News and Obituaries
Ebook news can be found here.
5 October | Death of Henning Mankell
20 September | Death of Jackie Collins
Acknowledgements: The New York Times, Jodi Kantor and David Streitfeld
Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace
The company is conducting an experiment in how far it can push
white-collar workers to get them to achieve its ever-expanding ambitions.
21 July | Death of EL Dctorow
8 May | Death of Ruth Rendell
13 April | Death of Günter Grass
12 March | Death of Terry Pratchett
4 Feb Harper Lee | Go Set a Watchman
30 Jan | FT Best books of 2014
Best books of 2014 (The Independent)
Books of the year 2014: Fiction
Books of the year 2014: Debuts
Books of the year 2014: Literary memoirs
Books of the year 2014: Drink
Books of the year 2014: Economics
Books of the year 2014: Film
Books of the year 2014: Fashion
Books of the year 2014: Biographies
Books of the year 2014: Art/gift books
Books of the year 2014: Crime
Books of the year 2014: Music
Books of the year 2014: Short stories
Books of the year 2014: Politics
Books of the year 2014: Science
Books of the year 2014: Celebrity memoirs
Books of the year 2014: History
Books of the year 2014: Fiction in translation
Books of the year 2014: Sport
Writers pick the best books of 2014: part one (The Guardian)
Writers pick the best books of 2014: part two (The Guardian)
Best novels and fiction books of 2014 (The Telegraph)
Last year marked our first round up of the numerous “books of the year” features across the media. It saw a total of 660 books being touted by various critics, writers and celebrities. This year, our spreadsheet collating the reviews boasts 910 titles that have been recommended across several features in 10 different publications.
As well as the broadsheets, this year we have included the Radio Times and the Economist. The Observer, theGuardian and the Mail on Sunday also incorporated choices by a wide variety of literary figures and celebrities. TheObserver collated picks from 56 people, and asked them what book they hope to find under their Christmas tree this year. (Novelist John Banville requested the £376, five-volume boxed set Art and Architecture of Ireland from Yale University Press.)
Comfortably gaining the most attention was H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald (Jonathan Cape), which was mentioned in the features of all the newspapers, including three votes from various Guardian features.
Despite fiction winning more column inches than last year, none of the most selected novels are débuts—in fact, the majority are by established names who released eagerly awaited novels: Sarah Waters, David Nicholls, Marilynne Robinson and Colm Tóibín, to name a few.
This year’s Man Booker Prize judges revealed the battle for the award was between Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North (Chatto & Windus) and Ali Smith’s How to Be Both (Hamish Hamilton), and this is reflected in the reviews, with the books garnering nine and 10 nods respectively—considerably more than the other Booker-shortlisted titles. A more in-depth look at how this year’s Booker titles have been received is below.
The strong children’s market is also reflected, with several titles cropping up on lists not dedicated to kids’ titles. The most reviewed titles in the genre are revealed below, alongside a more detailed look at the market for cookbooks and historical biographies, and a look at celebrity titles that amassed the most column inches. The full list of most-reviewed titles, including the top 24 most mentioned books, can be found in the print or digital edition of The Bookseller.
Acknowledgements: The Bookseller
21 December Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit
14 July Death of Nadine Gordimer: Guardian obituary
Further information can be found here.
18 June Tokolosh Song covers
Not exactly a news item, more an item of interest …
Umuzi’s initial jacket (from their AI) … The final version …
14 June South Africa’s best selling e-books
13 June Should British book addicts fear Amazon?
11 June Amazon Living Wage campaigners place dummy book on site as protest
7 June Roberts Silvers interview : ‘Someone told me Martin Scorsese might be interested in making a fil about us. An he was.’
5 June The rejection letters : how publishers snubbed 11 great authors
29 May Death of Maya Angelou 1928 – 2014 : Virago tribute
29 May Are those books even about trees? Acacia trees and glowing sunsets …
28 May A Message From Benjamin Trisk to The South African Book Trade
28 May Cape Town Book Fair renamed as the South African Book Fair
27 May University students shunning books in favour of Wikipedia
Penguin to Publish Memoir by Nelson Mandela’s Most Trusted Assistant, Zelda la Grange
Penguin is delighted to announce that they will be publishing Zelda la Grange’s Good Morning Mr Mandela, the extraordinary story of how a young woman had her life and everything she once believed in transformed by the greatest man of her time.
Good Morning Mr Mandela’s publication date is 19 June, 2014.
On June 19 2014, Penguin will publish worldwide Good Morning, Mr Mandela, the extraordinary story of how a young woman had her life and everything she once believed in transformed by the greatest man of her time.
Zelda la Grange grew up in South Africa as a white Afrikaner who supported the rules of segregation. Yet a few years after the end of apartheid she would become the trusted assistant to Nelson Mandela. Now she shares his lasting and inspiring gifts with the world.
