U.S. bill proposes free e-textbooks, author and journalist ranked in bottom 50 of 200 jobs, and more
- Affordable College Textbook Act may mean free e-textbooks in U.S.
- CareerCast.com ranks author #156 and journalist #200 among 200 jobs
- Publisher André Schiffrin has died
- Donal Ryan’s The Spinning Heart wins Guardian First Book Award
- Carole Cadwalladr’s week as an Amazon insider
- The staying power of the book
When Tanya Davis and Andrea Dorfman collaborated to create the YouTube video-poem How to Be Alone, the Haligonian duo never imagined it would go viral, let alone lead to a book adaptation.
Released in July 2010, the poignant video rode the zeitgeist into popularity, garnering more than five million views to date. “It [confronts] the challenges and joys of figuring out how to be alone,” says Dorfman, a filmmaker, animator, and artist.
Those themes resonated with the pair even before they met. “I think a lot about solitude and connection, and how [they] are part of the same human experience,” says Davis, Halifax’s former poet laureate.
While Davis and Dorfman were pleased with the project’s runaway success, the idea of turning it into an illustrated book did not come about until they were approached by a U.S. publisher. Advised by a friend, they signed on with agent Denise Bukowski, who was convinced they could improve on the original offer.
“I have never seen an offer that low, especially when [the publisher] wanted the authors to supply finished art for every page,” says Bukowski, who began shopping the book around.
Eventually, Maya Ziv, an editor at HarperCollins in New York, picked up North American rights to the book, which will be released in the fall. How to Be Alone will feature Davis’s poem and illustrations by Dorfman, who is “champing at the bit” to complete them in time for the book’s imminent release.
Despite their elation, Davis and Dorfman say going from screen to page has its challenges. “How I lay out the text so [people] read it the way I intended is difficult,” Davis says. “I can’t really control how they hear it in their heads … but you have to really relinquish that control … once the book gets in the reader’s hands.” For Dorfman, the video’s success adds “a certain amount of pressure” to meet fans’ expectations.
Those concerns aside, the pair is excited for the direction their artistic collaboration is taking. “I like seeing it on the Internet … but a book is just [something] you can smell, see, and feel,” Davis says. “This is a nice way, in the impermanent world, to have a little piece of something concrete.”
How to Be Alone launches in Toronto tonight, 7 p.m. at the Gladstone Hotel.
This article appeared in the March 2013 issue of Q&Q.
- The New York Times reveals 100 Notable Books of 2013
- New American curriculum standards mean a shift away from teaching fiction
- Teemu Manninen on the fate of virtual literature
- Book Trust poll names Trainspotting favourite Scottish novel of last 50 years
- The Invisible Woman slated for film adaptation
- Dame Antonia Fraser says Costa shortlist proves women’s prize for fiction obsolete
- The revival of indie bookstores and why they’re still okay
- How booksellers are preparing for the holidays
Five eminent book designers make their choices for the year’s best covers.
Click on the thumbnails to read more about their picks.
Montreal’s Concordia University now houses a reading room in honour of Canadian author Mordecai Richler, who was a student and writer-in-residence at Sir George Williams University, one of Concordia’s founding institutions.
An assortment of the author’s personal possessions were donated by Richler’s family and literary estate with the help of Frederick Lowy, a former Concordia president who advocated for the room’s creation.
From an article in Maclean’s by Richler’s son, Jacob:
Concordia has designated adjoining rooms of a combined 65 sq. m for the purpose. My father’s tea-stained desk will be on permanent display, along with one of his old typewriters and other items transplanted from his office. The space is not adequate for displaying the entire collection we made available, of 157 boxes containing 5,000-odd books, and sheaths of typescripts and personal papers. But all this has been inventoried, and most will be accessible.
[My mother] wanted it presented in a way that amounted to some sort of permanent monument to his favourite workspace through inclusion of select papers, and in particular, his favourite desk. The desk on which he wrote Joshua Then and Now, Solomon Gursksy, and Barney’s Version.
Lastly, my mother wanted the collection to remain in Montreal. And as McGill declined the opportunity, Concordia was the obvious choice.
The room, on the 6th floor of the university’s J.W. McConnell Building, will be officially opened Nov. 28 by Richler’s widow, Florence, along with son Jacob and Concordia president Alan Shepard. Concordia hopes it will “ensure that his works continue to be analyzed, celebrated, and critiqued for generations to come.”
- Previously unpublished J.D. Salinger stories leaked online
- Fox Searchlight to produce J.R.R. Tolkien biopic
- Amazon gets strict about illegitimate use of keywords
- Books still most durable medium for storing information
- Jamie Reid’s Doped wins William Hill Sports Book of the Year
- Random House releases first Hindi ebook
- Voxburner U.K. survey finds 62 per cent of teens still prefer print over ebooks
Created by Swedish studio Simogo, Device 6 is a word-based “metaphysical thriller” that can be played on the iPad and iPhone. The interactive novella, about a woman who wakes up on a desert island without a clue as to how she arrived there, mixes text with cartography, 3-D photographs, and Saul Bass–inspired graphics. Available for $3.99 U.S., the game has sold well, despite the fact that a Simogo spokesperson says, “It’s got a pretty slow pace. It doesn’t have the instant gratification that many games have. This is something that you play and take your time to digest.”
Although The Atlantic interviews several publishing insiders excited about the potential of literary games, they’re still considered a “niche interest” in a market dominated by shoot-’em-up titles. Earlier this month, Q&Q interviewed Jim Munroe, board member of the game-arts organization the Hand Eye Society and organizer of Wordplay, a free “writerly” video-game festival, who says that text-based titles are “are rarely commercial and often distributed for free.”
Click on the thumbnails to find out which non-fiction titles made an impact in 2013.
- Toronto’s Steven Temple Books to close after 40 years in business
- U.K.’s Costa Book Awards shortlists announced
- 373-year-old book sold for more than $14 million at auction
- “No animals harmed during production” not always true of book-to-movie adaptations
- Hunger Games inspires young girls to try archery
- BBC reports U.K.’s Amazon workers at increased risk of mental and physical illness
- Comedian Steve Macone’s helpful definitions for modern authors