The Black Sheep Dances has begun a Scandinavian reading challenge. "This challenge starts now and runs through December 31, 2010.Don't know where to start? Scandinavian authors are hot right now (even if the temperatures might be chilly). Stieg Larsson, Per Petterson, Dag Solstad, Hakan Nesser, Henning Mankell, Linda Olsson, Arnaldur Indridason and Knut Hamsun all have great books to get you started. Once a month I'll throw out some titles and some interesting trivia." The challenge is to read six books by the end of the year, so not too taxing. There are plenty of suggestions at Euro Crime's Scandinavian crime fiction database (though the challenge is by no means limited to crime), covering Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Iceland and Finland. (Thanks to Mystery Bookshelf, where I spotted this information.)
Not a week goes past without some outrage or other in the book publishing industry. This past week it was the turn of Amazon again (a frequent butt of everyone's ire). Booksellers and others are upset with Amazon's insistence that its marketplace sellers do not sell the same book for a lower price elsewhere. I just don't get what there is to get upset about (but then I am a reader not a bookseller!). There are lots of price-comparison websites that direct you to the cheapest price for an item, and it seems to me that Amazon's rule is consistent with that. If you want to sell a book and use Amazon marketplace, you have a huge market compared with trying to sell it on your own website (of course, Amazon takes a cut). If you buy a book and then find it cheaper somewhere else, it is very annoying. So I think it is fine, for all these reasons, for Amazon to require that if someone wants to sell a book on its marketplace, they don't also sell it more cheaply somewhere else. If this logic is incorrect, I'd like to know how.
Finally for this post, and somewhat related to book pricing, I actually managed to take advantage of a 3 for 2 offer in Waterstones today. I found two new paperbacks I want to read (by John Harvey and Denise Mina). As usual, I was stuck for a third – several books I'd quite like were not in the offer, and others that I had already read were in the offer. But I was lucky as I had a companion with me who found a book she wanted, which was in the 3 for 2 offer. Phew! While perusing the new-in-paperback tables, though, I was dead chuffed to find two books that quoted my Euro Crime reviews! One is Karin Alvtegen's Shadow, which quotes from my review on the cover: "I was on the edge of my seat, my heart was pounding"; and the other is Esther Verhoef's Close-Up, with a quote from my review in the inside front pages. Impressively, in both cases, the review accurately provides the Euro Crime website address ;-). By the way, I think the cover of the mass-market paperback of Shadow is a vast improvement on the cover of the previous, more expensive, version. Either way, I think it is a very good book indeed.