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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Bennetts back in Kiwi hands

Back in 1899, a bookstore called Bennetts, owned by the local Bennett family, was established in provincial Palmerston North, a couple of hours' drive north of Wellington.  It was the shop where just about all the books of my childhood came from -- getting a book token for Christmas or a birthday meant a delicious hour sorting through shelves crammed with tempting literature ... Milly Molly Mandy, Little Women, and all that wicked stuff by Enid Blyton.

Later, it was where I bought my university textbooks.  And I had that much-missed, long-departed short story magazine, Argosy, on permanent order.  It took me the whole month to save up the half-crown that it cost, but it was worth it.

Then, in 1988 (a strangely coincidental shifting around of the figures of the date of its birth) the store was taken over by the first of a series of robber barons.  By February 2011, when REDgroup-owned Whitcoulls was placed in receivership, Bennetts was part of the package.

Now it is back in local ownership.  Geoff Spong, the New Zealander who established Vol 1, a university textbook chain, has bought Bennetts for an undisclosed sum.

He intends to make it campus focused, but will keep up the flagship Bennetts Government Bookshop on the northernmost corner of Lambton Quay.

I'm so pleased about that.  The staff there are the oldfashioned kind who obviously love books, and will go to immense trouble to find you the book you want, or advise you if you're not sure.

How many calories in 16 Big Macs?

Schwalger's diet with a difference

There are some subjects that don't really belong on a blog about the written word, but hey, I read it in the Dominion Post while doing the crossword.

The crossword happens to be at the back of the paper, at the bottom of the last page in the sports section.

The rugby story, written by Mark Geenty, stemmed from an interview with a local rugby star, originally because that star is heading off to France.  It went on to talk about what foods said star would miss in the land of snails and frogs' legs.

Because, it revealed, this rugby star has been known to eat 16 Big Mac meals in one sitting, though apparently he limited himself to just two cokes.  At other times he contents himself with two buckets of KFC chicken, a total of 30 pieces, complete with skin, coating, and a layer of whatever it was fried in.  He has also won a competition eating a 1 kg steak in some incredibly short time, and even had the leisure to ask for chips.

A skim through the internet tells me that one Big Mac has 480 calories in Australia, but contains 540 in the US, which has less restrictions about fat content.  So I guess the rugby star is saved a little future grief by eating the NZ version.  But that was not counting the fries that came with each meal.  So here go my calculations:

The Big Mac is 480 calories, the fries with each is 380 calories, and each coke is 210 calories.

16 Big Mac meals (though with only two cokes) equals a stunning 15,180 calories, which would take an athlete of this weight and fitness approximately 12 hours to run off.

2 buckets of KFC chicken is a diet by contrast, being just 5,400 calories, taking 4 hours to run off.

But the salt content is something else again, being 182% of the total daily requirement.

And that steak (without fries) was a mere peccadillo, being 1,400 calories, which would take 122 minutes of running, 203 minutes of aerobics, or 240 minutes working with weights to work off.

I sure hope no teenagers follow in this fellow's footsteps ...

Friday, April 29, 2011

Vote for a New Zealand writer

Hey, here's a chance for the world-at-large to vote for a Kiwi award

Creative New Zealand are asking for people to nominate Kiwi writers.

The Prime Minister's awards recognize notable literary achievements by New Zealand writers.

Awards are nomination based, and close on 6 May 2011.

To nominate your favorite New Zealand writer, go here.

Book trailer for the remarkable story of Tupaia

Rick Spilman has worked his magic again, and now we have a book trailer for the Random House edition of TUPAIA, which will materialize in bookstores in New Zealand and Australia in June.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Obama releases birth certificate

President Obama releases record of his birth

Declaring that he is tired of the long-standing distraction posed by the argument of where he was born, President Obama has released the long form of his birth certificate.

"We do not have time for this silliness," he said.

Hear, hear.

The United States restriction on the birthplace of presidential candidates has had some amusing repercussions in American maritime history.

