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Edible Books!

Whenever I find a book I particularly like (especially when I began reading it with little or no expectation whatsoever), I feel like one of those lucky people who get their cake and eat it too. Thinking this, I absentmindedly Googled for "edible books". Upon realizing what I'd typed, I thought for sure I'd get a polite but firm "zero results found". To my shock I got "8,090,000" results!

This search result in particular hooked my attention : BOOKS2EAT the International Edible Book Festival. I couldn't believe (in fact, I'm still skeptical) that somewhere in this world people gather to celebrate this astonishing thing.

Here's what it says at this site :
The International Edible Book Festival is a yearly event on April 1 throughout the world .This event unites bibliophiles, book artists and food lovers to celebrate the ingestion of culture and its fulfilling nourishment. Participants create edible books that are exhibited, documented, then consumed. April 1st is also the perfect day to eat your words and play with them.

(It's also a date that makes me think this whole thing is one gigantic joke. Turns out, the joke's on me)
Books2Eat can be celebrated with your family, friends, colleagues and public anywhere, the only rules are making edible art that have something to do with books as shapes and/or content. Document your event with pictures and video and share them via internet. Send us links to your webpage and don't forget to include the Books2Eat central website.

(Yeah, right! and give my friends and family a chance to dial the loony bin number they've had on speed dial since I first became a bookworm ;-)

The Edible Book was initiated by Judith A. Hoffberg over a Thanksgiving turkey with book artists in 1999, and became an international event through the artist BĂ©atrice Coron Books2Eat website, for the first event in 2000. This annual event has become a sensation.

Here all this begins to take a tinge of undeniable authenticity. Does this mean I'll be heading to Santa Monica in a couple of days? I'm inclined to, but there's that loony bin thing. Just kidding!
I won't be able to, but I'd sure love to. I mean,
which bookworm worthy of their name wouldn't want to?
If you're still not convinced, feast your disbelieving eyes on these beautiful, inspired and very creative EBs. I know which one's my fave. Check out the Books2Eat website for more fascinating info about this little known (at least to me) festival celebrating two wonderful things in life : books and food!


Dark Need ARC Contest

Well, long time no blog again - bad, bad bookworm! But it's all for the good. I took some much needed time off for myself and will hopefully start posting regularly (nah! who am I kidding?!). Anyway, surfing the treacherous waters of the web today, I came across some interesting news.

As other bookworms probably already know, author Alison Kent's blog is always hopping with fun, activities, advice, discussions and best of all, Contests! She recently concluded a MIX-And-MATCH contest with all her published titles that looked like great fun. Just check the comments! Now this wonderfully generous author is running... Yet Another Mix-And-Match contest. This time though readers can submit one title out of all the listed titles of guest author Lynn Viehl's books.

The prize is (in Alison's own words) "...not only will five of you win a copy of DEEP BREATH, one of you will also win an ARC of DARK NEED, whoo-hoo!" The Darkyn series made for fabulous reading and I for one, am really looking forward to reading DN. Time to have fun!

The Da Vinci Crisis

First, author Dan Brown's *fictional* book "The Da Vinci Code" shook the world with it's concept of Jesus having a child from his marriage to Mary Magdalene and that their descendants are alive even today, having survived in secret until now. This concept shot Brown to literary superstardom and the book turned out to be the goose that laid a golden egg worth 90 Million dollars and counting for publishers Random House.

Now Brown is being shaken up in a London courtroom, upon charges by the historian authors of a *non-fiction* book "The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail" who claim he's plagiarized ideas and key concepts from their work. The writers are actually suing Random House (curiously enough, they published both the books) for copyright infringement and not Dan Brown, but Brown is the one in the hot seat as it's his work which is at the root of this case.

Brown has admitted to checking up this 1982 released non-fiction book but insists it was only one among five other books that he and his primary researcher Blythe, who is also his wife, went through during their research into writing this mega-seller but only *after* he was well into the Da Vinci writing process. Brown's more than well-thumbed copy of HBHG with its copious notes, color-coded jottings and underlined passages on pages festooned with tape markers has the ruling Judge skeptical as to Brown's claims that he only went through it once. The case right now is only just in favor of Dan Brown but it can go in any direction. Depends on how much more probing the publicity-shy Brown can take from the opposing lawyers.

