Friday, December 11, 2009

More best books list from Chicago & LA

Chicago Tribune — Favorite Fiction

Chicago Tribune — Favorite Nonfiction

L.A. Times — Fiction Favorites

L.A. Times — Mystery Favorites

L.A. Times — Nonfiction Favorites

L.A. Times — Science Fiction Favorites

Barnes & Noble Best books of 2009

The Best Books of 2009: Editors' Picks

Not only haven't I read any of their top fiction picks, I haven't heard of most of them. What is going on in the book business? Are obscure books better than popular ones? Really??

Amazon best books of 2009

I always find the dichotomy between the editors' picks and customers intriguing. Check out both lists: Best Books of 2009
Editors' Picks: Top 100 Books
Our annual Best of the Year debates, often contentious, were the easiest and most amicable we've ever had, at least when it came to our top pick. The nearly unanimous choice: Colum McCann's Let the Great World Spin, a rich and moving novel of New York City in the '70s, told in ten distinctive voices from all corners of the city whose lives connect and divide against the backdrop of Philippe Petit's audaciously graceful tightrope walk between the Twin Towers.

Customers' Bestsellers: Top 100 Books
Everybody knows what our bestselling book of 2009 was: The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown's long-awaited follow-up to The Da Vinci Code. But the race was closer than you might think: following Brown on our year-ending list are three books from authors with their own radio platforms, political talkers on the right Mark R. Levin and Glenn Beck and comedian-turned-radio-host Steve Harvey, and then the word-of-mouth fiction breakout of the year, Kathryn Stockett's The Help, which has earned over 900 five-star reviews from Amazon customers.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, in partnership with Penguin Group (USA) and CreateSpace, is pleased to announce the third annual Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, the international competition seeking the next popular novel. For the first time, the competition will award two grand prizes: one for General Fiction and one for Young Adult Fiction. The 2010 competition will also now be open to novels that have previously been self-published. Each winner will receive a publishing contract with Penguin, which includes a $15,000 advance.

Congratulations to last year's Breakthrough Novel Award winner, James King, whose winning novel, Bill Warrington's Last Chance, will be published by Viking in August 2010. Bill Loehfelm's Fresh Kills, the 2008 winner, is now available in paperback.

The Breakthrough Novel Award brings together talented writers, reviewers, and publishing experts to find and develop new voices in fiction. If you're an author with an unpublished or previously self-published novel waiting to be discovered, visit CreateSpace to learn more about the next Breakthrough Novel Award and sign up for regular updates on the contest. Open submissions for manuscripts will begin on January 25, 2010 through February 7, 2010.

See the official contest rules for more information on how to enter.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


“Penguin Classics on Air,” a half-hour radio series devoted to the discussion and exploration of some of Penguin Classics’ more than 1500 titles, debuts this week on Sirius XM Book Radio (Sirius #117, XM #163). Written and produced entirely by Penguin employees, the show will air twice a week, on Mondays from 3:00pm to 3:30pm and on Thursdays from 11:30pm to midnight.

“Penguin Classics on Air” is hosted by Penguin Classics Editorial Director Elda Rotor, along with Associate Publisher Stephen Morrison and Senior Director of Academic Marketing Alan Walker. The show features in-depth conversations with scholars and experts about various topics including Austenmania, the enduring appeal of vampires in literature, the philosophers everyone should (and can) read, and books that have sparked revolutions. This week’s episode, “Why We Love Jane Austen,” talks about what it means to be a Janeite, how etiquette was different in Austen’s time, and why spoofs like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies are so popular right now. The shows will roll out over the next ten weeks in the following order:

Why We Love Jane Austen: Elda Rotor interviews Jane Austen scholar Juliette Wells, about Austenmania, what it means to be a Janeite, etiquette in Austen’s time, and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Alan Walker, introduces listeners to Excellent Women by Barbara Pym on “Reading the Classics from A to Z.” And Stephen Morrison offers up the opening to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in his segment, “First Pages.”

The Noli: Jose Rizal and the Novel that Sparked the Philippine Revolution: Elda Rotor interviews Rowena Jiminez about a Jose Rizal/Noli Me Tangere community read-a-thon organized through her nonprofit group Bagon Luturang Pinoy, and speaks with Harold Augenbraum, the translator of the Penguin Classics edition of this classic. Alan Walker introduces listeners to The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene on “Reading the Classics from A to Z.” And Stephen Morrison offers up the opening to Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere in “First Pages.”

