There are essentially three types of Haruki Murakami fans: those who enjoy his novels, those who enjoy his short stories, and those who enjoy both. I enjoy both, perhaps his novels a little more. For those looking to see what this great author has to offer with his talent, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman provides twenty-four examples of this, each story feeling special and unique.
In the first story, of the same name as the collection, a half-deaf character experiences this strange world through his own filtered way, as the blind willow trees provide pollen that fly and burrow inside a woman’s ear; the story is poetic and moving. In “The Mirror,” a man looks into a mirror to find someone else standing there, someone he doesn’t completely recognize, only to later discover there never was a mirror. “The Shinagawa Monkey” tells the unusual story of a woman who has lost her name and the steps she takes to find it again and why she ultimately lost it.
Readers will be whisked away and become lost in these many enchanting tales of the unusual and in some instances, bizarre, but they will see the truly great talent of Haruki Murakami, and discover why so many people the world over have become timeless fans of his works.
Originally written on May 18, 2012 ©Alex C. Telander.
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Past Our Bedtime for Rock Bottom Remainders
On June 22 and 23 this past week in LA, the unusual band made up of bestselling authors like Stephen King, Amy Tan, and Dave Barry, known as the Rock Bottom Remainders played their last two shows.
West Coast Destinations for Book Lovers
Taking a trip to the West Coast and wondering which bookstores are worth visiting?
Dimple Records Opening New Bookstore
The small chain, Dimple Records, which specializes in new and used CDs, DVDs, vinyl and video games will be branching out into books later this summer when it opens it first new and used bookstore in Sacramento, CA. Shelf Awareness has a short piece on this, as well as a full article from the Sacramento Bee. And I’m one of the guys working there!
Ebook Lending with Penguin
The publishing giant Penguin Putnam has entered into an agreement with New York City libraries and 3M to make ebooks available for lending.
Books come in all shapes and sizes and most importantly, in various lengths. A variety of authors write and publish a variety books with a variety of page numbers. Some are small and seemingly pathetic 200-page novellas, some are your average 300-400 page-turners, and then there are those special authors that like to write those 800-1000 page behemoths. Now, mind you, books will vary in length depending on genre: children’s books will usually be within that 200-page mark, young adult pushes it to 300 (unless you’re Harry Potter!), mysteries tend to be in the 300-400 page range, and a number of fantasy authors like to write those really long ones.
This column is about those special heavy tomes.
In the last couple of years there have been a number of these long books published by a variety of authors in various genres, and I’ve read a fair number of them and they’ve all been pretty good.
So if you’re looking for that long 800-1000 pager to get sucked into, check out the titles below.
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After interviewing with the Sacramento Bee newspaper last week, it was great to see the first big article on the new bookstore for Dimple Records:
Dimple Records to Open First Stand-Alone Bookstore on Arden Way
Thousands gathered in New York last week for the annual BookExpo, the largest publishing industry event of the year. As independent booksellers congratulated themselves on the surprisingly rosy outlook for their market niche, Dimple Records staff in Sacramento sorted inventory and moved racks into an Arden Way storefront that will house the first stand-alone bookstore in the local chain’s 38-year history.
The store will open this summer across the parking lot from Dimple’s music, DVD and gaming center – one of seven in the Sacramento region owned and operated by the Radakovitz family. Like the other Dimple sites, the bookstore will contain a mix of new and used merchandise, with a heavy emphasis on customer trade-ins for cash or in-store credit.
The Best Paces for Bookstore Browsing
From Peter Greenberg comes a fascinating list of the best bookstores around the world for book browsing. While it may involve some serious travel, some of these bookstores will become your home away from home.
Pynchon Goes Digital
The renowned author Thomas Pynchon is one of the last authors to refuse to have his books, such as Gravity’s Rainbow and Mason & Dixon, has finally made an agreement with Penguin Putnam to release his books in ebook format.
Terry Goodkind is Self-Publishing
Bestselling author Terry Goodkind, renowned for his Sword of Truth epic fantasy series, will be self-publishing his next novel, The First Confessor.
