Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Update: Patrick Wensink's Coloring Content

Patrick Wensink: Help Him Pick a Coloring Contest Winner!

On November 30, I reported on new humor author Patrick Wensink's book, Sex Dungeon for Sale! and the coloring contest he was having as a promotion. Patrick reports on his Twitter page and website that the contest went so well, he can't decide a winner -- and now he wants your help!

Vote for best and you could win something cool -- rules here! Hurry, ends December 17. (Winner Update: Congratulations to Kate from Chicago.)

Nicely played, Patrick.

Disclosures. No remuneration paid for author update. Commissions may be paid on purchase through book link.

Follow me on Twitter: @BizBooksPlus or @AlanEggleston

Monday, December 14, 2009

NPR's Best Young Adult Fiction for 2009

Young Adult Fiction Is Good Reading for All

NPR (National Public Radio) announced its list of 2009's Best Young Adult Fiction. Books always make great holiday gifts, especially for young adults who are frequently into video games, cell phones, or clothes, which can become expensive. A book will allow your young adult to escape from your mundane world without breaking your bank!
The thing about Young Adult Fiction is, although it's written for young adults, it's easy to become enthralled as a fully grown adult yourself. Beware if you give any of these as gifts this holiday season, because you may find yourself holed up in a favorite chair over the winter consumed with a great read!

See the NPR page for brief summaries of each book.

My Own Additional Suggestions
If none of these titles sounds like your young adult reader, let me suggest any of the superb Peter Pan series of books that kept my wife and I occupied for many adventurous hours. I'm reading the fourth one now, and it kept my interest from the first page. Here they are, in order of introduction:

(Book links to Amazon.com through my online book store, through which I may receive commissions for sales. No recompense received for reviewing books or passing on NPR information.)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Which Comes First: The Book or the Movie?

Take Our Reader Poll

A movie is made from a book: Do you read the book first or see the movie then read the book? http://twtpoll.com/00o8r5 (ends 12/16/09)

(If you have a Twitter account, Twtpoll is a very easy, free way to publish a poll. You can also build surveys, for a one-time cost. I'll let you know how this one works out.)

Why You Should Protect That Bothersome Book Jacket

Book Jackets: More Than a Marketing Tool

That dust jacket that comes with every new hard cover book: Do you really need it?

The quick answer is, yes, the jacket protects the book cover from wear, tear, and spills.

The longer answer is, yes, the jacket protects the book cover from wear, tear, spills, and over time, fading and weathering.

Believe it or not, a jacket can be more valuable than the book it protects, if the jacket is well taken care of. Thus, removing it while you read the book won't protect the book as well but may help retain the value of the cover, if you're a collector.

To protect both the book and the jacket, consider investing in a plastic sheet that will encase the outside of the jacket. Jackets easily tear or take on spills, smears, and marks the book would have taken on, and you can protect the jacket from those with a plastic covering.

If you decide to remove the jacket while reading the book, store it carefully. Jackets tend to curl and lose their bookly shape. If they end up under other things, you will end up with unintended creases. Instead, fold the jacket along a natural crease or, if you have a long enough drawer, straighten out full length until you need to wrap the jacket around the book again.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The Case for Bookends

Bookends: Why Bother?

It's pretty simple: The reason to use bookends is to keep your books upright and together.

For some, that's an answer to anal retentivism. For me, it's an answer to protecting my books both as an investment and for my personal demeanor.

Bookends Help Organize
Books are made to sit upright -- vertically straight on the bottom edge. The optimal way to store them is with even pressure on that bottom edge. The spine holds the rest of the book together, and when the book leans with uneven pressure on the spine because the book isn't sitting evenly on the bottom edge, the pages can pull away from the spine, especially when the glue dries and cracks or the staples or string suffer fatigue. Bookends, used properly, keep all the books straight with even pressure.

Is it proper to store a book vertically on its back edge (opposite the spine), such as when it's too tall to fit on its bottom edge? That would be a second choice, and better than other options. The problem with storing on the back edge is that it may allow the spine to sag or bulge, and if the book is wide it may cause fraying of the spine on the shelf above. Worse options would be laying books across the tops of shorter vertically stored books or leaned at an angle, all which may promote warping or sagging and stress on the spines.

Another good reason to use bookends is to group books by subject or other criteria, or even for aesthetic reasons. You may simply have a few books together in a large area and want to show them off or keep them from scattering.

When You Don't Use Bookends
If you're going to lean or cant a book, such as for display, make sure you use a tilted shelf with a lip that will evenly support the bottom of the book.

Certainly, it doesn't hurt to lay books horizontally on their covers. However, make sure that the pressure on the cover is evenly distributed to prevent warping. Furthermore, you don't want to introduce other objects on or near the book lying on its cover that might scratch or otherwise injure the cover. And, you should minimize the amount of weight you lay on top of books stored horizontally. Tabletop books are designed to lie flat on a table top or shelf, of course -- just make sure you don't stack more than a couple together, and keep the surface clean and free of obscructions.

Bookends Make a Great Gift
If you know a book lover or collector, or anyone else for whom books has a place in their lives, bookends make great gifts. Most book stores offer a variety, from the simple to the stylish.

(Bookends link above to Amazon.com through my online book store, from which I may receive a small commissions for sales.)

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

How to "Break in" a New Book

New Books: Easing Them into Use

Ever see someone curve back the cover a brand new paperback novel? That's one way to crack it open for reading. However, that's not the best way, the way to make the book last.

A paperback isn't the most expensive thing in the world, so perhaps this isn't the example to go postal over. Yet, it illustrates the lack of care many people take in treating their new books. That lack of care often extends to all their books, even the expensive hard cover ones.

Fitness Stretches for Your Book
Think of a book as a body. It has a spine and attached to the spine are a tight skin (the cover) and taut muscles (the pages). When something pliable is tight, and you fold it quickly and unnaturally, it may snap or break. That can happen to books just like it can happen to living bodies.

When athletes prepare for a sprint or other athletic activity, what do they do beforehand? They stretch! That's what you should do for any new book, too. Stretch the binding that links the spine with the covers and pages to gently release the tension between them. By stretching it, you prepare it for hours of open and closing at your leisure, which makes for a more pleasurable experience for you.

Follow These Simple Steps
Stretching the binding is really simple and will keep the spine from breaking and the book in much better shape for a much longer time:
  1. Stand the book on a flat surface on its spine.
  2. Holding the book vertical, open the front cover a full 90 degrees and press your fingertips along the crease the length of the page.
  3. Keeping the front cover open, now open the back cover a full 90 degrees and press your fingertips along the crease the length of the page.
  4. Retaining the current sides open, return to the front of the book and fold three or four pages open together 90 degrees, pressing your fingertips along the crease.
  5. Repeat this at the back of the book.
  6. Alternate this for more and more pages between the front and back of the book. Although you could go all the way to the center of the book, I find a quarter of the way sufficient.
Once you break in the ends of the book, the middle will naturally follow as you open the pages.

I challenge you to try this and see if it doesn't make using a new book much easier and make it wear much better. Let me know what you think.