Read All Day

February 6, 2011 by  
Filed under Pipeline

Nina Sankovitch has been an inspiration for me.  From October 2008 to October 2009 she read a book a day and wrote about it (intelligently and cogently) at her website ReadAllDay.  Here’s what she says about why she did it: “I began my year in an effort to come to terms with the tragic death of my oldest sister, Anne-Marie, and to find purpose and meaning in my life. I called my year of reading The 365 Project.”

I’ve sent her some books to read and she has given me lots of suggestions for books I have read, and in some cases then interviewed authors for Writerscast.  We’ve liked some of the same books, but judging from her site, she and I have very different reading interests.  Knowing that has helped me choose some new directions, which I think is a great way to keep from falling into a reading rut.

Meanwhile, Nina’s year of reading adventure was discovered and written about by the New York Times and a number of other media outlets, and she even got a book deal.  Her book is called Tolstoy and the Magic Chair: My year of magical reading will be published in June by Harper.  I certainly plan to read it and interview her about it too.  I’m jealous and dumbstruck with admiration for what she has done.

Anyway, the reason I am writing about Nina is because she has launched a redesigned website that I think is worth a visit.  She is continuing to read and write reviews about books of all sizes and shapes – not every day of course, but more books than most people can read and write about intelligently.  Here’s how she does it:

HOW TO READ All DAY
Always have a book with you.
Read while waiting.
Read while eating.
Read while exercising.
Read before bed.
Read before getting out of bed.
Read instead of updating FB.
Read instead of watching TV.
Read instead of vacuuming.
Read while vacuuming.
Read with a book group.
Read with your kid.
Read with your cat.
Read to your dog.
Read on a schedule.
Always have a book with you.

Thank you Nina!

Corinne Demas reading from “The Writing Circle”

January 19, 2011 by  
Filed under AuthorsVoices

978-1401341145 – Hardcover – Hyperion – $23.99 (e-book edition available $11.99)

Writerscast is proud to present the fourth in a series of authors reading from their work, called AuthorsVoices.   I hope you will agree that hearing these works read aloud by the original authors adds to your experience of the writing.

I definitely enjoyed reading this novel quite a bit.  Corinne Demas is a very fine writer.  I think the word that comes to mind for me is “deft.”  There are a number of characters here, all of whom are important, and the way the story is told reminded me of an ever tightening spiral, as we start from the seeming mundane outside and move ever closer into the lives of these people around a series of events that provides the structure of the book.  This is a very well put together novel.

Corinne Demas is a talented and accomplished writer – she’s written adult novels, short stories, children’s picture books and chapter books, a play and she writes poetry as well.  In addition, she teaches full time at Mt. Holyoke.

This selection from The Writing Circle should give listeners a good sense of the writing of a book I’ve been enthusiastic about recommending to readers.  My recent interview with Corinne is here at Writerscast.  And Corinne’s own website will tell you much more about her and her excellent body of work.

Publishing Talks: David Wilk interviews Bob Stein

In this series of interviews, called Publishing Talks, I have been talking to book industry professionals about the future of publishing, books, and culture.  This is a period of disruption and change for all media businesses. How will publishing evolve as our culture is affected by technology, climate change, population density, and the ebb and flow of civilization and its economics?

I hope these Publishing Talks conversations will help us understand the outlines of what is happening, and how we might ourselves interact with and influence the future of publishing as it unfolds.

These interviews give people in the book business a chance to talk openly about ideas and concerns that are often only talked about “around the water cooler,” at industry conventions and events, and in emails between friends and they give people inside and outside the book industry a chance to hear first hand some of the most interesting and challenging thoughts, ideas and concepts being discussed by people in the book business.

Bob Stein is for me one of the great visionary innovators and someone I greatly admire.   He most recently co-founded The Institute for the Future of the Book, which quite modestly describes itself as “a small think-and-do tank investigating the evolution of intellectual discourse as it shifts from printed pages to networked screens. We are funded generously by the MacArthur Foundation, and affiliated with the University of Southern California. We are located in Brooklyn, NY and London, UK.”  Bob’s bio includes founding the excellent Criterion Collection of classic films, which he ran for 13 years, as well as The Voyager Company, which produced more than 75 innovative multi-media projects in CD-ROM formats.  Subsequently, Stein started Night Kitchen to develop authoring tools for the next generation of electronic publishing. That work is now being continued at the Institute for the Future of the Book.

