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Book News, May 12th

I return, bookworms! I’ve been so busy that I’ve been neglecting you and for that, I apologize. I shall endeavor to make it up to you, starting with a beautiful weather weekend (at least here in Boston) and this week’s book news. (What? You were expecting more? Ok, well, I’m a girl on a budget. That’s all I’ve got.)

  • The wild rumpus roars no more. The children’s book world lost a giant this week, when Maurice Sendak died at the age of 84. Sendak is, of course, best known as the author and illustrator of Where the Wild Things Are, but his career as a children’s author and illustrator spanned more than 60 years and he was once referred to as “the Picasso of children’s books” (minus the whole ear thing, I presume). Sendak was so popular in part because of his clear-eyed, unsentimental look at childhood, with characters who were often not at all well-behaved and an embrace of the scarier things.
  • I bet all those folks who said publishing was dying are feeling pretty dumb right about now. According to the Association of American Publishers, sales of children’s and young adult hardcovers are up 72% over the same time last year. Paperback sales are up as well, almost 63% over last year. That’s right – good, old-fashioned actual books are selling. Though there’s no absolute indication for this jump, most publishers believe the increase can be attributed to the success of several popular series, including that one about those games where, apparently, people are hungry.
  • Speaking of those hungry games, The Hunger Games is now on the top of the Amazon Kindle’s Most Highlighted Passages list. Amazon tracks what passages readers are highlighting when reading on their Kindles (side note: anyone else find that a little creepy?) and The Hunger Games series dominates the list, taking eight of the 10 spots. The only non-Hunger Games book on the list is Pride and Prejudice, which does make me feel a bit better (though the passage for that book is the famous first line – “it is a truth universally acknowledged…” – and really, should everyone have that memorized by now?)
  • That’s one way to experience literature. 24 brave individuals took the time in April complete a full-scale re-enactment of Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, which included acting out the eponymous tales while walking (on foot walking!) from London to Canterbury. The adventure raised money for the UK’s National Literacy Trust. Pictures and even audio can be found on The Guardian’s website.
  • First the Greeks, then the Romans, now the Norse. Children’s author Rick Riordan announced plans to write a series based on Norse mythology. Riordan is best known for his Percy Jackson series and the follow-up, The Heroes of Olympus, as well as an Egyptian inspired series, The Kane Chronicles. With a few more books in the Heroes series to complete, Riordan plans to work on his Norse series slowly; it will be at least a year before the book is written and probably longer before it’s published.
  • It pays to live – and work – in the Northeast. Thanks to Bookshelves of Doom, I came across this map of library distribution in the United States. The map overlays metro statistical areas (basically, where the cities are) with locations of public libraries. Perhaps not surprisingly, given the density of population in the Northeast, that region features the most libraries. And while it does seem like every state has at least one public library, I feel bad for all those poor folks out west. (Is it just me or does it look like Utah and Nevada have the least?)
  • I simply adore this poster.I want one of my own. That is all.

As always, happy reading.

3 Comments

  1. 1
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 1:05 PM | Link

    Love that poster, too! I saw it popping up all over the place, but wasn’t sure where it came from — interesting to learn of its origin.

  2. 2
    Other Meredith
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 2:27 PM | Link

    This explains why I couldn’t get a library job in my home state!

    Plus, I’m super excited for Rick Riordan’s Norse mythology series. I love his books.

  3. 3
    Meredith
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 7:37 PM | Link

    Meg – isn’t that poster great? If you look up that organization on Facebook, they have a ton of other great posters as well.

    Other Meredith – sad about the West and libraries, huh? I wonder if the map took into account those mobile libraries. And I’m also super excited for Riordan’s Norse series. I feel like the Norse myths aren’t appreciated as much as they should be.

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