When a captain had his wife on board, and she shared the glad news of another maritime infant on the way, it almost inevitably led to a deep discussion.  On whaling ships, it could even change the course of the voyage.  

Because if the baby was born at sea -- on an American ship, to American parents -- he was not eligible to be president.  And an imponderable number of whaling ship masters put their wives on shore at some American port or island, often to wait out long months because she was only "a little bit" pregnant, just so the baby would be born on American soil.

Can I think of any sons of whaling masters with presidential ambitions?  No, I can not.

But at least the rule saved the world from a possible President Schwartzenegger ...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The first newspaper philanthropist

Edwards, John Passmore (1823-1911)

Edwads, newspaper proprietor and philanthropist, born on 24 March 1823, at Blackwater, near Truro, Cornwall, became the representative in Manchester of the Sentinel, a London weekly newspaper. A passionate lecturer in the temperance cause, in 1845 he settled in London, intending to keep himself by lecturing and journalism.
He became a prominent member of the Political Reform Association, and in 1894 was appointed president of the London Reform Association, and an advocate for the suppression of gambling and of the opium trade, the abolition of capital punishment, of flogging in the army and navy, and of the newspaper tax.

In 1850 Edwards invested all his small savings in a weekly newspaper, the Public Good, which he wrote, printed, and published from the room where he lived in Paternoster Row. The paper sold widely but, in the end, failed, as did other journals he started. In 1862, he purchased the Building News, which he turned into a success. Heartened, he acquired in 1869, again for only a nominal sum, the Mechanics Magazine, which proved another financial success.

He married on 6 February 1870 Eleanor Elizabeth (1841-1916), daughter of Henry Vickers Humphreys, artist; they had a daughter and a son.

In 1876, aged fifty-three, Edwards made his most ambitious newspaper purchase when he acquired The Echo, the first halfpenny newspaper, which had been founded in 1868. It began to experience success when he employed Howard Evans, an energetic, able journalist with pronounced nonconformist sympathies. The paper continued to improve its circulation and gained commercially when it was decided to exclude horse-racing tips.

In 1884 Andrew Carnegie, the Scots-American steel magnate who sought control of newspapers to disseminate his ideas on republicanism and radicalism, bought a two-thirds interest in The Echo. The relationship was neither happy nor successful, though, and Edwards bought back full control in 1886, restoring Evans as editor. But new political, commercial, and journalistic pressures were fast undermining the values of an earlier generation. In 1898 Edwards sold The Echo to a syndicate of Liberal nonconformists. Despite their best efforts, The Echo finally foundered in 1905.

Edwards died at his Hampstead home, 51 Netherhall Gardens, on 22 April 1911 and was buried at Kensal Green on 27 April. H. W. Massingham described Edwards as 'one of the kings of modern newspaper enterprise'. Considerable as was Edwards's contribution to Victorian journalism, he deserves to be remembered also as the archetypal Victorian self-made man and philanthropist.

Biography by A. J. A. Morris. To read the full story, go to the Oxford Dictionary of Biography.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

On this day, Shakespeare ...

On 26 April 1564, William Shakespeare, playwright and poet, was baptized.

The deed was probably done by the parish priest, John Bretchgirdle (or Bracegirdle), in Holy Trinity, the parish church of Stratford upon Avon, on 26 April 1564,

William was the third child of Richard Shakespeare, husbandsman of Snitterfield, near Stratford (d. 1561) and Mary Arden (d. 1608).

It seems appropriate that the first of many gaps in the records of Shakespeare's life should be the exact date of his birth, but that is not as easy as it sounds. He was probably born sometime betwen 21 and 23 April 1564, given the 1559 prayer book's instructions to parents on the subject of baptisms.

But, ever since Joseph Greene, an eighteenth-century Stratford curate, informed the scholar George Steevens that Shakespeare was born on 23 April (though with no apparent documentation), and Steevens adopted that date in his 1773 edition of Shakespeare, it has been fun to assume that Shakespeare was born on St George's day.  Which means that England's patron saint and the birth of the 'national poet' can be celebrated on the same day.

