July 11, 2007KR BlogUncategorized

Take Two

“I thought of the clean linens at your table, the shining knives and the flames of the candles, and I could not stomach it.”–from Sharon Olds’ 2005 poetic open letter to First Lady Laura Bush. Olds, winner of a National Book Critics Circle Award and professor of creative writing at New York University, was invited by the First Lady to read her work at the National Book Festival and declined. This year, the event will be held Saturday, Sept. 29, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The festival is free and open to the public. Among the writers and poets who will be reading this year: Barbara Taylor Bradford, Edward P. Jones, Thomas Mallon, Sena Jeter Naslund, Joyce Carol Oates, Jodi Picoult, Terry Pratchett, Jeff Shaara, Lalita Tademy, Harry Turtledove, Susan Vreeland, Diane Ackerman, Michael Beschloss, Ken Burns, Jack Prelutsky, Kevin Prufer, Jon Stallworthy, Anne Stevenson, Diane Thiel, and many more.

On the (virtual) shelf. Publishers Weekly offers this review of three social networking sites that revolve around books: LibraryThing, Shelfari, and GoodReads. Each of the sites is designed to “give readers an online place to meet, discuss and–most significantly for publishers–list all the books in their life: ones they own, ones they’ve read and ones they want to read.” The oldest among them, LibraryThing was launched in August 2005 and calls itself “the world’s largest book club.” According to PW‘s research, the site attracts more than 200,000 users each month. Shelfari just announced that it has developed an application that can be used on Facebooks, hoping to expand its reach of nearly 10,000 users per month.