It’s been a while since we’ve filled you in on books and business news. Here’s some of the latest (though some of it may be old news, too):
Author Christopher Paolini’s Brisingr was released this past Saturday. This, from Publishers Lunch:
In the UK, Waterstone’s children’s buyer Claudia Mody tells the Telegraph, “It’s our biggest pre-order campaign for anything since the final Harry Potter novel. Bigger than Sebastian Faulk’s James Bond novel, Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight or Delia Smith’s How to Cheat at Cooking. It’s going to be huge.”
More on Meyers; this, from Yahoo News:
Stephenie Meyer, author of the best-selling young adult “Twilight” books, has put the fifth and final installment in the series on hold in protest after a partial draft was posted on the Internet.
Meyer, the U.S. author of “Twilight” and its sequels “New Moon,” “Eclipse” and “Breaking Dawn,” said she had a good idea of how the leak of “Midnight Sun” had happened, since so few copies had left her hands and each was unique.
…”This has been a very upsetting experience for me, but I hope it will at least leave my fans with a better understanding of copyright and the importance of artistic control,” Meyer wrote.
“I feel too sad about what has happened to continue working on ‘Midnight Sun,’ and so it is on hold indefinitely.”
Meyer said the draft that was released on the Internet was incomplete, with messy and flawed writing, but she was making that draft available on her site because it added a new dimension to the “Twilight” story.
From BBC News:
Author JK Rowling has won her legal battle in a New York court to get an unofficial Harry Potter encyclopaedia banned from publication.
Judge Robert Patterson said in a ruling Ms Rowling, 43, had proven Steven Vander Ark’s Harry Potter Lexicon would cause her irreparable harm as a writer.
Ms Rowling sued Michigan based publishers RDR Books last year to stop publication of Mr Vander Ark’s book.
He wrote the book after running a popular Potter fansite.
Following the ruling, Ms Rowling said her legal action had aimed “to uphold the right of authors everywhere to protect their own original work”.
Nicholas Sparks is writing a new novel, with a fall of ’09 release planned, and is also working on a screenplay for its movie. It seems Miley Cyrus wanted to star in a film that would help her break out of the teen image, so she conferred directly with Sparks and the deal was made. The movie will be produced by Disney partners.
From Publishers Lunch (9/15):
This weekend Target launched endcaps in the electronics section of all of the chain’s 1,634 stores carrying the Sony Reader and related accessories.
Publishers Marketplace has been working to create “bookstore maps.” Here’s what PM has to say about their beta project:
Now you can find independent, specialty, chain and college bookstores throughout the country, and survey the book retail landscape in any region.
Use the “View Map” tool bring up maps of bookstores in any particular state or major metropolitan area, or search our database in more targeted fashion with the Search Maps and Browse Specialty Stores features.
From any map, click on the colored pin (or the store’s name in the right menu) to see the store’s full address, phone number, and web URL, if any.
Can’t find a favorite bookstore on a map? Send them the info, and it will be added.
From Publishers Weekly:
SF/fantasy publisher Tor Books has a new site. Tor.com, which launched at ComicCon last week, offers original content from SF/fantasy authors—both authors who are published by Tor and ones who are not—and image galleries from science fiction and fantasy artists. It also features blogs from an array of SF luminaries as well as SF/fantasy news and commentary, and registered members can interact on the site.
USA Today names 10 titles that could be this fall’s perfect book club pick, including offerings from Wally Lamb, Toni Morrison, Candace Bushnell and Philippa Gregory.
Oprah made a pick, too. This, from the AP:
Thanks to Oprah Winfrey, one of the summer’s hottest reads is sure to sizzle in the fall.
Publishing’s biggest hitmaker has chosen David Wroblewski’s “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle,” a 500-page debut novel, as her latest book club pick, Winfrey said in a press release Friday. “Edgar Sawtelle” was released in June and became a smash, thanks to strong reviews, word of mouth and a blurb from Stephen King.
“Edgar Sawtelle,” which Wroblewski worked on for more than a decade, is the story of a mute boy who communicates best with his dogs.
This, from The New York Times:
David Foster Wallace, whose prodigiously observant, exuberantly plotted, grammatically and etymologically challenging, philosophically probing and culturally hyper-contemporary novels, stories and essays made him an heir to modern virtuosos like Thomas Pynchon and Don DeLillo, an experimental contemporary of William T. Vollmann, Mark Leyner and Nicholson Baker and a clear influence on younger tour-de-force stylists like Dave Eggers and Jonathan Safran Foer, died on Friday at his home in Claremont, Calif. He was 46.
Farrar, Straus & Giroux co-founder Robert Giroux has also died.
The Man Booker Prize shortlist has been announced.
Have you checked out this month’s offerings at Book Roast? This week, they’ll be charring up the following authors:
(Today) Tues, Sep 23: Ray Wong
Wed, Sep 24: Danette Haworth
Thurs, Sep 25: Susan Gilmore
Fri, Sep 26: Sara Thacker
There may still be some bones to pick after Monday’s roast of Donna George Storey, so check that out too.
The Writer’s Almanac was particularly interesting on Sunday, so I’m going to swipe a big chunk of it here to share:
It was on this day in 1937 that The Hobbit was published with a printing of 1,500 copies. A few years earlier, a professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford, a man named J.R.R. Tolkien, was grading papers and he turned one of those papers over and wrote, “In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit.” He didn’t really know what that meant, or what a hobbit was. But in the next few years, he drew a map of the sort of world he thought a hobbit would live in, and then he started to write a story about a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins. Tolkien only managed to finish the story because he was encouraged by friends. It was passed around and eventually got to the publishing house of Allen & Unwin. Mr. Unwin gave it to his 10-year-old son, told him he would pay him a few pennies in exchange for reading it and giving him a report, and the boy was so enthusiastic that Allen & Unwin agreed to publish it. The Hobbit was so popular that they immediately issued a second printing. But since paper was rationed during the war, it was frequently unavailable for the next 10 years.
It’s the birthday of the horror writer Stephen King, born in 1947 in Portland, Maine. His family moved around a lot and ended up in a small town in Maine, and it was there that his official writing career began at age 11, when he and his older brother David decided to begin a town newspaper, and it sold for five cents. In 1957, he was at the local theater watching a matinee of Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, and the manager interrupted it to announce that the Soviet Union had launched Sputnik. Stephen King says that for the first time, he saw “a useful connection between the world of fantasy and that of what My Weekly Reader used to call Current Events.” He decided that the main purpose of horror was “its ability to form a liaison between our fantasy fears and our real fears.” He sold a couple of stories, and he wrote a novel but it was rejected. He earned $1.25 an hour pumping gas, and then he worked at a laundromat. Eventually, he got a job teaching high school, and that job inspired him to write about a teenager named Carietta White. But he decided his story was worthless and threw it in the trash. His wife took it out of the trash, read it, and thought it was actually pretty good. She told him to keep writing, so he did, and Carrie was published (1974). It didn’t get great reviews, but it sold more than 4 million copies and was made into a movie, and suddenly King had enough money to write full-time.
He has written many books, including The Shining (1977), Pet Sematary (1983), It (1986), The Green Mile (1996), and his seven-part Dark Tower series.
Stephen King said, “We make up horrors to help us cope with the real ones.”
And, “The road to hell is paved with adverbs.”
Finally, check out this entertaining video clip of the master of horror, where he explains to aspiring novelists the “magic moment” that jolts many writers to action. (Thanks to Chuck Sambuchino and the Guide to Literary Agents site for finding it.)
Write on, all!