Whatever the end result, it's bad news for readers as no doubt this will delay the release of Brown's highly-anticipated next book whatever it may be. Coincidentally "The Da Vinci Code" was first released March 18, 2003. And if the judge upholds the 10 Million pounds claim, there could be a lengthy delay or even ban on the book-based blockbuster movie-in-waiting starring Tom Hanks set to release May 19th. Will their success also mean that the Da Vinci Code will be withdrawn from the bookstores? It's unlikely but let's hope it never comes down to that. Author J.Carson Black has some strong opinions on this subject and raises the ever-controversial question - at which point does inspiration becomes plagiarism? Check out the author's March 14th blog entry.

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Book Lottery

Readers are generally risk-takers at heart. After all, they spend money to buy something that they have no actual reason to believe will be worth the time, effort and money. Still they do it. Indeed, they're oft times compelled to by their own thirst for knowledge, entertainment and mental stimulation. As such, a book lottery is ideal for them.

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The Morning News' Second Annual Tournament of Books, as sponsored by Powells.com, is going on. They present 16 acclaimed novels for competition. Are these the best 16 books of 2005? Almost certainly not. Coudal.com has started betting on results of this competition and anyone of legal age can go place a wager. Here are the details as posted on their site : "It costs ten dollars to place a bet. All the money collected will be given to Donors Choose, an awesome charity that "provides students in need with the resources our public schools often lack."

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Here are the books in competition : (Books are listed in no particular order and as usual, except a couple of books, almost none of the below would have made my personal list.)


The History of Love, by Nicole Krauss

The Time in Between, by David Bergen

Veronica, by Mary Gaitskill

Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro

The Greatest Man in Cedar Hole, by Stephanie Doyon

Home Land, by Sam Lipsyte

The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova

No Country for Old Men, by Cormac McCarthy

The King of Kings County, by Whitney Terrell

Anansi Boys, by Neil Gaiman

The Accidental, by Ali Smith

On Beauty, by Zadie Smith

Beasts of No Nation, by Uzodinma Iweala

Garner, by Kristin Allio

Saturday, by Ian McEwan

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

Learning Curves by Gemma Townley

It’s the story of a young Londoner, Jennifer Bell, who gets caught in the maelstrom brewing between her acrimoniously divorced parents who’re owners of rival consulting firms. While her mother Harriet’s firm is a leftist, supposedly eco-conscious firm that’s begun a rapid slide into bankruptcy, her father George runs a purely commercially inclined and commercially successful one. Manipulated by her mom into spying on her dad to get proof he’s involved in the growing scandal of shoddy construction work in a post tsunami-ravaged Indonesia, Jennifer begins by joining the MBA course run on premises by George’s firm. She hates her father for having left her and her mother and she’s determined to hate his firm and the MBA course as well. Things soon change. She finds she’s surprisingly good at the business course and she falls for cute instructor, Daniel. Jen is no Jane Bond and soon after getting caught by her dad, realizes there’re two sides to every story. The pivotal question here is which side should she believe?

The story is a so-so one. Reason being it tries hard to be a lot of things at once and fails at being good at even one. The need for eco-consciousness at a global scale smacks at a lofty, serious tone but is used mainly as a prop for the ensuing family drama of which there is plenty. The MBA course gives a business-like form and indeed, readers are given a crash course in it during the course of the novel. This makes for tedious reading. What humor there is, is of the adoloscent kind arising mainly from Jen’s initial choice of a condom company as the class’ business model. The resultant wisecracks and puns would have made Austin Powers proud. And then there is that tiny touch of ethnic flavor, (that might as well have not been there, so underused it is) in the form of Jen’s best friend Angel who’s facing her own issues thanks to being an Indian growing up in London in the bosom of a traditional family.

