Nathan Bransford, Author

Saturday, April 23, 2011

This Week in Books 4/22/11

This week in books! A little late!

First up, there's going to be a JACOB WONDERBAR book party!! And you're invited! The publication of WONDERBAR is just over two weeks away, and on Friday May 13th I'm going to be hosting a reading/launch party at Books Inc. Opera Plaza here in San Francsico. Please come! Mark your calendars! Bring your friends! Bring corndogs! (Okay, corndogs are optional.) May 13th, 7pm, hope to see you there.

Oh, and I also had an interview over at Not an Editor, where I talk about the editing process.

In publishing news, some sad news as yet another memoir has been exposed as perhaps lacking on the truthiness scale. This time it's THREE CUPS OF TEA author Greg Mortensen. INTO THIN AIR author Jon Krakauer published an expose about some of Mortensen's stories, including wandering into a village after being lost climbing K2, and being kidnapped by the Taliban. Among the reactions, Laura Miller at Salon wonders what's the big deal, Jessa Crispin tackles Miller and points out the casual racism of claiming you were kidnapped by Taliban, and Ta-Nehisi Coates wonders if publishers are ever going to have to start fact-checking memoirs, noting how easy it is to spin fiction and claim it's true.

One of the greatest shows on television is entering its final season (or, at least, for those of use who don't have Direct TV) and I'm definitely going to miss it when it's gone. The Millions surveys the literariness of "Friday Night Lights" and places it alongside The Wire and Mad Men in the genre of "TV for readers."

Speaking of readings, Lisa Brackmann passed along a hilarious post from The Onion, and the headline says it all: Author Promoting Book Gives It Her All Whether It's Just 3 People Or A Crowd Of 9 People.

Congrats to the Pulitzer winners! Jennifer Egan came away the winner for fiction with her novel A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD.

In e-book news, Amazon announced that it would soon allow library lending on the Kindle, a feature that already exists on the Nook. And although a small UK publisher previously published an article in the Guardian bemoaning Amazon's terms, another small press came to Amazon's defense with an article saying Amazon isn't the enemy.

In writing advice news, agent Rachelle Gardner has a terrific post on 6 things writers can learn from Ernest Hemingway (having just read A MOVEABLE FEAST myself I found this post spot on), and The Intern talks about the Top 10 reasons you should rewrite that scene,

And in life-of-a-writer news, Shrinking Violet Promotions talks about expectations for middle grade novel debuts (needless to say I read this one with great interest), Tahereh Mafi, who has an amazing new Tumblr blog, posted a hilarious animated GIF rundown of what it's like to get a full manuscript request, and Hannah Moskowitz has a really honest and awesome post about her cover for INVINCIBLE SUMMER. Hannah acknowledges two great things: authors don't always get the cover they imagine, but they're also not the experts one what sells.

Oh, and agent Sarah LaPolla wonders which fictional character would make the best president.

This week in the Forums, discussing the best e-book starting price, what will happen to agents if they're no longer selling books to publishers, whether it's worth it to hire a social media expert, confessing love for Edward Cullen, do you work on more than one book at a time, and what do you write for?

Comment! of! the! Week! goes to Andrew, who has a good counterpoint to my Monday post about 99 cent e-books:
The tragedy of the commons is actually a non-tragedy. Elinor Ostrom won the 2009 Nobel Prize for Economics for showing that commonly owned resources are often very well managed by the local communities that depend on them.

Plus, books aren't exactly a finite resource. The market for books is definitely finite but the creation of books isn't tied to any constrained resource. If anything it's actually the opposite. The act of writing is so pleasurable in itself that the thought of being a successful author is very attractive. So much of your blog is dedicated to trying to prove the opposite :-).

These days it's almost impossible to charge differing prices in the consumer market for the exact same product. Amazon knows all about my past purchases and probably has enough information to be able to charge me more for some stuff than it charges to other people but imagine the bad press it would get if it did that (economists always seem to ignore human psychology for some reason). Even if Amazon could get away with charging me more you'd instantly see companies spring up to take advantage of that price inefficiency by acting as a middleman between people who can buy something cheap and people who actually want that product.

And finally, this video is a few years old but it's been making the rounds again. One man, one city by the Bay, thirty-five years, and 100,000+ toothpicks... (via Curbed)

Scott Weaver's Rolling through the Bay from Learning Studio on Vimeo.

Have a great weekend!


Manette Eaton said...

I had to read Three Cups of Tea for a class last semester and found it very moving and inspirational. I'm still holding out hope that it turns out Mortenson didn't lie or exaggerate but it's not looking good.

Barbara Kloss said...

Hey, better late than never! You are informative as always, and I particularly enjoyed Ms. Mafi's full ms reaction. Ha!

Thanks for all the helpful (and humorous) links. Happy Easter weekend!

The English Teacher said...

I had to snicker at the "crowd of 9 people" article. For many years, I have been a folkdancer, traveling to festivals in 22 countries. And, quite frankly, there have been times I've wondered if we'd have more people in the audience than there were on stage. Yes, I've danced in front of seated crowds as large as 17,000 people. But I've also danced in front of an audience of 6.

Julia's Child said...

Jeb Bartlett for president!

I gave my TV away after West Wing was cancelled.

The English Teacher said...

Oh, and on book covers: true, the author may not be the best one to choose the book cover, but a lot of covers are pretty horrible. Our school librarian (junior high) often says that the books with the coolest covers get checked out far more often than books with boring or dumb covers -- even if the stories inside the books with the bad covers are much better. It troubles me sometimes that authors often don't get much say at all as to what the cover looks like.

veela-valoom said...

