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What is The Bardo?

Yesterday, George Saunders won the Man Booker Prize for Lincoln in The Bardo. So you might be wondering what the bardo is! Find out in our "beyond the book" article. You can also read our review and browse an excerpt. The word bardo comes from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and means "in-between." It refers to a transitional state when one's awareness of the physical world is suspended. According to Spiritualtravel.org the concept is an "umbrella term which includes the transitional states of birth, death, dream, transmigration or afterlife, meditation, and spiritual luminosity...for the dying individual, the bardo is the period of the afterlife that lies in between two different incarnations." Most of the characters in Lincoln in the Ba... [More]


All About Fredrick Backman and His Books

I've read all of Fredrik Backman's works that have English translations. In fact, I was lucky enough to be one of the first early readers of his debut novel, A Man Called Ove. I realized then that I was witnessing the birth of an amazing talent and, to date, he hasn't ever let me down. Unfortunately, it's tough to find a whole lot out about Backman. A New York Times article notes that before he published Ove, he was a college dropout (where he studied religion), and it took him a while to become the "overnight success" he is today. He was a freelance writer for a Swedish magazine while working "as a forklift driver at a food warehouse, taking night and weekend shifts so that he could write during the day." He's married, has two children, is... [More]


Best Books for Book Clubs in 2018

We know. Among the many hundreds upon thousands of books that are published every year, it is difficult to select just a few that will make worthy additions to your book club lineup. So we've done the legwork for you. These fourteen books offer engaging and powerful stories and plenty to discuss. We have included a good mix of fiction and nonfiction and tossed in a mystery and a thriller while we're at it. After all, variety is the spice of life -- and of any respectable book club. If you've got suggestions to share, please do post at the bottom!
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The World's First Cookbook

In Crystal King's Feast of Sorrow, Apicius and his slave, Thrasius, develop their own cookbook. A quick search into Roman history reveals that Marcus Gavius Apicius actually did publish such a book (or rather a series of them), which most historians consider the first cookbook ever written. However, nowhere in the 450-500 recipes in this eponymously titled tome is there a reference to a slave by name. King made this literary leap, jumping to the conclusion that it was highly likely that a slave invented and/or produced recipes for the Apicius household, and not the master himself. The fact that several sources I found note that the language used in these books was more "vulgar" than "classical" Latin would also support this idea – even... [More]


23 Movies Based on Books Releasing in Fall 2017 & Winter 2018 (and a further 40+ in development!)

It's time again for our annual look at upcoming movies based on books, so you're in the know and ahead of the crowd - whether you intend to see the films or not! We've corralled 23 films releasing in the next six months, and the books they are based on; and a further 45+ in development. If we've missed any, or you have updated information, please do post at the bottom.
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Self-Published ISBNs Hit 786,935 in 2016

A new report issued by Bowker found that a total of 786,935 ISBNs were issued to self-published authors in 2016, an 8.2% increase over 2015. According to the report, ISBNs for print books rose 11.3% to 638,624 titles, while e-book ISBNs for self-publishers fell 3.2% to 148,311 (a unique ISBN is issued for each format of a book.) Since Bowker measures the number of self-published books by ISBN, its count does not include e-books released by authors through Amazon's KDP program, as they use ASIN identifiers rather than an ISBNs.|


Broomsticks and dragon bones in British Library's Harry Potter magic show

It's all true, and the incontrovertible proof has gone on display in the British Library. Side by side with original manuscripts and illustrations for the Harry Potter books, in an exhibition that opens on Friday and has already sold a record 30,000 tickets, there are dragons' bones, a mermaid, a step-by-step illustration (on a scroll six metres long) of how to create a philosopher's stone, a black crystal ball owned by a 20th-century witch known as Smelly Nelly, and a broomstick on which another west country witch regularly startled Dartmoor walkers...


To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee taken off Mississippi school reading list

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee's classic novel about racism and the American south, has been removed from a junior-high reading list in a Mississippi school district because the language in the book "makes people uncomfortable."


This Is What Really Happens When Amazon Comes to Your Town

Politico reports on the intense competition by cities to host "HQ2" - Amazon's planned second headquarters. It also looks at the pros and cons for the winning city of "bringing in 40,000 highly paid employees to compete for the same relatively constant supply of housing," and asks how much of Amazon's success is due to the unique nature of Seattle, and whether those conditions can be replicated elsewhere.


California bookstores exempt from autograph authentication law

California state lawmakers have exempted bookstores from a requirement that "sellers of items that carry their creator's autograph include a certificate guaranteeing that the signature is authentic," the San Francisco Chronicle reported. AB228 passed both houses without a dissenting vote and has been signed by Governor Jerry Brown. The law takes effect immediately.

By way of background: A law passed in 1992 required dealers in autographed sports memorabilia to authenticate the signatures or face financial penalties. With backing from consumer advocates, film studios and police chiefs, who said there was widespread evidence of forged signatures in the memorabilia market, legislators expanded the requirement, as of this year, to all sellers except pawnbrokers and online merchants.


George Saunders Wins the Man Booker Prize for 'Lincoln in the Bardo'

George Saunders's first novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, has won the Man Booker Prize. Originally, the award was restricted to novels written by authors from Britain, Ireland and the Commonwealth nations, but in 2014, it was opened to any novel written in English and published in Britain. This is now the second year that the prize has been won by an American author - last year's winner was Paul Beatty for The Sellout.


Bookstore sales down 11% in August compared to last year

Bookstore sales in the USA fell 10.9%, to $1.4 billion, compared to August 2016, according to preliminary estimates from the Census Bureau. For the first eight months of the year, bookstore sales are down 2.6%. Total retail sales for the year to date have risen 3.8%.


Harry Potter exhibition sells record 30,000 advance tickets

The British Library has revealed that its Harry Potter exhibition has sold more than 30,000 tickets - the highest number of advance tickets it has ever sold for an exhibition.


Richard Wilbur, Poet Laureate and Pulitzer winner, dies at 96

Richard Wilbur, whose meticulous, urbane poems earned him two Pulitzer Prizes and selection as U.S. poet laureate, died on Saturday in Belmont, Mass. He was 96.


Tom Hanks on Weinstein, Trump, history, and his just published book

In an extensive interview with Maureen Dowd, Tom Hanks talks about many topics including his just published short story collection, Uncommon Type.