Courtesy of Amazon.com
In an earlier version of this article, I said that the novella wouldn’t be released by B&N/Kobo. I was wrong, according to the publisher, though I could not find in my searches any reference to it being released by anyone but Amazon. And it’s not on Barnes and Noble’s website. Which just shows that Amazon is taking over the world.
Karen Russell, author of the best-selling Swamplandia and Vampires in the Lemon Grove, is releasing her next work later this month. But there’s a catch — the novella will only be available on Kindle. Amazon is releasing Sleep Donation as a Kindle Single for its e-reading devices.
Is this the start of well-known authors publishing their works digitally before print, or never in print? It’s hard to say, but it certainly could foretell what direction the industry is going in. Digital books will continue to become the norm, and authors and publishers will explore new ways to take advantage of that.
But with this move, the book will only be available to those who have digital access to books — be it through e-readers, computers or smartphones. Those who prefer print will miss out. And although publishing has become much more popular and many of those works are digital only, this may be the first time an author as big as Russell has published something not available in print.
Sleep Donation, the debut title from Atavist Books, will be released March 25, if you’re lucky enough to already have a Kindle, check it out and let me know what you think.
Garth Nix released the first novel in his fantasy Abhorsen trilogy, Sabriel, in 1995.
I didn’t read Sabriel until I was in high school, and finished it and the second book, Lirael, within a week (unless my shoddy memory is betraying me). The third book in the series, Abhorsen, was released in 2003.
Now, more than a decade later, Nix will return to the Old Kingdom for a prequel called Clariel. It’s set 600 years before Sabriel. I can’t wait for it, and though it’s not set to hit bookshelves until October 2014, that will give me enough time to reread the others so I can be reacquainted with the Old Kingdom and relive a series I adored as a teen.
Sabriel is set in a fantasy world called the Old Kingdom and follows a young woman named Sabriel who can travel between the land of the living and the dead and must make a trip into the Underworld on her own to find her father who has become stuck there. Lirael follows the journey of a clairvoyant young woman in the Old Kingdom and Abhorsen continues the two women’s journeys.
Find a bit more about the new book and check out its cover here.
Gina Frangello’s A Life in Men on the surface is the story of friendship between two girls, but dig deeper and it encompasses the wide range of relationships we make and break through our lives, the way love can sustain us and the way acts of violence can tear us asunder.
Nicole (Nix) and Mary are best friends. Two beautiful blonde American girls who have everything going for them. Except that’s not true. Mary is very sick, having been diagnosed at a late stage with cystic fibrosis. Nix goes off to college, her future bright and open before her. Mary remains home, with little hopes of a future at all. Over a break from college, Nix takes Mary to Greece, a way to spend time together and a way for Mary to see some of the world as her expected days on Earth start to slowly dwindle. But after an incident on the island, the relationship between the friends changes.
We follow Mary as she travels the world, trying to live as much as she can in what little time she has. She meets and falls in and out of love with many different men. She has sex to get a high. She does things a person with cystic fibrosis should not do. Nix travels to London and then disappears from Mary’s life and from a great deal of the book. For much of it, it’s just the reader, Mary and her many men.
This book is beautifully written and the scenes leap off the pages. The characters are well-developed — deep and flawed. They are real people, even if at times the book seems less so.
However, we spend very little time with Nix after the girls leave Greece. She is a complex and interesting character and so much of Mary’s story is tied up in Nix that having her voice included more would have buoyed the book in some of the slower parts.
However, just when you wonder how many more of Mary’s escapades will come, the book takes a turn. The last 100 or so pages grab you and don’t let go until the final word has been read. At the end we see more of Nix’s story and the men in her life and we see why Mary made some of the choices she made. The book ends in a heart-rending and beautiful way.
Last year my reading goal was 50 books. Mission completed.
This year, I have two goals: Read more nonfiction and reread some of my favorite works.
So far out of the five books I’ve read so far, two have been nonfiction. So a good start there. I read Never Have I Ever by Katie Heaney, about her loveless life and disasters in dating (girl is basically me, with more awkwardness.) And Stephen King’s On Writing, which as a budding novelist I really took to heart and found helpful. I have a feeling I’m going to need to reread this one a few times as I work on my novel.
I do, however, need to pick up the pace on my rereading. There aren’t a ton of books I want to reread, but those coupled with more nonfiction and the fiction sitting in wait on my bookshelves means I need to divide my time wisely.
But The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett was one of the ones I wanted to reread the most, and I just finished doing so. At almost 1,000 pages, it was probably good to tackle it early on. One thing I realized while reading it was that even the little writing I have done so far has made me look at writing differently. While I still loved the book and Follett’s storytelling ability and characters, he repeats often and could have used a harsher editor. The book didn’t have to be 1,000 pages, a tough edit may have trimmed it at least down to 800 or so. But even with Follett’s penchant for reminding us of things we already know, the tale is epic and the characters compelling. Love sweeping historical fiction full of well-written characters, thrilling action and a bit of romance? Then The Pillars of the Earth is for you.
In honor of the great American author, John Steinbeck, Google has a doodle with scenes and quotes from some of the author’s most famous works. Sadly, they overlooked the wonderful “East of Eden.”
Steinbeck is one of my favorite authors, so it makes me happy to see Google honor his works this way. I just started rereading “The Grapes of Wrath” the other night. I’m excited to take a journey once more with the Joads.
Passenger is one of my new go-to artists while at work. I love his voice and style. And the lyrics, as a writer the lyrics pull me right in.
“Like a stone carried on the river/ like a boat sailing on the sea/ I keep on walking/ oh I keep on walking/ till I find that old love/ or that old love comes to find me.”