Root and Press will be posting a links article every few weeks about the world of books, literature, Worcester, and coffee. Please subscribe on the website if you are interested! Click right at the bottom of the page.

If you missed it, we posted our first blog here on the connection between shopping habits and communities. We have started working with the Worcester Writer’s Collaborative and Sutton Writer’s Collaborative to enable us to carry local books that are hard to find in other bookstores. Check out their websites to browse author’s by name and genre.

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The latest in book news:

  • On the Literary Hub – a great long read here that sums up the intense feelings many people have about entering bookstores – and how they change as we age.
  • An over-whelming amount of year-end lists came out across the web this past month. The literature and music website largehearted boy did everyone a service by compiling these lists into one alphabetical list. Although websites seem to regurgitate the same things over and over again, if you click on a handful of links pertinent to your style/taste, you will probably find a selection or two you missed.
  • The most recent report from The Author’s Guild notes that the income of authors is on the decline. This affliction is particularly felt by non-mainstream writers, those who write and self-publish, and writers for sites that are underpaid or not paid at all. We must support intellectualism with our dollars or bright minds will look elsewhere.
the prince by machiavelli
New editions for new generations.
  • Mitch Harowitz at the Washington Post demonstrates how classical literature such as The Prince by Machiavelli go through cycles of boom and bust. As the world slowly rebuilt the liberal democratic order after World War II, it appeared governing with an iron fist was obsolete in the West. But with the rise of more dictatorial leaders across the Americas and Europe, many scholars are reanalyzing the book in this new context. History lives!
  • HarperCollins announced that they will be launching a new children’s podcast that will cover newer releases and classic literature. The podcast will be on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Soundcloud. First up in January: Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White.
  • Speaking of Podcasts: If you’re a fan of non-fiction and literary fiction, the NY Times Book Review Podcast (no subscription – it’s free!) is a must listen. They usually drop on Friday and feature in-depth two half-hour discussions with authors, reviewers, and publishers.
jd salinger on time
Martin Chilton at IM  argues JD would not want cake for his 100th-birthday
  • The 100th-anniversary of J.D. Salinger’s birth is this year. Martin Chilton of Independent Minds explains why he would likely be incensed at any hoopla over the event.
  • The Literary Hub posted an article (also available through podcast) on the state of literary publicity. How do authors get recognized? There are more outlets for exposure than ever before. However, as we have seen with all things social-media related, the a seemingly endless amount of information just makes it seem that everyone is just screaming over one another. Still, debut authors will certainly take the niche exposure over the previous status-quo: bending backwards to get into a handful of publications for national exposure.
  • Harvard Professor of History and Bancroft award winner Jill Lepore will be at Holy Cross (Thurs, Jan 31) for a panel called “The Rise and Fall of the Fact.” Admission is free. Lepore has recently released a new volume on American history titled These Truths, an authoritative work on the American ideal and how it has included and excluded groups throughout the nation’s history. Lepore has also written about local events. I first came across Lepore writing my a paper in college on early New England colonial relations. Her work The Name of War asserts that the King Philip’s War in 1675 hardened a previously more fluid ethnic divide between New England colonists and Native Americans. She is a treasure for the region.
  • Brian Garfield passed away on December 29th. He was best known for “Death Wish,” a novel about a how experiences can drastically change our sense of self. In the book, accountant Paul Benjamin’s family is the victim of a vicious mugging, and ultimately the thugs kill his wife and leave his daughter in a vegetative state. The formerly liberal New Yorker goes to Arizona, purchases a gun, and goes on a spree of what he interprets as vigilante justice against all would-be muggers. RIP, Mr. Garfield.
  • The new year brought an avalanche of new books to the public domain. This is the first release of material in 20 years because of the extension of corporate proprietary rights in the late 1990’s. Mickey Mouse appeared in a movie called Steamboat Willie in 1928, and the extension was granted in large part because of efforts by Disney to keep their favorite mascot out of the domain. Lifehacker gives us a list of works that are now free to reproduce and recreate here.
  • Even the most careful of Amazon sellers can lose their ability to run their business based on false claims by competitors.
  • Kamala Harris.jpg
    Harris: Writing mid-stream?

    NPR uses “campaign books” to highlight something that has always been a minor quirk of mine: biographies that are published before their time. It seems the rush to capture “the moment” leads to the publication of rushed stories without a legitimate ending; these stories are published as the major narrative is still being written. Not to pick on Kamala Harris per se, but as the article points out, these are usually “memoirs-but-not-really,” more branding tools than true dives into the psyche of the subject. Expect more and more of these as the amount of potential candidates grows by election cycle.

  • A viral throwdown comes our way via an Marie Condo, an anti-clutter guru who suggests people ridding their house of books, and bibliophiles around the globe. I have battled with what books to keep and what books to pass on since I got my first bookshelf. In school, I was able to keep many of my favorite titles under the guise of “research,” although now that I have graduated, that loses its believability. Hence the bookstore!

Cafe notes and news:

  • Single-origin milk (meaning packaged milk whose contents are from individual cows) may soon be hitting the market, highlighting a continuing trend in of identifying the source of coffee and produce items. I expect we will have teat-specific information on labels by summer.
  • According to WaPo, cassava flour, pea yogurt, and banana milk are among the items to be hitting the shelves in the future. We will try the banana milk at the shop when we open. It looks like Big Dairy has another competitor to ward off in its battle with non-animal milk options.
  • Big Meat is also on the offensive. State-by-state, producers of beef are attempting to ban the use of the word meat on items that are not made from a cow. Whether they are right or wrong, I wish consumers would demand more accountability from corporations who purposely manipulate their food-labels to appear healthier than they are. Fat-free candy – what a find! Or “natural”  fruit snacks and breakfast bars with pictures of real berries on the label.

Writer at work

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