Helen Conford, publishing director, says, “This is a book that will touch your life and make you believe that every one of us, no matter who we are or what we have done, has the power to change. It has brought tears to the eyes of everyone who has read it. It shines with honesty and love. The lessons Nelson Mandela gave her as he renewed his country offer hope to everyone.”
Helen Conford acquired world English rights from Jonny Geller at Curtis Brown. Good Morning, Mr Mandela will be published by Allen Lane. Frederik de Jager at Penguin South Africa will publish in Afrikaans as well as English. Clare Ferraro and Wendy Wolf will publish at Viking US.
A percentage of royalties from the book will be donated by the author to the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
Image courtesy of The Mirror
Acknowledgments : http://penguin.bookslive.co.za/blog/
3 April LM Radio hitting Gauten’s airwaves by the end of the year
6 November 2013 The real reason bookshops are dying
When we moved, we had to undertake a book cull. We are all book lovers, so moving from a house that barely accommodated our books to something smaller meant we would have to rationalise.
As a culling principle we adopted Umberto Eco’s pithy assessment: “The good of a book lies in its being read.”
Going through our bookshelves was akin to tunnelling through the strata of lives lived together and beforehand. We gave upwards of 50 books to charity while others went to dealers. As there were far too many to transport in a small car, the dealers came to our house.
The conversation went along the lines that books were under pressure and the secondhand book industry, let alone antiquarian booksellers, was doing it tough.
It was during these dealer visits that I asked each one whether they thought readers had a responsibility to their local bookshop. All agreed this was the case. Moreover, they were unanimous that online providers were partly responsible for the demise of the suburban bookshop.
The imminent end of Carlton Bookshop in Swanston Street is a case in point. Already in Elgin Street, Book Affair has gone. Before that, Dover Books and Academic and General have also been a casualty of changing consumer habits.
But curiously, it is not just online sellers that have caused a shift in buying behaviour. The drying up of Carlton’s secondhand books culture can be largely sheeted home to Melbourne University.
The simple fact is that universities, and increasingly schools, have for some time produced compilations of readings. These bound books of photocopied pages are comprised of the relevant chapters and sections for particular courses. The universities and schools will argue that it is cheaper for students. It is a persuasive point. Books are by any measure expensive and textbooks especially so.
Besides the ease of students and teachers at university and school citing a particular article in a compilation of tutorial or subject readings, there is the small matter of copyright. I know that in my own case, articles I have written have been duplicated and republished in booklet form and yet I have given no permission. This is a blatant infringement of copyright and the Copyright Agency has been tardy in its surveillance of education institutions, especially schools.
The loss of the local bookshop raises a broader question. What is happening to the culture?
If readers see bookshops as having an important cultural role, then it is their responsibility to ensure that the shops stay viable. This is simply by supporting bookshops though patronage – putting money in the till.
Bookshops, and by this I mean those run by true booksellers as opposed to retailers, offer much value-adding to the literary culture. There are author signings, book events, discussion groups, book clubs, newsletters, staff who actually read the books they sell, affirmation of the reading culture and education of readers to try new and “old” books.
When I worked in London, Tim Waterstone, the owner of the Waterstone book stores employed graduates who could discuss books intelligently with readers. How grateful I was to the assistant who discussed Will Self’s The Quantity Theory of Insanity with me before I interviewed Self.
We see the same thing in the best independent bookshops here. Worth preserving are informed assistants who hand-sell a book and then ask the buyer to tell them what they think. Amazon reviews, frequently author selfies, don’t do this.
Bleak as the dealers sounded when they trawled over our books, there are glimmers of hope. When I go into Readings Carlton, a literary cultural icon if ever there was one, and see lines of books behind the counter with customer order cards in them, this says something important. This is that readers have made the investment to buy at likely a more expensive price than online but that they are committed to a bookshop’s continuance.
Melbourne is proud of its status as an internationally regarded city of literature. To that end, it sits uneasily that readers allow bookshops to close their doors for no other reason than they have failed to accept their responsibility to support them.
The internet cannot be solely blamed. It comes back to the individual reader saying bookshops matter to me and the culture broadly and that’s worth paying for.
Christopher Bantick was for eight years literary editor of the Hobart Mercury and Sunday Tasmanian and is now a senior literature teacher at a Melbourne boys’ Anglican grammar school.
23 May Water is Life : The Drinkable Book
12 May Classic question : when does a novel gain this status?
25 April Pelican books take flight again
24 April Publication of Complete NIV audio Bible
Ever since he became a Christian at the age of forty, it has been Poirot actor David Suchet’s dream to make an audio recording of the whole Bible. In between filming the final episodes of Poirot, David Suchet spent over 200 hours in the recording studio to create the very first full-length audio version of the NIV Bible spoken by a single British actor.
