Happy March, bookworms. March is one of my favorite months. It (hopefully) signals the turn from winter to spring, it means my birthday (yay!), St. Patrick’s Day (yay Irish!) and this year, it also means the Academy Awards. Those are tomorrow night, held a bit later than usual thanks to the Olympics. In fact, it’s been a pretty busy year in just two short months. I’d like to say things will calm down, but we all know that’s not going to happen. Here’s the book news:
- The CIA has got nothing on her. 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of Louise Fitzhugh’s classic children’s novel (and a personal favorite), Harriet the Spy. Several book outlets and blogs have posted retrospectives and tributes to Fitzhugh’s prickly heroine, and I especially liked the one in Entertainment Weekly. As Hilary Busis’ article correctly points out, Harriet M. Welsch would have easily beaten Anne Shirley in a battle of fictional 11-year-old heroines. I love Anne too, but Harriet is not your friendly, cheerful young girl with a heartwarming story. She’s difficult, impatient, annoying – basically, a jerk. But she’s a jerk we love because no one is truly as relentlessly optimistic as Anne Shirley or Pollyanna. Harriet was real, faults and all. (We’ll just forget about that 1990’s movie adaptation, okay?)
- Have train, will travel – and write. While many universities and libraries offer writers residencies to writers and authors looking for space and time to complete the next great American novel, the concept is now going mobile. Amtrak is offering a writers residency on their trains, giving free rides to writers on long rides so they can work on their writing. Like many good ideas (and a few bad ones), Twitter helped make it possible. The result was that writer Jessica Gross had the chance to travel by train from New York to Chicago and back, all for free and all while writing. The program has yet to expand, but given the relative success of Gross’ trip, it’s possible others will follow.
- Mark your calendars for Monday. That’s when the National Education Association will celebrate its 17th Annual Read Across America event. The program encourages reading among school children and is tied to Dr. Seuss’s birthday – himself a longtime advocate of reading, as well as (of course) the author of several children’s books. (Technically, Read Across America is March 2nd, but that’s a Sunday when no school children are in school, so…) The NEA has all sorts of resources for teachers and parents, schools and libraries. Even book stores are getting involved – Barnes & Noble will have free story time events to get kids reading.
- The Internet has given us much, bookworms, for which we give thanks – especially for Kit Steinkellner’s recent Book Riot post in which she poses a bunch of literary questions that even Google can’t answer. The questions range from the logical (of all the books held in the Library of Alexandria, which were supposedly the best?) to the more fantastical (just how much money does JK Rowling give to the wizarding world to keep Hogwarts hidden from us?). The best thing about these questions (including pondering if Jane Austen ever thought about her characters that way) is that you know you want the answers. Maybe you don’t want to admit it, but you still want to know the answers.
- Lastly, with about a month until the theatrical release of Veronica Roth’s Divergent film adaptation, Entertainment Weekly has another clip from the movie for us, this time highlighting Tris’ ability to conquer her fears in the simulations. Besides being a fan of the book and the story, I think the visuals in this movie just plain look cool. So I know where I’ll be later this month; how about you?
As always, happy reading.