Thursday, December 11, 2003

Remainders of the day 

Travelling sucks. Especially when high winds induce a massive amount of turbulence and a generally unpleasant flight experience. But my NY/DC sojourn has come to a close (some matters resolved, others not, frustratingly) and before signing off for the evening, I'll offer up the following choice bits:

Many, many publications are doing their "Best of 2003" lists in some form or another. Most of our favorite blogs have posted them already, so no need for me to repeat myself. Fewer places are doing gift guides, but January Magazine offers their ideas for what books to get for your loved ones and friends this holiday season. Naturally, there's a plentiful helping of crime fiction to peruse as well.

The British Library is making available an archive of sound recordings they have of authors reading their own work. What amazing stuff, especially as the recordings go as far back as the 1880s, with Robert Browning reading his own poetry. Tapes are available to order at the British Library's website.

Speaking of the NYT, I'd link Michiko's review of Tobias Wolff's book but I have the weird suspicion that she reviewed the book already. Or maybe Maslin did? Or maybe because she's had the same kind of pointed bile for so many other books this year?

The Richard and Judy Best Book of the Year Award shortlist (whew, that's a mouthful) has been announced. Evidently R&J are a TV show on Channel 4 over there that does its bit to promote books, and on January 7 they too will launch a book club. The shortlist is rather eclectic, as Monica Ali shares space with Martina Cole, among others.

I'm late to the whole "Generation Y needs a spokesperson" debate raging over at Mobylives right now, but unlike those who fervently believe no such a thing exists, I've found the perfect candidate: Paris Hilton. Oh, so she hasn't written a book? Hell, that may change sooner than we think....

The industry is worried that customers are increasingly choosing online sources for their Christmas shopping rather than going to actual bookstores. Well, having seen what's been going on in the independents in New York City over the past week, I'd have to agree with that statement.

Are you a "real reader"? Then a new magazine, Slightly Foxed, might be just the one for you. Gail Pirkis, formerly the managing editor of John Murray, will hold the reins, and explains why she's starting up this new venture:

She said that Slightly Foxed was "borne out of a sense of frustration". "I am an inveterate book buyer and reader and know that a lot of good books do not get reviewed. Most people have no way of knowing what they are or which may appeal to them. I want to revive an interest in good and interesting reads, books that have been overlooked, neglected or forgotten."

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