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Wednesday Friday Book News: Remembering Reynolds Price, A Run on Books, and More

  • In Memoriam: Reynolds Price, revered author of 37 volumes encompassing everything from fiction to poetry, died yesterday at the age of 77. Not only a prolific author, he was also a long-time professor at Duke University, a position which, when he started, was to be for three years with no possibility of extension (in an article from the Huffington Post). Such was the quality of this man's intellect and drive, regardless of "no possibility," he was asked to stay. And did, for the next 53 years.

    Matt Schudel, correspondent for the Washington Post, remembers:

    I interviewed Price once and found him to be, quite possibly, the most eloquent person I have ever spoken with, one on one. He had a richly beautiful speaking voice — which can be heard on a series of commentaries he did for NPR in the 1990s — and the sentences rolled out of his mouth in fully formed paragraphs, complete with pauses for punctuation.

    (Evidence of this high praise can be heard on many various episodes of NPR's All Things Considered.)

    Allan Gurgangus, of NPR has fond memories of the author as well:

    He started out with a voice, a lyric gift and a sense of humor...and an insight about how people lived and what they'll do to get along.

    Price was the recipient of many awards, including the William Faulkner award in 1962 for A Long and Happy Life, and the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1986 for his novel Kate Vaiden. His work was "evocative" (NPR) and, at the time that he presented his first novel to the literary community, inspired the opinion that he was "the best young writer this country has ever produced."

    Rest in peace, Reynolds Price.

  • Rooster Candidates: The time draws nigh for contenders to polish their beaks and straighten their combs in preparation for the coveted Rooster Award competition from the Morning News. Here for you: the newly released, super-secret list of titles that will go head-to-head in a battle to the finish.

    From the Morning News:

    What This List of Books Is and What It Is Not
    It is not a list of the best novels of 2010. The novel had an incredible year, in our opinion, but this is not even a list of our favorite books from 2010. Because compiling such a list would be absurd. Even collectively we have read only a tiny fraction of the books published last year. We haven’t even read all the books on the Rooster list, at least not yet.

    Each of these books was chosen because it was hyped. Or celebrated. Or not celebrated or hyped enough. Or because it won an award. Or because an individual (or individuals) we admire lobbied passionately for its inclusion...

    - The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
    - Nox by Anne Carson
    - Bad Marie by Marcy Dermansky
    - Room by Emma Donoghue
    - A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
    - Freedom: A Novel by Jonathan Franzen
    - Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon
    - Bloodroot" by Amy Greene
    - Next by James Hynes
    - The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson
    - Skippy Dies by Paul Murray
    - Model Home by Eric Puchner
    - So Much for That by Lionel Shriver
    - Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart
    - Kapitoil by Teddy Wayne
    - Savages by Don Winslow

    And there you have it. And here you have them. Read as many as you can and then join in the fun as we tune in for each battle. Or, if you can't wait for the official judging to start, leave a comment of your own on each book and be entered to win $250 worth of books!

    Be warned, the competition will be fierce and is not for the faint of heart. The judges can be brutal in their quest to ensure that the right book comes out victorious. In the process, hearts will be broken, dreams will be crushed, and the very world may come to an end. But if you can handle it, be sure to check in with us, as we will be covering the action. (Check out last year's final battle.)

  • Library Loyalty: Residents of Stony Stratford, England, stripped their local library bare in response to a Facebook event posted by the library after the Milton Keynes council shared their plan to close the library instead of continuing to fund the public resource.

    The run began as a Facebook event posted by the Friends of Stony Stratford Library (FOSSL), a society created six years ago when the Milton Keynes council first proposed closing the Stony Stratford branch to conserve funds. Within three days, the run had become a featured story in the British press. All sixteen thousand books were checked out, and more than a thousand people had joined the Facebook event, posting comments like, 'Our council should be supporting our libraries, not closing them!'

    It's a gesture of overwhelming proportions, but doesn't the fact that the books are all already cleared out kind of make it even easier for the powers that think they be to close it? Hope not. Good on ya, mates!

Book News Bits 'n' Bobs

  • Does anybody know how to make them stop secretly depositing phone books on the front stoop at 3 in the freaking morning?

    As crazy as it seems, many households still get these books delivered to their door, even as most people turn to the Internet for information like this....Nearly 70% of adults in the U.S. 'rarely or never' use the phone book, according to a recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive.

    The phone book is dead. Long live the phone book.

  • For most people, having their book optioned for film typically involves having a best-selling book to begin with. In Ben Mezrich's case however, two mega-hit movies based on his books (21: Bringing Down the House, The Accidental Billionaires, etc.), have earned him the street cred.

    The new film tells the story of Thad Roberts, a once-promising young scientist working for NASA who back in 2004 hatched a crazy plan to steal highly prized moon rocks from his bosses at the Johnson Space Center and sell them on the Internet. The motivation: wanting to impress his girlfriend (i.e., 'giving her the moon').

    Film options have already been sold based solely on Mezrich's book proposal. The movie is reported to be titled Sex on the Moon. Kinky.

  • Bluewater Productions, as part of their ongoing Fame series, have immortalized Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift in ink via graphic novel, which is just a little confusing. Wasn't Justin always a comic book character? There's nothing real about that kid.

    Fame: Justin Bieber traces the career of Bieber, from YouTube sensation to Twitter mainstay, from his musical childhood in Ontario to his first headlining tour.

    ...comes with audio-track of screaming 11-year-old girls and strawberry scratch-n-sniff stickers.

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Heidi Mager does marketing stuff for Powells.com. Off the clock, she spends much of her time wrangling a kindergartner, chasing after her toddler, feeding her husband bacon, and attempting to avoid doing housework.

Books mentioned in this post

3 Responses to "Wednesday Friday Book News: Remembering Reynolds Price, A Run on Books, and More"

    ks January 21st, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    I'm imagining Arthur Dent (or perhaps Sam Lowry) trying in vain to return one of those 16,000 books to a library that's been closed. You don't suppose this could be a plot by the Milton Keynes council to make up their budget shortfall in overdue fees do you?

    Heidi (Post Author) January 21st, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    Good heavens... that would be mighty dastardly, even for them!

    Delila December 16th, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    The other day, while I was at work, my sister stole my iphone and tested to see if it can survive a 40 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My apple ipad is now destroyed and she has 83 views. I know this is totally off topic but I had to share it with someone!

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