The Sisters Brothers Contest Winners

In case you missed my tweets on Saturday, the winners for the contest were:

  • Ben, who won that beautiful limited edition print of the book’s cover
  • & Erica, who won my much loved galley.

It turns out that both Mike & Erica have blogs of their own.  Erica’s blog is called Booked in Chico and you can follow her twitter handle @BookedinChico.  Ben is an author and a blogger.  You can read more at his blog, Benjamin T. Miller.  His twitter handle is @benjamintmiller.

Congratulations to you both – your prizes are in the mail.  And thank you to everyone who entered.  Because of you, there has been a substantial increase of Westerns in my Netflix queue.

Last, but not least, thanks to the team at HarperCollins for a great cover (and fun giveaway!)

The Holidays Come Early! IAMBIK.COM (Not Your Father’s Audiobook)

Most internet savvy people are probably familiar already with LibriVox. It’s a nifty concept – an audiobook site that takes books in the public domain, talented and/or enthusiastic volunteers willing to record them, combines the two and offers the results for free to anyone with the ability to download. But there are challenges. Sometimes narrators are more enthusiastic than they are talented. And while books in the public domain are plentiful – we all still want access to more current selections.  That left a huge hole in the market that, let’s face it, Audibles.com and iTunes just aren’t filling.  No one wants to be limited to just the bestseller lists and the major publishing houses.

And so, Iambik.com was born.

Here’s how it works.  Iambik teams up with smaller publishers, and authors, and narrators on a revenue sharing model.  Which means their selection i’s more indie bookstore than Barnes & Nobles.  Coach House Books, McSweeney’s, Graywolf Press, Tin House Books are just a few of the publishers currently on board.  And the prices are fantastic – most books priced at $4.99.

I’ve already listened to All My Friends Are Superheroes (see my review later this week) and am now working on McSweeney’s Icelander by Dustin Long (narrated by Miette Elms of Miette’s Bedtime Story Podcast).  I loved All My Friends Are Superheroes, a smart, funny and painfully honest love story for the hipster generation (that wouldn’t let me turn off my iPod).  And I’m finding that Icelander is a tad more challenging than your average audiobook, being one of those cerebral post-modern metafictions that McSweeney’s specializes in… but that’s what makes Iambic so exciting!   They embrace books that other companies might shy away from.  You’ll find stories here that aren’t available (in audio format) anywhere else.

Currently Iambik has a library of 14 audiobooks ready for download.  Never fear, that’s only the beginning.  I asked Miette, who originally contacted me, what we had to look forward to.  Here’s what she had to say –

We plan to start growing our collection very quickly!  We wanted to launch with a small, well-curated, well-produced collection and ramp up from there.  We’ll be releasing an indie crime collection in January that’ll be a lot of fun, then science fiction, then a second round of literary fiction.  From the January release on, we’re on track to release a collection a month (also, the collections themselves will be larger than the 11 books of our first launch).  We’re also open to suggestions from listeners, authors, and publishers, so are really trying to keep our ear to the ground and respond to real needs.

And did I mention that their prices are fantastic?!  Well they just got even better.  Until the end of November enter the code: booksexy-promo-nov2010 and receive $10.00 worth of free downloads.  (That gets you two books, depending on what you select).  This offer is limited to the first 25 users, so I encourage you to take advantage of it quickly.   Just a little something to listen to as you’re making your way over the river and through the woods.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Note:  The instructions on how to download provided on the Iambik  site are idiot proof (I got it the first try!)  If you use iTunes I recommend downloading your audiobook in the m4b format.  It divides the reading into chapters and just makes listening, re-winding and searching that much more convenient!

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Introducing Book Sexy Review (and giving away free bookmarks!)

BookSexy is under renovation.

I’ve decided to use the upcoming Book Blogger Convention as an excuse to make some long overdue changes to the site.  The most drastic of these being a domain upgrade.  Unfortunately, BookSexy.com has already been claimed (damned pornographers!).

And so, I’d like to introduce BookSexyReview.com

I think it has a nice ring to it, don’t you?

WordPress promises that this won’t effect anyone’s Google Reader or feed or email or however you choose to tune into the blog.   In fact, if you get BookSexy delivered, you shouldn’t notice much of anything at all.  At least that’s the word on the street.

Here’s the fun part.  To celebrate our new digs  (and while supplies last) I’ll be giving away the new Book Sexy Review bookmarks to anyone who would like one.  If you’re interested, please send a mailing address to:  booksexyblog[at]gmail[dot]com.

(And don’t worry, I won’t keep it.  It just makes the whole sending the bookmark in the mail thing go a bit smoother.  I considered using African swallows, but it seems they’ve become a bit exclusive and refuse to carry anything other than coconuts… go figure).

If anyone notices anything wonky about the transfer, please please please let me know! (yes, I fear change) A comment below will do the job.

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100 Pages – Setting Aside TOKYO, CANCELLED by Rana Dasgupta

I thought the idea (at least my idea) behind Tokyo, Cancelled very clever. A modern take on Boccaccio’s Decameron where, instead of waiting out the Black Plague in a country villa, Rana Dasgupta’s storytellers’ are stranded in an airport by a snowstorm. Passengers unable to find hotels spend the night telling each other tales. Tokyo, Cancelled is a short story collection bound within a frame narrative. The stories have a fantastical edge to them and the book has the potential of being a wonderful blend of old and new. Unfortunately, the three stories I read didn’t fulfill that potential.

The strongest, The Memory Editor, has a plot that is solid, uncluttered and interesting. The world is slowly succumbing to amnesia and preparations are being made for the time when everyone’s memories will have disappeared. A mysterious company has begun recording individual memories, editing out the unpleasant bits and plans (for a fee) to return them to their owners.  The hero is a young man who leaves home and takes the job of editor.  It is a beautiful, modern fable.

The remaining two stories were strangely uneven in comparison.  The Tailor is a lukewarm retelling of an old cliché:  a poor tailor commissioned to make a magnificent set of  robes for a prince. The plot is flat and the ending slapped on. Too little happens for too long and just finishing it became a struggle.

In The Billionaire’s Sleep the author has taken what could have easily become 3 separate stories and smashed them into the space of one. And while I found it a little schizophrenic – this was the story that intrigued me most. A rich, infertile insomniac uses genetic cloning to create a child. He is surprised by twins, a beautiful girl & a monstrous boy. The boy is sent away. The girl is kept, but when she sleeps organic matter around her begins to grow at an amplified rate. Flowers sprout from her headboard. Her family house is destroyed by a tree which grows to the size of a skyscraper overnight. Meanwhile, the boy has a talent for storytelling and becomes a famous actor. The plot continues on from there, becoming more convoluted and disjointed before reaching its bizarre conclusion. You can’t help but feel that had Dasgupta focused the narrative this could have been a lovely story.

Of course, these impressions are based on 100 pages of reading.  So if you’ve read the book in its entirety and disagrees with me, I’d love to hear from you. Or if anyone would like to read Tokyo, Cancelled and share your thoughts I’d be happy to send you my (slightly used) copy.  Please leave a comment below if interested.  I don’t normally do book giveaways, but I very much wanted to love Tokyo, Cancelled.   It just didn’t happen.

Publisher: New York, Black Cat, 2005
ISBN: 0-8021-7009-9

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