Summer Is Over, and Fall Is Almost Here!

Can you believe it? The summer has come and gone faster than I can drink my iced coffee (and that is pretty fast). Soon, the fall semester will begin again with new classes and new faces. We will welcome a new graduate assistant and a new student aide. Over the summer, the lab has transformed, and now shiny new Macs adorn the desks. The transition between seasons is a time to reflect on both the past and the future, and I hope that all of our futures will be productive and bright.

The lab will be closing today, August 15th, and will reopen on the first day of classes, September 3rd. The blog will also be back up and running on September 3rd!

With that, I bid you adieu. Enjoy the rest of your summer!

— Professor Jane Denning, Blog Editor, Executive Director of Internships and Corporate Outreach

Around Town: Book and Magazine Events in NYC

August 16, 2014

Charles Bukowski Birthday Read-a-Thon

Self-proclaimed “dirty old man” Charles Bukowksi would have been 94 today, and Ecco Books hosts this free celebration at Williamsburg’s Post Office bar in his honor. They’ll distribute, aptly enough, free copies of his novel Post Office to anyone who takes part in this public reading. In addition, come to hear excerpts from Ham on Rye and Women, for what’s sure to be a colorful listening experience: Bukowski drew upon a childhood marred by abuse and bullying, and an adulthood of dead-end, low-wage jobs, alcoholism, and failed relationships. The three novels chronicle the journey of his alter ego, Henry Chinaski, through drinking, working as a mail carrier, and ultimately transforming into a literary sensation. Come for a dose of the ultimate high-brow/low-brow blend—exquisite writing about being down and out. @ Post Office Bar, 188 Havemeyer Street, Brooklyn, NY, 2:30 p.m.

Natalia Sylvester

Natalia Sylvester celebrates the release of her new novel Chasing the Sun. Set in Lima, Peru, in a time of civil and political unrest, this evocative page-turner is a perfect marriage of domestic drama and suspense. @ BookCourt, 163 Court Street, Brooklyn, NY, 7:00 p.m.

August 18, 2014

Nicholas Rinaldi

Acclaimed novelist Nicholas Rinaldi (Bridge Fall Down, The Jukebox Queen of Malta, Between Two Rivers) presents his new novel The Remarkable Courtship of General Tom Thumb. An irresistible novel set against the backdrop of the American Civil War and based on the real life of Tom Thumb, a young man only twenty-five inches tall, who became America’s first internationally recognized entertainer. @ BookCourt, 163 Court Street, Brooklyn, NY, 7:00 p.m.

August 19, 2014

Punderdome 3000

PUNDERDOME 3000 is a pun competition for weirdos and pun-lovers alike! All are welcome to attend this wild-n-crazy round robin event, but only the first 12 individuals/duos to sign-up at the door will have a chance to compete. Pun-masters are determined through a “human clap-o-meter” system voted on by the audience. Great big kitchen appliance prizes and celebrity judges guaranteed. @ Housing Works Bookstore, 126 Crosby Street, 7:00 p.m.

Justin Taylor

Brookyn author Justin Taylor (Gospel of Anarchy) celebrates the anticipated release of his new collection of short stories Flings. From an East Village rooftop to a cabin in Tennessee, from the Florida suburbs to Hong Kong, Justin Taylor covers a vast emotional and geographic landscape while ushering us into an abiding intimacy with his characters. Flings is a commanding work of fiction that captures the contemporary search for identity, connection, and a place to call home. @ BookCourt, 163 Court Street, Brooklyn, NY, 7:00 p.m.

August 20, 2014

A Girl and her Pig

The Spotted Pig-founder, renowned chef, and cookbook author discusses her book A Girl and her Pig: Recipes and Stories. @ Bryant Park Reading Room, 5 6th Avenue, 12:30 p.m.

Link of the Week: Books in a Series for the End of Summer

With the summer semester coming to a close on August 15th, you have about three weeks to read that one great last summer series before the fall semester begins on September 3rd. If you are a very fast reader, you may be able to squeeze in a couple series.

Here are a few of my favorite series that will get you ready for the creeping chill of fall:

The Wolves of Mercy Falls series by Maggie Stiefvater

This series is perfect for the summer to fall transition. The story follows a group of werewolves whose transformation is triggered by the dropping temperatures of the Midwest. Of course, what would a summer read be without a romance? The protagonists of the series must figure out how to keep the cold from changing them, and ultimately how to be together as humans. The longer the summer, the longer the time is to be human. Being a werewolf in New York wouldn’t quite work out any better for these characters.

Across the Universe series by Beth Revis

Indeed, this series takes place in outer space. However, reading the series is a great reminder for how wonderful the planet we live on really is. The story occurs in the very distant future when Earth has begun to run out of resources. In the hopes of finding a similar planet, several hundred people volunteer to be frozen for 300 years while the ship Godspeed makes its journey to the other planet. Of course, there have to be people on board the ship who are awake in order to keep it functional. When the protagonist of the story wakes up from her slumber 50 years too early, she must uncover the ship’s hidden secrets in order to survive.

Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld

This series takes place in a future where, when you turn sixteen, you get to become “pretty.” It doesn’t simply end there, unfortunately. Those who become “pretty” also appear to become something else, different somehow. Tally cannot wait to turn sixteen. However, Tally’s friend, Shay, would rather run away then allow any plastic surgery to change her. The entire series is a wonderful depiction of how the desire to become society’s picture of beautiful can lead to devastating outcomes. The characters must learn to accept their “ugliness,” when in fact, they aren’t truly ugly at all. Going back to school can be hard when you don’t feel your most confident. This series is about finding strength in qualities other than other appearance, and that is one of the most important factors we struggle with today.

Now, what are you waiting for? Go read!

Over 900 Authors Unite Against Amazon with Open Letter

The dispute between Hachette and Amazon is nothing new. The fact that it continues today is not surprising either. However, as of late, Amazon has directly targeted Hachette’s authors with the hope that Hachette will agree to its terms. Authors have not sat idly and let this dispute quietly slip by. Authors United, a group of over 900 authors who have come together to formally ask Amazon to end its dispute with Hachette, have signed an open letter, requesting that Amazon does just that. Douglas Preston, bestselling author, and also published by Hachette, is the founder of Authors United.

The full text of the letter is below. The entire letter and the signatures are available to read on the Authors United website.


“Authors United
P.O. Box 4790
Santa Fe, NM 87502
For information, email Douglas Preston
at doug@authorsunited.net

A Letter to Our Readers:

Amazon is involved in a commercial dispute with the book publisher Hachette , which owns Little, Brown, Grand Central Publishing, and other familiar imprints. These sorts of disputes happen all the time between companies and they are usually resolved in a corporate back room.

But in this case, Amazon has done something unusual. It has directly targeted Hachette’s authors in an effort to force their publisher to agree to its terms.

For the past several months, Amazon has been:

— Boycotting Hachette authors, by refusing to accept pre-orders on Hachette authors’ books and eBooks, claiming they are “unavailable.”

— Refusing to discount the prices of many of Hachette authors’ books.

— Slowing the delivery of thousands of Hachette authors’ books to Amazon customers, indicating that delivery will take as long as several weeks on most titles.

— Suggesting on some Hachette authors’ pages that readers might prefer a book from a non-Hachette author instead.

As writers-most of us not published by Hachette-we feel strongly that no bookseller should block the sale of books or otherwise prevent or discourage customers from ordering or receiving the books they want. It is not right for Amazon to single out a group of authors, who are not involved in the dispute, for selective retaliation. Moreover, by inconveniencing and misleading its own customers with unfair pricing and delayed delivery, Amazon is contradicting its own written promise to be “Earth’s most customer-centric company.

Many of us have supported Amazon since it was a struggling start-up. Our books launched Amazon on the road to selling everything and becoming one of the world’s largest corporations. We have made Amazon many millions of dollars and over the years have contributed so much, free of charge, to the company by way of cooperation, joint promotions, reviews and blogs. This is no way to treat a business partner. Nor is it the right way to treat your friends. Without taking sides on the contractual dispute between Hachette and Amazon, we encourage Amazon in the strongest possible terms to stop harming the livelihood of the authors on whom it has built its business. None of us, neither readers nor authors, benefit when books are taken hostage. (We’re not alone in our plea: the opinion pages of both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, which rarely agree on anything, have roundly condemned Amazon’s corporate behavior.)

We call on Amazon to resolve its dispute with Hachette without further hurting authors and without blocking or otherwise delaying the sale of books to its customers.

We respectfully ask you, our loyal readers, to email Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of Amazon, at jeff@amazon.com, and tell him what you think. He says he genuinely welcomes hearing from his customers and claims to read all emails at that account. We hope that, writers and readers together, we will be able to change his mind.”

Link of the Week: National Book Foundation Introduces Summer BookUp in NYC

Discovering a love for reading is one of the most memorable experiences about growing up. Learning all about the adventures of Clifford the Big Red Dog, Curious George, and the Hungry Catepillar, is something that brings a smile to my face to this day.

With the increasing popularity of digital devices and platforms, it is more important than ever that we help to ensure that children of all ages continue to uncover their own love for reading. Whether with a physical book or an e-book, reading is something that can only enhance a person’s life. Once a child reaches middle school, it is sometimes difficult to continue that love of reading, especially with all the homework, chores, and friend-time a thirteen-year-old has! When school is out for the summer, homework is often replaced with video games. I know I was guilty.

Thankfully, BookUp, an after school reading program sponsored by the National Book Foundation, has introduced a summer reading program for middle school students. The summer program is part of a partnership with the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development.

Created in 2007, BookUp is a series of extracurricular reading groups led by published authors who also have teaching experience. Instructors have included Elisha Miranda, John Murillo, and Elsa Ulen.

Leslie Shipman, assistant director of the National Book Foundation, said, “At the end of the summer, each BookUp participant will have their own free personal library of 10 age-appropriate books. Our students will cherish and benefit from that resource and their summer BookUp experience for years to come.”

In conjunction with the Department of Youth and Community Development, BookUp is currently running ten summer programs that serve over 200 students throughout New York City. Ultimately, BookUp hopes “to create new approaches to developing life-long readers that can be adapted in after school programs across the country.”

Learn more about the BookUp summer reading program on Publishers Weekly.