A Hero of Our Time: The First Major Russian Novel?: Elda Rotor introduces Penguin Classics editor John Siciliano and his interview with Natasha Randall, translator of Lermontov’s A Hero of Our Time, about the invention of Russian roulette, the beauty of the Caucuses, the misery of a Russian soldier, and the inherent danger of dueling. Alan Walker introduces readers to First Love by Ivan Turgenev on “Reading the Classics from A to Z.” Stephen Morrison offers up the opening to Lermontov’s A Hero of Our Time in his segment, “First Pages.”

Scholem Aleichem: Yiddish Classics by the Creator of Tevye from “Fiddler on the Roof”: Elda Rotor introduces Penguin Classics editor John Siciliano and his interview with Aliza Shevrin, translator of Tevye the Dairyman and Motl the Cantor’s Son, as well as Wandering Stars, about the life and works of Scholem Aleichem, the difference between Fiddler on the Roof and Tevye the Dairyman, Yiddish humor, life, and culture from Russia to the Lower East Side, and what to do with five daughters. Alan Walker recommends Kristin Lavransdatter: The Wreath by Sigrid Undset on “Reading the Classics from A to Z.” And Stephen Morrison offers up the opening to Aleichem’s Tevye The Dairyman in “First Pages.”

The Birth of Knickerbocker: Washington Irving’s A History of New York: Elda Rotor interviews Betsy Bradley, the introducer and editor of Washington Irving’s A History of New York, Irving’s popular first book is an early nineteenth century satirical novel of colonial New Amsterdam. It follows the fictional historian Diedrich Knickerbocker as he narrates the development of New York cultural life—from the creation of the doughnut to the creation of Wall Street. Alan Walker introduces listeners to The Emigrants by Gilbert Imlay in “Reading the Classics from A to Z.” Stephen Morrison offers up the opening to Washington Irving’s beloved story “Rip Van Winkle.” in his segment, “First Pages.”

· Who Would Have Thought It?: The First Novel by a Mexican American

Elda Rotor interviews Amelia Maria de la Luz Montes, the editor and introducer of Who Would Have Thought It? about this major rediscovery of a little known Mexican-American author. Alan Walker introduces listeners to Summer by Edith Wharton on “Reading the Classics from A to Z.” Stephen Morrison offers up the opening to Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton’s Who Would Have Thought It? in his segment, “First Pages.”

· Tolstoy’s Final Year: Jay Parini and Last Steps

Elda Rotor interviews author Jay Parini about Leo Tolstoy’s late writings and the film production based on Parini’s novel, The Last Station, which stars James McAvoy, Paul Giamatti, Helen Mirren, and Christopher Plummer. Alan Walker introduces listeners to Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko on “Reading the Classics from A to Z.” Stephen Morrison offers up the opening to Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina in his segment, “First Pages.”

· Vampires on Paper: The Enduring Appeal of Vampires in Literature

Elda Rotor interviews Twilight expert Donna Freitas about the appeal of Stephanie Meyer’s vampire series and how it compares to Emily Bronte’s enduring classic Wuthering Heights. Elda then speaks with Dacre Stoker, a direct descendent of Bram Stoker, and Ian Holt, authors of Dracula: The Un-Dead, who explain why Dracula and other vampires are such popular characters in literature. Alan Walker introducers listeners to The Magician by W. Somerset Maugham on “Reading the Classics from A to Z.” Stephen Morrison offers up the opening to Bram Stoker’s Dracula in his segment, “First Pages.”

· Philosophy is Easy: The Philosophers Everyone Should (and Can) Read

Stephen Morrison interviews “the philosophy guys,” Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein, author of The New York Times bestseller Plato and Platypus Walk into a Bar…and gets a hilarious run-down of the four (it’s an arbitrary number) most important (really!) philosophers in the history of philosophy. Alan Walker introduces listeners to Voltaire’s Candide on “Reading the Classics from A to Z.” Then Stephen offers up the opening to Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling in his segment, “First Pages.”