New Sanderson Book
Bestselling author Brandon Sanderson has signed a publishing deal with Gollancz books in partnership with Delacorte Press in the US to release his first young adult book in a new series. The first book will be called Steelheart, with a planned release date of August 2013.
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Just finished updating the BookBanter site, where you can find a brand new Faces of Publishing interview with one entertaining and funny Brady McReynolds, a publicist for Penguin Putnam’s imprint’s Ace/Roc, a sample of which you can find below. You’ll also find the latest BookBanter column on Ray Bradbury Remembered, as well as the latest book news from Forces of Geek. I’ve also made it easier for you to download copies of my free ebooks: In that Quiet Earth and Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers, simply click on the covers and download the ebook in the format of your choosing. There’s also a guest post from TW Brown on the Zombie Summer Blog Tour. Finally, I’ve included links to the various BookBanter columns that I’ve published on the sidebar of the site. Enjoy!
Brady McReynolds grew up near Atlanta, GA and Asheville, NC, and he is the son of two high school teachers. Brady grew up reading and before long enrolled at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 2010, he joined Penguin’s Ace/Roc publicity department and has been working there ever since!
Alex C. Telander: How did you first get started in publishing?
Brady McReynolds: Well my first gig in publishing was as an intern at Algonquin Books in Chapel Hill, NC. During my junior year at the University of North Carolina I knew that I should start looking for opportunities outside of academics and a friend who knew of my love of books recommended I start there. It was only a couple of hours a week (and consisted mostly of filing and mailing) but I thought it was fascinating to be a part of the book creation process.
Alex: Did you always want to work in publicity?
Brady: Well since I started working in publishing all I’ve ever known is the publicity side of things. It wasn’t until I landed my current job with Penguin that I began to see the other types of work (editing, marketing, agent-ing [?]) that people do. However, now that I am doing publicity there isn’t any other job I’d want to do. I really enjoy working with authors to promote their books once the editorial and promotion processes are finished.
Alex: Who are some of your favorite authors you’ve gotten meet and/or work with?
Brady: Well my auto-generated reply as a publicist is to say that “all my authors are my favorites!” but I feel like it wouldn’t make for interesting or enlightening reading. As someone who grew up reading science-fiction and fantasy, I’ve now had the privilege of working with a lot of the genre’s great contemporary authors. Charles Stross, Harry Turtledove, and Jim Butcher immediately come to mind. I also had a blast at last year’s New York Comic-Con working side by side with Taylor Anderson, Jack Campbell, and Myke Cole (all great guys) whose books I can’t recommend often enough.
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On June 5th, 2012, we lost one of the greatest writers of our time: Ray Bradbury. He lived to the impressive age of 91, and continued to write and do signings and readings well into his eighties. He is perhaps best known for some of the most important science fiction novels of the twentieth century, such as The Martian Chronicles and Fahrenheit 451, which continue to be read not just by fans, but by high school students across the country. One of the early pioneers of science fiction, up there with Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein, his short stories are unique and unforgettable. The short story was Bradbury’s true forte, with his incredible ability to encapsulate so much within a limited number of pages. His lyrical prose, compelling characters, and moving plots made him a writer not just to be categorized in the genres of science fiction and fantasy, but to be enjoyed by mainstream readers across the globe.
I got to meet Ray Bradbury at a signing and reading in the fall of 1999. It was at California State University Long Beach, where I was currently working through the second semester of my Bachelor’s. Coincidentally, it was also the first date with this new girl I’d met recently; that girl has been with me ever since, and this year we celebrated our eighth wedding anniversary. The reading took place in the university theater and my wife had been asked to control the spotlight, which was a great bit of hands on experience for her lighting class. As we sat there in the booth, watching and listening to the great Ray Bradbury talk, I can remember being torn between showing my interest in this new girl in my life, but also wanting to listen to this incredible writer talk. It was an intimate moment in every sense of the work. At the end of the reading, my wife got her book signed, as well as one for her dad, who had introduced this great author to her at a young age. It was a very special event I shall never forget.