Blogger raves about TUPAIA

"Everyone has heard the story of Captain Cook and his expedition adventures, but did you ever know he had a Polynesian navigator?"

No, I did not, says Jo Ann Hakola, of the Journey of a Bookseller blog, and follows this up with a thoughtful and enthusiastic review.

"Mrs. Druett does an excellent job of offering her well-researched facts in a non-fiction story that reads almost fiction.  It's not the least boring," she reveals, going on to confess that this is quite a statement, as she does not generally like non-fiction.

"Mrs. Druett makes you care about this man," she adds.

"If you have an interest in history, Captain Cook, or just in interesting tales, this book will be a pleasure for you to read." 

Mubarak name to be demolished

A court in Egypt has ruled that the names of Mubarak and his wife Suzanne be removed from all public places.

According to a BBC News report, hundreds of public squares, streets, libraries and schools across Egypt are named after the couple.  Now, a frenzy of renaming is to take place.

I wonder if they are going to have renaming competitions?  Open to the wider public, that is.  Or will minor politicians, soldiers, and bureaucrats be lobbying to have their names memorialized?

And they are going to take his statues down, too.  Who knows what will replace them?   It's going to be a whole new look in Egypt, that's for sure, and hazards await those asking for directions to places and monuments.

Mubarak's 29 years in power ended with his resignation in February after weeks of mass anti-government protests.

The last typewriter in the world

The last typewriter factory in the world has closed

If you still have an old typwriter, hang onto it.  It's not only a veteran of a bygone age, but it is about to become rare and valuable. A story in The Hindu by Shivani Jainridhima Shukla muses about the demise of the last typewriter factory -- which, believe it not, is/was in India -- and the effect it will have in his land.

Yes, Godrej and Boyce, the last company in the world still manufacturing typewriters, has ceased operations.  Clerks in New Delhi and Calcutta will still cart their old Remingtons (manufactured by Godrej and Boyce) from court house to office, saying they can't afford the electricity, so the clack of mechanical keys will still be heard there.  But will it be noticed in America, Europe, China and Japan?  Probably not.

Yet, the typewriter was a driving force in the liberation of Western women, as well as in the business world of India.  Up until the production of the first readily usable typewriter by firearms manufacturers E. Remington & Sons of Ilion, New York, in 1873, women were trapped in domestic jobs, working as cleaners, cooks, housemaids, and seamstresses.  Up until that year, all clerks were men, but somehow, miraculously, women made the typewriter their own, and made the downtown office female territory.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Lies, damned lies, and Casio watches

"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics"

So said Mark Twain, attributing it to British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli.

A most peculiar illustration of this appears in the Guardian newspaper.  

It is cheap, basic and widely available around the world.  Millions of people wear one. The manufacturer's market share might be as much as 33%.  Yet analysts stationed at Guantánamo Bay have declared the black Casio F-91W digital watch "the sign of al-Qaida."

Briefing documents used to train staff in assessing the threat level of new detainees advise that possession of the F-91W ­(available online for just a few dollars)­ suggests the wearer has been trained in bomb making by al-Qaida in Afghanistan.
The report states: "The Casio was known to be given to the students at al-Qaida bomb-making training courses in Afghanistan at which the studentsreceived instruction in the preparation of timing devices using the watch.
And here is where the statistics come in.

"Approximately one-third of the JTF-GTMO detainees that were captured with these models of watches have known connections to explosives, either having attended explosives training, having association with a facility where IEDs were made or where explosives training was given, or having association with a person identified as an explosives expert."

The silver version, the A-159W, is also highly suspect.

Piratical Humor

Tongue-in-cheek crewlists of privateers 

As we all know (though perhaps some of us don't) a privateer was a Licensed Pirate.  He had a certificate called a Letter of Marque, issued by a monarch or some other person of great power, which gave him permission to attack, seize, and plunder ships of rival countries.

There is a group of dedicated researchers who call themselves  the Letters of Marque and Reprisals (LoMaR) Transcription project, who are transcribing all the paperwork to do with this dangerous and profitable kind of swashbuckling seafaring.

