Weekly book agenda: literary fashion, odd titles, the Lost Booker

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The Independent Culture

Now through April 4, an exhibition in Brussels features fashion designers' interpretations of literary works by notable Spanish-language, Belgian, and Hungarian authors. Coming up: Shortlists will be announced for the Oddest Book Title of the Year and the "Lost" Booker Prize.

20 Dresses for Europe
Through April 4
Brussels, Belgium

For an exhibition titled "20 Dresses for Europe: A Dialogue Between Fashion and Literature," 20 designers from Spain, Belgium, and Hungary have created dresses and other garments inspired by 20 literary works by writers and poets from the same countries. Among literary works represented are One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez, The Years With Laura Díaz by Carlos Fuentes, The Sorrow of Belgium by Hugo Claus, and Confessions of a Bourgeois by Sándor Márai. The exhibition is open to the public at the Hotel de Ville in Brussels through April 4, after which it will head to Budapest, then Madrid.

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 internet-enabled devices running on Windows, with Mac OS, Android, and Symbian mobile platforms to follow in April and May. 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. Book distributor Baker & Taylor will reportedly contribute 180,000 titles to the Blio bookstore.

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). Winners will be announced in March, date TBD.

Oddest Title Book Prize shortlist
February 19
London, UK

The Bookseller is due to announce a shortlist for its annual Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year. Those that stand a good chance of making the shortlist, according to organizer Horace Best, include Advances in Potato Chemistry and Technology, C ollectible Spoons of the Third Reich, and An Intellectual History of Cannibalism. The Bookseller/Diagram Prize has been awarded every year since 1978, when it was created to provide entertainment at the Frankfurt Book Fair. Submissions will be narrowed down by a panel of UK book trade professionals; a winner will be chosen from the resulting shortlist through online voting.

Lost Man Booker Prize shortlist
London, England

The Man Booker Prize has created a one-off award to honor books published in 1970, the only missing year in the history of the prize. The 22-title longlist includes books by J.G. Farrell, whose The Siege of Krishnapur won the prize in 1973; Iris Murdoch, whose The Sea, The Sea won in 1978; and previously shortlisted authors David Lodge, Muriel Spark, Nina Bawden, and Susan Hill, plus works by Melvyn Bragg and Len Deighton. The panel of judges will choose a shortlist in March. The public will then be invited to vote for a winning title, to be announced in May.

'Mr. Nobody'
March 1

An original Mr. Men character by Roger Hargreaves, discovered in archival material, is due to be published in March. About the invisible Mr. Nobody and his quest to become a somebody, the title was in fact published in 1985 in a limited-edition run but had since been forgotten. The new addition to the catalog brings the total number of classic Mr. Men books to 47. More than 100 million Mr. Men titles have been sold worldwide since they were first published 39 years ago, beginning with the 1971 title Mr. Tickle.

'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter' by Seth Grahame-Smith
March 2

Seth Grahame-Smith is the author of the runaway hit Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, now on its way to becoming a feature film. In Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, he uses the same mashup of history and horror in a retelling of the life of Abraham Lincoln, beginning when the one-day US president learns at an early age that his mother was killed by a supernatural predator.