Give Your Old Books A New Lease on Life

This is not so much a blog entry as it is a plea on behalf of people in desperate need of escape. As a book critic for several publications I receive, on average, eight-to-twelve books every month. It goes without exaggeration that books have a tendency to pile up. Stacks in every nook and corner of our small home quickly escalate from evidence of a moderate reader to hoarder status. A couple of decades ago when I first started reviewing books I simply gave them to friends or - forgive me - tossed the not-so-great ones into the recycling bin. Occasionally an editor would send me the first edition of a book that I had reviewed pre-publication, and I started donating these to my local library. I still do this, but for some reason I get sent fewer follow up first editions these days.

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"Christmas to Me" by Harper Lee

What's the best Christmas present you've ever received? One lonely Christmas - stuck in New York City and unable to get home to Alabama to see her family - Harper Lee spent the holiday with friends... and received a Christmas gift that would end up being a present to the entire literary world. In the short story "Christmas to Me" (McCall's Magazine, 1961), Lee writes about her experience:

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The Simple Brilliance of Liter of Light

Millions of people live in shantytowns across the world, many in corrugated-iron-roofed shacks with no windows. This leaves the residents with the choice of living in complete darkness or running expensive electric bulbs (if electricity is even available to them).

Liter of Light has a solution which is so mind-bogglingly simple that it is pure brilliance:

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2010 BookBrowse Award Winners

4045 votes were cast by BookBrowse subscribers to decide the 2010 BookBrowse Award winners. Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote!

The winners are ...

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Early Video Interview with J.K. Rowling - Over the Moon at Selling 30,000 Books!

I just came across this early interview with J.K. Rowling (probably from late 1998 or early 1999). She's sitting in the now famous Edinburgh House cafe in Edinburgh where she wrote the early Harry Potter books. She looks, frankly, exhausted, but hugely excited to have sold 30,000 copies of her first two books - especially as her agent told her, "there's not much money in children's books." She goes on to say that she's always wanted to write but "my realistic side had not allowed me to dream about half of what has happened to me," - this in reference to her agent selling the first two Harry Potter books to eight countries so, as she says with huge excitement, "it will be translated in France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Italy and Finland ... I love the idea of saying I'm big in Finland!"

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More Opportunites to be Immortalized in Fiction

Another chance to have your name immortalized in a book by a favorite author, or to give the ultimate unique gift to a loved one, while also donating to the First Amendment Project - a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing free legal services on public interest free speech and free press matters.

Authors taking part include Suzanne Brockmann, Kevin J. Anderson, Rebecca Moesta, Dan Chaon, Andrew Sean Greer, Ben Katchor, Elinor Lipman, Margot Livesey, Rick Moody, Thomas Perry, Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum, Laura Benedict, T Campbell, Patrick deWitt, Joshua Ferris, Dan Gutman, Phillip Margolin, Nami Mun, Francine Prose, Mona Simpson, Ayelet Waldman, Robert Mailer Anderson, Janet Burroway, Stacey D'Erasmo, Dave Eggers, Dan Gutman, Derek Haas, Walter Kim, Lorrie Moore, Francine Prose, Mona Simpson,Jane Smiley and Vendela Vida

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