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Book News, June 11th

Greetings, bookworms and welcome to another weekend. While summer might officially still be ten or so days away, it certainly feels like the warm, humid weather is here to stay. Humidity, of course, is no friend to books, but then that’s what air conditioning is for! Stay cool while reading this week’s book news:

  • The biggest news this week, at least in the YA world, was an article in the Wall Street Journal which questioned whether today’s YA literature was too “dark” and “disturbing” for teens. You can read the article for yourself, but it’s basically bullsh*t written by someone who has no real understanding or appreciation for YA literature (despite the fact that she’s a children’s book reviewer, which really makes no sense to me). Naturally, the YA book world (online, at least) erupted and started responding, including a heartfelt “YA Saves” hashtag on Twitter and a tongue-in-cheek “YA Kills” hashtag as well. There are tons of blog reactions out there in the interwebs, though Bookshelves of Doom has helpfully compiled some of the best. To their credit, the WSJ did publish a couple of dissenting articles that took issue with the original, including a truly awesome one by actual YA author Sherman Alexie. The whole thing – the original article and the fact that these kinds of narrow-minded, uninformed opinions still exist – makes me want to tear my hair out, but thankfully, a lot of really smart people already said what I would say. So go read some of those responses.
  • In other news in no real way related to item number one, Suzanne Collins – author of the uber-popular Hunger Games series – has become the first children’s author to sell more than a million e-books for the Kindle. Amazon keeps track of which authors sell the most and how many of their e-books are sold. Other “Kindle Million Club” members include James Patterson, Stieg Larrson and Nora Roberts. Considering that most e-books are often cheaper (sometimes by several dollars) than their hard-cover or paperback counterparts, this is a pretty big achievement indeed. It’s also a testament to the fact that e-books – and The Hunger Games – are here to stay.
  • How much does an author’s personal beliefs and opinions affect what you read? If you personally disagree with an author’s positions (on any topic, but usually the hot-button ones like politics, gender, religion, sexuality, etc), can you still read his or her books and enjoy them? Flavor Wire’s got a slideshow of great books written by authors with opinions or viewpoints that most, if not all, readers might find morally questionable. Roald Dahl and Ezra Pound were anti-Semites and Nazi sympathizers, Charles Dickens was reportedly a verbally abusive husband who ignored his children, and African-American author Zora Neale Hurston opposed the push to desegregate schools. Personally, I’ve always loved Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, but find his homophobia so off-putting that I can’t really enjoy his other books.
  • Watch out, world! Kurt Hummel is on a roll! Chris Colfer, the actor who portrays Kurt on the hit TV show Glee has signed a two-book deal with Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Both are planned novels, the first reportedly an adventure story that incorporates classic fairy tales (fairy tales are apparently very “in” right now). Though the deal is perhaps a bit surprising, Colfer is quite the talented multi-tasker: he’s already written scripts for a television pilot for the Disney Channel and a movie. Between writing, singing, acting, dancing, and winning a Golden Globe Award, it’s any wonder he still has time to sleep.
  • And now for the fun tidbits: in case you were under a rock last Sunday night, the first teaser trailer for Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1 was released during the MTV Movie awards and it looks pretty much like I expected it too, except I totally laughed at Edward breaking the bed during the hot vampire sex. Once upon a time, I thought Twilight was awesome and then I wised up, but I’ll still see the movie for the heck of it; and holy Hogwarts! Warner Brothers has released some new posters for the upcoming Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and they. are. AWESOME. Sure, the ones of Harry, Ron and Hermione are cool, but LOOK! Professor McGonagall and Neville as super-bad fighters! The twins being all fierce! I will say that I like how Harry’s poster and Voldemort’s poster seem to mirror each other with the colored wand blast-light thing. OMG – this movie is going to be EPIC.
  • P.S. How excited are you that I DIDN’T have any Hunger Games casting news to report this week!?!

As always, happy reading.

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