Monthly Archives: January 2015

New Book Coming in ‘Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’ Series

The author of the series may have passed away more than a decade ago, but his work hasn’t stopped.

According to Entertainment Weekly, a sequel to Stieg Larsson’s “Millennium” series — which includes The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest — is due to be released in 35 countries later this year.

The Swedish publisher hired author David Lagercrantz to finish the story Stieg Larsson began writing before he died.

I first reported more than a year ago that the sequel, entitled That Which Does Not Kill, would be released in August 2015. Shockingly, it’s on time. The author finished it in November, and a release date is set for August 27th.

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How Amazon’s New E-Book Service is Killing Authors’ Game

While the word “unlimited” in the name Kindle Unlimited may be appealing to readers, it may not be so appealing to authors.

According to The New York Times, Amazon’s new e-book subscription service, Kindle Unlimited, is seriously diminishing the amount of money made by self-publishers who use the service. That’s because Kindle Unlimited offers readers unlimited access to more than 700,000 titles for a mere $9.99 per month. Think of it as the Spotify or Netflix of books.

Great in theory, not so great in reality, as David Streitfeld explains.

“Six months ago people were quitting their day job, convinced they could make a career out of writing,” said Bob Mayer, an e-book consultant and publisher who has written 50 books. “Now people are having to go back to that job or are scraping to get by.  That’s how quickly things have changed.”

Consumers feast on these services, which can offer new artists a wider audience than they ever could have found before the digital era.

Some established artists, however, see fewer rewards.

The solution to the problem? While some self-publishers are now opting to pull out of the service altogether, others have realized the most efficient way to make money through the service is to write and publish more books — and faster. That’s resulting in shorter serialized novels and short stories.

I can’t help but think that despite the talent of some of these authors, the fast pace to keep up would only hurt the quality of the books offered online.

This is just another mess for Amazon to clean up after last year’s fiasco with Hachette. But the question is: will they, in fact, clean it up?

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Review: The Goldfinch

Recap: When a young boy loses his mother in a terroristic attack inside a New York City museum, it’s hard to picture where the plot will go. But then that boy, Theo, steals a painting, the famous “Goldfinch” painting, and runs off. His chance meeting with an old man after the attack encourages him to get in touch with the old man’s business partner, Hobie, and niece, who was also at the museum during the explosion. The story takes us through the next 15 years of the boy’s life, all spent with his infamously stolen painting as he continues to struggle with the loss of his mother. Along the way, Theo meets and makes new friends. Theo and the painting start their journey together in New York, living with his friend Andy, then a brief, but impactful stint in Las Vegas, where he befriends Boris, back to New York and finally one last life-altering trip. But as Theo works to put his life back together and prove to his dead mother and himself that he’s fine on his own, one question remains: what will he do with the painting? If he returns it, he faces jail time for theft. If he keeps it, he remains involved in the one of the biggest art heists in history — accidental or not.

Analysis: It’s hard to imagine that anyone could have written a 700+ page book about a painting of a bird, but it happens, and dare I say, I’m glad it did. “The Goldfinch” painting is a very obvious symbol and metaphor for Theo. Like the bird in the painting, Theo is chained down, unable to free himself from the painting or the guilt suffered from death of his mother. With both intact, it’s impossible for Theo to move on. The journey he takes to reach that moment of freedom is long and dark, but worth it for the payoff. Theo works so hard to be like his mother — intelligent and kind, but without her there, he becomes more like his father, full of lies and cheating. His life becomes a horrible cycle of bad things happening to him followed by bad choices he makes. The Goldfinch is full of metaphors, besides “The Goldfinch” itself. For instance, Theo comes to love refurbishing antique furniture, but author Donna Tarttl makes it a point to include that he most enjoys taking pieces apart and putting them back together again — the one thing he wishes he could do with his life but can’t. Theo is sad. “The Goldfinch” is sad. And The Goldfinch is sad. But in following Theo’s long, harsh story, we — along with Theo — learn what’s important in life and that it’s possible to overcome the things one doesn’t expect to have to overcome.

MVP: Hobie. One of the few completely likable characters in the novel, Hobie means well and does well. He is the only living person always there for Theo in exactly the way he needs, and in the moment when Theo acknowledges that he’s lied to and taken advantage of Hobie, my heart broke for him. Get The Goldfinch in hardcover for $18. Or on your Kindle for $6.99.

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‘Ready Player One’ Sequel in the Works

If you loved Re220px-Ready_Player_One_coverady Player One even remotely as much as I did, then I have some very exciting news to report. A sequel to the 2011 bestseller by Ernest Cline is reportedly in the works.

According to SlashFilm.com, which has also been reporting on the Ready Player One movie, author Ernie Cline keeps coming up with more and more ideas for the Ready Player One sequel, as Jermaine Lussier explains:

The news of the Ready Player One sequel comes from the new screenwriter Zak Penn. He said the following to Den of Geek:

Ernie’s working on a sequel to Ready Player One, and it is one of those great ideas that has endless possibilities. And to a certain extent, the longer it exists and the more Ernie thinks about it, the more he comes up with.

Personally, I loved the way the book ended and don’t necessarily agree that it needs a sequel at all, but that absolutely does not mean I’m not interested in reading it. When it’s expected to be released — or when the movie’s expected to be released — is still unclear.

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No R-E-S-P-E-C-T for Aretha Franklin In New Biography

Some people just can’t get any respect.

According to Entertainment Weekly, soul singer Aretha Franklin is claiming to be one of those people, after she says a new unauthorized biography about her is “trashy” and “full of lies.”

David Ritz wrote the new biography, entitled Respect: The Life of Aretha Franklin. In it, he writes that Franklin dealt with teenage pregnancies, family dysfunction, and alleged alcoholism. He also claims that she’s jealous of singers like Diana Ross and Whitney Houston.

Franklin then released this statement:

“As many of you are aware, there is a very trashy book out there full of lies and more lies about me. Clearly the writer has no class, no conscience or standards! His actions are obviously vindictive because I edited out some crazy statements he had the gall to try and put in my book written 15 years ago. Evidently, he has been carrying this hatred ever since.”

Interestingly, this is not the first biography Ritz has written about Aretha Franklin. He penned her authorized biography, Aretha: From These Roots back in 1999. He also wrote the album notes on her 1992 box set release of Queen of Soul: The Atlantic Recordings.

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