Russian author and Nobel laureate Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn died Sunday evening at the age of 89. According to the Associated Press (via the New York Times), Solzhenitsyn's son said his father died of heart failure.
The AP also noted that "Solzhenitsyn's unflinching accounts of torment and survival in the Soviet Union's slave labor camps riveted his countrymen, whose secret history he exposed. They earned him 20 years of bitter exile, but international renown. And they inspired millions, perhaps, with the knowledge that one person's courage and integrity could, in the end, defeat the totalitarian machinery of an empire."
Solzhenitsyn's groundbreaking works include One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, The First Circle, Cancer Ward and The Gulag Archipelago trilogy. His obituary in the New York Times described him as a man "whose stubborn, lonely and combative literary struggles gained the force of prophecy as he revealed the heavy afflictions of Soviet Communism in some of the most powerful works of the 20th century."
Borders Group, Inc. sold "more than a quarter million copies of Stephenie Meyer’s Breaking Dawn in total on its first day of sales, Saturday, Aug. 2," through its website as well as 1,000 Borders and Waldenbooks stores in the U.S., according to a press release in which the company also reported that "the number of pre-orders the retailer received for Breaking Dawn was second only in its history to the Harry Potter books."
Amazon.com will acquire AbeBooks.com. In a press release, Russell Grandinetti, Amazon's v-p of books, said, "As a leader in rare and hard-to-find books, AbeBooks brings added breadth and expanded selection to our customers worldwide. AbeBooks provides a wide range of services to both sellers and customers, and we look forward to working with them to further grow their business."
The sale should close before the end of the fourth quarter of 2008. Amazon said that AbeBooks "will continue to function as a stand-alone operation based in Victoria, British Columbia."
AbeBooks calls itself "the world’s largest online marketplace for books," listing more than 110 million books from thousands of booksellers. It was founded in 1995 and in the past few years has acquired BookFinder.com, Fillz, Gojaba.com, Chrislands.com and a 40% stake in Librarything.com.
Blue Mountain Arts is setting up a book division that will focus on books on calendars. The company also publishes a range of cards and gift items. Blue Mountain Arts aims, it said, "to build on its current success by continuing to fill a unique need in the marketplace with its books on family, relationships, personal growth, teens/tweens, and its poetry gift books."
The heads of the new division are:
- Frank Masek, director of sales, who was formerly at Harry N. Abrams and has 15 years of experience in publishing.
- Patti Wayant, director of art and editorial, who has been the editorial manager at Blue Mountain for nearly 25 years.
The Best Dang Bookstore, Centralia, Wash., has reopened eight months after a devastating flood severely damaged owner Jerry Bierdeman's home and business, according to the Chronicle.
The Cape Cod Times, in its weekly feature "Look who's here!" focused upon Meta Reycraft, who is working for the summer at Where the Sidewalk Ends bookshop, Chatham, Mass.
Latino Books y Mas, Palm Springs, Calif., is "a family's effort to share its passion with [the] public," according to the Desert Sun. In an interview, the bookshop's owners, Luciano Ramirez and Tonia Bustamante-Ramirez, said they "wanted to open a bookstore that looks like our house (and) carry books and things that Borders, Barnes & Noble and Wal-Mart didn't carry."
FYI: Chuck Palahniuk does not live in Vancouver, Wash. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer book blog featured "10 things you should know about Chuck Palahniuk," a list garnered from his recent visit to University Bookstore, Seattle, Wash., for a booksigning.
Five years ago, Port Washington, N.Y., resident Nancy Comer--whose 29-year-old son has Down syndrome--helped form Books for Dessert, a book club "for adults with intellectual disabilities," according to Newsday. Since its inception, the club "has grown to include about 50 participants in three weekly groups and is now expanding its efforts. Club leaders are preparing a manual, due to be available this fall, that will outline how others can form groups."
Newsday also profiled Next Chapter Book Club, a similar program that "was founded in 2002 at Ohio State University's Nisonger Center in Columbus and now has more than 100 chapters across the country."
As a literary gift for the summer season, the Guardian offered "five original stories from Julian Barnes, William Boyd, Tessa Hadley, Alice Sebold and Chris Ware."