Speaking of books


August 31, 2008|By dave rosenthal and nancy johnston | dave rosenthal and nancy johnston,dave.rosenthal@baltsun.com and nancy.johnston@baltsun.com

After a summer slumber, Baltimore's literary scene will pick up this month. Some events that you should place on your calendar now :

One Maryland One Book: In the first statewide reading program, Marylanders are being asked to read and discuss A Hope in the Unseen by Ron Suskind, the true story of a young man who journeyed from one of Washington's roughest neighborhoods to an Ivy League university. The Maryland Humanities Council, which organized the program, has scheduled discussions at libraries and community centers statewide. Information: mdhc.org or 410-685-0095.

Baltimore Book Festival, Sept. 26-28: This year's event, which will be held in Mount Vernon in the 600 block of N. Charles St., includes more than 150 author appearances. Among them: Dr. Cornel West, Naomi Wolf, Walter Mosley, Daniel Mark Epstein and Omar Tyree. At 11 a.m. Sept. 28, we will appear on a panel with Heather Johnson, a local book blogger, to talk about changes in book reviewing. Information: baltimorebookfestival.com or 410-752-8632.

Charmed to Death, Oct. 9-12: Baltimore will host an international convention of mystery writers, including Lawrence Block, John Harvey and Baltimore's own Laura Lippman. There is a registration fee for convention events, which include panel discussions, but many authors will also appear at local libraries. For details, go to charmedtodeath.com or call your local library branch.

Kindle review : Last week, Nancy spent a week trying out the Kindle (a device to read e-books), and though she found some nice features (lightweight, no eyestrain from the screen, buying e-books is easy), she was disappointed overall. Among her complaints: There's no touch screen or reading light, the design makes it difficult to hold, and e-books are pricier than expected.

Here's what others had to say about her review:

I'm anxious for the 2.0 as I trust the design negatives you mentioned will be addressed. ... I have to disagree about the book prices, though. ... Breaking Dawn, book 4 of the [Twilight] series, still isn't available in paperback but is now $12.64 in hardback and Kindle's typical $9.99 for new-release bestsellers. - Susan

I am a big "fan" of books. And I mean books, not just a particular title. However convenient e-books might be, the printed form has a charm difficult to beat. - BookCrazy

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