Friday, May 1, 2009

Quick hits: Friday, May 1st 2009

Happy May Day and good morning, ya'll.

I'm getting ready to speak about literary publicity this weekend at the Dallas/Fort Worth Writers Convention. I love speaking to writers groups and I’m certainly looking forward to this event.

Before we all sign off for the weekend, I thought it’d be fun to take a look at some of this week’s happenings in the industry and literary world. Here’s a round up of relevant headlines:

Congrats to this year's Edgar Award winners
The Mystery Writers of America announced this year’s Edgar Award winners. This prestigious annual prize is named after, appropriately, Edgar Allan Poe. Some highlights in the winner’s circle include “In Bruges” for Best Motion Picture Screenplay and The Killer’s Wife by Bill Floyd for The Simon & Schuster-Mary Higgins Clark award. Take a look at the full list here.

No more religion beat at the DMN
Sad news: The religion beat at the Dallas Morning News was laid to rest this week. According to Rod Dreher's post on BeliefNet, the last two religion reporters are being reassigned to cover schools. You can read Dreher's take on the decision here.

Kindle's popularity growing among the over 40 set
CNet had an interesting article in their "Crave" column yesterday: 70 percent of Kindle owners are over the age of 40. David Carnoy posed the question, "What's the average age of Kindle owners?" back in March and received 700 responses. The final tally yielded some interesting results.

The timeliness of the message
I don't know if you guys have heard, but apparently there is an illness called "Swine Flu" sweeping North America. (That was sarcasm.)

This latest epidemic has fueled book sales and deals for a couple of authors. John M. Barry released The Great Influenza over five years ago. As of Thursday, the book had reached the top 100 on Amazon's best seller list. The book covers the ins and outs of the 1918 influenza pandemic. On Thursday, Henry Holt announced they are publishing biologist Nathan Wolfe's The Viral Storm, a book about the ways in which viruses and humans evolve together. Sounds like a beach vacation read, eh? See the full story here.

I (heart) Geeks
Yahoo's "Book Talk" offered up a fun interview with "self-proclaimed geek" Garth Sundem on Wednesday. Sundem's latest book, The Geek's Guide to World Domination: Be Afraid, Beautiful People, offers a pi's worth of facts for the Geeks among us. I say "a pi's worth" because the book contains 314.15 tidbits for readers. Per the article: "314.15 facts -- which is a decimal computation for pi -- in a compendium of usable and totally useless bits of information that geeks would relish." Obviously, this book speaks to me. My favorite Q&A from the interview:

Q: Is it easier being a geek now?

A: "I think it is because geeks now can connect, they are online and have support groups and they find they are not alone. Culturally we've gotten geekier. It's an information age. Even the cool kids are on Facebook which should be geeky but it's not! Look at Hollywood: in movies back in the 1980s like National Lampoon we would laugh at the geeks. Now we laugh with them."

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