Showing posts with label Books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Books. Show all posts

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Love letters written to Brenda Ueland, a new book called Brenda, My Darling

For those of you who are eternally devoted fans of Brenda Ueland and her book, If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit as I am (if you are not, then you should read it immediately), then the new book release, Brenda, My Darling: The Love Letters of Fridtjof Nansen to Brenda Ueland edited by Eric Utne and published by the Utne Institute might be your next purchase.

Love letters to a writer?  A brave task indeed.  One that apparently, Ueland's lover, Fridtjof Nansen did with exceptional talent.

The book reprints love letters written to (not from, sadly) Brenda from the Norwegian explorer, humanitarian and winner of the 1922 Nobel Peace Prize Fridtjof Nansen from the time they met in New York City in 1929 until his death a year after their brief love affair.

Here is a link to Brenda, My Darling on sale from the publisher (the hardcover is not available yet on

Here is a link to the kindle edition of Brenda, My Darling: The Love Letters of Fridtjof Nansen to Brenda Ueland on

Sunday, February 20, 2011

What Makes LA Fabulous? The Library!

A friend who moved to Los Angeles from back east once told me that, "Los Angeles is a great town to be broke in." I have to agree. Yes, rents are high. Yes, owning real estate is out of practical reach for most people who live here. Yes, gas is expensive and owning a car cleans out your bank account. However, free and low-cost entertainment and fun awaits in nearly every LA neighborhood. Free movie screenings and interviews with industry folks are available on practically any day of the week. We have parks, hiking, lectures, roller blading along beaches, snow-filled mountains that a mere couple hours drive away, museums, piers, live music, movie screenings in cemeteries, all things that are absurdly cheap and/or free.

As great as these options are, none of them are as awesome as the Los Angeles Public Library system (LAPL). Housing nearly 7.5 million volumes, our library system stands as the single greatest free resource in our city. As of July 2010, it became the 4th largest Public Library in the United States in terms of volumes, and the largest public library system in the Western United States. The LAPL system alone makes living in Los Angeles worth all the high rents and the time sitting in traffic. This should-be-legendary library system offers a comprehensive collection with branches in nearly every neighborhood, free internet access, free movie rentals, free book borrowing,
and free delivery of anything in their catalog for easy pick-up at to your local library.

Central Library is the LAPL headquarters stands sphinx-like on West 5th between Flower and Grand and is both is parking friendly and public-transit friendly - just two short blocks from the 7th Street Metro station. This easily-accessible library houses art exhibits, free lectures, a video-lending library, an awe-inspiring multi-storied atrium, seemingly endless rows shelves - 90 linear miles of shelves to be exact, and nearly 7.5 million volumes. It is apropos that it sits on a street between Flower and Grand, because it is just that, beautiful and grand. This enormous block-long building feels both historic and new all at the same time. Inside, murals depicting California history, mosaic wall-art, and modern art sculpture chandeliers all proudly nod to one another, artistic reminders that we can all live together in harmony. After the 1986 fire, architects Pfeiffer Partners redesigned and restored the library. They also designed the Boston Public Central Library and their website contains gorgeous photos of Los Angeles Central Library's interior and exterior. If you've never been to the downtown Central Library, take a day trip and go see it. You may never leave.

The LAPL online catalog will take your breath away, not only because of its comprehensive vastness but because it is digitally connected. The behemoth catalog integrates with social networking - you can tweet or create a Facebook post about nearly any item in their online catalog. Many items display links to amateur reviews on and to professional reviews from publications like Publisher's Weekly and the Library Journal. Options to view a book's table of contents comes in handy when perusing anthologies. Many books even outline the characters in the book and have handy excerpts. The catalog lists how many available copies are available and at which branches you can find them.

Now, our fabulous library system has stepped even further into the digital age with downloadable digital content: E-books, electronically rentable movies, downloadable music, and audiobooks. With a library card number, renting online to an iPhone, iPad, Android device, Mac, or PC (just to name a few), can be a few clicks away once you've invested the inevitable learning time that necessarily accompanies new uses of new technologies. There are no late fees because when your time is up the download disappears like a self-destructing message right out of a Get Smart episode gone digital.

