Graphic designer Jason Huff takes the one hundred most downloaded copyright-free books and reduces them (pdf) using Microsoft Word 2008’s AutoSummarize 10-sentence function. Book Bench highlights several of the absurd – if occasionally poetic – results.
Starting this year, Kirkus Reviews will award the impressive sum of $50,000 each to three winners of their new Kirkus Prize, which recognizes works of fiction, nonfiction and children’s literature. This morning, they announced their first-ever batch of finalists, a long list including a few names who should be familiar to Millions readers: Elizabeth Kolbert (for The Sixth Extinction, which we published an essay about); Year in Reading alum Sarah Waters (for The Paying Guests); Thomas Piketty (for Capital in the 21st Century); New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast (for her memoir); and Siri Hustvedt (for The Blazing World, which we reviewed). Their judges will announce the winners on October 23rd.
Implicit in a lot of the discussions about how negative a book reviewer can be is a question of utility: is a book review an act of public service or a work of art in itself? In the Times, James Parker and Anna Holmes debate the purpose of the review. Sample quote: “I’d argue that a majority of the reading public doesn’t necessarily benefit from the sorts of reviews for which artistry is the point.” You could also read our own Matt Seidel’s hypothetical worst review ever.
In memory of Mark Strand, who passed away on Saturday, the Paris Review Daily published a manuscript page from “A Piece of the Storm,” a poem that appeared in Strand’s collection A Blizzard of One. They also included links to several poems of his they published, as well as his Art of Poetry interview.
Hobart is celebrating the month of June by offering a 20% discount on all of their Short Flight / Long Drive Books. You can pick up any two for $15. In particular I recommend Adam Novy’s Avian Gospels, a vividly imagined story of a young boy who can control flocks of birds. (I’ve recommended it before.) You can also get a taste for the book by watching its trailer over here.