Another month, another book news post. I am sorry to whatever readers I have left that this blog is not terribly exciting. I wish I could read more and review more, but the PhD thing is pretty much all-consuming. So perhaps you can take this book news with good intentions?
- How’s this for a starter – book news that aligns with my doctoral research! Scholastic will experiment with multi-platform transmedia publishing in 2017 when it launches Horizon, a series that will be part book, part video game experience. Details are still a bit scant, so I’m not sure how it will tie all together, but it sounds promising!
- Earlier this summer, at the 2016 Romance Writers of America (RWA)’s annual conference, winners of this year’s RITA and Golden Heart awards were announced. These awards celebrate the best in romance writing for the year. While some of my favourite authors were finalists, the awards went to books and authors that I haven’t read. At least not yet, because now my TBD list is much longer!
- Anne-with-an-E is being introduced to a new generation. Netflix and the Canada Broadcasting Corporation are teaming up on a new production of Anne of Green Gables. Due to air in 2017, the new series will use L.M. Montgomery’s book series as inspiration while also “incorporating new adventures reflecting themes of identity, sexism, bullying, prejudice, and trusting one’s self.”
- Katherine Paterson’s novel, The Great Gilly Hopkins, has made the transition to the big screen. A new film version of the story is due in theatres in October. The film will star Kathy Bates, Octavia Spencer, and Glenn Close, among others. Watch the trailer here.
- It’s a Harry Potter-palooza here at Book News today:
- Earlier this summer, in anticipation of the new Fantastic Beasts movie, JK Rowling published a new story about the American wizarding school, Ilvermorny.
- Not everyone was happy with the story, however. Many scholars and Native American activists rightly pointed out that Rowling appropriated Native American culture in her creation of the American wizarding world.
- Rowling continues to push on, however. This fall, Pottermore will publish three new e-books that will collect previously released short stories about Harry’s world, Hogwarts, and more.
- If you still crave more Harry Potter, and can’t travel to London to see The Cursed Child play, People Magazine offers up some of the play’s biggest spoilers (warning, obviously!).
- Lastly, it turns out Harry Potter might influence political opinions. A political science professor at the University of Pennsylvania found that people who read Harry Potter hold unfavourable opinions about Republican candidate Donald Trump.
As always, happy reading!
How about that?! TWO whole blog posts during the month of March. Of course, I had a two-week break for study week and Easter, and I was still working on my research that entire time, but bottom line: I’m trying, bookworms. I promise. March also saw my birthday (yay!), and my second St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland (and I thought Boston took it seriously!). It’s finally starting to feel more like spring, or at least as spring-like as Ireland gets. So enjoy the book news and I’ll keep doing my best to get more content up.
- Forget basketball! It’s DABWAHA Time! The annual “Dear Author Bitchery Writing Award for Hella Authors” is well underway and you can help your favourite romance novel fight its way to victory in the final few rounds. Among the eight different categories are many of my personal favourite authors and novels, including Sonali Dev, Tessa Dare, Nalini Singh and more. The polls are open to anyone, so vote as often as you can, and from as many devices as you can juggle. May the best romance author win!
- While on the subject of things that are (subjectively, at least) “the best,” the Games Radar website has compiled a list of what it is calling the 50 greatest book-to-movie adaptations. There’s no indication what kind of criteria the website used, so it’s kind of hard to argue with their conclusions. But there are some surprising inclusions (I didn’t know Die Hard was originally a book!) and a wide range of movies going back to the early days of cinema. Still, there were a few book-to-movies missing (Atonement, for one) and I’m not sure I agree with their #1 pick. Maybe you will, though.
- In other romance news, the Romance Writers Association (RWA) recently announced the finalists for the annual RITA Awards, celebrating the best of the best in the romance genre. With categories for best first book, contemporaries, historical, paranormal, and more, there’s something for just about everyone on the list. Among the finalists are Julia Quinn, Elle Kennedy, and Jill Shalvis. Winners will be announced later this year at the RWA conference in July. Love wins!