One of their members, Chris Maxworthy, recently shared a collection of humorous crewlists, made up by the captains of privateers.

As he remarks, occasionally the captains or agents were in such a rush to lodge the paperwork that they made up the names of the key personnel of the ship.   And this was where they displayed a hearty sense of humor.

Take, for instance, the whaleship Thetis of London (226 tons), commanded by Captain Henry Mackie.

According to the list, the mate was called Thomas Tipple (a hard drinker?)

The gunner was George Report
The boatswain was Thomas Bowline
The carpenter was Richard Chip
The cook was William Cabbage
And George Lancet was the surgeon

And then there is the good ship Withywood

Gunner:  James Ball
Boatswain, Tom Piper
The carpenter was Christopher Chip (Dick Chip's brother?)
The cook was John Lamb
And the surgeon was Richard Limb

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Online news blog gets Pulitzer

ProPublica's online series, "The Wall Street Money Machine," wins Pulitzer

Jeremy W. Peters writes in the New York Times that for the first time, ever, a Pulitzer has been awarded for reporting that did not appear in print.

The NYT itself got prizes for its economics commentary and its reporting on Russia.

The Los Angeles Times was handed the public service Pulitzer, and the award for feature photography.

The Wall Street Journal won its first award for ages and ages, for Joseph Rago's editorial writing on the health care legislation.

Carol Guzy, photographer from the Washington Post, won FOUR Pulitzers -- for breaking news photography (with Nikki Kahn and Ricky Carioti) with pix of the devastation after the quake in Haiti.

Prize for fiction went to Jennifer Egan for A Visit from the Goon Squad.

Prize for drama went to Bruce Norris for Clybourne Park.

Prize for history went to Eric Foner for The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery.

Prize for biography went to Ron Chernow for Washington: A Life

Prize for music went to Zhou Long for Madam White Snake

Prize for poetry went to Kay Ryan for The Best of New and Selected Poems

Prize for nonfiction went to Siddhartha Mukherjee for The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer


The land where the word m - - - c is forbidden

On Tuesday night I went with daughter-in-law Michelle and grandsons Matthew (11) and Joshua (8) to the Launch of Barbara Else's enchanting new children's book, The Travelling Restaurant.

Huge excitement from both the boys and also their mother, for none of them had been to a Launch before.  Well, the author, the publishers (Gecko Press) and the wonderful Children's Book Shop of Kilbirnie, Wellington, did them proud.  They loved their new experience, and are currently reading the book. 

I know they will love that, too.   Not only is it a romping tale in the oldfashioned rollicking bedtime-tale tradition, but it is jampacked with memorable characters.  Jasper, officially ten years old (but 12 in reality), is the Hero, though I have to admit that I feel a sneaky affection for the grumpy Dr. Rocket, skipper of the good ship Travelling Restaurant, which serves food to ravenous adults and picky toddlers anywhere  the ship is moored.  And then there is Polly, who lays aloft to the highest hamper, whatever the weather, green boots and all ...

The truly villainous villainess, Lady Gall, is another treasure.  She might be just the Provisional Monarch of Fontania, but she is determined to make the position Permanent (with the help of her pirates), and the only boy who stands in the way is our Hero (with the help of his flamboyant friends). 

How does he do it? 

And how do Polly, Dr. Rocket and Jasper manage to feed those picky toddlers? 

Read the book, and find out. Or read it for the puckish humor. There are stacks of jokes for all ages.  There will be times when the children laugh, and the adults wonder why, and other times when the adults laugh, and the children wonder why. 

As a maritime buff, I enjoyed my own secret laughs, for this book also pokes gentle fun at the Romance of Sail.  Lady Gall's flagship, Excellent Hound, with its five masts and three funnels, got an appreciative giggle from me, as did the Travelling Restaurant itself.  What its rig might have been like is as mysterious as its motive power, but like the book, it is terrific.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Puzzling Way of Popping the Question

The Washington Post plays the lead role in an Eastertime good-feel story. 

