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The Book Reader: "The Atlantic Ocean," TotalBoox.com

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Andrew Losowsky of The Huffington Post reports on newly released book titles and the world of publishing in NY1's newest living segment, "The Book Reader."

Andrew O'Hagan is a Scotsman who writes for literary magazines including The New York Review of Books, but his new book "The Atlantic Ocean" isn't a collection of reviews. These are essays about British and American life, and given my accent, you might have guessed I find this subject interesting.

O'Hagan writes about Andy Warhol and Marilyn Monroe, London's beggars and Hurricane Katrina, often merging autobiography with his research. He also tells the stories of two soldiers, one American, one British, who died in Iraq on the same day.

This book is enjoyable, but uneven. He has a great writing style. However, he sometimes tries too hard to find new angles on tired subjects, spending too long commenting on earlier commentaries.

The book's best moments are when he humanizes the forgotten and overlooked. He knows when to step back and let his subjects tell their own stories, and most importantly, he never tries to over simplify what he sees.

The Atlantic Ocean isn't as good as last year's "Pulphead" by John Jeremiah Sullivan, but if you liked that book, and want something similar, this is a great read. If, however, you haven't read "Pulphead," I'd start there.

"The Atlantic Ocean" is out now in print and download from Mariner Books.

Elsewhere, a new website called TotalBoox.com has created a new potential business model for publishers. Instead of buying an entire e-book, you pay for the pages you read. If you stop reading after 10 percent of the book, you're only charged 10 percent of the cover price. The hope is that readers will be more tempted to explore and discover new books, with less risk involved.

This probably wouldn't work for all genres, but I can imagine it being great for romance and thriller readers in particular, as well as for people who only want to read a particular chapter of, say, a textbook.

So far, no major publishers have signed up, but if readers actually had to pay to keep reading their books, authors would soon discover exactly how gripping their writing really is.

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