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Book News, July 30th, Part 2

So Book News was getting longer than I realized, so I decided to split it up into two posts. Double the reading fun for you, bookworms! Let’s get to it:

  • In WTF news this week, Leila Roy (bookshelvesofdoom) reports for Book Riot that one South Carolina mother successfully got a book removed from her daughter’s Honors English summer reading list. The book in question, Courtney Summers’ Some Girls Are, deals with bullying, sexual assault and the sometimes uncomfortable truths of real teen life. As Roy wisely and correctly points out, this mother could easily object to her own daughter reading the book, but should not have used her complaints to deny other kids and other families the chance to read this book. The biggest problem with book challenges is that it often involves parents forcing their parenting choices on other people. That ain’t cool. (Roy also points out that one of the alternatives suggested was Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak – a book that is often challenged itself.) A number of readers on Twitter will be reading Some Girls Are this week in support of Summers, using the hashtag #SomeGirlsAre.
  • In unrelated and not as depressing news, Joss Whedon is bringing the world more comics. Now that he’s no longer tied to a Marvel contract, Whedon will be writing a new comic called Twist for Dark Horse Comics, focused on a Victorian-era housemaid who becomes a hero (heroine?). The six-part mini-series does not yet have a release date, but Whedon is no stranger to comics. Dark Horse has printed the Buffy comics for years.
  • I always question the wisdom of this, but Amazon is apparently attached to the idea of doing a “best of the year so far” list in the summer. In late June, the Amazon editors published a list of 20 books they decided are/were the best books of 2015 so far. For better or worse, I only recognize the name of one book on that list and I haven’t read any of them. Maybe some day, someone will track these titles and see how they stack up both at the end of the year, and over time. As for me, my picks for “best of, so far” would all come from the romance genre – with the exception of Ms. Marvel and A-Force, two thoroughly awesome, female-centric comics.
  • If you’d rather look forward than backward, just today Publishers Weekly released a list of the most anticipated books for fall 2015. I skipped right over the Jonathan Franzen one (ugh) and was delighted to see upcoming releases from N.K. Jemisin, Lisa Kleypas, and Sarah MacLean on the list. (If I’m being honest, MacLean’s is the one I want the most – I will read ANYTHING she writes.) Truthfully, though, there are a lot of genres included on the PW list and surely something for everyone. Meanwhile, my wallet just started crying at the thought of all those dollars I’ll need to buy all the books I want.
  • As someone about to embark on a PhD dissertation specifically looking at digital media and electronic literature, I’m very intrigued by the interactive e-book Disney Hyperion recently published. Stemming from Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series and the Demigods of Olympus app, the book includes four original stories in which readers can become demigods themselves and interact with certain scenes from those stories. The reviews on Amazon are mixed, but it’s an interesting experiment and may potentially open the door for more interactive e-books in the future.
  • Lastly, earlier this month, Book Riot published a collection of cool bookish maps, each highlighting the fictional world found in some novel. The Hogwarts map is helpfully detailed, the maps from Narnia and Middle-Earth could easily be artwork (my walls DO need a little something…) and the Game of Thrones / A Song of Ice and Fire map shows, once again, why it’s foolish to fight of little ol’ Westeros when Essos could clearly kick its butt.

As always, happy reading.

Book News, Nov. 15th

Let’s keep this short and sweet, bookworms, because there is a lot of Book News to get to. Happy Saturday, and here we go:

  • Ding dong the feud is dead? After being locked in an e-book pricing dispute since April, Hachette Books and Amazon have reportedly reached a multi-year settlement. The agreement, due to start in early 2015, will allow Hachette to oversee and manage pricing for its e-books, something Hachette’s CEO calls a “victory for writers.”
  • Today marks the last day in the second round of voting for Goodreads’ annual Goodreads Choice Awards. The third and final stage of voting will open on Monday, with winners announced on December 2nd. If you’re a Goodreads user, vote now!
  • Last month, Harry Potter fans got a taste (however bad) of Dolores Umbridge. But JK Rowling surprised fans by publishing six additional stories as well, sharing details about Professor Trelawney, thestrals and the Minister of Magic.
  • Speaking of Harry Potter, the good folks over at the Sesame Street Studio have continued their traditional of parodying literature, with “Furry Potter and the Goblet of Cookies.” Cookie Monster, naturally, plays the title role. For the record, Harry probably would have preferred cookies to dragons, underwater rescue missions and that maze.
  • In adaptation news, three book series are coming to television:
  • Movie clips and trailers for everyone! Hang on, because there are plenty:
    • A first peek at Natalie Dormer as Cressida in Mockingjay Part 1
    • Katniss and Gale fight over Peeta in another Mockingjay clip; in other news, TEAM PEETA!
    • A teaser trailer for the upcoming Insurgent movie was released this week. Nice haircut, Tris.
    • One ring, lots of gold, and five armies: the final Hobbit movie will be released at Christmastime and there’s a whole lotta fightin’ going on.

