January 27, 2010

Bookish Discoveries 1-26-10

Bookish Discoveries

1. India's "Pink City", Jaipur, just concluded its 5th Literary Festival complete with over 20,000 attendees and over a hundred writers. From Ali Sethi, author of The Wish Maker, about his coming of age in Pakistan to the award-winning poet Tishani Doshi, who will also be talking about her first novel, The Pleasure Seekers, India's festival is the biggest and hottest literary ticket in Asia and is fast gaining a respectable reputation on a global scale. Here is a list of this year's speakers.

2. The book blogger is definitely a member of the "sharing books" club. But, as this article points out, reading is a private pursuit that some people want to share about later, but that others keep to themselves like hidden treasures.

3. The largest book in the world- an atlas made for King Charles II- is to be opened up for public display for the first time in its 350 year history at the British Library.

4. The winner of the Costa Book Prize is Poet Christopher Reid, whose book, A Scattering, has only sold 1,000 copies. Also check out Judge Sandra Howard discussing the joys of judging the awards, the running themes in this year's books, and her husband unexpectedly enjoying a story on lesbian love in wartime.

5. Former BBC TV and radio presenter Jonathan Ross embarks on a new career path as a writer. His comic book- a Prohibition-era vampire story set in New York- comes out this April.

6. Genetically modified food, vaccines and synthetic biology are all hot-button issues. But they shouldn't be, according to guest Michael Specter, author of the new book Denialism. He argues that the scariest threat is not science itself, but the reluctance to discuss it. Listen in at NPR.org.

7. Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie discusses the influence Chinua Achebe's stories had on him. In 1958, the question surrounding the publishing of Achebe's Things Fall Apart was "whether anyone would read a novel written by an African." Now it is hard to imagine not having novels written by people of every culture. The publishers made the right decision, as I can't imagine that I would have ever become much of a reader without the influence of other cultures.


  1. Great discoveries, Rebecca! I really enjoy watching The Jonathan Ross Show(probably reruns since you have written former BBC presenter) and it would be fun to check out his comic books.

    What a great book of maps!

  2. Great round up of links. Where do you find the time to find them all?

    I love the big book. That is quite a sight!

  3. That NY Times article is interesting. I disagree with the author of the Narnia book commented that "it was the more bookish people who tended to fiercely guard their private reading worlds. Casual readers, by contrast, are drawn by the social aspects." I wonder how she'd feel if she knew that the only reason I've heard of her book is because I read book blogs?

  4. We must be reading the same online papers. I used the photo of the biggest book in my post today too. Great stuff, as usual.

  5. Very cool links...I just saw the big book at Sandra's blog!!

  6. It's hard for me to imagine a world without Things Fall Apart--that is a great book that more than deserves to be published! The idea that someone might not want to read it because it's by an African never even occurred to me--that they might not want to read it because it confronts one with some ugly truths, I could see.

  7. The New York Times article was especially interesting. I'm a writer and love it when people want to talk about my books. I'll talk to anyone anytime. But as a reader ... that's different. I'm one of those who likes to be lost in the private imaginary world of the book. Somehow too much discussion reduces it to the mundane, for me.


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