The presidential inauguration is less than a week away. But if you don’t have tickets to an inaugural ball or you’re not planning to be out there watching the swearing-in in Washington, don’t worry, we’ve still got a way for you to be part of the occasion. Willy Chyr, founder of Collabowriters, a website that’s crowd-sourcing a novel, shares his advice for curating a crowd-sourced story.
On Christmas Day, Tom Hooper’s film adaptation of Les Misérables will debut in theaters nationwide to the delight of millions of fans. But behind the many adaptations of the story, is Victor Hugo's 1862 novel — a social, political, and literary masterpiece. Patrik Henry Bass, books editor for Essence, discusses the historical and cultural significance of Les Misérables.
The titans are clashing in the world of poetry. Over Thanksgiving, literary critic Helen Vendler published a savage review of a new anthology, "The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry." The book was edited by Rita Dove, a former Poet Laureate. Dove responded to Vendler's scathing review with an equally vitriolic reply. Vendler is white, and Dove is black, which is either tangential to, or central to, the issue — depending on whom you talk to. The incident has many in the poetry world talking about issues of race, aesthetics, and who belongs in the poetry books, and who does not.
The National Book Awards finalists were announced last month and they included more surprises than have been seen in recent memory. Among the finalists were a graphic novel in the non-fiction category and a total of six books in a category that only allows five. On Wednesday night, the questions and controversy will come to an end, as the awards are handed out. Patrik Henry Bass, editor of books at Essence and Takeaway contributor, gives some insight into the National Book Awards.
This year's winner of the prestigious Man Booker Prize for Fiction will be announced today. The British prize goes to "the very best book of the year" written in English by a citizen of the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland. Past winners have been propelled to international celebrity overnight, with the winning books selling hundreds of thousands of copies around the world. But this year's shortlist has generated a new complaint. Critics of the prize say Booker Prize judges have begun valuing "readability" above artistic excellence.
The Swedish Academy has awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature to 80 year old Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer. "Through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality," the Academy said in a statement. Patrik Henry Bass, Takeaway contributor and senior editor at Essence magazine, talks about Tranströmer's work and influence.
President Obama's approval ratings are at an all-time low. August's Gallup poll numbers showed that 41 percent of American adults approve of the way Obama is currently handling his job. Some of the largest declines in approval come from African-American voters — a group that formerly voted for Obama.
In the world of politics, we’ve come to expect many things from our presidential candidates: bus tours, baby kissing, political posturing, the occasional scandal, and of course, the candidate’s memoir.
Earlier this month, T.S. Eliot’s 424-line modernist poem "The Waste Land" became the most popular literary app in America. The app includes recordings of Eliot reading the poem. And last Friday, the Harry Potter franchise proved that it’s still thriving when author J.K. Rowling officially announced details about a new interactive website called "Pottermore." Are the "Waste Land" app and "Pottermore" site gimmicks that will quickly lose popularity? Or will they represent the new way to consume literature?
Father’s Day is this weekend, and in honor of the big day, we’re looking at some of our favorite fathers in fiction. Patrik Henry Bass, Takeaway contributor and senior editor at Essence magazine, says there are lessons to be learned from dads in novels like "Shoeless Joe" and "About a Boy," which tells the story of a man who learns how to grow up from a young boy.
Whether your summer plans include a vacation to the beach or a "staycation" in your backyard, 'tis the season for relaxing and reading. Today we’re kicking off a summer-long book club. John, Celeste and a few Takeaway contributors have posted their their top five summer books on our blog. We’re starting our summer of reading with a conversation about summer books, both from a reader’s perspective and from a publisher’s perspective.
Headed to the beach? Going on vacation? As summer kicks into gear, so does our summer reading conversation.Over the next three months we're recommending beach reading for our listeners and then talking to the authors behind the books. In June we're having producers pick the books, followed by Celeste Headlee's picks during July and John Hockenberry's choices in August.
But what about you? Check out these Top Five reading lists from our guests, and add your own! You can also join the conversation with us on Twitter. Include "#TakeawayReads" as you tweet your lists and we'll publish your picks here.
Fans are mourning the end of Oprah Winfrey's show. But the loss of the internationally syndicated talk show doesn’t just affect fans, it also affects book sales. Patrik Henry Bass, Takeaway contributor and senior editor at Essence magazine, talks with us about the impact Oprah has had on the publishing industry, and how publishers are preparing the life minus her book club.
Mother’s Day is just around the corner. And aside from flowers and chocolates, what should we be giving Mom? Patrik Henry Bass, Takeaway contributor and senior editor at Essence magazine has compiled a list of books to say "thank you for not being like Mommy Dearest." Patrik calls his list “an ode to some of the moms we’re thankful we never had.”
Following a CBS "60 Minutes" report that found factual errors in the best-selling book, "Three Cups of Tea," author Greg Mortenson and his charitable work in Afghanistan and Pakistan have come under fire. In the book, Mortenson writes about stumbling into a tiny village in northeastern Pakistan and coming across a group of schoolchildren doing their lessons with sticks and dirt. It was then, he writes, that he discovered his passion to build schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan. But "60 Minutes'" producers found factual errors in the book and suggest that Mortenson's charity may be spending money poorly and exaggerating their accomplishments. Mortenson is denying the allegations.
As e-books grow more and more popular, it’s not surprising that demand has grown, at online stores and libraries. But last week, it became more difficult for readers to get their e-books at the library. In the past publishers allowed libraries to lend out an e-book an unlimited number of times, but last week Harper Collins began enforcing a new set of rules. Under their new restrictions libraries may allow an e-book to be checked out only 26 times before it expires. What does this mean for e-books at libraries? And how are libraries around the country reacting?
Perhaps you’ve heard this riddle before: “What is the creature that is on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon, and three legs at night?" The answer is “a man.” Greek mythology has it that the riddle was posed by Sphinx to Oedipus. And it’s this riddle that’s the jumping off point of Arnold Weinstein’s new book “Morning, Noon and Night: Finding the Meaning of life's Stages Through Books.” Both an ode to books and a reminder of their ability to help us through life’s stages.
Citizens have protested in Tunisia. There are threats of an uprising in Jordan. And it's day seventeen of public demonstrations against the government in Egypt.
Revolution is sweeping across northern Africa and the Middle East, and, in recognition of these revolutions, Patrik Henry Bass, senior editor at Essence Magazine, shares his favorite revolutionary books.
It’s likely you’ve heard about “O: A Presidential Novel.” The book is a fictional account of the Obama administration — the author, according to the publisher's website — "has been in the room with Obama and wishes to remain anonymous.” But buzz or no buzz, is “O” any good? Does it reveal anything juicy about Obama? And how is it similar or different from other fictional depictions of real, living presidents and administrations? Patrik Henry Bass, senior editor at Essence Magazine reviews the book.
For decades, teenagers have enjoyed stories of darkness and dystopia — from social critiques like “The Lord of the Flies” to dystopian nightmares like “A Clockwork Orange.” But in the last year or two, the market for dystopian and apocalyptic young adult fiction has exploded with more books and darker stories than ever, and the year ahead promises the most books in this genre to date.What's behind this teen dystopian trend, and why is there so much demand for it?