George RR Martin Cries Wolf …… For Charity


Maybe it’s because he’s eviscerated countless characters, but Game of Thrones author George R R Martin certainly knows the way to people’s hearts.

A 13-year-old fan wrote to him, and donated his entire savings of £153 to Martin’s online charity campaign supporting a wolf sanctuary in New Mexico. To galvanise donations, Martin has posted a number of prizes for various levels of investment, including being a named character in his next novel – who would then be killed off. That prize was given to two very deep-pocketed folks in June. The young fan, who also wants to become a wolf conservationist, told Martin “a gruesome grizzly death is all I ask for.” Martin responded to the fan, saying “those spots have already been filled by some very generous donors, and there’s a limit to how many people even I can kill.” But he said he was impressed with the boy’s donation: “I cannot tell you how much that moved me. It pleases me no end to know that my novels, and the TV series based on them, have inspired readers as young as yourself to rally to the support of these majestic and too often stigmatised animals.” He then promised to donate $10,000 in the boy’s name to the UK Wolf Conservation Trust.

Martin is currently writing The Winds of Winter, the sixth book in a series that has won a legion of new fans after it was adapted into the hit TV show Game of Thrones. The three year period since the last novel has proved too long a wait for some readers, with some speculating that he might run out of time before completing the series – bringing an angry response from the author.

CNN Reports on America’s Coolest Bookstores


Recently, CNN reported their choices for the world’s coolest bookstores. Out of their list of 17, here are the US stores that made the cut:

Powell’s City of Books (Portland, Oregon)
The largest used and new bookstore in the world is housed inside a modest, multi-level building (currently undergoing extensive renovation) that takes up a full city block. New and used editions are shelved side by side, giving customers a handy choice of price options. The biggest names in publishing show up here to do readings and book signings.

Strand (New York)
Back in the 1920s, six blocks of Manhattan’s Fourth Avenue were known as “Book Row.”
Of the 48 bookstores that gave the district its name, Strand is the only survivor.
After moving to its current location on Broadway and 12th Street, the store built up a staggering catalog that now includes 2.5 million new, used and rare books. The coolest section is the Rare Book Room. “Our most expensive title in store right now is a copy of James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’ illustrated by Henri Matisse,” says marketing manager Brianne Sperber. The book is priced at $45,000.

John K. King Used & Rare Books (Detroit, Michigan)
Opened in 1965, this massive bookstore is one of Detroit’s must-visit venues. Housed in an old glove factory and with more than a million books in stock, the store has more than 900 alphabetized categories.

“Right now, we have a copy of the true First Edition of the Book of Mormon, priced at $100,000,” owner John K. King told CNN. “Our oldest book is a copy of the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas, printed in Venice in 1482.”

Parnassus Books (Nashville, Tennessee)
When “Bel Canto” author Ann Patchett opened a bookstore in Nashville with a partner she’d just met, she didn’t expect to be become the unofficial spokesperson for indie bookstores struggling in Amazon’s wake. Patchett’s efforts to publicize the store thrust it into the literary spotlight when it opened, securing a New York Times front page story and a spot on “The Colbert Report.” Thanks to Patchett’s connections, Parnassus has no shortage of famous writers turning up to read from their latest books. As befitting its location in the birthplace of country music, the store carries a thoughtfully curated music section.

The Last Bookstore (Los Angeles)
Hopefully, the Last Bookstore will never fulfill the prophecy of its name. The popular warehouse-like store buys and sells new and used books and is home to an excellent coffee bar and a record shop.
The store’s columnar displays of books are so cool, they served as a backdrop for a fashion shoot in the latest issue of “Esquire.” The 100,000 books stacked in the “Labyrinth Above the Last Bookstore” section on the mezzanine level sell for a dollar each. “The space we occupy was originally a bank, and there are still vaults on both floors of our store, but now they are full of books,” says store manager Katie Orphan. “We generally have around 200,000 books in the store at any given time.”

“The Goldfinch” Headed To The Big Screen

Donna Tartt’s third novel, “The Goldfinch,” has attracted a string of award nominations and a Pulitzer Prize. Its success continues with news that Warner Bros has acquired the film rights to the book, and that a feature film production is in the works.

