Talking About Books . . .

P&P

It’s easy for you to print your own book complete with a soft back cover if you have an appropriate file and access to an Espresso Book Machine (EBM).  You can also print out one of millions of public domain books using the vast resources of the EBM.  Haven’t heard about EBMs?  A YouTube video shows you how they work, and here is where you can find one.

Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington D. C. has announced that you can now have any of 30 public domain classic novels printed with your choice of covers from a group of original artwork provided through their partnership with the Creative Action Network.  A Washington Post article gives some details.

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Thumbs

Should book reviewers spend time writing negative reviews about books they dislike?  That’s the issue in a New York Times opinion piece written by WNYC’s On the Media co-host Bob Garfield.  So, should we give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down to thumbs-down book reviews?

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The 2013 National Book Award winners have been chosen.  Here is the list of winners as well as all books that were under consideration.

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Siblings who share literary ambitions can help each other or compete with one another.  Either way, it can be a fascinating subject.  Casey N. Cep explores the cases of some renowned literary siblings in a well-written article on the Poetry Foundation’s website.

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Dragon Lady

The war in Vietnam is becoming a dim memory to most of us, but Monique Demery has brought it back to life in Finding the Dragon Lady, a book about Madame Ngo Dinh Nhu, South Vietnam’s former first lady.  Madame Ngo was actually the sister-in-law of the unmarried president of South Vietnam, but more importantly, she was a force that could not be controlled – both outspoken and provocative.

Here is a review in Maclean’s and an interview that Jon Steward did with Demery on The Daily Show.

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DowntonAbbey1

The fourth season of Downton Abbey will begin here in the United States on January 5, 2014.  Also, we recently learned that there will be a fifth season.

There is one book that influenced Julian Fellowes more than any other in his creation of Downton Abbey.  That book is a 1980 novel by Isabel Colegate entitled The Shooting Party.  The events in the 224 page novel take place during a single day in 1913, and concern both the wealthy and their servants.  If you get a copy of the 2004 edition of Colegate’s book, you will find an introduction by Fellowes.  Learn more in an article from The Guardian.

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I understand.  You’re so busy that you don’t even have time to read long short stories.  Well, here are some really short classic short stories that you may be able to fit into your busy schedule.

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Psalm

The first English-language book printed in America, The Whole Book of Psalmes, or The Bay Psalm Book as it is commonly known, was recently sold at a Sotheby’s auction for an astounding $14.2 million.  Until then the record holder was John James Audubon’s Birds of America, which sold for $11.5 million in 2010.

The Book of Psalms was printed by Congregationalist Puritans in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1640.  There are 10 other surviving copies of The Bay Psalm Book, so if you have one, don’t bother to show up at work tomorrow.

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