AbeBooks' Reading Copy » Uncategorized http://www.abebooks.com/blog AbeBooks book blog Thu, 17 Apr 2014 23:56:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 The 10 Most Challenged Books of 2013 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/04/16/the-10-most-challenged-books-of-2013/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/04/16/the-10-most-challenged-books-of-2013/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 19:39:31 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=21044 The 10 Most Challenged Books of 2013

The American Library Association has released its 10 most challenged books of 2013.  The ALA defines a challenge as an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. In 2013, these 10 books were challenged the most:

1. Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey
The bestselling series has been cited for offensive language, unsuited to age group and violence since its first book hit libraries in 1997. It topped the list in 2012, too.

2. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
As one of America’s most important authors, Toni Morrison is no stranger to book bans and challenges. Her 1970 debut novel The Bluest Eye has been cited for offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group and violence.

3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Despite winning the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature along with a throng of other awards, the book has been cited for drugs, alcohol, smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit and unsuited to age group. We’ve included it on our list of 50 Essential Young Adult Novels.

4. Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James
It’s no surprise to see the 2012 bestseller on yet another challenged list. It’s been cited for nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit and unsuited to age group.

5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Arguably the most popular series since Harry Potter, The Hunger Games has been cited for religious viewpoint and unsuited to age group.

6. A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl by Tanya Lee Stone
The School Library Journal called it book of the week when it first hit shelves in 2006, but challengers cite it for drugs, alcohol, smoking, nudity, offensive language and sexually explicit.

7. Looking for Alaska by John Green
John Green is the author of the hit novel The Fault in Our Stars. His debut novel Looking for Alaska won the 2006 Michael L. Printz Award from the American Library Association, but is cited for drugs, alcohol, smoking, sexually explicit and unsuited to age group.

8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Another book from our list of 50 Essential Young Adult Novels. The 1999 coming-of-age novel was re-popularized with the 2012 film adaption starring Emma Watson. It’s cited for drugs, alcohol, smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit and unsuited to age group.

9. Bless Me Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
The 1972 novel was awarded the Premio Quinto Sol Award which recognizes the best fictional work by Mexican American authors as a means of promoting Chicano writers. It’s cited for occult, satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint and sexually explicit

10. Bone by Jeff Smith
The popular graphic novel series for children has been cited for political viewpoint, racism and violence.

Of challenges, the ALA has this to say,

Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. As such, they are a threat to freedom of speech and choice.

For more from AbeBooks on the controversy of banning books, check out our feature on the most notorious books.

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Stephen King’s 40 Years of Fear http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/04/04/stephen-kings-40-years-of-fear/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/04/04/stephen-kings-40-years-of-fear/#comments Fri, 04 Apr 2014 18:47:18 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=20951 Carrie by Stephen King

It all started with a novel about a girl with a frightening power.  On April 5, 1974, Stephen King’s debut novel Carrie hit shelves for the very first time, and the master of horror is still going strong.

At the risk of stating the obvious, few authors past or present have achieved the level of success experienced by Stephen King. But then again, few authors are as prolific as Stephen King. With over 350 million copies of more than 70 titles sold worldwide, many adapted to film, television, and even Broadway musicals and comic books, King’s impact on popular culture is irrefutable.

King has released at least one book every year since his debut – frequently more than one, sometimes as many as three or four in a single year.  His next book, Mr. Mercedes, comes out June 3, 2014. From Carrie and Cujo to Dolores Claiborne and Doctor Sleep, we’ve compiled a complete list of King’s books and stories along with a look at the literary royalty’s most collectible titles.  Get a full dose of horror right here.

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7 Beautiful Editions of The Secret Garden http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/03/20/7-beautiful-editions-of-the-secret-garden/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/03/20/7-beautiful-editions-of-the-secret-garden/#comments Thu, 20 Mar 2014 19:52:34 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=20901 The Secret Garden, 1949

We’re celebrating the first day of Spring (hooray!) with The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. After losing her parents, young Mary Lennox is sent from India to live in her uncle’s gloomy mansion on the wild English moors. A secret garden and a mysterious key lead the girl to a world she never could have imagined. The classic children’s tale is still loved by children today (it was my own favorite as a young reader) and has been published many times since its first run in 1911. From work-of-art to pretty paperback, we’ve selected 7 beautiful editions we’d love to add to our shelves.

The Secret Garden, Puffin Designer Classics   The Secret Garden, Puffin Designer Classics

Designed by picture book creator Lauren Child, this incredible limited edition was published by Puffin in celebration of their 70th anniversary in 2010. The cover is made of paper layers that can be peeled back one by one until Mary and the garden are revealed.  With only 1000 copies printed, the book is incredibly collectible.

The Secret Garden by Penguin Threads, designed by Jillian Tamaki     The Secret Garden, designed by Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini

The Penguin Threads series was commissioned by Penguin Art Director Paul Buckley.  Artist Jillian Tamaki sketched then hand stitched the cover (left) using a needle and thread. The final cover is sculpt embossed. Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini designed the Puffin Classic hardback (right).

