Book Festivals & Book People

Bibliophiles come in all sorts of skin bindings, page palettes and an assortment of thicknesses and tallness.  Gathering book people together happens when local folks organize to put on a book fair or festival.  Those come in all sizes and genres too.  Even the current First Librarian Lady gets into the gig with her big event on the Washington mall named the national Book Festival.  For the past eight years, this event kicks off for the bow tie and formal gown bookies with Laura Bush inviting a host of authors - this final year including herself and her daughter, Jenna, to present works at various pavilions.

On the other side of America, the 7th Annual West Hollywood Book Fair has 400 authors playing to an erudite, hipster laid back LA crowd in a park.  In San Francisco, home of the West Coast cultured literati and big earthquakes comes the aptly named LitquakeLitquake morphs into Litcrawl then deigns to visit the outpost of Manhattan. 

Book gatherings of this sort are manna for booklovers like me for the panel discussions.  It affords the deeper understanding of author intent and displays the scope of detailed research that goes into penning book, be it a novel or footnoted seventh wonder of the nonfiction world.  The other bonus is being around authors and seeing how their forceful writing may come from somebody who mumbles.  Great stuff.

Barack Obama's Latest Book - What Happened?

Barack Obama is running for president and the gasbags who get paid to blow hot hair all over the public have not even mentioned his latest book. I wonder why. Change We Can Believe In: Barack Obama's Plan to Renew America's Promise is the latest compilation from Team Obama. The rather long-winded title presents a book split into two parts. Barack uses his extraordinary gifts as a writer to pen the forward to shape the policy section written by his legislative advisers.

Maybe it's just me, but here is a $12 foundational paperback that lays out the infrastructure for an Obama presidency. For good or for ill, it seems serious people would want to know what's in it, especially after all the pasty pundits are focused on his superlative rhetorical skills and the size of his, uh, crowds.

Brisingr: The Inheritance Cycle Opening Day

Science Fiction and Fantasy make for some of the greatest books ever written or read. The line divider from good book to great novel is the amount of an author's fired up imagination allowed to light great sparks in a reader's mind. Montana teenybopper Chistopher Paolini unleashed the gift with a teenage boy and his blue iridescent dragon, Saphira with the plague of King Galbatorix and his evil minions in Eragon. Saphira is a law unto herself and quite the conversationalist telepathically.

Formerly, Paolinis' books were to be three in the Inheritance Trilogy, which magically morphed into the Inheritance Cycle. Hormones, sacrfice and sibling rivalry marked Eldest as Eragon becomes elven in his pursuit of justice among friends and foes. Good stuff. Potter people say their stuff is better. Paolini fans think great first start in a kid who invented a whole world complete with maps, a la Tolkien.

Whatever happens, I shall wait interminably until enough people hit my tip jar to get my own copy of Brisingr. The name will make no sense whatsoever to the Inheritance virgins. Its elven, meaning fire - which is blue when it come s from Eragon, not Saphira, who is perfectly capable on her own of blowing smoke rings.

Unfortunately, the movie divebombed - though I liked it well enough.

Sex and The City Goes High School Retro

Ugh, after leaving high school one way or another, you relive it every day for the rest of your life. At work, the ever present suck ups were first class apple polishing brown nosers as students, the smart kids wearing geeky glasses and corduroy nerd smurfs are the ones everybody reads about later amid the consternated who knew diatribes. Bullies become bosses and wimp whining is about somebody who missed saying a daily hello. Now, Candace Bushnell wants to give obsessions with zit facial placements on today's cool kidz, raging teenage hormones and the beginnings of a designer shoe fetish as a prequel with Sex and the City-like style.