As always, happy reading.

Book News, Oct. 11th

Happy October, bookworms. To paraphrase Anne (with an E) Shirley, I’m so happy to live in a world where there are Octobers. I like October because it means changing leaf colors, cooler weather and ALL THE APPLES. (Imma let you finish, but apples are totally > anything pumpkin spice.) Today, I’m visiting Newgrange, a UNESCO World Heritage site here in Ireland. I hope you’re enjoying yourself, wherever you are. And I also hope you enjoy the book news:

  • Bad Adobe! With thanks to Dear Author and Smart B*tches for bringing this to my attention, it turns out Adobe has been spying on you while you read. Adobe’s Digital Editions 4, often used to read e-books for various sources (many libraries with Overdrive use it, for example), tracks every book you read and sends that information back to Adobe in plain text format (i.e., a wildly unprotected format). It’s simultaneously an invasion of privacy and a data security issue, one the company apparently doesn’t see as a problem. Adobe did say it was “working on an update” for Digital Editions 4, though there’s no indication that update will, you know, stop recording every page and book you read and send that information to the company unencrypted. Some companies never learn.
  • Authors United’s fight with Amazon is about to get some reinforcements. Several high-profile authors, including Philip Roth, Salman Rushdie and Ursula Le Guin, have agreed to join AU in its fight against Amazon. The organization is hoping to put enough stress on Amazon and compel it to end its dispute with Hachette Books regarding the pricing of e-books. In a statement, Le Guin compared Amazon’s tactics to censorship, saying the conglomerate “deliberately [makes] a book hard or impossible to get” and decried Amazon’s use of that censorship “to gain total market control so they can dictate to publishers what they can publish, to authors what they can write, to readers what they can buy.”
  • J.K. Rowling almost broke the Internet and she’s probably laughing about that. Earlier this week, Rowling published a cryptic tweet, which Potterheads immediately began trying to decode. Many die-hard fans were convinced the tweet heralded the return of The Boy Who Lived, while Rowling herself took to Twitter to provide some clarification. In the end, the original tweet turned out to be an anagram for a sentence relating to Rowling’s upcoming Newt Scamander “prequel.” Rowling, meanwhile, prove once again that she is indeed smarter than the rest of us. And I’m okay with that.
  • Introvert children of the world, rejoice! Susan Cain is writing a book for you. Cain, author of one of my most favorite nonfiction books (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking) signed a deal with Penguin Young Readers to publish of Quiet for children. The original was clearly geared towards adults, with discussions of workplaces and parenting choices. The children’s version will feature stories of children who have used their own introversion to their advantage. I’m certainly looking forward to this book (even having no children of my own) and I wish it had been around when I was a socially awkward young’un.
  • How do you say you’re sorry in Dothraki? You don’t! At least, according to the folks who came up with Dothraki for the Game of Thrones television show, you don’t. Now you too can become a Dothraki expert. Living Languages has released a Dothraki course, featuring more than 200 words, phrases, grammar explanations, notes and more. George R.R. Martin only created the barest foundation for Dothraki in his books; HBO hired linguists to help expand the language for use on television. At the very least, you could learn how to curse someone in Dothraki and not only would that person never know, but you also would get away with foul language in public. Sounds like a Dothraki to me!
  • Lastly, my name is Meredith and I love reading romance novels. And I’m not afraid to stand up (here in my little corner of the Internet) and admit it. If, however, you’re feeling a bit skittish about your own romance habit, Elyse at Smart B*tches has an excellent post in defense of romance novels. She aptly knocks down most of the arguments she hears against romance, pointing out that the romance genre and feminism tend to go hand-in-hand (books written about women, by women, for women = duh! feminist!) while also deconstructing the fallacious idea of “good” or “serious” literature. (I’ll take Sarah MacLean over Jonathan Franzen any day, thank you very much.) Read it. Be happy. Then read more romance!

As always, happy reading.

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