Could You Do It?

With the Winter Olympics almost upon us, many young athletes are going to be glued to their TVs (or computers/tablets/phones), dreaming of the day they might find themselves on a podium. But it takes many years of hard work to realize a dream of going to the Olympics, and for most, it is only a dream.

THE 4 YEAR OLYMPIAN, by Jeremiah Brown, is the story of a rower who not only found his calling after a troubled youth, but worked hard enough to get himself to the Olympics in just four years. It seems impossible, but this story is bound to inspire and encourage.

You can watch the book trailer here. See if you don’t end up cheering for Brown at the end!

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Local Author Visit

We’re getting ready for a local author visit this week! Join us on Thursday night at 7pm for a reading and discussion with Wendy MacIntyre. She’ll discuss her latest book, HUNTING PIERO, which has a very interesting backstory related to the art world. You won’t want to miss this.

No registration required, but get here early to get a good seat!

Heather, the Totality

Recently, we received our copy of HEATHER, THE TOTALITY by Matthew Weiner, with our regular library book delivery. Upon first inspection, it looked a lot like a YA book–the cover featuring a young girl inside the font. But no—it was adult fiction. Secondly, it was a teeny, tiny book. When our cataloger Caroline opened it up, she realized this very skinny book was a large print copy, which left us wondering just exactly how thin this book would look in regular print. Apparently, it looks much more like a novella than a full-fledged novel, at only 130 pages.

Such a curious novel meant I had to find out more. Weiner is a former TV writer, producer, and creator, most famous for Mad Men. This is his debut novel, and Goodreads gives the description as this:

The Breakstone family arrange themselves around their daughter Heather, and the world seems to follow: beautiful, compassionate, entrancing, she is the greatest blessing in their lives of Manhattan luxury. But as Heather grows-and her empathy sharpens to a point, and her radiance attracts more and more dark interest-their perfect existence starts to fracture. Meanwhile a very different life, one raised in poverty and in violence, is beginning its own malign orbit around Heather.

Matthew Weiner-the creator of Mad Men-has crafted an extraordinary first novel of incredible pull and menace. Heather, The Totality demonstrates perfectly his forensic eye for the human qualities that hold modern society together, and pull it apart.

There is a lot of controversy about this novel, with many complaining about Weiner’s use of weird fomatting and style, very akin to a script, without a lot of character development. In a novel this short, I’m not sure why anyone would be expecting a lot of character development—it would seem the perfect size for something very plot-driven. I’m sure it will circulate quite a bit at our library, as people often love a short, easy read, but it will be interesting to see if others complain of the same things.

If you’ve read the book, what are your thoughts? Did Weiner leave his newest audience wanting more, or did he hit on a style that might work for the “now” generation? Let us know in the comments below!

 

 

 

Black Friday Signed Editions

This fall, I was eager to get my hands on one of the signed copies of John Green’s TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN. I pre-ordered a copy and it showed up in my mailbox shortly after it was released. Easy as pie. For those of us who live outside of a major city, it’s tricky to get signed books unless you grab them up online right away, or happen to be traveling near a book signing. Will one of our lucky young readers get this copy of TURTLES next summer…..wait and see.

But in the meantime, if you’re desperate to add a signed edition of a new book to your home library, Barnes & Noble are kicking off the holiday season with a Black Friday sale of signed books! You can find out all of the info you’ll need as well as see a complete list of the books that will be available, and get ready to shop! There is a wide selection, from adult fiction & non-fiction to teen books (including the one above) and even children’s books. Make someone (or yourself) happy by getting your Black Friday shopping list ready today!

Piracy Has Consequences

It isn’t often talked about by authors, but book piracy is a real thing…and it can be just as awful for someone who is already an established author, as it is for a debut author. With the internet age, it’s very easy for people to find an advance digital copy of a book, and make digital copies into PDFs that are distributed online either before or right when an author is about to release a book. You might not think it’s a big deal, but bestselling YA author Maggie Stiefvater–author of THE SCORPIO RACES–recently posted about her experience with piracy on Tumblr.

