Talking About Books . . .

The Scarlet SistersAll the talk is about Hillary Clinton’s second run for the presidency of the United States and the fact that she will likely be the Democratic candidate.  She, however, is not the first woman to run for that office.  That honor belongs to Victoria Woodhull who ran for the office in 1872 – long before she had the right to vote for herself.  On top of that, she was in jail on election day charged with obscenity.

Victoria California Claflin was  born into a rural Ohio family in 1838.  Her family, which included 10 children, was extremely poor and uneducated, but she and her sister Tennessee “Tennie” Claflin had strong wills and the determination to get somewhere in life.  They also believed that women should have the right to do as they liked with their own bodies – and they did.  They also wanted to be financially secure – and they got that, too.

The story of the beautiful, strong-willed sisters is well-told in a Politico article that references The Scarlet Sisters, a biography of Victoria and Tennie published last year by author Myra MacPherson.

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Beloved

The New York Times Magazine has an extended article about Toni Morrison who is one of the greatest living authors in America.  It will keep you reading and thinking for a while.

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 Believe it or not author Salman Rushdie went on the GoodReads website and listed and rated some books by other authors.  What was he thinking (if he was thinking at all)?  Now he says he simply didn’t understand how the website works.  Here is an article about his big mistake

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 Netflix allows you to watch an unlimited number of movies each month for a fixed fee.  Oyster lets you read an unlimited number of e-books each month for a fixed fee.  That’s why Oyster is referred to as the “Netflix for books.”  Now Oyster is selling e-books as well as renting them.  And you don’t have to be a subscriber to buy them.  A Wired article talks about what’s happening, and fills you in on how it all works economically.

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One Hundred Years of Solitude

It’s interesting to look at the books that authors have read and to imagine the books’ influence on their writings.  The favorite books of Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez, probably the most influential author of “magical realism,” are listed by Brain Pickings along with some quotes about the influence a few of them had on him.  The quotes come  from Márquez’s autobiography Living to Tell the Tale.  Be sure to click on the links to favorite books of other authors including Leo Tolstoy, Susan Sontag, and Neil deGrasse Tyson.

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 Only about 3% of the books published in the United States each year are books in translation.  The goal of Three Percent is to offer readers information on what is available in translation and to encourage more translations.  Each year Three Percent offers a prize for the best book in translation, and the nominees for the best book in translation for 2014 are now available.  You can find them here.

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 George R. R. Martin is a busy man.  The author of Game of Thrones, is developing a new series for HBO and trying to finish writing a book.  Read about it in Jacket Copy from the Los Angeles Times.

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Val McDermid, writing in The Guardian, makes the claim that crime fiction is leftwing and thrillers are rightwing.  Is there any validity to that theory?  Read the article and decide for yourself.

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