Greetings, bookworms. If you’re viewing this on the actual LND website, you’ll notice it looks a bit different. I decided a needed a bit of a change in my theme and cover image. I’m still tweaking some things (moving from a three-column layout to a two-column layout means there were some casualties), but I’m happier with the simplified and cleaner look. Any feedback is much appreciated! And while you’re here, check out the book news:
- While the verdict may still be out on the wisdom of publishing Harper Lee’s second novel, her publisher Harper Collins is moving ahead. (Side note: What are the odds Lee’s publisher would share her name?) The cover image (or, at least the UK placement holder cover image) of Go Set A Watchman was recently released. As Book Riot correctly points out, it does have the similar look and feel to J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy. Since the cover art and image is not yet finalized, it’s likely to change, but it does suggest Harper Collins is going for a more minimalist approach. Thoughts?
- Harper Lee isn’t the only longtime author making a comeback. Apparently, a long-lost Dr. Seuss book was recently discovered and Random House Children’s Books will publish it later this year. The book features a brother-sister sibling set looking for a pet (the book is helpfully titled What Pet Should I Get?) and was likely written some time between 1958 and 1962. The manuscript was discovered by Dr. Seuss’ widow while she sorted through old papers. Other materials discovered will serve as the foundation for two more picture books.
- And since people are apparently finding lost things… Book Riot has a hilarious post about 11 other literary items to find now that we’re on a roll with these sorts of discoveries. Among their suggestions? A grocery list from John Green (since that thing would sell like hot cakes), a confession from John Grisham for his crimes against the middle grade genre (I seriously laughed aloud at that one), and the little known “lost” essay from Lois Lowry titled Bitch, Please, I Invented Dystopia because, basically, she did.
- Why try getting a bunch of authors together in one physical place when a cyberspace will do? The Twitter Fiction Festival is attracting some great literary names, including Margaret Atwood, Chuck Wendig and Lemony Snicket. The Festival, which will be held this year on May 11-15, celebrates “the art of storytelling” on Twitter and it’s quite impressive how much the virtual event has grown in the last few years. Many published authors participate by releasing snippets of stories in 140 characters and the anyone in the general public can join in. For more information, visit the Twitter Fiction Festival website.
- You know what they say: don’t judge a book by its cover. Because now that cover might be able to judge you. A Dutch artist has invented a book cover designed to detect how a reader might be judging it based on a scan of the reader’s face. Based on that judgement, the book either remain locked to a reader, or unlock so said reader can actually read. Putting aside the truly creepy notion of sentient books that can tell what we’re thinking or feeling, the idea is interesting, though potentially problematic. For example, overly excited expressions will be interpreted as judgement (and thus keep the book locked) when, in fact, the reader might legitimately be interested – i.e., excited – to read that book.
- Book Riot has been on a roll lately (see above) with excellent post after excellent post, and I want to highlight a couple of my favorites. First up, Derek Attig offers suggestions for feminist genre fiction – books that celebrate and promote women and women’s stories without being too “literary” or tragic. (His words, not mine.) He’s got some excellent suggestions, including Tamora Pierce’s books, Octavia Butler and others. Then, Jessica Pryde provides the 10 Essential Reads for Romance Newbies, which wins my favor not only for including Sarah MacLean (always, always read Sarah MacLean), but for offering a broad and diverse range of sub-genres and themes (contemporary, historical, paranormal, steampunk, etc). Keep up the good work, Book Rioters!
As always, happy reading.
May you have a wonderful holiday season, whatever you do. And may it be filled with good books, cozy chairs and a warm drink.
“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,
stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags.
And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
(Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas)
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.