It was another whacky and wild week in the world of books. There was a lot going on, but we narrowed the playing field down to our favorite ten stories and once again we’ve regurgitated the best bits into bite sized pieces for you to chew on below. Perhaps someday in the future we’ll expand this piece to fifteen or twenty things, but for now we proudly offer up the ten book related thing that we found most interesting…this week.
This week direct descendants of Tolkien and Dickens announced that they’re working on a project together, Barnes and Noble didn’t announce the new nook audio, Amazon’s self-publishing mechanism allowed consumers to get ripped-off, the first images of Anthony Hopkins dressed as Alfred Hitchcock surfaced on the web, and Pulitzer Prize for Fiction went to no one. All that, and as always, more.
- Stephen Rebello’s book Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho is being turned into a feature film starring Sir Anthony Hopkins as Hitchcock and Scarlett Johansson as legendary actress Janet Leigh. That in and of itself is exciting enough, but take a look at this first image of Hopkins! Is he not the spitting image of Hitchcock?
- The shortlist for the 2012 Orange Prize for Fiction was announced this past Tuesday and it includes State of Wonder by Anne Patchett, Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan, and The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright to name a few. You can check out our closer look at the final six contenders by clicking here. The winner will be announced on May 30th.
- Speaking of both Anne Patchett and book awards the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction was won by…drumroll please…no one. It was revealed this past Monday that the three finalists were Karen Russell’s Swamplandia!, David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King and Dennis Johnson’s Train Dreams. Like many others, Patchett was unhappy that a winner was not named. Unlike many others, she wrote a fabulous piece for the New York Times expressing her anger and outrage. Go Anne go! We couldn’t agree more.
- Those crazy folks over at the PewReseachCenter that brought us that spiffy “E-books are all the rage!” report a few weeks back are it again. This time out they surveyed folks to find out why they like to read, and once again, the answers really aren’t all that shocking. Topping the list we find that “80% of Americans 16 and older say they read at least occasionally for pleasure. Women (84%) are more likely than men (75%) to cite this motive. 78% say they read at least occasionally to keep up with current events. Those over age 30 are more likely than those 16-30 to say they read for this reason.” You can read all of the glorious details using that handy hyperlink above.
- Four book lovers have filed suit against Three Cups of Tea author Greg Mortenson claiming that he willfully committed deceit, fraud, and that he was involved in a racketeering conspiracy. All this of course stems from the 60 Minutes and Jon Krakauer reports which state that pieces of both of Mortenson’s memoirs contain fabrications. For their part, Mortenson’s crack team of legal experts claim that even if the allegations against their client are true, he is protected under the First Amendment and they are aggressively seeking to have the lawsuit dismissed.
- Why aren’t e-book sales exploding in Germany like they are here in the United States? It’s a good question, and it’s one that BusinessWeek investigated this past Thursday. They came up with some intriguing answers. Our favorite quote from their article: “On just about every corner there’s a bookshop. That’s the big difference between Germany and the U.S.” Some other reasons include the country’s fixed-pricing system and a tax exemption on physical books. Check out the article here for a glimpse into a world where the printed word still carries a significant amount of weight.
- Three of the five book publishers (Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Shuster) being sued by the United States over e-book price fixing have agreed to settle the cases being brought against them which leaves only Apple, Macmillan, and Penguin to square off against the government in court. Of course Amazon applauds the lawsuit while just about every other reasonable person in the world comes down on the other side of the argument. Chief Executive John Sargent of Macmillan says that a settlement would help Amazon “recover the monopoly position it had been building” and “have a very negative and long-term impact on those who sell books for a living.” Amen John!
- Speaking of Amazon, Fortune recently reported that they’ve got themselves a bit of a spam problem. It seems that not only are they selling confusing knock-off e-books (I am the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Thirty-Five Shades of Grey, Twilight New Moon, etc), to consumers that are looking for the real deal, but they’re also the ones providing the publishing tools to create the deceptive pieces of work by way of their CreateSpace division. C’mon Amazon, protect your consumers!
- Descendants of J.R.R. Tolkien and Charles Dickens are working together on a project? Say what?!?! Tell you more?!?!? Before you get too excited about the idea it should be noted that poet Michael Tolkien is set to write two children’s books based on stories that his late grandfather told him and that Gerald Dickens, great-grandson of Charles, well, all he’s going to do is narrate the audiobook versions. We warned you not to get too excited. What exactly does Gerald do for a living anyway? Has he ever narrated an audiobook before?
- Not content with simply releasing a new backlit nook simple touch reader, Barnes and Noble have also accidentally announced the arrival of nook audio. What is it exactly? Well, as far as we can tell it’s just a plain old pair of big ass headphones with the nook’s stylish ‘n’ logo branded on them, but we’re hoping that there’s much more to them than that. The company is being strangely silent on the topic for the moment, even though their website lists a release date of April 1 which has already passed us by. Perhaps this some sort of April Fools joke? We think not.
Did we miss something? Got the inside scoop on some book related news that your dying to share with us? Leave a comment below or drop us a line using the email link in the header above.