- For those who thought J.K. Rowling could do no wrong – nope! Following Rowling’s release on Pottermore of a series of short essays on the history of magic in North America, several fans, writers, authors, and Native American scholars called Rowling out on her overly simplistic and stereotypical portrayal of Native Americans. Rowling has apparently not responded to any of the criticisms, which I personally find troubling given her previous support for people of all different walks of life. I’m not at all an expert on Native American literature and the response to Rowling, so instead I’ll point you towards Book Riot’s post, which is a good overview of what’s wrong with Rowling’s essays and to Debbie Reese, who has an excellent round-up of responses from Native people to Rowling. (Reese has been writing about this a lot and it would be worthwhile to read her other words as well.)
As always, happy reading.
Happy September, bookworms. Normally, this is right around when I start to get excited for the fall and autumnal weather. But I live in Ireland now, and our summer was basically three days at the end of June. So it’s already cool, and fall-like here (think hoodies, yoga pants and socks). But the bigger news is that my PhD programme is starting soon! I mean, technically, I’ve already started working because a PhD is no joke, my friends. But the official kick-off is next week. Eeeeeek! While I freak out yet again, how about you read the book news?
- Back at the end of July, I wrote about the removal of Courtney Summers’ Some Girls Are from a SC high school’s reading list, and the subsequent efforts to do something positive in reply. Kelly Jensen at Book Riot has an excellent wrap-up of the challenge she issued to get copies of Summers’ book into the hands of the teenagers in SC. More than 800 copies donated by readers across the country and from Canada eventually made their way to a librarian in Charleston, who then distributed them to local libraries and directly to the high school students themselves. Thankfully, it also looks like the high school in question will be revising their challenge procedures (which weren’t followed in this case anyway) so that in the future, one parent’s opinion of a book won’t stop all readers from having a chance to discover a book for themselves.
- So, the Hugo Awards this year were kind of a mess. I can’t remember if I wrote about the nominations earlier this year, but basically, major categories were stacked thanks to a campaign by a small but vocal group of readers and writers. But the unhappiness over the nomination process resulted in a surge in voting members, so eventually chose to give “no award” in several categories when the winners were announced. In happier news, both Ms. Marvel (Best Graphic Story) and an episode of Orphan Black (Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form) won awards and deservedly so. (And in case you wonder why the Hugos matter, Wired answered that question for you.)
- And moving on to yet ANOTHER controversy. (Jeez, what is in the water?) Apparently, some folks just have trouble with the idea of optional summer reading. Duke University included Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel Fun Home on its list of optional (key word there, optional) summer reading for incoming freshmen. A number of those incoming freshmen not only refused to read it on “moral grounds” but took their objections with the book to Facebook. Be careful what you put on the Internet, little college freshmen, because now it’s national news. I can understand someone for choosing not to read a specific book if they think it will conflict with their personal beliefs, but I don’t understand the outrage over a book that was OPTIONAL to begin with. Moreover, as Book Riot points out, college is a stepping stone between childhood and adulthood. And adulthood can be uncomfortable. Us adults have to interact and even get along with different people all the time. Reading material you wouldn’t normally read is actually a good exercise in learning how to navigate a world that doesn’t always agree with you.
- In happier news, J.K. Rowling continues to be the Queen of Twitter. In a conversation that started with questions about the upcoming West End “it’s not a prequel” Harry Potter play, Rowling also touched upon Hagrid’s abilities, joked with some of the actors from the films and revealed her favourite theory about her beloved series. For the record? He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is not the titular cursed child in the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play, which will open next summer in London. (Road trip!)
- Mayeth the Force be with thee. If you haven’t discovered the sheer awesome-ness that is William Shakespeare’s Star Wars, then get thee to a bookstore or computer, stat! Quirk Books, the publishers behind the Shakespearean versions of that well-loved epic from a galaxy far, far away has launched a Star Wars Sonnet Generator. Answer four easy(ish) questions and a 14-line, iambic ode to the Force will be yours. Now you can profess your love for Han Solo as the Bard intended.
- The first full-length trailer for Room, based on Emma Donoghue’s book of the same name, has been released. The book and the movie tell the story of young Jack, whose entire life takes place in one single room. Over time, Jack and readers realise that Jack’s mother is being held captive by the man who had kidnapped her. Donoghue adapted her own book for the screenplay. The movie will be released in October.
As always, happy reading.