In our conversation Bob talked a bit about his background and his history of working in publishing as lead in to a wide ranging discussion of digital publishing issues.  Bob’s vision of how reading and books work in the digital, networked social environment – “books as conversation” as well as or perhaps instead of “books as objects” – and how authors and readers interact in the emerging environment is compelling.  Bob has a deep experience that combines conceptual and hands-on work on so many of the issues that concern anyone interested in books and reading which for me makes his point of view so important to experience.

Publishing Talks: David Wilk interviews Jan Weissmiller

April 8, 2010 by  
Filed under PublishingTalks, The Future

In this series of interviews, called Publishing Talks, I have been talking to book industry professionals about the future of publishing, books, and culture.  This is a period of disruption and change for all media businesses.
How will publishing evolve as our culture is affected by technology, climate change, population density, and the ebb and flow of civilization and its economics? Publishing Talks interviews help us understand the outlines of what is happening, and how we might ourselves interact with and influence the future of publishing as it unfolds.

These interviews give people in the book business a chance to talk openly about ideas and concerns that are often only talked about “around the water cooler,” at industry conventions and events, and in emails between friends.
I believe these interviews give people inside and outside the book industry a chance to hear first hand some of the most interesting and challenging thoughts, ideas and concepts being discussed within the industry.

Jan Weissmiller recently achieved her fifteen minutes of fame when President Barack Obama visited her store – and the picture of her selling him a book went viral very quickly.  But Prairie Lights Bookstore has more going for it than simply being the backdrop for the first  citizen’s book buying habit writ large.  It’s been a fixture in the strongly literary community of Iowa City since Jim Harris started the store there in the late ’70s.

As times have changed, so has the store, and today Prairie Lights has an active web presence in addition to its longstanding role as “the” local bookstore in one of the great small towns of middle America.  I’ve been to the store many times over the years, and deeply admire the vision and care demonstrated first by Jim and Jan, when she was the first employee of the store, and now by Jan and her current wonderful staff of book devotees.  Many towns no longer have the opportunity to experience the depth of knowledge that a great bookstore can provide.  What Jan and Prairie Lights show us about bookselling is important – people use technology to make life easier, but people need other people to make life meaningful.

In case you missed it, here is the link to the NY Times story about Prairie Lights. And here’s the now famous photo.

Jan Weissmiller was the first employee of Prairie Lights, beginning in 1979, and is now its co-owner.

Matthew Aaron Goodman reading from Hold Love Strong

February 2, 2010 by  
Filed under AuthorsVoices, Fiction

goodman978-141-656203-0 – Hardcover  – Simon & Schuster Touchstone – $24.99

Writerscast is proud to inaugurate a new series of authors reading from their work we are calling AuthorsVoices.   I hope you will agree that hearing these works read aloud, especially by the original authors, will add greatly to one’s experience of the writing and the authors’ distinct sense of their own words. With writers touring for books less frequently now, these podcasts should provide readers with an opportunity to hear some of our best contemporary authors reading  from, and sometimes performing their own works.

Matthew Aaron Goodman’s first novel is called Hold Love Strong; in my opinion, it is a particularly powerful work of fiction (my interview with him is below).  This is a terrific book, with powerful language and vivid imagery.  Matthew gives his words their full due with this excellent reading from his book.141656203601_sx140_sy225_sclzzzzzzz_

Publishing Talks: David Wilk Interviews Susan Danziger of DailyLit

December 8, 2009 by  
Filed under PublishingTalks

danziger1In this series of interviews, called Publishing Talks, I am talking to book industry professionals who have varying perspectives and thoughts about the future of publishing, books, and culture.  This is a period of disruption and change for all media businesses.  Publishing has been a crucial part of human culture for as long as people have been writing and reading.  How will publishing evolve as our culture is affected by technology, climate change, population density, and the ebb and flow of civilization and its economics? Publishing Talks interviews help us understand the outlines of what is happening, and how we might ourselves interact with and influence the future of publishing as it unfolds. Publishing Talks interviews give people in the book business a chance to talk about ideas and concerns in a public forum that are often only talked about “around the water cooler,” at industry conventions and events, and in emails between friends.  This series of talks will give people inside and outside the book industry a chance to hear about some of the thoughts, ideas and concepts that are currently being discussed by engaged individuals within the industry.