Central protagonist Jen is the biggest disappointment as she vacillates so constantly and switches sides, allegiances and opinions so much as to make readers seasick. The only time the book comes close to sincerity is when Jen faces her abandonment issues and learns that not everything is life is black or white and that in between there are countless gray shades. This includes her parents, her ex and current boyfriends and even herself. Daniel chafes at being stuck in management reading reports while he could have been out in the middle of the people browsing his bookstores. This too could have been interesting, but fails largely due to Daniel’s reluctance to take steps to remedy the situation up until the end, by which time readers are sick of it. Other supporting cast drift on and off the story, sometimes good, sometimes bad. There is some suspense and it’s intertwined with the intriguing family drama and that's the second thing that redeems this othewise watery novel. But the romance feels like a drive-by, firmly taking a remote back seat to the other elements in the story. The story promises much, but fails to fulfil most of them.

Preston in Peril!

I read this over at another blog and it immediately raised my hackles. I thought it my duty to pass it on. According to author David J. Montgomery, below is a chilling email he received from author Douglas Preston regarding his recent perilous encounter in Italy.
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For the past five years, I have been working with an Italian journalist, Mario Spezi, on a book about the case of a serial killer known as the Monster of Florence, who murdered fourteen people in the hills of Florence from 1974 to 1985. The Monster has never been caught and the case is still open. It has become the longest-running and most expensive criminal investigation in modern Italian history. Our book, which will be published in Italian in Italy in April and later in America in English, faults the investigation and specifically criticizes the chief Examining Magistrate of Perugia, Giuliano Mignini, and the chief prosecutor, Michele Giuttari, who are in charge of one branch of the investigation.

I went to Italy on Feb. 14 with my family on vacation and to do some work with Spezi on the book. I was taken into custody by the police on Feb. 22. I was brought before Giuliano Mignini. There I was aggressively interrogated for three hours by him and three police detectives. I was asked about my relationship with Spezi and questioned in great detail about our journalistic activities, our theories, thoughts, and beliefs in the case. When I explained that my activities as an investigative journalist were privileged, Mignini shouted that this wasn't about freedom of the press, but was about a criminal matter of the "utmost seriousness," and that if I didn't answer the questions fully I would be arrested and charged with perjury. I was forced to answer the questions under the threat of arrest -- which I did.

Mignini then proceeded to play back telephone conversations I had had with Spezi, which they had wiretapped. He played the same passages again and again, demanding to know what we were "really" talking about, demanding that I explain the "real meaning" behind every casual word we had exchanged. They had also recorded conversations we had had in Spezi's car, which had been broken into and bugged -- Spezi found the bug yesterday. When I asked if I was being accused of a crime, Mignini said he believed I had committed not one but several serious felonies -- to whit: planting evidence to frame an innocent man, obstruction of justice, and being an accessory to murder -- all utterly false accusations.

Despite answering their questions fully and truthfully, in the end they charged me with "reticenza" and "false testimonianze" -- two serious crimes of perjury -- but said the charges would be suspended to allow me to leave Italy, to be reinstated later. In other words, it seems their goal was to get me out of Italy -- never to return.

The timing of this is not surprising. Our book will be published on April 19. The police had earlier obtained a draft of the book which they had seized in a search of Spezi's apartment, and so Mignini and Giuttari know well what we have written about him. This was a naked attempt to use the power of the state to intimidate and silence two journalists, and it may be a prelude to a legal action in Italy to block publication of the book.

After the interrogation, the police raided Spezi's apartment (for a third time -- he'd been raided twice before) and took away many documents. They also broke into Spezi's car and planted a microphone, which he later found. Following that, the police apparently leaked details of their investigation to the press, and articles in Corriere della Sera, La Nazione, and Il Giornale, about my interrogation and the search and seizure of Spezi's papers. The police also leaked out the information that Spezi was suspected of involvement in several murders and that he may be connected to the Satanic sect which the police believe was behind the Monster of Florence serial killings.

We desperately need to publicize this attack on journalistic freedom. I'm back in America and safe, but Spezi is at grave risk. His financial health, his career, and his very freedom, are at risk. Yesterday he wrote to me: "Io sono molto depresso, per avere fatto il nostro dovere, mi ritrovo in questa situazione." ("It is very depressing that, for having done my duty as a journalist, I find myself in this situation.")

Please -- something must be done as soon as possible. Anyone wishing more information about the case may contact me at
dpreston@tidewater.net.