Corey Newman, romantic hero, had been trying for months to figure out a drop-dead wonderful way of proposing to romantic heroine Marlowe Epstein, who just happens to be a fan of the Washington Post crossword page.  "I wanted to do something unique," he said.

Presto.  Unique idea popped into his head.  He approached Bob Klahn, veteran crossword creator, and a very special crossword duly arrived in Sunday's paper.

37 Across: Shakespeare in Love role.  Answer: Marlowe

39 Across: Casablanca screenwriter Julius or Philip.   Answer: Epstein

51 Across: Words with a certain ring to them.  Answer: Will you marry me?

"Will you marry me?" she read out as she solved 51 Across, and lo, down he went on one knee with a ring in his hand.

It's not the first time that Klahn has faced this interesting task.  In 1998 he crafted a puzzle for the New York Times that also doubled as a marriage proposal.

He's a miracle-maker.  The heroine said yes to that one, too.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


A perfume that smells like very, very, very good books

Karl Lagerfeld has partnered with his publisher Steidl to create a perfume inspired by the smell of books.  It is called Paper Passion.

A famous bibliogphile who owns about three hundred thousand volumes, Lagerfeld freely confesses that he cannot resist buying more, more, more books. (What a hero.)

This personal passion has even inspired him to become the owner of a bookstore and publishing house in Paris, like his famous predecessor Louis Hachette.  Lagerfeld's store is located at 7, rue de Lille, and is called 7L.

Steidl and Lagerfeld plan to open another bookstore in New York City soon, and are thinking of calling it Word and Image.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A bookstore with only one book

Author opens "monobookist" store

Jason Boog of GalleyCat caught up with Andrew Kessler, who sounds like one of the most interesting blokes on this globe.

Andrew K. is a writer who lives in Brooklyn. He is also an amazing director/designer/creator of new ideas.  His work has appeared in the New York Times, and he produced a program on Mars for the Discovery Channel.  He has a degree in maths.  And he has produced a book, called Martian Summer, based on his 90-day stint as a shadow project manager for NASA.

It is subtitled, intriguingly, "Robot Arms, Cowboy Spacemen, and My 90 Days with the Phoenix Mars Mission."  Publishers Weekly called it an off-beat account by the self-professed winner of "the space-nerd lottery."

This, he says, is his first book about Mars -- or any planet, for that matter.

He also has a most innovative approach to publicizing this book, which any author or publisher should follow with riveted interest.

First, there is his most unusual and attention-seizing website, called Kessler on Mars.

Second, is his most unusual and attention-seizing link promoting the eBook.

Third, he has hired a storefront at 547 Hudson Street, and filled it with thousands of copies of just one book -- his own.

It's a temporary store, of course -- even with the salary from 90 days at NASA, he will be living a frugal lifestyle for quite a while to finance this venture, though he says he had a lot of help from his friends.  He is also renting (for money, I assume) the store out to other book-related events.

Good luck to the innovative fellow!

When Eve talked to Adam

All languages traced back to Stone Age Africa

From the Mail Online

David Derbyshire reports on a study that traces 500 languages back to the Stone Age.  It also postulates that the further away from Africa a language is spoken, the fewer distinct sounds (phonemes) it holds.

English has about 46 sounds, whie the San bushmen of South Africa can make 200 distinctly different noises during speech.

This means that the first man was somewhere in Africa when he spoke those first words "at least 100,000 years ago."

I wonder what he communicated.  Was it a warning?  A shout of joy?  Or a battle cry?

The man who has developed this study is Dr Quentin Atkinson, an evolutionary biologist at New Zealand's Auckland University.  After analyzing 500+ languages with the use of a computer program, published a paper in the distinguished journal Science, relating that he had found compelling evidence that all of them could be traced back to those long-forgotten first words.

The mother language is known as Khoisan, and is in the family of the Kalahari Bushmen click language.

According to him, it also indicates that the further away from Africa people migrated, the less complicated speech became, encompassing fewer phonemes.

