Welcome to the end of another week, bookworms. Sadly, the Olympics are nearly over. But fortunately, that will mean I’ll now have oodles of time to read my never-diminishing pile of books. So it all works out in the end. FYI, for some reason, I’m Huffington Post heavy with the links this week. Not quite sure why, but enjoy just the same.
- The Los Angeles Times announced the finalists for its 2009 Book Prizes. Though usually more of a “recognition” than an award, the prizes are nevertheless greatly appreciated by the winners. Nominees in named in 11 different categories, with this year being the first that graphic novels will have their own category. Winners will be announced at an invitation-only (how very L.A.) in April.
- The French National Library recently acquired the memoirs of Casanova, renowned and infamous 18th century Lothario. The memoirs were written between 1789 and 1798 and the original publication “purified” much of the work. The complete memoirs, valued at around $9.5 million, will be on display in Paris. Which is kind of appropriate, since it’s the city of lovers.
- Over on the Huffington Post, Ed Hamilton argues that books will outlast television and points to a growing number of teen readers as his prime example. Hamilton argues that books, especially those for teens, are getting more sophisticated while television seems to decline with every passing pilot season. Moreover, while teens also use the Internet quite a bit, the Internet, at the very least, still requires literacy skills, which will help keep reading and books from becoming extinct. Mostly, though, I liked the article for the title: “Revenge of the Literate.” Revenge, indeed.
- And perhaps one of the reasons for the explosion in teen and middle grade reading is the rise of the multi-format book. Regina Brooks (also writing on Huff Post) explores the ideas behind these multimedia wonders, which combine old-fashioned paper-and-ink books with online websites, forums, clues, games, cards and audio books. Scholastic’s The 39 Clues is a prime example, though there are others as well. While I’m not generally a fan of these types of books (they tend to make me feel overwhelmed), I stand by my belief that any reading or anything to excite reading is better than no reading at all.
- Oh Disney Channel! What have you done to one of my favorite books? A new trailer on YouTube is promoting the upcoming Disney Channel “original” movie Harriet the Spy: Blog Wars. Presumably an update of the classic novel by Louise Fitzhugh, I just can’t wrap my head around this adaptation. I get that kids today aren’t going to write in secret pen-and-ink journals like Harriet did, but based on the trailer, Disney seems to want to make it hip and cool by adding movie stars and what looks like breaking and entering. Why can’t some people leave well-enough alone?
- Afterthoughts of a Worm Hunter. Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes. What Kind of Bean is this Chihuahua? No, I’m not randomly making up incomplete sentences. Those are actual titles of books that are on the shortlist for the Diagram Prize, an award given to the book with the year’s oddest title. From more than 90 submissions, these three and three others were announced this week, with the final (dubious) honor being announced at the end of March. To be fair, though, sometimes I do wonder about the afterthoughts of a worm hunter. Don’t you?
- Last, but certainly not least, I leave you with links to two of the greatest photo slideshows EVER: Most Amazing Libraries, parts one and two. They’ve included the Library Long Room at Trinity College in Dublin, one of my favorites, and other impressive rooms, including the Stockholm Public Library, the Library of Parliament in Ottawa, the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt (the current one, built to commemorate the ancient one) and, of course, Massachusett’s own Boston Public Library in Copley Square.