Some background on myself -- I'm a journalist who writes for the New Yorker magazine, and I've published fourteen books and won numerous awards. I'm on the board of the Author's Guild. I mention these details only to establish my credentials. In my entire journalistic career I have not experienced the kind of abuse of prosecutorial power as I witnessed in Italy.

-
Douglas Preston

Time Management

As I bemoaned in my previous entry, I don't have enough time these days. Perhaps it's because I write my appointments on paper scraps that develop legs as soon as I've written on them and run away and hide in dark corners. Naturally, I scramble at the last minute to find the details with nowhere to find them. A bulky organizer doesn't work for me. What then?

As if in answer to my prayers, I came upon this blog entry today. A Mama's Rant is having a contest on her blog and is giving away free copies of the book that will help me get back into the essential world of organization. It's called " The BusyBodyBook" (you can find out about it here: http://www.busybodybook.com/)

It sounds ideal. So go check it out and get yourself a copy!

Genii in a Book

There were days, once upon a time, when I couldn't find/get enough books to read. The tiny town I lived in had an equally tiny library. Once I'd exhausted its meager capacity, I had no option but to go back and re-read the same books, over and over again. It got to a state when I didn't really need to read a book as I'd subconsciously memorized entire parts of it. Sounds boring, but it wasn't. What made the tedium worthwhile was discovering that tiny missed gem of a nuance or a subtle bit of a dialogue previously overlooked and which gave me an entirely new insight into the book. In other words, I'd find something new everytime I read a book.


These days, I have the exact opposite problem. I don't have time to re-read, even if I wanted to, which is generally the case with old favs like Jane Austen or P.G. Wodehouse. Each month brings a flood of new releases, all of them equally tempting and bursting with promise. I want to read each and every one of them. I know there are books out there just begging for the privilege of sitting on my already-bursting-at-capacity keeper shelf. Unfortunately, I can't. I don't have the time to read all the ones my editors and publishers keep sending me, let alone re-read recent books that have scratched and clawed and scrunched their way onto my keeper shelf.



I still remember - As a child, I'd just read 'Aladdin' and was enchanted with the prospect of a genii popping out of an old lamp. As I went around rubbing stuff old and new around my parents' house under my mom's wary gaze, I was furiously thinking what I'd do if a genii did indeed pop out. Aspiring beauty queens perhaps wished for world peace, aspiring politicians perhaps wished for more gullible voters, aspiring astronomers perhaps wished for more galaxies. As for aspiring bookworms such as myself, my wishes always boiled down to simply one - I wish I could get and read all the books I ever wanted to without ever getting tired or sleepy.


I'm still wishing, but now my wish has modified somewhat. I wish I had more time to read. I wish I had time enough to re-read. And if I really, badly like a story, I wish it didn't end. Barring that, I wish I didn't have to wait the countless days, months, years, until the author published the next installment, if that. This is a rare case scenario I'm talking about as it doesn't happen very often. Just the occasional Harry Potter book or maybe the next book in Kelley Armstrong's Otherworld series, perhaps even the new Dan Brown book or the latest...Wait a second! I never quite realized how many books made my 'Dying to Read' list. The number of books that don't make this list is staggering but then, like my garden, you have go through the weeds before you can even begin to see the flowers.

The laurel of being the latest book to make this coveted list of mine rests with "Working For The Devil by Lilith Saintcrow". I'd never read this author before. Only the chance reading of a blurb somewhere prompted me to request it from Warner Books, and they were kind enough to promptly send me a copy. Saintcrow now has a devoted fan in me. She's created a fascinating new world in the not-too-distant future with its denizens numbering psychics, necromancers, demons etc that's even more absorbing that it sounds. More on that later. My mission in life now is to get and read all her previous books dealing with this futuristic new world - if I have the TIME, that is! Hopefully the author has more time than me and writes the next book in the 'Danny Valentine' series quickly.
 

About Me

Hi, I'm Rashmi and this is my blog which has undergone various transformations through the years. I blog about whatever interests me, and when I have some free time, a commodity that has become increasingly precious. Thanks for stopping by. Don't forget to leave a comment.

My email:
callmeabookworm@gmail.com

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