Dave Eggers Gets the Kakutani Seal of Approval; Books on the Subway

Today in books and publishing: Dave Eggers' new book gets a rave review, photos of people reading books on the subway, self-publishing, and books about aliens.

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Today in books and publishing: Dave Eggers' new book gets a rave review, photos of people reading books on the subway, self-publishing, and books about aliens.

Dave Eggers' new book, A Hologram for the King, out June 19, has hit the review cycle. It's the story of a struggling businessman in Saudi Arabia who "pursues a last-ditch attempt to stave off foreclosure, pay his daughter’s college tuition, and finally do something great." From the sound of things, Michiko Kakutani (the real Michiko Kakutani) pretty much adored it. She writes, "Hologram is studded with allusions to a rich array of literary classics, but Mr. Eggers uses a new, pared down, Hemingwayesque voice to recount his story, a voice that stands in sharp contrast to the baroque, hyperventilated one he employed in his dazzling 2000 debut book, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Gone are the self-conscious commentary and postmodern pyrotechnics of “Genius.” Gone too are the less effective exercises in mimicry and pastiche featured in his 2002 novel You Shall Know Our Velocity. She concludes, "he has achieved something that is more modest and equally satisfying: the writing of a comic but deeply affecting tale about one man’s travails that also provides a bright, digital snapshot of our times." Sounds like this year's Goon Squad. [New York Times]

Fun things to look at, the "People reading books on the subway edition." Underground New York Public Library collects photos of people reading on the subway in New York City. It's a pretty great reminder that a lot of city dwellers do still adore the printed word, not to mention a gauge of what people are actually reading. On Wednesday, Ourit Ben-Haim, the blogger and photographer behind the site, answered a few questions about it for Tumblr Storyboard. Ben-Haim said, "To read is to be willing to engage ourselves towards discovery. Reading any book demonstrates this willingness. When I see the Reading-Riders, I see people who are contemplating description of new possibilities. In this way, every book says that its reader is simply great." So much book love! [Underground New York Public Library]

Penguin nabs a self-published best-seller. Following in what appears to be a trend wrought in part by Fifty Shades, Penguin will announce Friday that they've signed Iowan Tracey Garvis Graves to a two-book deal on the success of her self-published debut, On the Island. The house has "reissued Island, about a 30-year-old teacher and her 16-year-old male student shipwrecked together, as an e-book with new material, and will release the paperback July 10." Graves' next book, Covet, will be out in December 2013, and an Island movie is likely forthcoming—it has been optioned by MGM. But as salacious as the book may sound, Graves has told the press, "I don't want everyone in Des Moines to think I wrote this 'pervy' book. They are both very likeable, selfless characters." [USA Today]

Apropros of that: How to self-publish. CNET's David Carnoy offers 25 things you need to know if you want to get on this book bandwagon. The piece, originally written in 2008 and updated most recently Wednesday, features his own story of self-publishing and, of course, the main draw: those 25 tips. [CNET]

Books for people who love aliens. There are two new making-of books out there: The Book of Alien and Prometheus: The Art of the Film. "One is an example of how to do a making-of book wrong, and the other is an example of how to do it right." [Collider]

Take a moment and look at these adorable Hunger Games illustrations. They are worth it. [How Are You I'm Fine Thanks]

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