Brett Ratner, who directed “Rush Hour” and “Red Dragon,” will co-produce with Brad Simpson and Nina Jacobson, the producer of “The Hunger Games.” Ratner’s most recent directorial effort is the summer blockbuster “Hercules.”

Tartt’s novel is 784 pages long and follows a grieving 13-year-old boy, whose fate becomes intertwined with a mysterious 17th-century painting at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

John Green’s Books To Racy To Read?


First it was Florida, then Wisconsin. John Green’s books – (though not “The Fault in Our Stars”) — have been coming under fire from parents.
In Pasco County, Fla., Green’s young adult novel “Paper Towns” was removed from an eighth-grade summer reading list after a parent complained about its content. Joanne Corcoran’s 13-year-old daughter “came to her mother asking her the definition of ‘masturbation,'” the Tampa Bay Times reports. “Corcoran further spotted F-bombs and references to teen sex.”
“Paper Towns” was rapidly removed from the reading list, a move that attracted the attention of censorship opponents, including the National Coalition Against Censorship. The book has been restored to the list.
Meanwhile, in Waukesha, Wis., parents tried to remove another of Green’s novels, “Looking for Alaska,” from school shelves, complaining the sexual content of “Looking for Alaska” was too mature for middle and high school students. As a local TV news station reported, they think the book was “too racy to read.”
Local school officials disagreed: they decided that “Looking for Alaska” will remain in the schools. Earlier this year, parents in Strasburg, Colo., challenged both books. Letters of support sent by more than 1,000 of Green’s readers and fans may have helped sway the school board, which voted 3-2 to allow “Looking for Alaska” and “Paper Towns” to remain.

Booker Prize Long List

The 2014 Man Booker Prize longlist, which, for the first time in the prize’s 46 year history, includes writers outside of the U.K. and Commonwealth, has been announced. Americans Joshua Ferris and Richard Powers made the cut, but Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning The Goldfinch was surprisingly absent.
The shortlist of six books will be announced on September 9. The shortlisted authors each receive £2,500 and a specially bound edition of their book. The winner of the prize, announced October 14, will receive another £50,000.
The 2014 Man Booker Longlist
Joshua Ferris (American) To Rise Again at a Decent Hour
Richard Flanagan (Australian) The Narrow Road to the Deep North
Karen Joy Fowler (American) We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
Siri Hustvedt (American) The Blazing World
Howard Jacobson (British) J
Paul Kingsnorth (British) The Wake
David Mitchell (British) The Bone Clocks
Neel Mukherjee (British) The Lives of Others
David Nicholls (British) Us
Joseph O’Neill (Irish/American) The Dog
Richard Powers (American) Orfeo
Ali Smith (British) How to be Both
Niall Williams (Irish) History of the Rain

Summer Thrillers ~ Show August 16 and 17


“The Director” by David Ignatius
“Let the Devil Sleep” by John Verdon
“The Heist” by Daniel Silva
“Operation Shakespeare: The True Story of an Elite International Sting” by John Shiffman
“Midnight in Europe” by Alan Furst
“Zodiac Station” by Tom Harper
“Paw and Order” by Spencer Quinn

Daniel Silva, Author

Cops and undercover agents are at the top of their game in this summer’s thrillers. Elaine discusses “The Heist” with Daniel Silva, a book that finds Gabriel Allon going up against a criminal network of art thieves and international terrorists.

Fictional Heroines and Real World Women ~ Show August 23 and 24


“The Competition” by Marcia Clark
“Top Secret 21″ by Janet Evanovich
“Sally Ride: America’s First Woman in Space” by Lynn Sherr
“Eyes on You” by Kate White
“I Love You More” by Jennifer Murphy
“The Widow’s File” by S. G. Redling
“Diary of a Mad Diva” by Joan Rivers

Janet Evanovich, Author

A salute to the fictional heroines who never play it safe…and to real world women who boldly go where few men have gone before. Elaine speaks with Janet Evanovich about the indomitable Stephanie Plum, about to set off on her 21st adventure.