It takes a bit of time to master the whole digital borrrowing system, but the culprits are not the libraries - although it would be nice to be able to search by digital format - nor is it the fault of the companies that provide the digital content to the libraries, but the frustration comes from the digital e-reading devices, such as Kindle, iPad, iPhone, Android devices, etc., because certain types of content isn't available on certain devices.As far as what content is available on what device, the short answer is: If you have a Kindle, you can't (yet?) borrow an e-book. If you have anything else, you probably can borrow an e-book. The long answer is that E-books (for reading, not listening as you would with audiobooks) are generally available in two formats: EPUB format or PDF format, so you need to have a device (Mac, PC, iPad, Kindle, Nook, iPhone, Android phone) that can read at least one of these two formats. Sadly, neither EPUB nor PDF is currently supported by one of the most popular e-book readers, Kindle, so you can't rent e-books from LAPL if the only device you own is a Kindle.

Whether you groove on that irreplaceable smell and feel of a book in your hands at home, prefer sitting in a gorgeous library for hours, or you geek-out on the ability carry 150 e-books at all times, the Los Angeles Public Library awaits, ready to accommodate your every bibliophilic, artistic, or researchable whim.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Jan 15: BkMk Press Poetry and Fiction Book Contests

BkMk Press of the University of Missouri-Kansas City Announces The G. S. Sharat Chandra Prize for Short Fiction, and The John Ciardi Prize for Poetry:

Next Postmark deadline: January 15, 2009

For the best book-length collections of poetry and of short fiction in English by a living author: Prize: $1,000 and publication of winning book for each prize


Manuscripts must be typed on standard-sized paper, in English. Poetry manuscripts should be approximately 50 pages minimum, 110 pages maximum, single spaced. Short fiction collections should be approximately 150 pages minimum, 300 pages maximum, double spaced.

Entries must include two title pages: one with author name, address and phone number; and one with no author information. Any acknowledgments should appear on a separate piece of paper.

Entries must include a table of contents.

Author's name must not appear anywhere on the manuscript.

Please submit your manuscript in loose pages, bound only with a clip or rubber band. We prefer that you do not staple or permanently bind your manuscript. Do not submit your manuscript by fax or e-mail.

Simultaneous and multiple submissions are acceptable. Please notify us of acceptance elsewhere.

An SASE should be included, for notification only. Note: No manuscripts will be returned.

A non-refundable reading fee of $25 in US funds (check made payable to BkMk Press) must accompany each manuscript. Entrants will receive a copy of the winning book in their genre when it is published.

Manuscripts must be postmarked no later than January 15, 2009.

Manuscripts will not be returned. No refunds will be issued.

Judging will be blind at all levels. Initial judging will be done by a network of published writers and editors. The final judging will be done by a poet and a fiction writer of national reputation. Winners will be announced in July 2009 and the winning entries will be published in 2010.

These competitions are held annually.

Address To:

John Ciardi Prize for Poetry or Sharat Chandra Prize for Fiction
BkMk Press
University of Missouri-Kansas City
5100 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, MO 64110-2499

(816) 235-2558
Fax (816) 235-2611

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Apr 15: Premier Book Awards

Premier Book Awards is currently accepting entries in both fiction and non-fiction for the 2009 contest. With so many new titles published every year it is increasingly difficult for an individual book to stand out. Winning a contest is an opportunity for publicity-exposure for the author and the book.

There is no better way to gain credibility and increased sales than to win an award for writing excellence. When faced with two competing titles, buyers will invariably select the one that has won an award.Premier Book Awards were established to recognize meritorious works by writers who self-published or had their books published by a small press or independent book publisher. POD books are welcome. The contest is open to selected book length fiction and non-fiction titles with a 2008 or 2009 copyright, published in the English language and
targeted for the North American market. There are $100 cash awards for the winners in each category, plus a $500 award for the Premier Book of the Year. Winners also receive a certificate suitable for framing and Premier Book Awards will issue a press release to announce the achievement. Check the website for details:
Deadline: April 15th, 2009

Friday, October 31, 2008

Beautiful Vowels

Take a quick peek at this BBC News article about a new fiction book that manipulates the use of vowels. Entitled "Euonia", the only word in the english language that contains all five vowels, the author has divided the book into five sections, each section using only one vowel in every word. The article quotes from each of the books sections - it's quite a feat. The comments are fun to read, too.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Save 30% on Selected Writing Reference Books

Writers Market / F&W Publications is offering the following discount on reference books such as the 2009 Writer's Market and other selected publications:
Use coupon code "T6REF" to receive
We've put together our Top 6 Essential Writing References that we think belong on every writer's bookshelf. Use coupon code "T6REF" to save 30% on these selected titles from Writer's Digest Books now through November 5!