Readers’ Corner: Philip Seymour Hoffman

Chris Barsanti

One more note on the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman. Back in 2004, he was interviewed by The Believer and the talk sprawled over beyond life and acting into things literary.

yates__paradeHoffman has played a few great figures from both sides of the literary page (Willy Loman, Truman Capote), but that’s not what gave him the credentials for this interview, it’s that he was clearly a passionate reader. Not a lot people out there these days who will stand up and shout for the dark glories of somebody like Richard Yates:

If you do any great art you’re somehow exposing a part of you. Like Richard Yates, Jesus Christ, that book, you almost don’t want to meet him. I kept feeling for the characters as if they existed.

But perhaps most beautifully, he identifies one of the great solaces of reading, that it’s an act in and of itself with…

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Quest For Mars Continues

Eleventh Stack

Today in 1971 the Mariner 9 became the first space vehicle to orbit another planet–Mars.   With India’s recent pursuit of its own  mission to the red planet, the allure of Mars remains a fixed point on humanity’s collective horizon.  As you might imagine, plenty of ink has been spilled over Mars exploration.  We’ll take a moment on this auspicious day in the history of space exploration to highlight a few items from our own collection.

Red-Rover-cover Red Rover : Inside The Story Of Robotic Space Exploration, From Genesis To The Mars Rover Curiosity by Roger Wiens.  As the chance for a manned mission to Mars within the next decade or more grows less and less likely, this book focuses on the history and future of the next best option, robotic proxies.  Equipped with state of the art tech that delivers the next best thing to actually being there, robotic…

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Changing Face of Book Publishing: Indie Publishers Partner with Amazon

Parallel Universe

We Say We Want a Revolution

by G G Collins  (Copyright 2013)

There is a revolution going on and it’s changing the world of book publishing. Indie publishers are uniting and uploading their books to the Amazon machine. The days of a half-dozen huge New York book publishers making all the decisions on what the public will read is coming to an end. What has led us to this threshold? Of course technology is part of it, but traditional publishers are partly to blame. Is it a good change or not? Probably both, but like other revolutions, it is a sea change, a wave that cannot be turned back.

Putting Aside Perceptions

The first day I walked into a book publisher as a new employee, I thought that writers (authors after you write a book) would be revered. I would soon know differently as one after another, my beliefs would…

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It’s a Good Time to Be a Woman in Literature


On October 10, legendary Canadian author Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize for Literature, the first Canadian-based author to ever receive the honour*, and only the 13th woman overall in the history of the prize. It’s an interesting award because, rather than just one book, the winner is judged on a lifetime of work. While announcing her win, the Swedish academy referred to the 82-year-old author as, “Master of the contemporary short story.”

Now, the Man Booker Prize, a prestigious annual award given to “the best original full-length novel, written in the English language, by a citizen of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Republic of Ireland, or Zimbabwe,” has just been awarded to New Zealand author Eleanor Catton for her novel The Luminaries, set in the 19th century goldfields of New Zealand.

A bit of history. The 45-year-old prize was originally just called the Booker Prize from 1969 –…

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National Book Award Finalists Announced

The Pop Culture Pulse

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The five finalists for the National Book Award for fiction has been officially announced. The finalists include Thomas Pynchon (The Bleeding Edge), Jhumpa Lahiri (The Lowland), James McBride (The Good Lord Bird), Rachel Kushner, (The Flamethrowers), and George Saunders (Tenth of December).

Lahiri, Saunders, and Pynchon, have been on USA TODAY’s Best-Selling Books list this year with Lahiri peaking at number 9, Saunders at number 26, and Pynchon at number 29.

Pynchon is the notoriously private novelist who has continually captivated audiences for over 40 years. His novel, “The Bleeding Edge” is set in New York between the dot-com boom and 9/11. He is one of the most known novelists in this year’s finalists. However, it is doubtful that he will attend the black-tie awards ceremony in New York as he has evaded journalists throughout his 40 year career. In 1974 when he won…

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