Friday, October 14, 2016

Self-Published Authors

What is self-publishing?

Self-publishing is the publication of any book or other media by its author without the involvement of an established publisher. A self-published physical book is said to have been privately printed. The author is in control of the entire process including, for a book, the design of the cover and interior, formats, price, distribution, marketing, and public relations. The authors can do it all themselves or may outsource some or all the work to companies which offer these services. Therefore, the finished copies, the copyright, all subsidiary rights, and all profits are exclusively theirs. Self-publishing is not limited to physical books. E-books, pamphlets, sales brochures, websites, and other media are commonly self-published”.
Self-publishing is a new area or genre of books that has turned out a number of new best sellers. These self-published books have been adopted by readers and interestingly also by the press and the entertainment industry. Everybody is looking for something new and fresh. An example would be the much discussed books; Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy By E. L. James. James's books have sold over 125 million books in 52 languages. Fifty Shades of Grey has been on many best seller lists but was largely promoted by word of mouth. In April 2012, E. L. James was listed as one of Time magazine's "100 Most Influential People in the World". Her books have sold more copies than the Harry Potter series. The entertainment industry could not wait to buy the rights to E. L. James’s books. Her first book was adapted to film and released in 2015.

Now it is true that all self-published books are not all gems and some could use a little TLC. But there are many that are intriguing and offer the reader topics and ideas that are new and exciting. Self-Published books can also be referred to as Indie (independent).

"Book publishing is evolving, and so radically that we may hardly recognize it when it’s done.” States Lev Grossman critic at Time magazine.

There is an interesting article about self-publishing from the Library Journal if you would like some more information on self-publishing.

Self –publishing is now a fast growing category of materials that is gaining attention and interest by readers and the entertainment industry. Many self-published authors have signed with prominent publishing companies which have larger distribution access and therefore revenue. Here are some self-published books and eBooks that are of interest and attention:
Lisa Genova’s book Still Alice went from self-published, to traditional publishing and then debuted on the NYT bestseller list. Still Alice also was adapted to film and released in 2014 starring Julianna Moore.

Feeling at the top of her game when she is suddenly diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease, Harvard psychologist Alice Howland struggles to find meaning and purpose in her life as her concept of self gradually slips away.
Self-published in 2003, Hilary Thayer Hamann's book touched a nerve among readers, who identified with the sexual and intellectual awakening of its heroine, a young woman on the brink of adulthood.

A moving depiction of the transformative power of first love, Hamann's first novel follows Eveline Auerbach from her high school years in East Hampton, New York, in the 1970s through her early adulthood in the moneyed, high-pressured Manhattan of the 1980s.

YA author Amanda Hocking is quite interesting she did an interview on NPR and She talks about writing and how she found the path to self-publishing she wrote her book Switched in 15 days. Listen to the interview she is a bright star and a wonderful story teller. She just made a major book deal with St. Martin’s. She has grossed 2 million through Amazon’s CreateSpace.
Audio interview with Amanda Hocking on NPR.
When Wendy Everly was six-years-old, her mother was convinced she was a monster and tried to kill her. It isn't until eleven years later that Wendy discovers her mother might have been right.
With the help of Finn Holmes, Wendy finds herself in a world she never knew existed - a world both beautiful and frightening, and Wendy's not sure she wants to be a part of it.
The Mongoliad began as a social media experiment, combining serial story-telling with a unique level of interaction between authors and audience during the creative process. Since its original iteration, Mongoliad has been restructured, edited, and rewritten under the supervision of its authors to create a more cohesive reading experience and will be published as a trilogy of novels. This edition is the definitive edition and is the authors' preferred text.
The Mongoliad: Book One, is an epic-within-an-epic, taking place in 13th century. In it, a small band of warriors and mystics raise their swords to save Europe from a bloodthirsty Mongol invasion. Inspired by their leader (an elder of an order of warrior monks), they embark on a perilous journey and uncover the history of hidden knowledge and conflict among powerful secret societies that had been shaping world events for millennia.
The saga reaches the modern world via a circuitous route. In the late 19th century, Sir Richard F. Burton, an expert on exotic languages and historical swordsmanship, is approached by a mysterious group of English martial arts aficionados about translating a collection of long-lost manuscripts. Burton dies before his work is finished, and his efforts were thought lost until recently rediscovered by a team of amateur archaeologists in the ruins of a mansion in Trieste, Italy. From this collection of arcane, the incredible tale of The Mongoliad was recreated.
Wool by Huge Howey is a self-published book that is being adapted to film. Mr. Howey has also been picked up by the publisher Simon and Shuster.                                                                             
This is the story of mankind clawing its way forward for survival. The world outside has grown unkind, the view of it limited, talk of it forbidden. But there are always those who hope, who dream. These are the dangerous people, the residents who infect others with their optimism. Their punishment is simple. They are given the very thing they profess to want: They are allowed outside.
Bared to You by Sylvia Day
The series began with Bared to You, which was originally self-published and then was picked up by a traditional publisher, in this case, Penguin/Berkley. Sylvia Day's reason for self-publishing is a little different than other self-published authors. Sylvia is already a popular author but wanted to try self-publication.

