Today marks the release of George Orwell’s Diaries, the influential writer’s personal writings from the years 1931 to 1949, published for the first time in the United States. Orwell is one of those writers who is so infused in our collective imagination and culture that his name has become its own adjective: “Orwellian” is used to describe a totalitarian government or situation similar to the one in 1984. Like Kafka, whose “Kafkaesque,” has come to mean not only “like Kafka’s writing” but also the more disconnected “marked by a senseless, disorienting, often menacing complexity,” Orwell’s namesake will probably continue to evolve, becoming a term one understands even without reading a word of his writing. But what about more modern writers? After the jump, we’ve speculated on a few (tongue-in-cheek, mind you) definitions for the adjective-ized versions of contemporary authors — sure, some of their names don’t exactly lend themselves to common adjectival endings, but that’s okay. The English language is ever evolving. And in that spirit, we challenge you to play our game and make up your own in the comments! … Read More
Had she not passed away six years ago, today would have been beloved science fiction author Octavia Butler’s 65th birthday. Butler not only made waves for being a phenomenal writer, but for being one of the remarkably few African American women authors writing in her genre. In honor of the occasion of Butler’s birth (and because lady sci-fi authors never get enough love) we’ve put together a list of the greatest lady authors of science fiction and fantasy in this or any time — in our own humble estimation of course. Click through to read our list, and don’t forget that these are our own personal favorites — since there are many more than ten fantastic lady sci-fi/fantasy authors out there worthy of your time, please add to our list and let us know which of your own favorites we missed in the comments! … Read More
Continuing last week’s emphasis on the now cliched vampire romance genre, we saw yet another copy of Twilight, and yet another hideous Charlaine Harris cover, this time on Dead to the World. The designer could take a cue from Kelly Link’s first two collections, which feature creepy but beautiful covers painted by Shelley Jackson. When we saw a young woman reading Stranger Things Happen, we had to restrain ourselves from squealing and accosting her to demand if she’d gotten to “The Girl Detective” yet.
More on what New York commuters are reading after the jump. … Read More
A while back, Radiohead released In Rainbows on their website, in advance of the CD. A ZIP file of the album was available for download, for whatever price the buyer wished to pay in sterling pounds. The pay-what-you-want model did not appear to be detrimental to the record’s sales, or the band’s profits. The album appeared on a number of best-of 2007 lists and was nominated for Album of the Year at the Grammys.
Now, books, as cultural objects and profitable commodities, are in a state of flux, and publishers are beginning to test the flexible pricing plan. Last week, Faber announced it would release Ben Wilson’s What Price Liberty? as an e-book under the pay-what-you-will model, six weeks before the paperback is released for £14.99. … Read More
Sarah Weinman pimped The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry in a Weekly Reader post a few weeks back and before that Hannah Tinti revealed that it was the last book that had kept her up all night long. If you’re in New York, you can catch the author this Thursday at KGB Bar along with Deb Olin Unferth as part of the Behind the Book reading series.