I read "A Moveable Feast" during college (not for class, just because I love Hemingway). I loved it. Very little happened. He wrote, he drank wine, he went to the races, he had small adventures with other writers.

I don't know why I loved that book so much but I always enjoy Hemingway.

Haste yee back ;-) said...

Andrew writes... "The act of writing is so pleasurable"


Haste yee back ;-)

Mr. D said...

Seems like most people are out tonight. Well, it's Saturday night! But I'm home revising my manuscripts. Imagine that! Took a break to check the blog scene, and discovered you posted something, after all. Sweet.

Mr. D said...

Oh, I also wanted to say that since I'm a Bay Area native I might check out the May 13th party. I've got two sons, 14 and 9 years of age. They don't read much, but maybe they'll like Wonderbar.

Marion said...

Pippi Longstocking for president!
Toothpick sculpture is cool.
Truth. What is truth? (Oh, Pontius Pilate said that. Seasonal reference.)
A friend FB'd me the Onion piece. I thought it was amusing, if repetitive. And then I got to the bit about the "woman who appears to be mentally ill" in the audience. I understand where the author is coming from. But the most delightful customer at the bookstore where I used to work was a woman who evidently had mental problems. She was always pleasant and considerate.

Jules said...

Fairly new to your blog but lots of things to look into this week!

Nicole said...

Why don't they just make a "creative non-fiction" genre and books like Three Cups of Tea (if indeed it has issues) and A Million Little Pieces can go in there?

(And normally I don't pimp my blog, but hey, I've got free books to give away, so if you're interested...)

Anonymous said...

I love Hemmingway, so much so that my protaganist in my yet unpublished YA fantasy novel also becomes an admirer of his when his
school drama class puts on a play loosely based on one of Hemmingway's classics.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I found The Shrinking Violet post really helpful in keeping a perspective on how a middle grade author's career grows. It's so different than a YA author. Thanks for the link.

Kristi Bernard said...

Great post as usual. Congratulations on your book. Happy Easter!

Samantha G said...

I'm confused- is a crowd of 11 people actually seen as a good thing for authors or is that just that particular person's idea? (I haven't published a book or anything so I REALLY have NO idea =P)

D.G. Hudson said...

Rachelle's post on Hemingway was great! I went through the same experience of re-discovering Ernest. I want to read The Paris Wife, to see if it builds on what we learned about Hadley and Hem in A Moveable Feast.

Absolutely loved that video even if it's old. San Fran is one of my favorite cities. Anyone who constructs something as complex as a toothpick version of the city is an artist (or an engineer) in my mind.

Would come to your book party but it's a little far away. Good Luck with the launch!! Please let us know how it goes.

Why, I wonder, are we getting more liars in the writing world? Is it an effort to con the readers or is it simply confusion as to when you can lie and when you can't? Smudging the lines seems to be the norm when everyone is trying to write something more impressive that what's out there now.

Hope everyone has a nice long weekend, but watch the chocolate eggs - eh?

Diana said...

The Mortensen case is a good lesson in not letting the "experts" talk you into doing something you're not comfortable with.

From the Outsider article: "So, rather than me going two or three times to one place, he would synthesize it into one trip. I would squawk about it and be told that it would all work out."

It didn't work out. And his coauthor, David Oliver Relin, who did most of the writing and holds joint copyright is not getting any heat for the part he played in this fabricated memoir.

Let the memoir author beware.

Mira said...

Oh, I do not have time to read all these wonderful links! I'm bookmarking them to come back to when I'm out of school.

I did have the chance to watch a few minutes of the video, which was two kinds of awesome. Amazingly creative, what a project! That guy is talented. :)

There's no way I can come to Jacob's party, Nathan, I'm so sad about that, but it's smack in the middle of everything, but I will send wonderful, excited, happy launch thoughts your way on that awesome Friday night! And it's so exciting to think that Jacob will be released in less than a month. Very cool!!!

Hope everyone is having a very nice weekend, and celebrating Easter, or just the loveliness of Spring, or in my case, the fact that I finished one section of my paper!

Thanks for everything you do, Nathan!

Marilyn Peake said...

Wow, so many fantastic links. Thank you! And congratulations on being so close to the publication of JACOB WONDERBAR - I can sense your excitement. You must be thrilled!

S. F. Roney said...

That's horrible to find out a so-called memoir has fiction in it. Why not just write a fiction novel, sheesh. On a positive note, thank you for ending with that phenomenal toothpick video!

Clare WB said...

I'm re-reading Hemingway and finding new ways to appreciate him, including from "A Movable Feast".

And best fiction character for president?

Hands down: Atticus Finch.

Susan L. Lipson said...

I agree with the previous commentator about the only choice for a fictional president: Atticus Finch. Absolutely.

As for the controversy over memoirs, why must we even call them nonfiction? Memoirs are based on memories--fallible human memories, purely subjective "reality"--and if two siblings write separate memoirs of the same familial experience, we'll be reading two very different books, in most cases. What's "factual" about that?

Memoirs should be a subgenre of historical fiction--PERSONAL Historical Fiction would be an apt definition, I think. Thus, we could end the controversy over what is or is not "true."
I wrote a blog on this very topic on my Memorable Words blog, here on blogspot.
Good luck with your book release, Nathan.

Mira said...

I read your interview, Nathan. That was really good! At some point, you know, you could edit professionally. Just in case you were interested.....

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