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“Biographers who are also their subjects’ friends are almost always in an impossible position,” notes Carl Rollyson in writing about Chip Bishop’s new book on Teddy Roosevelt’s friendship with his biographer and about his own experiences when writing on British filmmaker Jill Craigie—which turned out to be two very different experiences—in The Lion and the Journalist.
Titles of books come from everywhere—history, the Bible, other stories, oneself. But what, wondered Gillian Polack, is actually being done. What are the variations and the choices today, and how do they add to the book or make a book harder to read? In How Naming Conventions Work: A Quick Look at Novels of the Fantastic she explores why some fantasy novels “drag us into a strange world and keep us there and some keep sending us into the kitchen in search of coffee.
When one’s mood is dark sometimes it takes something darker to make it lighter. Or at least to move on. Lauren Roberts found a book she hadn’t anticipated liking to be surprisingly perfect at a time when darkness appeared to be all there was in The Mysterious Lightness of Darkness.
A busy, complicated and even stressful week often calls for some good reading time where some peace and serenity can be found. We have that here, and we hope you enjoy it.
We all feel an affinity with authors we love, but what happens when that affinity becomes something deeper and we want to be part of a favorite book or make it our own in a unique way? Lev Raphael explores how he did just that in Literary Licence?
Ah, those long-ago patrons, the saviors of medieval artists. Would Elizabeth Creith’s dream of having one today turn out to match the reality? Find out as she looks at the dream and the likely reality, side by side in Pass the Scotch and Birdseed.
Would it surprise anyone to realize that books alone don’t make a library? Nicki Leone recently discovered that when, after filling her new bookshelves she still found something missing. In The Tools of the Trade, she shares how Mom (and a carpenter) completed her library.
In life, there are times when we are required to make a hurried decision that may well yield a fateful outcome. It’s unavoidable—same as real life. Katherine Hauswirth recently read two novels that reminded her (and will every reader) of several truths about living life in The Point of No Return.
Appliances to clean the flooring in one’s home have included tree branches, brooms, rug beaters, carpet sweepers, and vacuums. Lauren Roberts sweeps through a short but interesting history of the carpet sweeper and the Bissell people who made the transition between brooms and today’s vacuums a fascinating reality in “Pleasanter Things.”
Lauren Roberts wishes you all a very good week and invites you to partake of our newest columns in This Week.
When BiblioBuffet began life in early January 2006, the revolution in publishing had barely been born. Signs of life were overlaid with enormous doubt by many. Yet as that revolution has grown to encompass e-books and quality self-publishing so have authors risen to meet it. Our submission standards for books seeking review has changed too because we believe that good books, no matter their source, deserve notice. And this week, Carl Rollyson addresses that very issue.
Fantasy! Worlds of rich imagination that explore real social and cultural questions have always attracted Gillian Polack to them. And now a much beloved series led her to the author and to an interview where the author shares how he developed the story, sold it, about how one novel became four, and what happened when readers entered the picture.
Self-publishing has been much on Carl Rollyson’s mind lately, and in this issue he begins what will be an in-depth exploration of the value of self-publishing to the biographer. Is it true that there are “no small subjects, just small biographers”? Find out in The Self-Published Biography.
It is amazing the art that is being made out of books, some of it so beautiful as to be ethereal. But can that same tag be applied to bookshelves that seem created to be than places for actual books than works of art that happen to shelve items known as books? Lauren Roberts surprises herself with some new feelings about shelves that are more self-centered than book-centered in What Shall We Call It?
Ooh, do we have a great issue for you. It roves widely as our columnists find the humor in bad situations, explore the triangular world of bookmarks, a surprisingly look at Westerns, and at journeys of mythic proportions.
Writers often have a love-hate relationship with their computers. The computer offers ideal editing possibilities but it can also prove sneaky and underhanded when you least expect it. Elizabeth Creith learns, much to her regret, that when a computer climbs into bed and begins to moan, one really should pay attention in Why I Print Things Out.
High adventure of the Viking kind is what thrilled Nicki Leone in her most recent book. A translated and re-issued edition of what she calls “panoramic and almost ballad-like in its language and a “stirring epic of a bygone age” in Long Journeys in Wild Lands.
Bookmarks are so often rectangular in shape that we often forget they come in more unusual, and sometimes even more practical, ones. Laine Farley explores the world of corner bookmarks, those that sit on the edge of a page almost like a non-injurious dog ear, proudly proclaiming their existence in Turning Corners.
What happens when you kind of accidentally get drawn into a genre you never read, and thought you never would, by a book of surprising substance and interest? Katherine Hauswirth moves into the world of Westerns with a new and worthy book that “shows us people in the dusty whirlwind of change and how they travel through it” in When the Going Gets Tough.
Dictionaries are beautiful books. The words, their history and meanings, all merge together to create the foundation of books of every genre. If a dictionary is sufficiently large it can also be used as a literal doorstop—but such a use does have its dangers as Lauren Roberts shares in (Beware) Be Aware of Dictionaries.