Last week we focused on stuffing ourselves along with the turkey, but this week we’re filling up on literary gossip, news and highlights. Mmm mmm good.
— Linktone has launched a first-of-its-kind mobile literature channel in China, called the “m-Novel” Channel. The first literature being published through this channel is a romantic story titled, “Distance”, written by Taiwanese novelist Xuan Huang. This is just another example of the growing trend to marry literature to rapidly expanding technology to increase readership and promote literacy. Other examples include the newfound popularity of audiobooks (thanks to the iPod craze) and daily feeds such as tinywords, which provides daily haiku offerings for various types of portable technologies.
— Organizers of the Virginia Festival of the Book have announced that early signers for the event include former NPR host and current XM Radio journalist Bob Edwards. During the festival, poet Robert Creeley will be participating in a conference celebrating Walt Whitman. Whitman manuscripts will be on display courtesy of Special Collections at the University of Virginia. The 11th Annual Virginia Festival of the Book will be held March 16-20, 2005 in Charlottesville, VA. Also appearing at the festival is Rupert Holmes, author of the novel Where the Truth Lies and the musical “The Mystery of Edwin Drood”. Beyond being an accomplished songwriter and dramatist, Holmes is probably better known as ‘that guy who sang The Pina Colada Song’.
— In the tradition of state poet laureates making headlines, Nevada’s Poet Laureate Norman Kaye has been in the news for a few weeks now. The state is seeking to replace Kaye, but he’s not so willing to be put out to pasture. There has been some controversy with Kaye holding the position in the first place. Why? Because he’s never actually written a ‘poem’.
— Just in time for your holiday gift lists, Sotheby’s has announced it will be auctioning off 17th century British porn on December 16. The auction house’s book specialist describes the 1670 work , titled “Sodom”, as “the quintessence of debauchery”. Take that, Howard Stern. Also appearing on the auction block this Friday is an unfinished manuscript of Truman Capote’s first novel, Summer Crossing. Capote publicly claimed to have destroyed this first work, but the manuscript was found among other papers retrieved from his abandoned apartment at the time of his death.
— The untimely death of poet Dylan Thomas is generally attributed to heavy drinking, but a new biography published this week theorizes that it was actually pneumonia (and medical negligence) that ended his life. The new book, Dylan Remembered 1935-1953, sheds light not only the Welsh poet’s death, but provides insight into Thomas’ life through interviews with friends, colleagues, and acquaintances.
— Book Thing, Baltimore’s no charge bookstore boasts a weekly turnaround of over 20,000 books donated and distributed. Free books to whoever wants them? Sounds too good to be true, but Book Thing’s been doing its thing for about six years now. Unfortunately, Charm City’s treasure is facing the same harsh reality that many non-profits and independent booksellers face and may be forced to close its doors soon.
— Book Thing and unique destinations like it are the focus of a new book Bookstore Tourism by author and literary tourguide Larry Portzline. This new book (available in softcover or as a free download) offers insight on making literature a focus of your travel plans, from visiting independent booksellers, literary festivals and other hot spots for bibliophiles. The book is mainly an overview of the process Portzline uses for his own tours, but it is useful as a starting point and the appendices are extremely helpful for those wanting to take a lit trip of their own.
— If you want to travel even farther without leaving your keyboard, the online magazine for international literature, Words Without Borders, is offering a showcase of children’s literature from around the globe. Through December, you can find previously untranslated versions of tales from Israel, Japan and Egypt. Many fairy tales, stories and characters familiar to English audiences originally appeared in foreign languages; Words Without Borders continues this tradition with this diverse and enjoyable collection of what we can only imagine to be future classics.
— The Top Ten Words for 2004 have been announced by Merriam-Webster. It’s not too much of a surprise to hear the top word of the year was “blog” or that many of the words are election-related. But it is definitely heartwarming to find that “cicada” emerged at #6. The list is based on users’ anonymous hits to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary and Online Thesaurus.
These are just a few things that have caught my eye over the last few days. Found anything interesting about your favorite publisher, author or literary scene? Or perhaps you’ve made a Top Word List of your own? We want to hear about it.