As a TV show, it was an amusing look at a very vanilla group of four women with sex on the brain just inside the outer edges of chi chi Manhattan's "it" circle. It's coming with a real grabber of a title - The Carrie Diaries. Wow, just imagining reading about her first Mr. Big for some hapless 14 year old could spark some prickly discussions as her dénouement was in a family rec room after smoking a joint with an 11th grader.
Bushnell, 49, has signed a deal for the books, which will be titled The
Carrie Dairies
, with the children's division at HarperCollins. The
publisher said they would take "readers back to Carrie Bradshaw's formative years in high school, giving an inside look at Carrie's friendships, romances and how she realised her dream of becoming a writer".
HarperCollins promises the books will be on the Young Adult shelf in 2010 because
the goal is a crossover audience - teens and boomer matrons - known as their moms. Yep, that's a demographic female grouping with a lot in common.

Heather Mills More Fiction Tour

Heather Mills is an ex-everything. Now the ex-wife of one of the Beatles is setting her clutches on a keyboard to turn herself into a celebrity novelist. I can't wait for the official ex- on that chapter of her life either as her first try was her now hopelessly out of date memoir.

Once upon a time, Heather Mills, a former semi-working model was married to a knighted multi-millionaire songwriter chap named Paul McCartney after the tragic loss of his first wife and soul mate. That cantankerous coupling sank to the bottom of a spittoon of vitriol as accusations and courtroom theatrics supplied by the ex-Dancing With the Stars on one prosthetic leg contestant used publicity-seeking crocodile tears to weave a fantasy tale of being an abused and neglected wife. Her McCartney excited to get rid of the drama queen settlement of £24.3 million or almost $45 million dollars will not fill the hole in her 10 sizes to small heart. Heather Mills bragged, claimed, boasted that she would finally earn her philanthropic cred by donating most of her ill gotten marriage gains to Adopt-A-Minefield. She's an ex-donor promise keeper now.
Now The Sun has uncovered Mills hasn't handed over a penny, since receiving the windfall six months ago.

A source revealed to the paper, 'They have waited in vain for their millions. She's had plenty of time but sadly it's yet another untruth by the queen of lies.'
Heather Mills ex-PR flack suffered suffered a long delayed attack of the Revenge of the Rented Publicity Flacks conscience, stating Heather made the stuff up about Sir Paul to get on American TV. Mills untruths hawked by Michele Elyzabeth proved so cha-ching tempting to Heather that the gray ethical line imprisoning her from speaking of her ex-mate magically disappeared with her agreement to imagine a fictional treatment of her ex-wonderful life that supposedly will just wow us huddled masses into paying for book tripe masquerading as truthful fiction from a really rich hanger on who lied to a charity and was basically called a liar by a British judge.

Textbooks Cost Too Much Money

Textbooks, a staple of educational systems worldwide, cost way too much damn money. Because textbooks are must-haves, the cost of each of them increases as if the pages were dipped in gold leaf and their bindings were made from the gossamer wings of rare fairies and wood sprites. It is shameful and appalling. In some countries textbooks are shared commodities. Copyrights in South Korea belong to the government and bias as well as content come under fire. There are file sharing websites that some students take advantage of to get their exorbitant class-required materials for free. It has come to a Napster music model for textbooks named Textbook Torrents that is making the US textbook industry overlords nuts. Their overpriced books are being ripped off on the internet while they rip off students at the counter, legally charging the same price for a used book that could have been bought new online.

Pricing on textbooks have gone so round the bend, Congress stepped in
legislating some changes included in the Higher Education Act.
Durbin created the College Textbook Affordability Act for three reasons.

Durbin says the cost of text books is rising four times the rate of inflation.
In America, they change editions requiring more expenditures. College students feel like they are getting their first mortgages as they react to the sticker shock to what one pre-owned textbook costs. Publishers are wielding the prices of the books as if their entire business is about hosing students. Almost 85% of the US distribution of textbooks comes from the monopolistic Association of American Publishers which cast creativity, innovation and the consumer in the circular file. Cornering the market also limits who writes the scholarly works, meaning diversity of ideas is kept to the same old authors writing the same old thing, year after year. It's a crying shame that they charge MORE for the repackaged goods.

Good Grief.