Tag Archives: Authors

Honoring the authors

One of my favorite parts about being a reader is revering some of the people who feed my habit. Authors.  People who create whole worlds, write characters I come to know and love, use words to help me think different thoughts, and help me experience more of the world vicariously than I’ll ever touch or taste physically.

I’ll never meet most of them (which helps with the revering part), and yet they matter to me.  I like knowing they’re out there, thinking and feeling and struggling to write it all down.  So I mark the passing of Ray Bradbury, one of the masters of American science fiction and a strong, lifelong advocate of libraries and civil rights. 

Here’s a beautiful eulogy for him, by NPR’s Peter Sagal.  

—Mary Beth



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More on reader’s delights

So you’ve just burned through an entire author’s body work.  “There’s nothing to read!” you wail.  It sounds strangely familiar until you recognize your tone of voice: it’s the same grouchiness your kids voice when they look into the refrigerator and yell, “There’s nothing to eat!!!”

Do not despair.  The Internet once again delivers a resource to your home screen, free, easy to use, and inspirational.

The Literature Map is part of Gnod.com (they also do movies and music).  Just go to http://www.literature-map.com/, type in a favorite author’s name, and watch the magic.  A web of other author’s names will appear.  The closer the name, the more similiar that author is to yours; the further away, the more dissimilar.  What a great and easy way to find new authors to investigate! 

Here’s an example.  I entered “Debbie Macomber” into the search blank, and this is the result.

Of course, this is a database-driven list.  For personalized recommendations delivered with more wit, humor, and warmth, always consult your local librarian!   😉    We love to help.
                   –Mary Beth


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Authors @ Google: find new books!

There are those who believe Google is out to take over the world.  And though that may well be true (in a virtual kind of way), the fact is that Google keeps coming out with amazing, fun, and even useful services.  Here’s one for us book lovers:  Authors @ Google.

Google invites authors to come speak to their company, tapes them, and then puts them on YouTube to share with the world.  This is a neat resource for a couple of reasons:
    1.  The interviews are in-depth — most are between 30 minutes and an hour.  You can really get a sense of the author and their work.
   2.  Even if you don’t want to read the book, just watching the video is fascinating.
   3.  It’s a great way to find out about interesting books you’d like to read, and not many of them are the best-seller list of books you’re likely to hear about anyway.

To browse the interviews, click here.   The top of the screen looks like this:

See the lowest row?  To the right of the yellow “Subscribe” button, click on “Uploads.”  That will display a whole list of interviews you can choose to watch.  

A few examples that tempted me: Rainn Wilson, about his book SoulPancake: Chew on Life’s Big Questions. Dan Savage and Terry Miller, on their book It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying.  Rick Najera, an award-winning actor-writer-director-producer with credits in film, television, theatre and Broadway.   Mary Roach, on her book Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void. 

The list goes on and on.  Check it out for yourself!
                       –Mary Beth


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Exploring the world of books

Have you ever met a favorite author?  I must confess, I turn into a tongue-tied seventh grader when I meet someone who has created characters and worlds I love.  Or, at the other end of the spectrum, I’ve been a bit disappointed that they didn’t turn out to be their own characters!

Here is a risk-free way to meet some authors.  This site allows you to post questions for the authors, and then check back to see their responses via video.

I don’t mean to be advertising for Simon and Schuster–most big publishers have some neat content on their websites for book lovers, and it can be quite fun to explore them. 

Ask the Author

Other companies, like Random House and HarperCollins, also have author interviews and essays, contests, coming-soon lists, and read-a-chapter-for-free features. 

The big companies seem to decide what will be popular by having enough money to generate publicity.  For a different take on what’s new and cool, try 

LogoIndieBound.org, which focuses on independent bookstores.  In  particular,  their monthly “Indie Next” list reports what is selling best at independent bookstores across the country.  It’s interesting to see how that differs from the other best-seller lists, like the New York Times or USA Today.  They even break it down by region.

It’s a big book world out there!  Have fun exploring.
            –Mary Beth


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