I was able to interview Susan Danziger, the dynamic founder of DailyLit whose slogan is “minutes a day of great reading in your inbox,” just a couple of days after she announced that DailyLit has gone from a combination of pay and free services to all free all the time.  So we had alot to talk about.  I have been a big fan of DailyLit since it began – a deceptively simple idea that as Susan and her team has proved is a platform for many cool services for readers and publishers.  Susan talked to me about DailyLit, what the future holds both for her company and the publishing business and much more.  She also talked about her latest project, the Publishing Point, another cool venture (The point where publishing meets the future…) that is attracting attention and members.  And as if she does not have enough to do, she blogs too at both DailyLit’s blog and also her personal writing at susandanziger.com, and twitters here.  Her bio includes six years at Random House, a BA from Cornell, and a JD from NYU.

Listen in to one of the emerging leaders in the publishing world…..

Publishing Talks: David Wilk interviews Kassia Kroszer of Booksquare

November 26, 2009 by  
Filed under PublishingTalks

kassia_krozser-2In this series of interviews, called Publishing Talks, I am talking to book industry professionals who have varying perspectives and thoughts about the future of publishing, books, and culture.  This is a period of disruption and change for all media businesses.  Publishing has been a crucial part of human culture for as long as people have been writing and reading.  How will publishing evolve as our culture is affected by technology, climate change, population density, and the ebb and flow of civilization and its economics? Publishing Talks interviews help us understand the outlines of what is happening, and how we might ourselves interact with and influence the future of publishing as it unfolds. Publishing Talks interviews give people in the book business a chance to talk about ideas and concerns in a public forum that are often only talked about “around the water cooler,” at industry conventions and events, and in emails between friends.  This series of talks will give people inside and outside the book industry a chance to hear about some of the thoughts, ideas and concepts that are currently being discussed by engaged individuals within the industry.

I have wanted to talk to Kassia Krozser for a long time.  I’ve read her insightful and opinionated blogging and posting for quite a while, and like her approach to the book business – hard questions borne from a love of books, writing and the publishing business itself.  Her primary vehicle is booksquare.com, which as she has told me “dissects this world with love and skepticism.”

Her “about” section on Booksquare is well worth a read – you will get to know Kassia and her approach very quickly.  Here’s a quick quote:
In addition to ensuring that you get your regular dose of BS, Kassia is a founding partner of Medialoper, where she applies her natural love and skepticism to the ever-changing world of entertainment media. The daughter of a librarian, she finds dissecting and discussing books is like breathing — her insightful reviews appear at Paperback Reader. She’s a member of the LitBlog Co-op and a columnist for Romancing the Blog. She’s also published in a variety of other venues, and has, shockingly, received awards and accolades for her work. But she rarely mentions this as it seems like bragging.

In this interview Kassia and I covered alot of ground.  She was just back from her first attendance at the major international book fair in Frankfurt, Germany.  We talked about technology, comparing how it applies in developing nations versus the West, issues of elitism and access, cultural definitions, and the future of the book business, as well as the impending Google Book Settlement and e-book pricing strategies in this lively interview.

Publishing Talks: David Wilk interviews Mark Coker, Founder of Smashwords

November 18, 2009 by  
Filed under PublishingTalks

markcokersmashwordsminiIn this series of interviews, called Publishing Talks, I am talking to book industry professionals who have varying perspectives and thoughts about the future of publishing, books, and culture.  This is a period of disruption and change for all media businesses.  Publishing has been a crucial part of human culture for as long as people have been writing and reading.  How will publishing evolve as our culture is affected by technology, climate change, population density, and the ebb and flow of civilization and its economics? Publishing Talks interviews help us understand the outlines of what is happening, and how we might ourselves interact with and influence the future of publishing as it unfolds.

Publishing Talks interviews give people in the book business a chance to talk about ideas and concerns in a public forum that are often only talked about “around the water cooler,” at industry conventions and events, and in emails between friends.  This series of talks will give people inside and outside the book industry a chance to hear about some of the thoughts, ideas and concepts that are currently being discussed by engaged individuals within the industry.
Mark Coker is the founder of Smashwords, an online publishing and distribution platform for ebooks.  Smashwords publishes and distributes more than 4,000 original ebooks on behalf of 2,000 independent authors and 70 small publishers around the world.  They have recently made distribution deals with Barnes & Noble and Indigo’s new Shortcovers program as well.  I have recommended Smashwords to a number of authors and publishers who want to experiment with digital publishing.

Mark has been a long time technology entrepreneur.  He talks here about the founding of Smashwords and why he started it.  He has many interesting and valuable things to say about digital publishing and how technology is changing the future of books and reading.  His approach to publishing is creative and usefully disruptive.  You can read some of his thoughts in the new book section of Huffington Post, where he is blogging regularly.

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