Weekly book agenda: 'Candide,' Blio, Translated Book Award

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An online exhibition celebrates Candide at 250 with a host of interactive features. The much-hyped Blio e-reading software goes live in February. And on February 16, a shortlist will be revealed for the best books translated into English in 2009.

'On the Road with Candide'

The New York Public Library has just launched its online exhibition On the Road with Candide, commemorating the 250th birthday of Voltaire's famous satire. Material on display includes an extensive series of drawings by Rockwell Kent, who illustrated the book's 1928 edition. Among interactive features, readers and scholars can head to the online salon "All Possible Worlds" to post essays or help create a "living Candide." A section called "Candide Journey" invites younger readers to take part in a visual storytelling project using Google Maps and the NYPL Digital Gallery. On "Do-It-Yourself Candide," a feature coming in the near future, visual artists and others will be able to upload materials to add to the evolving exhibition.


Digital Book World
January 24-27
New York, USA

One of several events taking place in New York this year to address publishing's digital revolution, Digital Book World will focus especially on consumer publishers, including major global players like Random House and HarperCollins. Themes such as "Today's eBook Consumer," "Consumer Attitudes toward eBook Reading," and "Engaging Readers in the Digital Age" will provide food for thought among publishers, and likely lead to changes that readers will notice in the coming years.


Costa Book Awards
January 26
London, UK

The Costa Book Awards, previously called the Whitbread awards, are given annually to authors based in the UK and Ireland for what judges consider the "most enjoyable books of the year." Winners are chosen in five categories, and an overall winner - to be announced January 26 - is named Costa Book of the Year. Category winners, announced on January 5, are Irish author Colm Toibin for Brooklyn (best novel), Raphael Selbourne for Beauty (first novel), Christopher Reid for A Scattering (poetry), Graham Farmelo for The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Quantum Genius (biography), and Patrick Ness for The Ask and the Answer (children's book).


International Comics Festival in Angoulême
January 28-31
Angoulême, France

The International Comics Festival in Angoulême is the largest event of its kind in Europe. The 37th edition, which begins January 28, will feature a Manga Building, an exhibition of Russian comics, and an International Encounters Forum. An annual highlight is the 24-hour Comic Strip Contest, in which contestants create 24-page comic books in the 24 hours before the festival begins. General entrance fees are €14 per day, or €30 for all four days.


New Delhi World Book Fair
January 30 - February 7
New Delhi, India

India's publishing industry, the third largest for English books after the US and UK, has been featured in recent years as guest of honor at the 2006 Frankfurt Book Fair, Market Focus of the 2009 London Book Fair, and guest country at the 2009 Moscow International Book Fair. The National Book Trust of India has organized the New Delhi World Book Fair since 1972 to integrate the Indian publishing world with the global market. The theme of the 2010 fair, in honor of the Commonwealth Games, is "Reading Our Common Wealth: An International Rights Exhibition of the Books on Sports in India."


Blio software

A highlight among the e-reader software and devices presented at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show, the Blio e-reading software will be available for free download in February to most internet-enabled devices. Blio displays books as PDFs in exactly the same layout and design as they appear in print, including color. Other features include 3D page turns, a text-to-speech function, and ability to store books online and download them for offline reading. The platform is being released through a partnership with book distributor Baker & Taylor (B&T), which will reportedly contribute 180,000 titles to the Blio bookstore. 


'Point Omega' by Don DeLillo
February 2/March 5
North America/UK

American author Don Delillo, born in 1936, is a central figure in contemporary literature, known for works such as White Noise that satirize postmodern society. The short novel Point Omega, which follows 2007's Falling Man, will be published on February 2 in North America (Scribner), and on March 5 in the UK (Picador). An early short description reads: "A young filmmaker visits the desert home of a secret war advisor in the hopes of making a documentary. The situation is complicated by the arrival of the older man's daughter, and the narrative takes a dark turn."

Best Translated Book Award shortlist
February 16
Rochester, NY, USA

Three Percent, a resource for international literature based at the University of Rochester, USA, is due to announce its finalists for the Best Translated Book Award. In order to be considered, books must have been published in the US in English translation between December 1, 2008 and November 30, 2009. Authors from 23 different countries writing in 17 different languages are on the 25-title longlist, including Orhan Pamuk (Turkey), Robert Walser (Austria), and Roberto Bolaño (Chile), and lesser-known authors Wolf Haas (Austria), Ferenc Barnas (Hungary), and Cao Naiqian (China). Winners will be announced in March, date TBD.


'Solar' by Ian McEwan
March 18, 30

The latest novel by Booker Prize-winning novelist Ian McEwan is due out internationally in April. Solar will tell the story of a Nobel prize-winning physicist who receives an invitation to travel to New Mexico - an opportunity that offers him a chance to, according the the book's description, "extricate himself from his marital problems, reinvigorate his career, and very possibly save the world from environmental disaster."

'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls'
March 30

The Quirk Classics series combines "popular fanboy characters like ninjas, pirates, zombies and monkeys" with classic public domain book titles. Quirk Books' first title, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith, made US and UK bestseller lists and is now being made into a film. A prequel, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls by Steve Hockensmith, is due out on March 30. And coming in June is a Tolstoy mashup, Android Karenina, that will be co-authored by Ben H. Winters, who wrote the team's 2009 book Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters.