"Books, like proverbs, receive their chief value from the stamp and esteem of the ages through which they have passed."
--J. Paul Getty
Beautiful Children Goes Free
Random House has decided to take a bold move this week, making one of its hottest titles available for free download for a limited time. Charles Bock's debut effort Beautiful Children has set the literary world aflame, attracting glowing notices from the New York Times, Washington Post, and elsewhere, and nosing onto the NYT Bestseller List.
The download went live last night at midnight and is up until Friday night at midnight. The pdf of the book is also being hosted at Amazon for a limited time. (more: interview with publisher)
Have you ever been in the following situation: you are browsing someone’s shelf, you see a book that looks interesting, but you would like to get a little bit more information about it? If yes we have something that you should like; we just released a new feature called “Should I read this”. Every time you see a book you can ask for more details about it. You can ask your friends, the owner of the shelf and/or the Shelfari community. Just hover over a book that you haven’t read (either one that you see in the friend’s feed or on a member’s shelf) and select the “Should I read this” button in the popup. You can also type an optional question or provide more details about what you are looking for in the book.
I personally love the community side of “Should I read this.” It allows you to tap the knowledge of the whole Shelfari community and receive personal feedback about books with almost no effort.
[SPOILER ALERT: There will be mention of food in this post]
Yesterday I received the bi-annual newsletter from Seattle’s popular Pagliacci Pizza voted Best Pizza in Seattle for the past 21 years. Ah, the Chicken Primo pizza: chicken marinated in a balsamic vinaigrette, artichoke hearts, red onion, imported peppers, mozzarella, ricotta and parsley on an olive oil sauce (Yum!). I have to quickly wipe up the drool that is gathering on my keyboard. I'm delighted to see Pagliacci's newsletter is devoted to books (with a small shout-out to their seasonal pizzas...yes, they sound fantastic too). I've included a visual aid (just for fun).
("Stacks" by Amanda, "So Gouda! BBQ Chicken Pizza" by [Christine] flickr)
From Pagliacci Pizza Newsletter, Edition XLII, Winter/Spring 2008:
Just can't get enough published text? Spend all day thinking about that book you are reading? Here are ten signs that you are a bookworm:
Have a great weekend!
Come and check out Amanda's Reading Challenge. Shelfari's Community Manager, Amanda, is always on the look out for a great book. This group will vote on one book a month she will have to read. You have until February 28th to make suggestions for which book she will read in March. The list of suggestions will be narrowed down to 3 titles that you get to vote on. Amanda will be posting her review of each month's book in the group discussion and on this blog. You decide what Amanda reads next!
-The Shelfari Team
Bethanee Patrick interviews Steve Berry on his latest book, The Venetian Betrayal. Berry, a New York Times bestselling author explores historic figures and topics in his international suspense thrillers. His latest offering, The Venetian Betrayal:
In 323 B.C.E, having conquered Persia, Alexander the Great set his sights on Arabia, then suddenly succumbed to a strange fever. Locating his final resting place–unknown to this day–remains a tantalizing goal for both archaeologists and treasure hunters. Now the quest for this coveted prize is about to heat up. And Cotton Malone–former U.S. Justice Department agent turned rare-book dealer–will be drawn into an intense geopolitical chess game. (more)
Twit Lit? For some reason (likely coffee overindulgence coming back to haunt me) I find this list of new “literary” genres quite amusing. Who could resist:
Hick Lit - The fiction of Richard Ford (See A Multitude of Sins)
Sick Lit - Novels calculated to shock or revolt. (See Fight Club)
Thick Lit - Tales of the weight-challenged. (See She's Come Undone.)
Quick Lit - Novels turned out with alarming frequency. (See His Illegal Self, and Oates, Joyce Carol.)
Ps. Don’t miss the post comments (see "Twit Lit" further defined).
As a (sometimes) wise and mature woman of thirty-nine, it's easy for me to wax poetically about how the prom has devolved from a meaningful rite of passage to a sad display of blatant consumerism. In fact, the heroine in my novel Cindy Ella commits social suicide by writing a scathing letter to the editor of her school paper about that very issue. But back when I was a senior in 1986 (and saw nothing wrong with blatant consumerism) there was no way I was going to miss mine... (more)
Robert Dallek, author of "An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963" and "Flawed Giant: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1960-1973", reviews top five presidential biographies.
1. "The American Political Tradition and the Men Who Made It" by Richard Hofstadter (Knopf, 1948).
Almost 60 years after it was published, Richard Hofstadter's "The American Political Tradition and the Men Who Made It" remains a compelling introduction to seven presidents--Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Wilson, Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt. The book has educated several generations of Americans about the men, their administrations, and the nature of 19th- and 20th-century American politics. Hofstadter's sense of the ironic, along with his insights into the country's affinity for consensus, helps make the book an American classic. Four chapter titles are illustrative--Jefferson: "The Aristocrat as Democrat"; TR: "The Conservative as Progressive"; Wilson: "The Conservative as Liberal"; and FDR: "The Patrician as Opportunist."
2. "George Washington: Man and Monument" by Marcus Cunliffe (Little, Brown, 1958).
3. "Thomas Jefferson and the New Nation" by Merrill D. Peterson (Oxford, 1970).
4. "Lincoln" by David Herbert Donald (Simon & Schuster, 1995).
5. "Roosevelt: The Lion and the Fox" by James MacGregor Burns (Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1956).
Happy President's Day!
Few fun facts:
· The oldest surviving valentine dates from 1415. It is a poem written by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife. At the time, the duke was being held in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt.
· The Italian city of Verona, where Shakespeare's lovers Romeo and Juliet lived, receives about 1,000 letters addressed to Juliet every Valentine's Day.
· In Medieval times, girls ate unusual foods on St Valentine's Day to make them dream of their future husband.
· During the late 1800s, postage rates around the world dropped, and the obscene St. Valentine's Day card became popular, despite the Victorian era being otherwise very prudish. As the numbers of racy valentines grew, several countries banned the practice of exchanging Valentine's Days cards. During this period, Chicago's post office rejected more than 25,000 cards on the grounds that they were so indecent, they were not fit to be carried through the U.S. mail.
· In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who their valentines would be. They would wear these names on their sleeves for one week. To wear your heart on your sleeve now means that it is easy for other people to know how you are feeling.
Happy Valentine’s Day!