Links + Things: Before Midnight, Amazon Buys Goodreads, S + S vs BN, Cheapo Books and More
It's Friday, Friday, which means it's time for linky interestingness. Obviously, the biggest news in the book world this week was the Amazon acquisition of Goodreads, which I have many, many feelings about, which I can't possibly encapsulate in just a few sentences--maybe I'll muster the energy to do a brain dump post about it, fingers crossed.
This is a slightly abbreviate Links + Things, due to my awesome friend Lizzy being in town, so no cover art news, unfortunately. Don't forget to scroll down to the end find deals on a couple of CEFS favorites books.
This Week's Video of Awesome
I adored Before Sunrise (which I saw in the theater my senior year of high school and thought was the most romantic thing ever--sigh) and very much enjoyed the not-resolution in the 2004 movie, Before Sunset. There's a part of me that's ridiculously nervous about the third installment that's coming out this year, Before Midnight. But, obviously, I'll be seeing it as soon as it hits the theaters later this year.
Goodreads is also likely to be less open with access to its data now that it has been acquired by Amazon. In the past, the company has shared information about how its readers discover and buy books and about their digital reading habits, presenting the data at conferences and in blog posts.
Undoubtedly, the biggest book news this week is that Amazon acquired Goodreads. I'm going to be honest, this didn't surprise me in the least. I remember a year or so ago, Jane at Dear Author predicted that this would happen and I recall thinking that while I, as a Goodreads user, consumer and person who lives in the world, didn't like the idea, from a business perspective, it would be a smart move for Amazon.
Those of you who are Goodreads friends with me have probably noticed that I don't update or comment there as frequently as have in the past. That has more to do with the way the climate has changed, particularly that as the self-published books have been dominating my friend feed and all the drama and fighting that erupted awhile back.
Frankly, this news makes me want to be even more careful about the information I post on Goodreads, due to my increasing paranoia about Big Data. It's tough, because I am an Amazon customer, and love my Kindle, but I am so uncomfortable with the integration of all my information (hence, I don't link my Facebook account to Goodreads either) and the fact that it seems like all information will be owned by Amazon, Google or Facebook.
I stopped nodding after a while and fidgeted in my seat until I realized what was vexing me, what always vexes me: bald, unapologetic patriarchy. It was the conclave all over again. Vatican City plunked down in Hynes Auditorium. It wasn’t bumptious, hubristic. It ran much deeper than that. It was simply an assumption: When we talk about literature, we talk about male writers. Not even a token bone was tossed, as is almost inevitably the case, to Emily Dickinson by either moderator or laureates. Rosanna Warren did not ask the question that burned inside me: Which women writers influenced you? No Q&A followed, because I promise you, Sheryl Sandberg, I would have leaned into that question even though those around me seemed aglow with the winning words of the men on the stage.
Author Maureen Johnson tweeted this piece in Ms. Magazine's blog discussing a literary event. Not only is this a thoughtful analysis of the implicit sexism of so many of these types of events and literary culture in general, it's an excellent piece of writing.
...Barnes & Noble may be attempting to charge publishers not only for traditional co-op (which usually means display on the New Releases table, Mother’s Day table, etc.), but also for giving books any shelf space at all, including spine out. Simply put, Barnes & Noble can’t sustain a model whereby consumers use their stores as showrooms, then order books from a competitor such as Amazon.
This is good breakdown of what's happening with the Barnes & Noble-Simon & Schuster feud. This is one of those things I find myself having a hard time getting my head around, simply because it's so whacked (technical term) all around. This column has some excellent tips for authors whose books are collateral damage in this dispute.
- Shelley Ann Clark has an excellent post up on one of my favorite blogs, Wonkomance. She discusses how "reader's advisory" changed the way she thinks about reading and the importance of not judging other readers' tastes.
- I really enjoyed Sarah Wendell's post for Kirkus about identifying tropes that do and don't work for you--I think this applies to all genres and as I've paid more attention to this myself, I've had better and better luck with finding books that I enjoy. Certain things just don't work for me, and I've come to terms with that being entirely okay.
- I don't know how I feel about the contention that ebooks are their own genre. The technology does have the potential to encompass some creative approaches (though print has its own unique potential in this area as well), but most of the time ebooks are just, well, books. Format obsession continues to baffle me.
- I have zombie burnout, but I love the movie Zombieland, so I'm intrigued by Amazon studios having greenlighted an online-only series based on the film. (And I'm fascinated by this web-only approach to "television.")
- You must check out Sarah at YA Love's students' "literacy lockers." This is the coolest thing I've seen in a long time.
- This Onion piece about stars of cancelled shows cracked me the hell up--I bet there's more than a grain of truth in this satire.
- Want a recipe for Anne of Green Gables-style raspberry cordial? (via @smartbitches on Twitter)
Books That Are Cheap
Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler was one of my favorite books of 2012, and is one of Laura's absolute favorites ever (read her tribute to Bittersweet right here). It's currently discounted in ebook format to $3.79 for Kindle and $3.99 for Nook. (While you're at it, you may as well preorder Sarah's 2013 novel The Book of Broken Hearts, because it's just that good.)
I adore Barbara Kingsolver's writing, and my favorites are her older novels. The Bean Trees was published in the 1980s and it totally holds up and the the southwest setting is spot-on. It's currently $1.99 for Kindle and Nook.
Finally, Fall for Anything is the only Courtney Summers novel I haven't read (I have no idea why), so I snagged the paperback when I saw it was only $4 in the bargain books section of Amazon. No one writes characters who challenge expectations quite like Courtney, so I'll have to mentally prepare myself before diving into it.
Happy weekending, y'all!