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Monday Miscellany

Welcome to World Book Night

Here’s a wonderful way to promote reading:

We need 50,000 book-loving volunteers to fan out across America on April 23, 2012! Just take 20 free copies of a book to a location in your community, and you just might change someone’s life.

The goal is to give books to new readers, to encourage reading, to share your passion for a great book. The entire publishing, bookstore, library, author, printing, and paper community is behind this effort with donated services and time. And with a million free World Book Night paperbacks!

The first World Book Night was held last year in the United Kingdom and was such a success that this year it’s spreading to other countries. At this site you can find out all about the event and sign up to be a book giver in the United States this April.

10 self-published novelists who made it big in 2011

As any author can tell you, getting a novel published through traditional means is hard enough – but self-publishing and then working to build up buzz for big sales by yourself is even tougher. But here are 10 novelists who struck it big last year, pushing their self-published e-books all the way to The New York Times bestseller list.

This is another of those one-item-per-page lists from The Christian Science Monitor.

Your Guide to the Man Asian Literary Prize Shortlist

The Millions offers a guide, with links to reviews, of the seven works on the short list for this year’s Man Asian Literary Prize.

Charles Dickens bicentennial, and his link to Poe

A glass case in the Free Library of Philadelphia, PA, USA, holds the stuffed remains of Grip, Charles Dickens’s pet raven:

Strange as it might sound, the dead bird and accompanying year-long Dickens program at the Free Library probably provide the perfect means for the American culture vulture to celebrate not only Dickens’s 200th birthday on Feb. 7, but also the little-known yet astonishing impact of Grip on American letters and popular culture to this day.

Read how Dickens’s bird entered literary history as the inspiration for Edgar Allan Poe’s famous raven.

Genre in the Mainstream: 5 Literary/SF “Crossover” Books to Watch For in 2012

More recommendations to guide your reading choices for the new year:

  • The Flame Alphabet by Ben Marcus (Random House)
  • Blueprints of the Afterlife by Ryan Boudinot (Grove Press/Black Cat)
  • Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel (Random House YA)
  • The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker  (Random House)
  • Suddenly, a Knock on the Door by Etgar Keret (FSG)