Sunday Links for April 1, 2012

On the weeks when no “Sunday Links” appears, it’s not usually because I haven’t been collecting links. Sometimes it happens because I’m swamped with legal work and don’t have time to put the column together. Sometimes my “Magazine Monday” or “Horrible Monday” responsibilities at Fantasy Literature overwhelm my weekends. Sometimes, as over the past couple of weeks, I’m out of town. This time I was visiting my parents over on the other side of the country, in Naples, Florida, and then attending the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts, where I presented a paper on Edgar Allan Poe. But I never stop collecting those links. So this week’s column is going to be a mighty big one.

The 2011 Bram Stoker Awards were handed out this past Saturday at the World Horror Convention in Salt Lake City.

The winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award has been announced.

SFRA has announced the 2012 honorees for the Solstice Award.

The long list for the Orange Prize has been announced.

io9 lists ten books every fantasy writer should read. How many of them have you read?

Flavorwire offers a list of the ten best books adapted from memoirs. I’ve only seen one of them, which means that my already lengthy Netflix queue just got longer.

Wired interviews Stephen King about the rules of time travel. King always makes for a good interview.

The short list for the 2012 Arthur C. Clarke Award has been announced. And boy, has it ever given rise to controversy. Christopher Priest ranted about how the slate was unworthy – so much so that his best recommendation is that the nominations be scrapped and the award abandoned for this year. Damien Walter replied by suggesting that Priest was just jealous. John Scalzi threw in his own two cents’ worth (with a follow-up here), as did Jeff VanderMeer’s Evil Monkey, Catherynne Valente, File 770, Cora Buhlert, Nina Allan and Neil Williamson. I enjoy reading such passion about books, even if I think that this particular dust-up has its origins in a bit of snobbery. But then, I shouldn’t talk, as I haven’t read all the nominees.

Oh, my, what lovely new books are being issued by Tor this month. Let’s all take the month off to read them, shall we?

Amazon’s Omnivoracious offers an enticing list of mystery fiction for the spring. I’ve already got two of these books, and I’ve started the Chris F. Holm’s Dead Harvest. Good stuff.

The internet is always throwing up great lists of this or that. Here’s a list of the top 100 children’s books, in case you’re looking for something new for the child in your life.

And if that’s not your style, how about a list of the top 25 horror novels of the new millennium. As usual, my list of books to read grew while I read this list.

E-books aren’t the only alternative to print books. Audio books have been around even longer, but they only occasionally get much attention. When Jim Dale started narrating the J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books, for instance, there was a bit of a stir, just because Dale was so damned good. But most of the time there’s no real indicator of which audiobook is worth a listen and which is better on the page, so a listener might be tempted to turn to reviews. Paul Alan Reuben writes about how to review an audiobook properly in a good amount of detail. I’ll be consulting this column if I ever want to review an audiobook. (It’s a follow-up to this column by the same author, which is also valuable.)

Unsurprisingly, e-reader use continues to grow. Interestingly, though, those who read e-books tend to also buy more hard copy books. Could it be that people who love books just love books, whatever the format?

>a href=>R.L. Copple has an interesting article about gatekeepers up at Grasping for the Wind. This writer suggests that traditional gatekeepers aren’t going away any time soon, but to my mind the flood of self-published material available in e-book format for very little money suggests otherwise. I’ve had a surprising number of people tell me about the great book they read just recently – and it turns out to be self-published. Reviewers are valuable gatekeepers for readers for this type of book, but we tend to rely on the gatekeepers of traditional publishing to choose our own reading; we don’t have time to read the bushel baskets full of chaff out there in order to get to the books worth discussing. In fact, we tend to find plenty of books published by the big publishing houses that aren’t worth out time. So many books!

Here’s something I can easily get behind: a slow-books manifesto. My only disagreement with the writer of this article is that I don’t prize mainstream fiction over genre fiction. I agree that one should spend more time with the classics, but I believe it will do you as much good to read, say, John Crowley’s Little, Big or Hope Mirlees’ Lud-in-the-Mist, both fantasy classics, as to read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Last Tycoon – unless, of course, you’re utterly uninterested in fantasy, in which case, why are you reading this blog? Robert Gray throws in a few more ideas about “slow books.”

Speaking of F. Scott Fitzgerald, The American Scholar has a lovely essay by Patricia Hampl about Fitzgerald’s essays.

Are you subject to writer’s block? My husband has a tendency to say things like, “You never hear a carpenter say, ‘Oh, I can’t possibly hammer today, I have carpenter’s block,’” by which I believe he means I’m just being a wilting daisy when I claim to be blocked. It looks like Neil Gaiman agrees, as he has some bracing advice for those who get stuck.

Aaron Burch writes a eulogy for a lost Barnes & Noble. I’ve never worked in a bookstore, though I’ve longed dreamed of it. Burch gives that dream a little more oomph.

Slow Reading/Slow Books

This concept seems to encompass a lot. I really want to embrace much of what Kelly says but I can only agree conditionally. Her focus on "literature" which was partially undefined made me roll my eyes among other things.

I've always been a slow reader, but I wouldn't argue that reading slowly helps my comprehension in any way nor that books that took a long time to write are somehow more worthy of our reading time than other books. I'm in the middle of a slow book, Daniel Martin by John Fowles. I'm about half way through and I've been at it for two months (while also reading other things). Some books are slow, not everything goes by as fast as The Hunger Games, and I think that today saying 'the pacing was slow' is all too easily said as a bad thing. Sometimes pacing is well controlled, sometimes it is outright slow; if what you're reading is good, who cares?

I don't see the second half of Daniel Martin flying by for me: it's slow, I'm a slow reader, and it's huge. All that said, I'm loving it and think it's wonderful.

How did the paper presentation go? Good crowd and lots of interesting commentary? Going back next year as an honored guest?

Paul Alan Ruben

Hi, Terry--I can't find either of the Paul Allen Reuben (Paul Alan Ruben?) columns. Shows an unknown site. Is it really a problem with the site or is the link bad?


Audiobook reviews

Huh. The link takes me right there. Want to try cutting and pasting? Here's the link:

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