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1. ‘Private Down Under’ Joins iBooks Bestsellers List

Private Down Under by James Patterson & Michael White has joined Apple’s Top Paid iBooks in the U.S. this week at No. 4.

Apple has released its top selling books list for paid books from iBooks in the U.S. for week ending 9/1/14. If I Stay by Gayle Forman continues to lead the list, followed by Mean Streak by Sandra Brown.

We’ve included Apple’s entire list after the jump. (more…)

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2. Seven Year-Old Aims to Publish Anti-Gun Book

Indiana seven-year-old Terry Miles is writing a book about gun violence and with help from his teacher Ball State University student Brittany Cain. The work will be self-published published as an eBook.

The Shot Heard Around the Town: A Story About How One Boy Can Change the World stems from a letter that Miles wrote to the mayor of Muncie telling about gun violence in his neighborhood. He wrote: “Dear Mayor, I have a problem. I have been hearing gunshots in my neighborhood. Can you make them stop?” which ran in The Star Press. You can watch a news report about Miles here.

As part of a class project, Cain wants to help Miles publish the eBook through Kids at Heart Publishing company, a self-publishing services company that helps self-published authors publish and promote their books for a fee. Miles is currently seeking donations to help fund the project. Huffer Memorial Children’s Center is accepting donations on his behalf. (Via The Star Press).

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3. Art Students Rewrite American Psycho Using Google Ads

Art students Mimi Cabell and Jason Huff, wanted to explore how Google’s ad scanning technology would react to a series of email exchanges depicting violence and racism.

So they emailed each other the original text of Brett Easton Ellis’ novel American Psycho, page by page, to see what kinds of products would be marketed to them. They have turned the project into a book that includes Ellis’ original chapter titles along with the ads that ran next to each email and their own footnotes. The text essentially retells American Psycho via relational Google Ads.

What kinds of ads would run next to graphic depictions of rape and murder sent through a Gmail conversation? Cabell explains on her website: “In one scene, where first a dog and then a man are brutally murdered with a knife, Google supplied ample ads regarding knives and knife sharpeners. In another scene the ads disappeared altogether when the narrator makes a racial slur. Google’s choice and use of standard ads unrelated to the content next to which they appeared offered an alternate window into how Google ads function — the ad for Crest Whitestrips Coupons appeared the highest number of times, next to both the most graphic and the most mundane sections of the book, leaving no clear logic as to how it was selected to appear. This “misreading” ultimately echoes the hollowness at the center of advertising and consumer culture, a theme explored in excess in American Psycho.”  (Via Electric Literature).

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4. The Guardian Publishes Unreleased Chapter of Charlie & The Chocolate Factory

Roald Dahl‘s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and the occasion has brought about a controversial new book cover, a golden ticket sweepstakes and now the unearthing of a previously unreleased chapter of the book.

“The Vanilla Fudge Room” is a chapter that was edited out of the book from an early draft. The Guardian has published the chapter. Check it out:

They went into another cavernous room, and here again a really splendid sight met their eyes.

In the centre of the room there was an actual mountain, a colossal jagged mountain as high as a five-storey building, and the whole thing was made of pale-brown, creamy, vanilla fudge. All the way up the sides of the mountain, hundreds of men were working away with picks and drills, hacking great hunks of fudge out of the mountainside; and some of them, those that were high up in dangerous places, were roped together for safety.

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5. Nick Cannon is Writing Book of Children’s Poems

Actor/rapper Nick Cannon is working on a book of children’s poems which is due out from Scholastic in March 2015.

The illustrated poetry book is called Neon Aliens Ate My Homework and Other Poems. The title was written for kids age 7 with poems about silly, disgusting and even serious matters. It will feature black-and-white illustrations by a number of street artists including: Art Mobb, Califawnia, Captain Kris, Morf,Queen Andrea, MAST and Mike P. 

“Writing is at the center of everything I do as an artist. Doing creative writing—especially writing poetry—is when I felt the calmest and freest. As a kid, it was my escape from the inner-city pitfalls,” explains Cannon in a statement. “The first important writer in my life was Shel Silverstein—he made me fall in love with writing and seeing his whimsical sketches got me interested in art. When I was eight years old, I got a spiral notebook and wrote my first poem/rap. I filled that notebook with poems, rhymes, jokes, and witty stories. I still keep one to this day. I hope that poems in Neon Aliens will help inspire kids to want to get out a pen and paper to write or draw their own thoughts, rhymes, and stories.”