The Secret Garden, 1949

This vintage copy illustrated by Nora S. Unwin was published in 1949 by J.B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia & New York.

The Secret Garden, introduction by Sophie Dahl  The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett   The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Lastly, some pretty copies from Puffin and Penguin, perfect for a young reader’s first adventure into The Secret Garden.

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The Daphne Award: Righting the Wrongs of Book Awards Past http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/01/30/the-daphne-award-righting-the-wrongs-of-book-awards-past/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/01/30/the-daphne-award-righting-the-wrongs-of-book-awards-past/#comments Thu, 30 Jan 2014 18:23:49 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=20528 the-favourite-game-cohenThe good folks over at Bookslut have announced plans for a new book award. Dubbed the Daphne Award, it will celebrate the best books of 50 years ago and ‘right the wrongs’ of book awards past.

As an afficionado of old books, I love this idea. And always up for a challenge, I couldn’t resist trying to answer Bookslut’s call for help with their list of nominees and spent some time this week hunting down treasures published in 1963. It was an interesting year in the literary world, with books by some authors who were newcomers at the time but who have since become very familiar – Joyce Carol Oates, John Fowles, Larry McMurtry, Mario Vargas Llosa, to name just a few.

I’m already coveting most of the books on Bookslut’s lists of potential nominees but still managed to find a few more to throw into the mix – and to add to my own wish-list.

Here are just some of the best, overlooked books from 1963.


The Collector by John Fowles
The Gift by Vladimir Nabokov (first English translation published in 1963)
Leaving Cheyenne by Larry McMurtry
The Favourite Game by Leonard Cohen
La Ciudad y Los Perros (The Time of the Hero) by Mario Vargas Llosa
The Barracks by John McGahern
By the North Gate by Joyce Carol Oates
The Bender by Paul Scott
Visions of Gerard by Jack Kerouac
Inside Daisy Clover by Gavin Lambertself-portrait-ray
Travelling People by B.S. Johnson


Strength to Love by Martin Luther King
Self Portrait by Man Ray
The Presidential Papers by Norman Mailer
The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
What is Remembered by Alice B. Toklas
Eight Men Out by Eliot Asinof


It Catches My Heart in Its Hands By Charles Bukowskizoo-munari
No Voyage by Mary Oliver
The Rising Fire by Gwendolyn MacEwen

Kids’ Books:

9 Magic Wishes by Shirley Jackson
Bruno Munari’s Zoo
How the Whale Became by Ted Hughes
Hold Fast Your Teeth by Edward Bawden

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From Written Word to Silver Screen: 17 books hitting theaters in 2014 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/01/27/from-written-word-to-silver-screen-17-books-hitting-theaters-in-2014/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/01/27/from-written-word-to-silver-screen-17-books-hitting-theaters-in-2014/#comments Mon, 27 Jan 2014 17:12:49 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=20426 Books have a long history of becoming great films. It goes without saying that the two make a good pair, in fact, five of this year’s Oscar Best Picture nominees are book-to-film titles. American Hustle is based on The Sting Man: Inside Abscam by Robert W. Greene. Captain Phillips was inspired by A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea by Captain Richard Phillips. Philomena: A Mother, Her Son, and a Fifty Year Search by Martin Sexsmith became Philomena starring Dame Judi Dench. Solomon Northup’s Twelve Years a Slave and Jordan Belfort’s Wolf of Wall Street are also on the list.

So what’s next? Here are 17 books hitting theaters in 2014:

Labor Day by Joyce Maynard

1. Labor Day by Joyce Maynard becomes a film of the same title, starring Kate Winslet.

2. The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert M. Edsel and Bret Witter becomes The Monuments Men starring George Clooney and Matt Damon.

3. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead is a shoe-in for film following the Twilight phenomenon.

The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert M. Edsel and Bret Witter 4. Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin will star Colin Farell in it’s big screen adaptation.

5. Thérese Raquin by Émile Zola becomes the film In Secret, starring Elizabeth Olsen.

6. A Long Way Down is not the first Nick Hornby book to hit theaters.

7. Divergent by Veronica Roth is screaming blockbuster.

8. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green is yet another YA read turned movie.A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby

9. The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais stars none other than Helen Mirren.

10. The Giver by Lois Lowry will come to life with Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep.

11. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn isn’t the author’s only appearance on the big screen this year…

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green12. Gone Girl is also hitting theaters and stars Ben Affleck.

13. This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper stars funny man Jason Bateman.

14. Rainier and Grace by Jeffrey Robinson inspired the film Grace of Monaco starring Nicole Kidman as Grace Kelly.

15. Wild by Cheryl Strayed will feature Reese Witherspoon as the author who walks to redemption.

The Giver by Lois Lowry16. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand isn’t the author’s first film experience – she also wrote Seabiscuit.

17. Serena by Ron Rash will star on-screen duo Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper.

Get reading before you grab the popcorn!

