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Wednesday book news: Readers Digest, e-books on sale and more

February 15, 2012 |  9:21 am

Jimruland_nuviaThe first thing you might think meeting Jim Ruland, a former Navy man with full-sleeve tattoos and a fondness for punk rock, would probably not be "Readers Digest," but the two do belong together. Ruland's story "Homeward Bound" won a Readers Digest 150-words-or less true life story contest, taking the $25,000 top prize. Ruland, who now lives in San Diego with his wife, Nuvia, is an author, critic and host of the long-running L.A. reading series Vermin on the Mount.

The Rumpus anonymous advice columnist Dear Sugar is anonymous no more. Sugar's identity was revealed at the magazine's Valentine's event in San Francisco Tuesday night: it's writer Cheryl Strayed. Strayed's memoir "Wild: Lost and Found on the Pacific Coast Trail," is coming from Knopf in March.

Algonquin Books is having an e-books sale. The publisher asked seven of its authors to each pick a favorite Algonquin book, and those e-books are on sale this week for $1.99. The pickers include Tayari Jones, Jonathan Evison, and Heidi Durrow; the on-sale e-books include "Winter Birds" by Jim Grimsley, "Dirty Work" by Larry Brown and Joseph Skibell's "A Blessing on the Moon."

Major ebook publisher Open Road Media has announced Tina Pohlman will be joining the company as publisher. Pohlman is a former vice president and publisher at Crown. Open Road has digitally published the backlist of Jimmy Breslin, Michael Chabon and many others; it also publishes e-originals, such as the upcoming memoir "Man in the Empty Boat" from Mark Salzman.

The Very Short List, a daily cultural email now owned by the Observer, is getting a makeover. Its recommendations will now be focused by topic -- technology on Monday, culture on Tuesday, style on Wednesday, design on Thursday and food on Friday. I hope books, which have always had a good share of VSL attention, don't get lost in the mix.

RELATED:

Michael Chabon, royalty rates and an e-book backlist

An e-book conundrum around "Breakfast at Tiffany's"

Vermin on the Mount: Gary Amdahl, David Francis, Chiwan Choi

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Jim Ruland with his wife, Nuvia Crisol Ruland, outside the Vermin on the Mount reading series. Credit: Carolyn Kellogg

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