It would be interesting if he had a look at Polynesian languages, and linked the loss or retention of sounds like "L", "K" or the glottal stop to their wide-ranging voyages, as those magnificent navigators explored and settled the far reaches of the Pacific.  In fact, as he is a Kiwi, it seems odd that he hasn't done so. 

If he was worried about creating controversy, it has happened anyway.

According to Marika Hill, who has published a story in today's Dominion Post, his method of research has stirred up a storm of academic criticism.  New Scientist was told by Stanford University (California) linguist Merrit Ruhlen that it was not usually accepted that languages could be traced back that far:  "There is a lot of anger and tension surrounding that kind of analysis."

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Sinking of the Titanic

99 years today
On 15 April 1912, the passenger luxury liner S.S. Titanic sank with the loss of more than 1,500 lives.

The most wellknown shipwreck in history, its story has become both legendary and iconic.

The books, memoirs, short stories, and references in books about the sinking of the Titanic are beyond counting.  At least 18 books are currently on sale at Amazon.

The story gave birth to 20 films, and at least 11 video games.

There was a dedicated TV series, "Tickets for the Titanic," and many TV episodes were based on the illfated ship, including the (almost) equally iconic Dr. Who.

Who would like to prophesy how many museum exhibits, TV specials, and commemorative books and stories are scheduled to appear next year?

Sir Julius Vogel Award nominations

Sir Julius Vogel Award Nominations - 2011

In 1889 Sir Julius Vogel, Prime Minister of New Zealand, published the first full-length science fiction novel written by a New Zealander.  Called Anno Domini 2000, it accurately predicted the rise of women to social and governmental power.

For the past ten years, fan-voted awards have been presented in his name, to writers of science fiction, fantasy, and horror.  Voting takes place about the National Science Fiction convention, and the winners get the really gorgeous gadget pictured. 

And this year the finalists are:

Best Novel -

Barking Death Squirels by Douglas A. Van Belle (Random Static)

The Heir Of Night by Helen Lowe (Orbit)

The Questing Road by Lyn McConchie (Tor Books)

Tymon's Flight by Mary Victoria (HarperCollins Publishers Australia)

Geist by Philippa Ballantine (Ace)

Best Young Adult Novel -

Aria by Rowina De Silva (AM Publishing, New Zealand)

Ebony Hill by Anna Mackenzie (Random House)

Guardian Of The Dead by Karen Healey (Allen And Unwin)

Into The Wilderness by Mandy Hager (Random House)

Summer Of Dreaming by Lyn McConchie (Cyberwizard Productions)

Best Novella / Novelette -

"A Tale Of The Interferers - Hunger For Forbidden Flesh" by Paul Haines (Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #46)

"L" by Bill Direen (A Foreign Country: New Zealand Speculative Fiction - Random Static)

"Her Gallant Needs" by Paul Haines (Sprawl Anthology, Twelfth Planet Press)

Best Short Story -

"Consumed" by Lee Murray (A Foreign Country: New Zealand Speculative Fiction - Random Static)

"High Tide At Hot Water Beach" by Paul Haines (A Foreign Country: New Zealand Speculative Fiction - Random Static)

"The Future Of The Sky" by Ripley Patton (A Foreign Country: New Zealand Speculative Fiction - Random Static)

"The Interview" by Darian Smith (Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #49)

"I've Seen This Man" by Paul Haines (Scenes From The Second Storey - Morrigan Books)

eBooks overtake all other book formats

eBook Sales Set A Record

From Publishers Lunch

The Christmas boom in eReader sales has led to a matching surge in eBook sales, confirmed by a record ebook sales tally from among the 14 publishers who report. The AAP data also shows what publishers' net shipments look like in a world in which no one is sending books to Borders.

February eBook sales totaled $90.3 million, significantly ahead of the record $69.9 million reported the previous month. In January ebooks were the second-largest trade segment, behind trade paperbacks, but in February they moved ahead as the single largest-selling format (with trade paperbacks at $81.2 million).