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6. Haruki Murakami’s New Novella is Coming From Knopf in December

Japanese author Haruki Murakami has a new novella in the works which will be published by Knopf on December 2nd.

The Strange Library, a 96-page story, is about a young man’s strange trip to the library. Check it out:

On his way home from school, the young narrator of The Strange Library finds himself wondering how taxes were collected in the Ottoman Empire. He pops into the local library to see if it has a book on the subject. Once there, he is led to a special ‘reading room’ by a strange old man. The boy is imprisoned at the library and forced to memorize massive volumes of books. What will the boy do when he realizes that his captor intends to absorb his knowledge by eating his brain? With the help of a mysterious girl and a man dressed as a sheep, he hatches a plan to escape.

Murakami is on a roll. The novelist released a new novel, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, last month.

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7. Forrest Gander Remixes a Beyoncé Interview Into a Poem

Poet Forrest Gander has created a poetry remix piece called “Bey The Light.” The words were sourced from an interview that diva Beyoncé gave to Dominic Teja Sidhu and Christopher Bartley.

The piece is featured in the recently released issue of CR Fashion Book alongside a photo spread. Beyoncé (pictured, via) did not know that her interview responses would be constructed into a poem. Follow this link to read the full poem.

(more…)

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8. 3 Writing Tips From Authors at the 2014 National Book Festival

Over the weekend, dozens of authors and illustrators appeared at the Library of Congress’ 14th annual National Book Festival. Children’s books creator Bob Staake designed this year’s official poster. We’ve collected three writing tips that some of the writers shared during their panels.

Joey Pigza book series author Jack Gantos suggests that one “stay as organized as possible.” He thinks that one should keep several notebooks. This helps to categorize different thoughts because one idea might be a good fit for the beginning a story and another could work for the middle.

(more…)

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9. R.L. Stine to Re-Boot ‘Fear Street’ YA Series

Writer R.L. Stine plans to re-boot his popular Fear Street book series. The last Fear Street title was published back in 1999.

St Martin’s Griffin will release Party Games on September 30th. In an interview with MartiniProductionsNY, Stine revealed that he has 6 more Fear Street books planned for the future. We’ve embedded his announcement on Twitter below.

Here’s more from Bustle: “Stine’s Fear Street series was the YA equivalent to his middle grade series Goosebumps. It was ‘sleep with the lights on’ spooky, and occasionally just skewed the right amount toward silly. (Can I direct your attention to Cat?) The series was a commercial smash, and now it has acquired a cult following from twenty- and thirtysomethings across the country.”

(more…)

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10. LeVar Burton Wins the Geek of the Year Award

LeVar Burton has won in the “Geek of the Year” category at the 2nd annual Geekie Awards. He received a special limited edition Gibson guitar as his prize.

The video embedded above features Burton singing the Reading Rainbow theme song and delivering his acceptance speech. What do you think? (via Tech Times)

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11. ‘The News Sorority’ Tells the Story of Female TV News Anchors

In her new book, Shelia Weller tells the triumphant story of how leading female TV news reporters Katie Couric, Diane Sawyer and Christiane Amanpour achieved success.

The story reveals how these women climbed the ladder to success and uncovers rivalries in the newsroom. The Daily Beast has published some highlights from the book, which is not without its tawdry rumors.

For instance, this excerpt: “When Diane beat Katie on an interview with a 57-year-old woman who’d given birth to twins, Katie mused aloud, according to a person who heard the comment: ‘I wonder who she blew this time to get it.’”

 

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12. ‘Infinite Jest’ Adapted in Lego

Kevin Griffith, an English professor in Ohio has teamed up with his 11 year old son to create a Lego adaptation of David Foster Wallace’s novel Infinite Jest.

Brick Jest” recreates 100 scenes from the tome. The two have documented the project with photography with text captions.

The pair were inspired to create Brick Jest after reading Brendan Powell Smith‘s The Brick Bible, a series of books that teach Bible stories to kids with Lego. Check it out:  ”Wallace’s novel is probably the only contemporary text to offer a similar challenge to artists working in the medium of Lego.  The artist in this case was Griffith’s eleven-year-old son, Sebastian, who created all the scenes based on his father’s descriptions of the relevant pages.”