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Underdog James McBride takes National Book Award http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/11/21/underdog-james-mcbride-takes-national-book-award/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/11/21/underdog-james-mcbride-takes-national-book-award/#comments Thu, 21 Nov 2013 18:27:26 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=20178 The Good Lord Bird by James McBride

Winners of the prestigious National Book Award were announced Wednesday evening, with James McBride taking the fiction prize for The Good Lord Bird. Many are calling the win a surprise, considering the underdog was up against favorites Thomas Pynchon and Jhumpa Lahiri. But the winning novel is said to be wildly entertaining, darkly funny, and well deserving. The historical tale tells the story of a young slave’s adventures with abolitionist John Brown. McBride is best known for his 1996 memoir, The Color of Water but we have a feeling that’s about to change. A few signed copies of the winning novel can be found on our site.  

Other 2013 National Book Award winners include George Packer for The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America (nonfiction), Mary Szybist for Incarnadine: Poems (poetry), and Cynthia Kadohata for The Thing About Luck (young people’s literature).

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Short Story Collection Nabs the Giller Prize http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/11/15/short-story-collection-nabs-the-giller-prize/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/11/15/short-story-collection-nabs-the-giller-prize/#comments Fri, 15 Nov 2013 18:09:23 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=20126 Hellgoing

Lynn Coady was named winner of Canada’s 2013 Scotiabank Giller Prize earlier this month for her collection of short stories, Hellgoing.  Now in its 20th year, the Giller Prize recognizes excellence in Canadian fiction.  Previous winners include literary hard-hitters Alice MunroRohinton Mistry, Joseph Boyden, and Michael Ondaatje.

Writers Margaret Atwood, Esi Edugyan, and Jonathan Lethem made up this year’s jury, saying of Hellgoing:

“The eight stories in Lynn Coady’s Hellgoing offer a stupendous range of attitudes, narrative strategies, and human situations, each complete and intricate, creating a world the reader enters as totally as that of a novel, or a dream. Yet the book as a whole is also magically united by Coady’s vivid and iconoclastic language, which brims with keen and sympathetic wit. Whether from the perspective of a writer flailing in the social atmosphere of a professional conference, or a woman trying to extend forgiveness to a lover’s abusive father, Coady offers a worldview full of mournful humour, ready indignation, and vertiginous possibility; the reader feels in the presence of life itself.”

With a review like that, this book is definitely going on our wish list.

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RIP Seamus Heaney 1939-2013 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/08/30/rip-seamus-heaney-1939-2013/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/08/30/rip-seamus-heaney-1939-2013/#comments Fri, 30 Aug 2013 15:50:51 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=19557

The Irish writer and poet Seamus Heaney has died after a short illness. He was 74 and won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995. Heaney was born in 1939 in County Derry, Northern Ireland, and studied at Queen’s University in Belfast, before training as a teacher. He settled in Dublin but also worked in the US.

The poet Simon Armitage said: “I’ll remember him both as a poet and a person – an incredibly generous and open man. He was a great ambassador for poetry and I think that’s recognised almost worldwide. People only had good things to say about his courtesy and his integrity. I remember once being in a pub with him in Shropshire – he was a superstar in the world of literature but in that pub he was like a guy from the village. He just sat there in the corner chatting way.”

Heaney’s first book was called Death of a Naturalist, and was published in 1966. He gave up teaching in 1972 to become a full-time writer.

Other notable titles include Wintering Out (1972), North (1975), Station Island (1984), Seeing Things (1991), District and Circle (2006) and Human Chain (2010).

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Top Ten Literary Masterpieces Discovered Posthumously http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/08/28/top-ten-literary-masterpieces-discovered-posthumously/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/08/28/top-ten-literary-masterpieces-discovered-posthumously/#comments Wed, 28 Aug 2013 17:16:05 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=19548 Exciting news in the book world about the potential release of five new JD Salinger novels, over 40 years since his last published word and a few years after his death. Fans and publishers alike are buzzing about the possibility of what those manuscripts might contain.

But while not all authors are as reclusive or sought-after as Salinger, he’s far from being the only author to have excitement generated about works found and published after his death.

newrepublic.com has put up a list of the top ten most remarkable posthumously published novels in history:

1. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
2. 2666 by Roberto Bolaño
3. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
4. The Way of All Flesh by Samuel Butler
5. The First Man by Albert Camus
6. The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens
7. Bouvard et Pécuchet by Gustave Flaubert
8. Maurice by E.M. Forster
9. The Original of Laura by Vladimir Nabokov
10. The Pale King by David Foster Wallace

All of these books are widely considered by critics to be great and important works of literature, and none was published while its author was still alive.

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Killer Crabs, The Moon Monster and More http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/08/09/killer-crabs-the-moon-monster-and-more/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/08/09/killer-crabs-the-moon-monster-and-more/#comments Fri, 09 Aug 2013 18:00:36 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=19481 Caution, gentle readers – this will terrify and horrify. Beware the evil, scaled visage of The Monster Fish, the multiple heads of The Hydra Monster and many more. Shock! Terror! Revulsion! You’ll want to close your eyes and scream as you encounter scales, claws, antennae and worse with this selection of Retro Monster Books! Sent to eviscerate and annihilate, these creepy creatures make the vintage volumes they adorn as frightening as they are collectible.


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