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Remembering Ray Bradbury:
This past week renowned author Ray Bradbury passed away at 91, and the world is now fondly remembering him in so many ways.
SF Signal in their tidbits post has pulled together all the tributes for him.
Neil Gaiman has written a heart-felt article in The Guardian.
Here is an interview with Ray Bradbury from 1990.
HarperCollins has announced it will be publishing a tribute book in July.
And to end on a funny note, here’s an entertaining Onion headline on Ray Bradbury’s passing.
A “Copia” of Ebooks:
With Google Ebooks ending its role as source for buying ebooks for independent booksellers, a new company has arisen, Copia, which will provide the opportunity for independent retailers to offer ebooks to customers, as well as magazines and newspapers.
10 Great Google+ Hangouts for Book Nerds:
For the few people who still use Google+, as well as the rest of us wondering why we should bother going there, here are ten reasons for book nerds.
Tor/Forge DRM-Free Ebook Store:
With the recent announcement from Tor/Forge of their permanently making ebooks DRM-free, they have now announced they will have their very own ebook store on their site offering these DRM-free ebooks.
TW Brown is the author of the Zomblog series (Zomblog, Zomblog II, and Zomblog: The Final Entry—Zomblog: Snoe is due this fall) and DEAD series (Dead: The Ugly Beginning, Dead: Revelations, Dead: Fortunes & Failures and, as of May 30th, Dead: Winter).
Dead: Winter begins the second arc in the 12 book series. The format is unique with a three chapter rotation: Steve’s Story, Vignettes, and The Geeks. Steve’s story is told in first person and follows a very ordinary man thrown into an extraordinary situation. He is cast as the unwitting leader of a growing band of survivors doing his best to keep them not only alive, but safe from each other. Vignettes are snapshots from all over the world. Some are absorbed by the bigger stories (Steve and The Geeks) and some by other vignettes. The Geeks revolves around a group of your typical zombie fans who believed that it would be so cool to live the experience of a zombie apocalypse…and discovered very quickly that they were wrong. It isn’t like the movies.
The DEAD series has built a loyal following simply because it is not a typical zombie story. As the author, I often struggle with the fact that an entire chapter can pass without a single zombie mentioned, seen, or otherwise involved. One of my fascinations with the genre has always been what happens after the initial onslaught. How would society survive…if at all? I think that most of those responsible for “protecting and serving (police, fire, medical, and military) would be wiped out that it would leave a huge vacuum in the world that allows for serious chaos. How would we react without law and order?
Some of my critics say that I paint a very pessimistic picture of humanity. I say watch the footage of people stampeding over each other for bargains on “Black Friday” and tell me we aren’t a “Me First!” society. Yes, we have done good…but what would people really be like if there was nobody left to tell them how to act or behave.
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All six of us – Todd Brown, Mark Tufo, Ian Woodhead, Armand Rosamilia, John O’Brien and Dave Jeffery – hope you’ll keep following us on the Summer of Zombie blog tour, and comment as we go along.
And… one lucky commenter for each blog will receive a Free eBook or Print book from one of the authors! Simply leave a comment with your e-mail address and we’ll pick a random winner each day! Simple as that!
The Future of Book Cover Design
Gizmodo looks at the future of the book cover and how, in the world of ereaders and ereading, it is changing and in many ways becoming obsolete. What will the future of book covers be with ereaders?
Authors Win Class Status Over Google Books
In a case that’s been going on for seven years, a judge recently ruled in favor of the author to take Google to court over their plan to digitize out of print books and other writings.
10 Great Science Fiction Books for People Who Don’t Read Sci-Fi
Flavorwire brings a short list of recommended science fiction books for people who’ve never considered themselves fans of the genre. Including Ender’s Game, The Handmaid’s Tale, and The Yiddish Policeman’s Union, these are books well worth checking out.
Why do Ebooks Sometimes Cost More?
In this interesting article, Forbeck.com explores the reasons why some ebooks cost more than the actual print hardcover book sometimes.
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