 

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13. Sherman Alexie & Jess Walter to Host a Weekly Podcast

Two writers, Sherman Alexie and Jess Walter, plan to launch a podcast called “A Tiny Sense of Accomplishment.”

The premiere podcast was unleashed on August 25th and it contains two episodes. Followers can expect a new one to be released every other Wednesday. Every now and then, the writers will share readings from their work-in-progress manuscripts.

Here’s more from The L.A. Times: “The show comes from Infinite Guest, a new podcast network from American Public Media…Basketball and other sports will be discussed on the show — slightly unusual for a literary podcast. They’ll be interviewing literary figures and also people with lives that aren’t connected to books.”

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14. Viking Children’s Books to Publish New Sarah Dessen YA Novel

Young adult author Sarah Dessen has signed a deal to pen her twelfth novel Saint Anything. The story stars a young girl named Sydney who deals with the despair and consequences that follows from her older brother’s incarceration.

Viking Children’s Books, an imprint at Penguin Young Readers Group, will publish the book on 2015. Publisher Ken Wright negotiated the deal with Writers House literary agent Leigh Feldman. Editor-at-large Regina Hayes will edit the manuscript.

Dessen (pictured, via) had this statement in the press release: “This book has a bit of everything I love to write about: the joy and complications of family, first love and how one friend can sometimes change everything. I’m so excited for next summer, when I can finally share it with my readers. It’s going to be hard to wait!”

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15. Pen Center USA Unveils 24th Annual Literary Award Winners

PEN Center USA has unveiled some of the winners of the 24th annual literary awards. Each writer will receive a one thousand dollar cash prize.

At this point in time, the Graphic Literature Award winner and the recipient of the organization’s Award of Honor have not yet been revealed. The group will be honored at the 24th annual literary awards festival. Check out the list of winners below.

(more…)

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16. ‘The New World’ Turns Novel Into Digital Experience

Chris Adrian and Eli Horowitz, winners of the Webby & SXSW Interactive Awards for their digital novel The Silent History, have a new digital novel out from Atavist Books that pushes the boundaries of the published word.

The story and the user experience of The New World  reflect the digital experience. The book tells the tale of a tragic love story between two doctors. The storytelling concept was conceived in cyclical structure, and is comprised of three cycles. Readers can swipe between pages and follow the story in different directions based on how they swipe. The reader reads through Cycle #1 and when they are finished, the content page reappears revealing Cycle #2.

Content-wise the story in Cycle #2 moves backwards in time, as readers swipe in the opposite direction. Readers might get the sense that the book has ended with Cycle #2, but once they have completed the text, Cycle #3 appears. This section of the book is read scrolling downwards.

 

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17. Crowdfunding 101: INFOGRAPHIC

Thinking about launching a crowd funding project? HiveWire has created an infographic which explores trends in crowd funding based on numbers from Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

The graphic includes analysis of all campaigns on Kickstarter and Indiegogo completed by August 7th, 2014. According to the graphic, donors pledged $1.17 billion on projects on the two sites combined in 2013. That number is expected to reach $4.35 billion by 2015. The graphic also reveals that about 26 percent of writing projects met their goal. This is based on about 26,000 projects tracked.

We’ve embedded the entire graphic after the jump for you to explore further.

 

(more…)

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18. Bruce Springsteen Has Written a Children’s Book

Rocker Bruce Springsteen has written a children’s book called Outlaw Pete, which is based on a song from his 1979 album Working on a Dream.

Outlaw Pete is “a modern legend of a criminal who starts out in diapers and confronts the roughest edges of adulthood,” explains the book’s description.

The book, which Simon & Schuster is publishing in November, is inspired by “Bruce’s Western loves, which now range from John Ford movies to Mexican music to Native American art.” The book features illustrations by Frank Caruso and includes a soundtrack of original songs by The Boss.

Simon & Schuster will publish the book in November.

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19. 2014 American Poets Prize Winners

The Academy of American Poets has revealed the winners of the 2014 American Poets Prizes. The organization will give out more than $200,000 to poets in award money.

