Category: random things (page 2 of 23)

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.

Happy Holidays, Bookworms!

May you have a wonderful holiday season, whatever you do. And may it be filled with good books, cozy chairs and a warm drink.

Christmas Reading

“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)

In Praise of WORD

WORD LogoSo, true story: one of my favorite independent bookstores is a store I’ve never actually been to. Crazy, right? WORD Bookstores in Brooklyn (and Jersey City) is a great store, but it’s the people working there that really make this indie rise above the rest. This is how I fell in love with WORD:

One of my favorite authors is Sarah MacLean, and WORD is her local indie. She’s done signings and events there, and nearly every time she has a book published, she’ll personalize pre-ordered copies from the store. Awhile back, she helped start the WORDS of Love romance of the month club. With a six-month subscription, each month members get to pick from a selection of romances that MacLean has chosen, usually around a particular theme.

I was a member of WORDS of Love for about a year, and every month, I couldn’t wait to see which books would be available. Between WORD staff and MacLean, I was introduced to so many new-to-me authors and got to read so many fabulous books. In fact, WORDS of Love is to blame for my Jill Shalvis addiction. I read one Shalvis book as part of the monthly club, and have since bought pretty much every book Shalvis has published – new releases and backlist books.

But when my subscription ended just before I moved abroad, I didn’t renew, partly because I wasn’t sure about how the whole international shipping thing would work out and partly because I needed to save money. I missed it, though, especially since I knew MacLean had a new book publishing this fall. I had been waiting for Chase’s story since the very beginning and there was no way I was going to wait until late December (when I was back in the US) to get my own copy. Enter WORD.

On a whim, I sent a tweet asking if they shipped internationally. To my surprise, they replied positively! A few emails with incredibly helpful and lovely staff members later, I had an international pre-order: not only would I get my copy of Never Judge A Lady, but it would be signed. And while it may have taken a few extra days to reach me across the Atlantic, I was thrilled WORD was able to help me out.

Could I have ordered the book from Amazon? Sure. I don’t know that it would have been cheaper, given shipping costs from either the US or the UK (Ireland doesn’t have its own Amazon portal). But the book wouldn’t have been signed, I wouldn’t have gotten a special Rules of Scoundrels reporter’s notebook, and I would have been supporting an independent bookstore that goes above and beyond to help readers connect with their favorite authors.

I used to work at a bookstore (a chain, but don’t hold that against me) and I know that, generally, anyone can sell you a book you already know you want to buy. But indies like WORD are making the bookstore and the book buying process an experience, one that goes far beyond an exchange of cash for goods. WORD is doing it right, on just about every level (their Tumblr is regularly filled with awesome things including this post that I loved because puns) and despite not ever living in Brooklyn (or Jersey City), I will continue to support them virtually for as long as I can. They have earned this loyal customer.

So… if you’re near Brooklyn (or, I guess, Jersey City) and you want to buy books for someone – or yourself (no judgment here) – you should really go to WORD. You don’t have to take my word on it (pun intended!), but you probably should.

[This post is entirely my own. WORD did not ask me to write it at all. I just love them that much.]

[Photo Credit: WORD website]

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