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Likely Stories

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Keir Graff and editors from Booklist's adult and youth departments write candidly about books, book reviewing, and the publishing industry

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011 1:00 pm
What I Need When I Need It
Posted by: Bill Ott

Open Road Integrated Media has just launched a new imprint called Iconic eBooks that will be devoted to bringing influential works of all kinds to electronic format. The line debuts with the e-book publication of Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying. This strikes me as a terrific idea. I’m still a relative newbie in using e-readers, but so far I’ve particularly enjoyed dipping into classics or standards, mostly on a whim. I was about to get on an airplane the other day and felt a sudden need to read Anthony Powell’s Books Do Furnish a Room. Quickly downloaded a copy and was good to go, even though I had at least three copies of the actual book waiting quietly on my shelves at home. Sometimes you want something now, and the best part about e-books is you can usually get it. I also applaud Open Road for making Don Winslow’s early novels available electronically (not quite iconic but damn good). I’ve been steaming through the Neal Carey series–all thoroughly readable–but my real find is an early Winslow novel called Isle of Joy, a kind of love song to 1950s New York wrapped in a fast-moving thriller featuring fictional versions of various real-life figures, including the Kennedys and Jack Kerouac. (In Winslow’s telling, the Kerouac figure has an affair with the Jackie Kennedy character; try getting you mind around that!). So hats off to Open Road for getting me what I need when I need it.

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