This 80-hour recording comes on six MP3 CDs. It can be used on any device that displays the MP3 symbol. You can transfer the audio files for your personal use onto your computer, smartphone, MP3 player and other compatible devices. It is also available separately as an audio digital download. Ebooks of each section of the Bible – enhanced with Suchet’s audio narration – are also available. READ MORE
23 April 10 books to get men reading
20 April RIP for OED as world’s finest dictionary goes out of print
19 April Pelican relaunch
Pelican – the non-fiction imprint of Penguin Books – will be relaunched on 1 May. Discontinued in 1984, the paperbacks return with the same ‘gentle blue of the original 1937 editions’. Keenly anticipated as the books are, Sarah Broadhurst in The Bookseller , comments ‘ … I do not feel they are identical to the ethos of the original … It will be interesting to see how the list develops.’ The Bookseller 31 January 2014, p38
Bernard Shaw’s The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Socialism, Capitalism, Sovietism and Facism (2 vols) was the first Pelican title.
17 April Gabriel García Márquez, Nobel laureate writer, dies aged 87
11 April Sue Townsend, creator of hapless and much-loved Adrian Mole, dies aged 68
29 March Samuel Beckett story to be published 80 years after it was rejected
26 March Kwela author picked up by renowned agent
Casey B. Dolan whose debut novel When the Bough Breaks will be released in April this year, has been picked up by internationally renowned literary agent Oli Munson. Oli also represents the successful South African authors Lauren Beukes (The Shining Girls), Sarah Lotz (The Three) and Paige Nick (Girl Walks Into a Bar).
Oli says that “the international market is crying out for quality, issue based women’s fiction, so I’m absolutely delighted to be sending When the Bough Breaks out into the wider world”.
Paige Nick agrees: “Casey B. Dolan might just be the South African Jodi Picoult,” she says.
Casey’s autobiography An Appetite for Peas was released in 2013.
25 March Hodder & Stoughton to buy Quercus
24 March Stunning libraries from around the world – in pictures
18 March Closure of Chapter by Chapter Bookshop, Boskruin, Randburg, South Africa
Chapter by Chapter in Boskruin Village closes its doors on 31 March after nearly 12 years in business.
9 March The Jews who fought for Hitler : ‘We did not help the Germans. We had a common enemy.’
See here for Bo Lindgaard’s ‘The Untold Story of How Denmark’s Jews Escaped the Nazis’.
See too ‘UK Bestsellers’ for 8 March
2 March From bestseller to bust : is this the end of an author’s life
27 February 2014 Why don’t young men read novels any more?
24 February 2014 The Alphabet Library: an A to Z of forgotten books
21 February 2014 Britain now has fewer than 1,000 independent bookshops for the first time since records began
21 February 2014 Independent bookshops in decline as buying habits change
21 February 2014 From the ILAB website :
18 February 2014 Haruki Murakami’s new novel due in English this summer
14 February 2014 Learn which types of book you should read
13 February 2014 Outcry as Penguin India pulps ‘alternative’ history of Hindus
11 February 2014 Children are reading again
8 February 2014 How not to read
7 February 2014 UK bestselling books of 2013 (print and ebooks combined)
1 Gone Girl | Gillian Flynn | Orion
2 Inferno | Dan Brown | Transworld
3 My Autobiography | Alex Ferguson | Hodder & Stoughton
4 The Hundred-Year-Old Man … | Jonas Jonasson | Hesperus
5 The Fast Diet | Mosley & Spencer | Short Books
6 Life of Pi | Yann Martel | Canongate
7 The Casual Vacancy | JK Rowling | Little, Brown
8 Entwined With You | Sylvia Day | Penguin
9 The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry | Rachel Joyce | Transworld
10 Guinness World Records 2014 | – | Guinness World Records
Acknowledgments to The Bookseller
1 February 2014 Harry Quebert : The French thriller that has taken the world by storm
28 January 2014 ‘Wearable’ book allows reader to feel emotions of characters
26 January 2014 In Britain and especially abroad, ebooks are booming
1 January 2014 Reading becomes a minority activity, warns Ruth Rendell
1 January 2014 2014 in books : turn over a new leaf
29 December 2013 Ebooks – dig deeper for hidden treasures
13 December 2013 : Penguin Random House acquires full ownership of … Random House Struik
1 December 2013 : Closure of Juta Bookshops division
27 November 2013 : Radio 702 – Jenny Crws Williams talks to Benjamin Trisk of Exclusive Books.
(Look for : 20131127BESTBOOKSHOW.mp3 (VLC media file (.mp3))
23 November 2013 Writers and critics on the best books of 2013
22 November 2013 The Observer’s book of the year
15 December 2013 The 10 best … books from the generation of the struggle (other than Long Walk to Freedom)
9 November 2013 PD James 10 tips for writing novels
7 November 2013 50 best cult books
6 November 2013 Agatha Christie wins vote to steal crown as crime writers’ favourite crime writer
22 September 2013 Exclusive Books sold for R435m
20 September 2013 TMG offloads Van Schaik, Exclusive Books
30 July 2013 The perfect storm : Why bookshops are in the frontline in the battle for the High Street
3 April 2013 Idasa is gone but the need for its work remains
28 March 2013 Zebra Press to publish definitive account of the Oscar Pistorius murder case