The 50 Page Test

How do you read? This article by Steve Leveen advocates a stance many professional readers take--giving up on books. According to him, many poeple feel guilty about putting a book down if they're not enjoying it.

Do you give up on books?

Thanks to Maxwell for sending me this link.


Two Eulogies: Hunter S. Thompson and Arthur Miller

Voices of two generations have passed away. Both Hunter S. Thompson and Arthur Miller have met with their fates.

Hunter S. Thompson killed himself and was found at 6pm Feb 20th. The NY Times wrote a nice article. I didn't always agree with or like his writing. I respect him for what he has done for journalism and for writing. Whether or not you agree with the man, he did a lot for all of us as writers. I cut my teeth in journalism and appreciated the path he laid out for all the journalists like myself who came after him.

Arthur Miller passed away last week. Reuters wrote a good eulogy. He gave voice to the alienation that many Jews, as well as immigrant and second generation Americans, felt. He did it in a way that was heartbreaking and stunning. All My Sons, Death of a Salesman, The Crucible, all works of literature that captured America and took character drama to a new level.

I'll miss them both.

I Read It On My Phone!

Random House is finally acting like it works in this century, no longer pretending that the digital age doesn't exist. They're looking to make a deal with cell phone companies. Right now, it's still primitive--they're only really looking at Vocel's foreign language learning programs. (Vocel has succeeded by making deals with Verizon and Cingular to provide SAT information.) It's a start though.

Disappointingly, Random House still doesn't believe the cell phone format is conducive to reading books. More at Wireless News Factor.


Hey Bloggers, Are You Book Worthy?

There's a new company called Blogbinders out there that lets you translate your blog into a bound book within a week. While I believe book publishing should involve more things (like editing, and overall reading arcs), I think this is a good and cheap way to keep track of your yearly blogging for generations to come. Thanks to Maxwell for this news item.


Follow Up On Their Backs Thank You

The Association fo American Publishers is going to meet with PIRG (Public Interest Research Group) to talk about recent surveys about college textbooks.

In addition, the Russians are teaching book publishing within their business schools.

Jane Friedman is famous within book publishing for inventing the author tour. (The first one took place when she booked Julia Child in department store kitchen demonstrations, in addition to morning tv shows to promote a book.) Now, she's at the top of HarperCollins. Her new plan is to make the brand as identifable as the authors it produces. Novel concpt in publishing, and one that has been getting many whispers lately.


Feb. 13

In case you're not doing anything Feb. 13, the Jerusalem book fair opens.


A Millisecond Ahead of My Time

Remember how I posed a reading/writing group for our online readers on Tuesday?

I'm apparently not the only one who had this idea. Scholastic announced its online book club, Flashlight Readers for kids. It's a pretty cool site.


Their Backs Thank You

I remember the not-so-distant past when I carried books from one class to another. At one point, I weighed my bookbag and it was over 30 pounds.

For the generations on students behind me who will pursue the hallowed halls of knowledge, the end may be in sight. Market analysts are predicting the end of the textbook. While I acknowledge that a lot of teachers and professors are finding other objects to supplement their teaching, I'm not sure I'm ready to call the textbook the new dinosaur. I can tell you, though, that the backs of students all across America will be grateful.

In other news, the much beloved Tom Brokaw signed up with Random House to write two more books. Details are sketchy at best.


Writing and Reading Group

I'm thinking of starting up a writing and reading group. Writers could pitch ideas to readers and use them as a focus group., then write short stories or longer pieces that the reaaders would then give their feedback on. This works well for the writers because they get a single cohesive group that sees them through the process. It works well for the readers because they get to see a story from the gem of an idea to the finsihed piece and get to influence a writer.

What do you think? Are you interested? What side do you want to be on? I'm debating about whether a person can be both a writer and a reader... Your thoughts are appreciated.