Between the covers: 02/09/12

Your guide to what's really going on in the world of books

Between the Covers feels a bit old after hearing that Damian Barr's 2004 book, Get It Together: Surviving Your Quarterlife Crisis (Hodder & Stoughton) is about to be published as an ebook.

"When I wrote this book," he says, "there was a global economy, Twitter wasn't a twinkle, and I had a Young Person's Railcard. Well, it's now an ebook and things have certainly changed but, judging from the emails I continue to receive, the quarterlife crisis remains relevant." He'd better hurry up and write a guide to middle age, however, or by the time he gets there his readers might not be able to work whatever electronic device they need to read it on ....

...

It's official: publishing has imploded. Between the Covers has received a press release promising that "one of the most hotly anticipated celebrity books of the year" is going to be published in October. The important book is the "autobidography" of Pudsey the dog from Britain's Got Talent, and the press release was sent by the same PR company that looks after the Man Booker Prize. In 2007, Katie Price's novel Crystal outsold all the Man Booker shortlist titles put together, by some distance. But remember, Hilary Mantel's 2012 longlisted Bring Up the Bodies (inset below) has infidelity, incest, politics, beheadings and a prominent royal with his trousers down. If it's celebrity gossip you want, there's no need to go to the dogs.

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In keeping with the Olympic spirit, Harvill Secker is giving away books connected to the Paralympics. First, they promised to give away a book by an author from the first country to win a medal. That will be The Last Quarter of the Moon by Chinese writer Chi Zijian (left), which they publish in January 2013 – thanks to China's Zhang Cuiping, who won gold in the shooting on Thursday. Now, the publisher is promising to give away books from countries that win the most Paralympic medals. Among their titles are the brilliant, Man Booker-longlisted Philida, by André Brink (South Africa), The Shadow Girls by Henning Mankell (Sweden), reviewed today on page 69, and books by José Saramago (Portugal); Peter Høeg (Denmark) and Jo Nesbo (Norway). Readers should follow @HarvillSecker on Twitter, look out for questions related to the Paralympic teams and sports, and then cheer for South Africa's Oscar Pistorius or some Scandinavians, perhaps.

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We've heard of readers donating money to charity to have themselves written into novels by their favourite authors. Now, Simon & Schuster, and the Miracle on Regent Street author Ali Harris, are trying something different. Harris is working on a new novel, The First Last Kiss, and is appealing to readers to send her their "best kiss" stories so that she can write them into the novel. "It's a way for people to connect with each other, to reminisce, to celebrate and share their love for whoever the lucky recipient of the kiss was," says Simon & Schuster's head of fiction, Maxine Hitchcock. There is no charge for this unusual offer, but at least one fan seems to want something in return. "I'd love to enter but I've never been kissed …", writes the optimistic @ChickLitterKev, on Twitter. The book will be published in January.

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