So how does digital piracy work? People make copies of the digital advance copies, and widely distribute them online so that people can read the entire book without having to purchase it. Often, the argument you’ll hear is that those people who read the pirated copy weren’t going to purchase the book anyway, so it wouldn’t make a difference to the sale. But…..this is where it DOES make a difference.

Publishers count everything. They look at sales of a first book. They look at sales of a second, and a possible third book. If the digital sales are dragging (not to mention the traditional sales), the publisher sees this as a lost cause and may cancel a later book in the series, or drop the author entirely. So, for anyone who DOES buy the books, the chances of them getting to read an entire series grow slim when pirated copies are making the rounds. This is true for “famous” authors (who don’t earn as much as you might think), and for unknowns (who earn very little in comparison).

Stiefvater was convinced that digital piracy was making things difficult for authors. While her first book in The RAVEN CYCLE did well, the second book took a drop in sales for e-copies. Her publisher thought it might just be a sign of the times–that readers had lost interest. But she was certain she could prove that idea to be wrong. So, prior to her release of book three in the series, she roped her brother into helping her make fake PDF’s of the book. It looked the same, had the same number of pages, but was just the same first four chapters repeated over and over. On the day the book released, her brother flooded the digital piracy sites with his special copy.

“The effects were instant. The forums and sites exploded with bewildered activity. Fans asked if anyone had managed to find a link to a legit pdf. Dozens of posts appeared saying that since they hadn’t been able to find a pdf, they’d been forced to hit up Amazon and buy the book.

 

“And we sold out of the first printing in two days….

 

“I was on tour for it, and the bookstores I went to didn’t have enough copies to sell to people coming, because online orders had emptied the warehouse. My publisher scrambled to print more, and then print more again. Print sales and e-sales became once more evenly matched.

 

“Then the pdfs hit the forums and e-sales sagged and it was business as usual, but it didn’t matter: I’d proven the point. Piracy has consequences.”

——- Maggie Stiefvater

So, the next time you consider reading that pirated copy of a book online (or listen to a piece of music, or watch a digital copy of a movie), consider the fact that you’re doing more than hurting the author. You’re placing the entire future of that series in jeopardy, and making it more difficult for good stories to come to print.

Best Books of 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s that time of year again….the best books of the year are being announced—and debated.

According to Publishers Weekly, the best piece of fiction this year was Hari Kunzru’s WHITE TEARS. But Indigo books though Angie Thomas’ YA book, THE HATE YOU GIVE, was more deserving of praise. I guess it depends on the type of books you read, and how extensive your reading list was this year.

Here are the listings for the Publishers Weekly winners, followed by the Indigo picks:

PW
White Tears
, Hari Kunzru (Knopf)
Ill Will, Dan Chaon (Ballantine)
In the Distance, Hernán Díaz (Coffee House)
Grief Cottage, Gail Godwin (Bloomsbury)
Sing, Unburied, Sing, Jesmyn Ward (Scribner)

Ants Among Elephants: An Untouchable Family and the Making of Modern India, Sujatha Gidla (FSG)
The Apparitionists: A Tale of Phantoms, Fraud, Photography, and the Man Who Captured Lincoln’s Ghost, Peter Manseau (HMH)
The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, Richard Rothstein (Liveright)
Extreme Cities: The Perils and Promise of Urban Life in the Age of Climate Change, Ashley Dawson (Verso)
Fear City: New York’s Fiscal Crisis and the Rise of Austerity Politics, Kim Phillips-Fein (Metropolitan)

Indigo
The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas (Balzer & Bray)
The Sun & Her Flowers, by Rupi Kaur (Andrews McMeel)
Beartown, by Fredrik Backman (Atria)
The Lonely Hearts Hotel, by Heather O’Neill (Riverhead)
Ranger Games: A Story of Soldiers, Family and an Inexplicable Crime, by Ben Blum (Doubleday)
Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy, by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant (Knopf)
The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of The Last True Hermit, by Michael Finkel (Knopf)
Hunger, by Roxane Gay (Harper)
The Child Finder, by Rene Denfeld (Harper)
Norse Mythology, by Neil Gaiman (Norton)

Are these the best books of the year? What do YOU think? Let us know in the comments!