Robert Hass has won the Wallace Stevens Award, an honor which recognizes “proven mastery in the art of poetry” and comes with a $100,000 stipend. Hass is the author of a number of collections of poetry including The Apple Trees at Olema: New and Selected Poems. Tracy K. Smith has received the Academy of American Poets Fellowship, which recognizes ”distinguished poetic achievement” and comes with a stipend of $25,000. Her most recent collection, Life on Mars, won the Pulitzer Prize

Rigoberto González’s book Unpeopled Eden has received the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, which includes a $25,000 purse. The award  ”recognizes the most outstanding book of poetry published in the United States in the previous year.” Brian Blanchfield’s book A Several World  has been awarded the James Laughlin Award, a prize for a “superior second book of poetry by an American poet,” which carries a $25,000 prize. (more…)

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20. Publishing Salaries Up 2.8% in 2013: Publishers Weekly

Publishing salaries increased 2.8 percent in 2013, according to a new study from Publishers Weekly.

The increase in salary is consistent with the rise in salaries between 2012 and 2013, which also rose 2.8 percent on average.

Here is more from Publishers Weekly: “The salary increase in 2013 was held down to some degree by the number of employees who received no raise in 2013—19% said their pay was flat in the year. One-quarter of employees said they received a raise of between 2.0% and 2.9% in 2013, while another 20% reported a raise of between 3.0% and 3.9%. Overall, 74% of employees received a raise under 4% in 2013.”

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21. Sony Pictures & Imagine Entertainment to Adapt Dan Brown’s ‘Inferno’

Sony Pictures and Imagine Entertainment are teaming up to adapt Inferno by Dan Brown. According to USA Todaythis novel was the bestselling book of 2013.

The movie studios will be skipping over the third installment of this popular fiction series, The Lost Symbol. Actor Tom Hanks will return to play Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon, filmmaker Ron Howard will serve as the director, and screenwriter David Koepp will pen the script.

Here’s more from Deadline: “In Inferno, Langdon awakens in an Italian hospital with amnesia. He teams up with Sienna Brooks, the doctor he hopes will help him recover his memories and prevent a madman from releasing a global plague connected to Dante’s Inferno.” Which actress would you cast to play Sienna Brooks?

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22. Soccer Star Tim Howard Inks Book Deal

Soccer star Tim Howard has landed a memoir deal with HarperCollins. Earlier this year, he served as the goalkeeper for Team USA in the 2014 World Cup.

Howard (pictured, via) will share the story of how he became a professional athlete while enduring a lifelong battle with Tourette’s Syndrome. The publisher will release both an adult and a young reader’s editions of The Keeper on December 9th.

Howard had this statement in the press release: “I’ve always wanted to write a book. My goal is to share many of the highs and lows of my journey—with a little bit of the magic of the World Cup and the English Premier League—in the hope that it will provide others with some inspiration to reach for their own dreams.”

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23. YA-Inspired Road Trips: INFOGRAPHIC

People love to take road trips during the summer time. The team at EpicReads.com has created an infographic called “Open Road Reading.”

This infographic lists 12 young adult books could help in planning your next adventure. It features “the characters’ origins and final destinations –– but if you want to know their exact routes, you’ll have to read the books!”

(more…)

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24. Aldi Australia Pulls Roald Dahl Book From Shelves

Grocery store chain Aldi has pulled Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book Revolting Rhymes from bookshelves in its stores in Australia after a customer complained  on Facebook that the book includes the word ‘slut.’

“Poor Cindy’s heart was torn to shreds. My Prince! she thought. He chops off heads! How could I marry anyone who does that sort of thing for fun? The Prince cried, ‘Who’s this dirty slut? Off with her nut! Off with her nut!’,”  reads the nursery rhyme.

The store’s move has caused an uproar among Aldi customers, who have been commenting negatively about the censorship on the store’s Facebook page. “Is it true that you withdrew Roald Dahl’s ‘Revolting Rhymes’ (an all-time classic from one of the world’s most popular children’s authors EVER) after ONE complaint? SHAME, ALDI, SHAME!,” wrote one Facebook user. “It is on every public library shelf, and in most schools. No one HAS to read it or buy it – don’t show ignorance and weakness by depriving other customers.” (Via The Guardian).

 

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25. Banned Books Week T-Shirts

Banned Books Week is right around the corner. This year the celebration of censored books will take place from September 21st to 27th.

To celebrate, designer Anne Simon has create a t-shirt promoting the event and is selling them on Zazzle for $37.95 each. The t-shirsts come in a variety of colors and styles.

For more information about Banned Books Week, check out our post How to Participate in Banned Books Week.

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