Book Blogger Convention,” notes Steven Rosato, Show Manager for BookExpo America. “Trish and Michelle are devoted to their community and they have invested a tremendous amount of their own personal time and energy into building a major presence for their colleagues at BEA. We are pleased to be able to take this responsibility over for them and to build even greater recognition for the Book Blogger Convention by fully merging it with our BEA marketing efforts, programs, and attendee outreach.”

This year, the Book Blogger Convention will take place at the Javits Center on Monday, June 4 just as BEA is getting underway. Previously, the conference and reception were held just after BEA concluded. “We feel this positioning will provide greater continuity for the book bloggers and will afford them more opportunity,” notes Rosato. “This way, the book bloggers can attend their own event and then immediately participate in BEA or BlogWorld East which gets underway Tuesday, June 5 and which is also co-located with BEA.” Convention officials note that pricing for all events has been structured to allow easy access including an “All Access Super Pass” as well as a “New Media Super Pass”. Further details about pricing and how to attend individual events and/or any combination of events at BEA are available at:

The first Book Blogger Convention which took place in 2010 attracted just over 200 people and featured a line-up of speakers including online marketing specialists from most of the major publishing houses. Sponsorships by HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Hachette, Crown Publishing Group, Peachtree, and Unbridled Books reinforced the industry’s embrace of book bloggers. Attendance in 2011 grew to 340 people. “Book bloggers have emerged as a critical constituent in our universe,” concludes Rosato. “We look forward to serving them as thoroughly as possible in the years ahead.” 

Caviar, Vodka, Books: Waterstones to Open Russian Mini-store

Publishing Perspectives

Waterstones is to launch a Russian bookshop called Slova within its London flagship store, offering 5,000 Russian language titles and translations.
Read here.

What Can Waterstones Learn from Russian Bookselling?
For a westerner, Moscow's bookstores can feel like returning to a lost world and, with a new Russian owner, Waterstones might benefit from their example.

Do-It-Yourself-Digital Book World Kit


Whether you were there or not, some of the Digital Book World presentations and data are available online in a variety of forms.
It's very rare for us to use the phrase "must read," but Nielsen's white paper on The Link Between Metadata and Sales that accompanies president of Nielsen Book Jonathan Nowell's Wednesday presentation certainly qualifies. First presented at our Publishers Launch event in Frankfurt and now expanded and revised, it demonstrates with great precision the clear extent to which more quality metadata increases book sales (based on UK data). Fiction shows the greatest improvement when four key "enhanced" elements--short and long descriptions, review and author biography--are included in the record. Online sales for titles with all four of those pieces of information included are 178 percent higher.
PDF download
Verso Digital's survey of book-buying behavior is viewable here.
From futurist, author and Wednesday speaker David Houle--who is working with Sourcebooks on their just-announced agile publishing initiative--there is a free download of a special edition of his 2007 book THE SHIFT AGE. The DBW edition includes a new introduction tied to his speech and 15 of his past columns "that pertain to the the publishing industry and its move into the Shift Age."
At the Digital Book World site, a short video presents brief interviews with presenters including Ellen Archer at Hyperion, James McQuivey of Forrester, Steve Potash at OverDrive and Evan Ratliff from The Atavist.
DBW video