Just as eBooks rose, print book shipments were down across the board by significant percentages, with adult hardcover suffering the most, declining 43 percent compared to February 2010. Net trade print book sales for the month among the reporting AAP members were $215.2 million--down 30 percent from $308.7 million.

(It's anyone's guess what "AAP" means, but my stab is American Association of Publishers.)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Best Thrillers out there?

The International Thriller Writers (ITW) today announced the nominees for its 2011 Thriller Awards

Best Hardcover Novel:

The Reversal, by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown)

Edge, by Jeffery Deaver (Simon & Schuster)

The Burying Place, by Brian Freeman (Minatour)

Skin, by Mo Hayder (Grove)

Bad Blood, by John Sanford (Putnam)

Best Paperback Original:

Down Among the Dead Men, by Robert Gregory Browne (St. Martin’s)

You Can’t Stop Me, by Max Allan Collins and Matthew Clemens (Pinnacle)

The Cold Room, by J.T. Ellison (Mira)

Torn Apart, by Shane Gericke (Pinnacle)

The Venice Conspiracy, by John Trace (Hachette Digital)

Best First Novel:

The Things That Keep Us Here, by Carla Buckley (Random House)

The Poacher’s Son, by Paul Doiron (Minatour)

The Insider, by Reece Hirsch (Berkley)

Drink the Tea, by Thomas Kaufman (Minatour)

Still Missing, by Chevy Stevens (St. Martin’s)

Best Short Story:

• “Second Wind,” by Mike Carey (from The New Dead: A Zombie Anthology, edited by Christopher Golden; St. Martin's)

• “Blue on Black,” by Michael Connelly (The Strand Magazine)

• “The God for Vengeance Cry,” by Richard Helms (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)

• “Madeeda,” by Harley Jane Kozak (from Crimes By Midnight, edited by Charlaine Harris; Berkley)

• “Chasing the Dragon,” by Nicolas Kaufman (ChiZine Magazine)

• “Long Time Dead,” by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins (The Strand Magazine)
Winners will be announced during ThrillerFest VI, to be held at New York City’s Grand Hyatt

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Want your book to come with advertisements?

Coming May 3: $114 Kindle With Ads on Home Page, Screen Savers

From Publishers Lunch.

Amazon announced Monday that it will issue a "new" edition of its wi-fi Kindle priced at $114, $25 less than the going rate for the current wireless edition. The catch -- or hook, depending on your vantage point -- is that this edition, which ships starting on May 3, will feature Special Offers, the retailer's preferred name for ads that will run on the e-reader's home page and screen savers.
Among the deals on offer for the first few weeks include discounted Amazon gift cards, discounts on other Amazon products like jeans and swimsuits, and free gifts for signing up for an Amazon Rewards Visa credit card. Visa, as well as Buick and Oil of Olay, are sponsoring the first wave of screensaver ads as well. A second part of the initiative in a new app and website called AdMash that will give everyone the fun of "previewing" screensaver ads and selecting preferred ones, "to display sponsored screensavers that you want to see." Owners of the new Kindle can also selected among screensaver preferences that include "literary references," so book ads on Kindle screens may not be far behind.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Antiques "roadshow" turns up 600-year-old book

KPLC 7 News in Salt Lake City tells an amazing story of a little museum in Sandy, Utah, which held an antiques appraisal fundraiser.

One expert who took part was rare book dealer Ken Sanders, who got the surprise of his life when a man came up to him after paying $2 to have an old book valued.

"A gentleman walked in and said I've got a really important book here and I'm sitting there rolling my eyes and thinking, 'Yeah, sure you do.'
Then he opens it up and it's a Nuremberg Chronicles from 1494."

The 600-year-old book is a survivor of an era known as "the cradle of printing," and was originally printed as a companion to the Guttenberg Bible, which was itself not printed for another 40 years.

The ancient volume is embellished with more than 1800 wonderful woodcut illustrations.

Sanders's first estimate was that it was worth over $100,000.

To see the interview, hit the link embedded above.