· Gosta Berling: The Swedish Gone with the Wind

John Siciliano of Penguin Classics interviews translator Paul Norlen and introducer George C. Schoolfield about The Saga of Gosta Berling, written by Selma Lagerlof, the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. Alan Walker introduces Hunger by Knut Hamsun on “Reading the Classics from A to Z.” Stephen Morrison reads from the opening to Selma Lagerlof’s The Saga of Gosta Berling in his segment, “First Pages.”

“Penguin Classics on Air” is part of Penguin Group (USA)’s “From the Publisher’s Office” an online network where readers can watch, listen and read content that has been created, recorded, and produced entirely by Penguin employees.


Penguin Group (USA) has launched its own online network called “From the Publisher’s Office,” with three channels featuring nine series of book entertainment for adults, young adults and children. The network will feature several episodic online series, including “YA Central,” “Project Paranormal,” “Penguin Storytime” and “Tarcher Talks,” and audio series such as “Penguin Classics on Air,” “Business Beat” and “A Cup of Poetry.” All of the programming is original and customized for a wide range of audiences, and new episodes will be produced each publishing season. The network is now live on the Penguin Group (USA) website at

For over sixty years, Penguin has been the leading Classics publisher in the English-speaking world, providing readers with a global bookshelf of the best works from around the world and across history, genres, and disciplines. We focus on bringing together the best of the past and the future, using cutting edge design and production as well as embracing the digital age to create unforgettable editions of treasured literature. Penguin Classics is timeless and trend-setting. Whether you love our familiar black spine series, our Penguin Classics Deluxe Editions, or our Penguin Enriched eBook Classics, we bring the writer to the reader in every format available.

Monday, December 07, 2009

FSB Holiday Giveaway!

FSB Associates wanted me to share this with BookBitch readers...

We at FSB Associates want to do our share to support books and the publishing industry. In the spirit of the holiday season, and support for, we will be conducting a 3-Day Holiday Giveaway!

For three days only, December 8th, 9th, and 10th, we will be giving away a limited quantity of books to randomly selected winners! The official entry begins at 12pm (eastern) on each day. Here is our schedule of events:

Day 1. Lost Symbol Fans! If you have read and loved Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol, enter to win this companion pack! The pack features The Masonic Myth by Jay Kinney and Decoding the Lost Symbol by Simon Cox. We have 3 packs to giveaway!

Day 2. Celebrity Chef Mary Ann Esposito, has 5 signed copies of her latest cookbook to be given away: Ciao Italia: Five Ingredient Favorites. Check out Mary Ann's tips for holiday cooking here!

Day 3. 3 copies of Quirk Classics' bestselling literary monster mash-up, Sense & Sensibility & Sea Monsters signed by co-author Ben Winters! Also included: the Deluxe hardcover edition of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, co-authored by Seth Grahame-Smith! Learn more about the books, and discover the next monster mash-up at

Anyone within the continental US is eligible to enter. Entries made on a specific day after 12pm (eastern time) will only be eligible for that day's giveaway, so visit often! To enter for your chance to win, simply click here! Spread the word to your friends by forwarding this message.

We would also like to wish each and every one of you a very happy holiday season.


FICTION including...
Lark and Termite By Jayne Anne Phillips

A World of Trouble: The White House and the Middle East – from the Cold War to the War on Terror By Patrick Tyler

Simply the best nonfiction

also from the Boston Globe

By Edward M. Kennedy

LAST LION: The Fall and Rise of Ted Kennedy
By the Team at The Boston Globe
Edited by Peter S. Canellos

By David Finkel

FLANNERY: A Life of Flannery O’Connor
By Brad Gooch

THE FIRST TYCOON The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt
By T.J. Stiles

THE WILDERNESS WARRIOR Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America
By Douglas Brinkley

FORDLANDIA: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City
By Greg Grandin

FOLLOWING THE WATER: A Hydromancer’s Notebook
By David M. Carroll

Simply the best fiction

from the Boston Globe

By Hilary Mantel

By Iliya Troyanov

By Barry Unsworth

By Amit Chaudhuri

By Santiago Roncagliolo

By M.J. Hyland

By William Trevor

By Kurt Vonnegut

By J.G. Ballard

By Alice Munro

By Robert Wilson

By Walter Mosley

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