An Excerpt: 
"He was beautiful and brilliant, jagged and white-hot. I was drawn to him as I d never been to anything or anyone in my life. I craved his touch like a drug, even knowing it would weaken me. I was flawed and damaged, and he opened those cracks in me so easily.
Gideon "knew." He had demons of his own. And we would become the mirrors that reflected each other s most private wounds and desires. The bonds of his love transformed me, even as I prayed that the torment of our pasts didn't tear us apart."

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

What's On My Nightstand?

I don't know about you, but I have a lot of books on my nightstand.  In fact, there are so many books sharing the space with my alarm clocks and cell phone, that I should just be honest and call it a vertical book shelf.  Here are a few of the books waiting to be read by me.

Everybody's Fool by Richard Russo -- This is the sequel to Nobody's Fool.  I'm hoping it's just a funny and engaging as the first book.

Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George -- Paris and books.  Love and healing.  What could be better?

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant -- I read it years ago but have always wanted to read it again.  It was that good.

Switcheroo by Olivia Goldsmith -- It's supposed to be a hilarious story about a woman and her husband's mistress as they switch roles and devise a plan for getting even.  Revenge is always fun to read!

Word of Honor by Nelson DeMille -- Lieutenant Ben Tyson is reinstated in the U.S. Army to stand trial for war crimes he allegedly committed when he led his troops during the Vietnam War.  I love Nelson DeMille, so as soon as I can, I'm going to read this one.

What am I reading now?

The Woods by Harlan Coben -- Can't stop turning the pages on this thriller!

Friday, October 7, 2016

New Music Friday and hoopla

Did you know we feature music in the AV ROOM every Friday from 3:00 - 5:00 pm? Yep, each week we play an #albumoftheweek for NEW MUSIC FRIDAY using the library's hoopla digital service. You can stream or download from a wide range of new releases every day of the week (up to 5 per month) and hoopla also offers movies, audiobooks, comics and more. This week's pick is the new record by Brooklyn's LVL-UP called "Return to Love". Rolling Stone magazine calls LVL-UP "one of the most exciting new guitar bands around" so stop by on Friday to take a listen OR visit hoopla to discover NEW music ANY day of the week. 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Can't Get Enough Hamilton?--A Reading (and Listening) List

Hamilton fever is about to take over Chicago. With previews of the musical opening last week and the regular run beginning in mid-October, interest in all things Hamilton is spiking.

Those already infected with the Hamilton bug may want to learn more about the play and the period of American history that Hamilton’s creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, makes come alive on the stage. 

Here are some suggestions to enhance your knowledge of Hamilton:

·         If you are not already hip-hopping to the songs from the musical, you may want to check out the recording from the original Broadway cast:

·         For even more information on the music, take a look at the complete libretto:

Hamilton was inspired by the following biography:
Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow 
(The Chernow biography is also available on audio. Settle in for 35.5 hours of leisurely listening by the highly regarded narrator, Scott Brick). Electronic versions of both the book and the audiobook can be checked out through the library’s My Media Mall service.

·         If you are interested in gaining further historical background about early American history, you might start with one of these nonfiction titles:
Ladies of Liberty by Cokie Roberts

·         For fiction lovers, try:
Burr by Gore Vidal

For even more suggestions, just ask a librarian!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

31 Days of Horror!

Well, it's October again, and that means Halloween, and with that comes horror! Check out the books and movies below to get in that Halloween spirit.


  • The Ritual by Adam Nevill: A group of friends going on a hike quickly takes a sinister turn in this singular scary story. 
  • The Ruins by Scott Smith: Also adapted into a movie, The Ruins follows a group of friends vacationing in Mexico, but their peaceful getaway becomes anything but when they find some abandoned ruins. 
  • The Caretaker of Lorne Field by Dave Zeltserman: Jack Durkin's job is to weed Lorne Field. If he doesn't, he claims that vicious creatures will grow from the soil and destroy all life as we know it. Is Jack crazy? Or are the creatures there, lurking just beneath the surface? 

There's plenty of horror in our YA collection as well. 
  • Scowler by Daniel Kraus: Often compared to Stephen King's The Shining, Scowler is the tale of Ry as he summons three imaginary friends from his childhood back to protect his family from his terrifying father. 
  • The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey: From acclaimed author of The 5th Wave series comes this gothic horror series. All four books are terrifically gruesome - if you enjoy this one, try book two, The Curse of the Wendigo

After something more visual? Graphic novels aren't all superheroes - try one of these scary stories! 
  • Black Hole by Charles Burns: A strange plague has come to 1970's Seattle and it seems to only affect teenagers. This is a strange but beautifully rendered graphic novel - there's nothing quite like it! 
  • The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman: You may have seen the TV show, but that doesn't mean you know the story! This zombie epic has been a graphic novel hit from the beginning. 
  • From Hell by Alan Moore: From the author of Watchmen and V for Vendetta, this is a meticulously researched fictional take on Jack the Ripper. Also adapted for the big screen starring Johnny Depp and Ian Holm. 


If you're a true fan of horror, you might think you've seen just about every scary movie under the sun. Here are a few you might have missed from our collection.
  • Candyman (1992): This scary flick focuses on a twisted urban legend and takes place in Chicago. 
  • Eyes Without a Face (1959): After his daughter's face is disfigured in a car accident, a medical genius attempts to give her face new life - only, he needs some tissue donors. This French film is a classic not to be missed. 
  • Session 9 (2002): A cleaning crew tasked with refurbishing an abandoned mental hospital start to unravel in the chaotic confines of their workplace. 
  • Sinister (2013): A true crime writer moves his family into a house where an entire family was murdered, and finds a mysterious box of video reels in the attic. A shocking, scary, and well told story. 
  • The Witch (2015): In puritan New England, a family's youngest child goes missing mysteriously. The family slowly descends into paranoia and insanity. This recent film is an instant horror classic. 

Also join us on Twitter with the hashtag #31DaysOfHorror to get a different horror movie suggestion every day of the month of October. And, as always, for more suggestions just ask a librarian.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Celebrate the Right to Read: Banned Books Week September 25 to October 1, 2016

Welcome to Banned Books Week 2016. What?  People are still banning books? Yes, they are.

All the books on our display have been challenged within the past year or previous years. And we have a whole book  (Banned Books: Challenging Our Freedom to Read by Robert P. Doyle) that just talks about the hundreds of other titles that we cannot fit on our small display. New books to the banned list this year are the title  The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri and the children's book The Librarian of Basra: A True Story of Iraq by Jeanette Winter.

Why are people banning books? There can be various reasons that titles are challenged in schools and libraries (and sometimes bookstores) and they can change as society changes.  TIME magazine has a great article entitled What the List of Most Banned Books Says About Our Society’s Fears,  that talks about this topic. What we think is shocking now - may not be so shocking in later years.

But eliminating ones' access to materials and information is what banning is all about - taking one person's opinion and enforcing it on others' choices. It may have worked for awhile in the past - but with today's technology and media - it is hard to keep anything undercover. (And it raises sales on the banned author's titles!)

Everyone is different. What one reader enjoys, the other reader may not. The right book, with the right reader, for the right time is what librarians like to say.

So stand up for your right to read and read the banned book of your choice. I'm going to take The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks of off my TBR shelf and start it this week.

What about you?