It’s time to lose some time, bookworms. It’s Daylight Savings Time this weekend, when most of us here in the US “spring forward” and get a lot more sunlight in the afternoon. It will be nice to have it stay lighter, later, but losing that hour is always tough. Still, with any luck, it will (finally!) start to feel like spring soon. I don’t know about you, but I am OVER this winter. I generally enjoy snow, up until mid-January. Then I’m ready for the flip flops. So anytime spring wants to come, I’ll be there. While you wait for warmer weather, read the book news:
- Winter may be (almost?) ending for the northern hemisphere, but for the folks in Westeros, winter is still coming. When the next book comes is anyone’s guess, but while George R.R. Martin continues to write, Random House has a sneak peak at The Winds of Winter. Later this month, the Song of Ice and Fire app will be updated with an exclusive chapter – featuring fan favorite Tyrion Lannister – from the next book in the series. While there’s no news on a publication date for the book, the chapter should help keep some of the rabid fans at bay (key word: should). Entertainment Weekly has a look at the first paragraph, just in case you really can’t wait for the updated app.
- While winter swirls in Westeros and we dream of spring, you can also start planning your summer. In late February, the Public Theater announced its 2014 Shakespeare in the Park lineup, when the theater brings some of the Bard’s best work to Central Park – and the masses – for free. (Those of you in New England should know Boston does something similar, with Shakespeare on the Commons.) This year, the theater will feature Much Ado About Nothing (alas, without all of the Whedon-verse actors) and King Lear, starring John Lithgow. More information about dates and times can be found on the Shakespeare in the Park website.
- I read a lot (no surprise there, of course). I bet you probably read a lot, too. But do you read the most? If you live in India, you do. According to the NOP Word Culture Score Index (which looks at the media consumption habits of various countries), India tops the list when it comes to time spent reading. Citizens in India average 10.42 hours a week of reading time per person, which seems impressive to me. Thailand and China rounded out the top three. The United States, sadly, came in at number 22, with an average person reading just 5 hours and 42 minutes per week (which, actually, is not bad, but still pales in comparison to the other countries). The infographic uses a color code to highlight which countries are reading the most and it’s pretty interesting, so take a look.
- First. It’s good to be first. In a novel, the first lines are what sets the tone for everything else that follows. So, naturally, the Internet found a way to make those first lines fun. A Twitter user named Dylan Smith started the “Novel First Lines” Twitter handle (@novelfirstlines) and will be tweeting the first lines for many novels every day for the next year. It’s a fun idea (though I have to say I’m not exactly sure I understand why he’s doing it, but whatever, it’s still fun) and a great way to discover some novels you may not have known. Smith started on March 1st, so there are just eight first lines so far, and about 340+ more to go.
- The series may be complete, but the story is still being told. At least, in theory anyway. As a companion to her best-selling Divergent series, Veronica Roth has written a collection of short stories from Tobias (aka Four)’s perspective. There are four stories (natch), along with two exclusive scenes from the series, also from his perspective. The first story was already released last year and the other three will be published this summer when the hardcover version is released (with all four stories and the two scenes in one book). If you can’t wait that long, well, the Divergent movie will be released in a few short weeks. The ladies at Forever Young Adult had the opportunity to visit the set and talk with the actors.
As always, happy reading.
I escaped, bookworms! This past week, I fled the cold, snowy northeast, for the warm(er) climate of Hilton Head Island, SC. It was actually quite glorious, with temperatures in the 60’s, 70’s and even in the 80’s a few days. (Yes, you can be jealous. It’s okay.) Now that I’m back in the frozen tundra of the north, I’m obviously missing the warmth, but I’m glad I had the opportunity to escape, even for a little while. I did a lot of reading (but not a lot of writing), walked, and biked. All in all, not a bad mid-winter vacation. Here’s the book news:
- A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about J.K. Rowling’s somewhat controversial comments about Ron and Hermione. Late last week, Book Riot wrote an opinion piece on way Rowling was wrong about this particular couple – but maybe not for the reason you’d think. Book Rioter Becky Cole makes the astute point that Ron, Hermione, Harry et al were only 17 or 18 when the series ended, and yet they still ended up marrying their high school sweetheart. By adding the epilogue, Rowling takes away the possibility that our intrepid trio had the chance to experience other things – and other people. Epilogues in general are not very popular with readers (at least in the YA world), mostly because they remove the possibility of possibilities. Cole makes other good points, so you should just read her piece.
- And since we’re on the subject on Rowling, she is planning a sequel to The Cuckoo’s Calling, the novel she published under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. Of course, now that everyone knows to associate that name with Rowling, the sequel will likely see much more attention and press than it would otherwise. The new novel will still be published under Galbraith’s name, and will feature some of the same characters as The Cuckoo’s Calling. This novel will be Rowling’s third adult novel, including The Casual Vacancy, which was published under her own name.
- And while Rowling is still a household name, Galbraith is still gaining traction – so a recent prize might help. Robert Galbraith (aka Rowling), John Grisham, Doris Kearns Goodwin, and Rainbow Rowell were among the authors who are finalists for the 2013 LA Times Book Prize. 50 books in ten categories were announced as finalists, with contenders in (among others) fiction, current interest, history, poetry, and young adult fiction. In addition, YA author and Internet phenom John Green will be awarded the Innovators Award for his ability to use online media to reach readers and engage them. The winners will be announced in April.
- Valentine’s Day might be over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still find love. There are a lot of authors who have written about love, some more convincingly than others. But the Bard – Shakespeare himself – has a long list of love stories and while you might not want to follow in Romeo and Juliet’s footsteps, there’s still lessons to learn. Language expert Anthony John Peters has a Ted-Ed video that explores Shakespeare’s use of metaphor, and how it just might help you get a date. The dating tips, however, should not be used as an excuse, if you end up failing miserably. Old Will can’t be blamed for everything, after all.
- There is just about one month until the big screen premiere of the Divergent movie, so the clips are coming fast and furious. A recent clip features a tense showdown between Shailene Woodley’s Tris, and Kate Winslet’s Jeannine (the movie’s primary villain). The scene gives fans and newcomers alike a glimpse at both Tris’ priorities and Jeannine’s agenda, in this dystopian world where society is divided into factions. The movie will arrive in theaters in late March.
As always, happy reading.
Welcome to July, bookworms, and the heat. Summer is definitely here, at least in Boston. We’re in the middle of a 90-degree-plus heat wave and frankly, I could do without the humidity (it’s a killer on paper books, you know). Still, I remind myself that in the dead of winter, I’d eagerly trade the snow and cold for this kind of bright, sunny, breezy day. So I washed off months of dirt and pollen from my balcony furniture and I’m going to plop myself outside with a book.
- Once, twice, three times the Harry Potter! Between the American Library Association’s annual conference and the HP-inspired Leaky Con (and some sneaking around the Scholastic website), Harry Potter fans got the see the new paperback covers for books 3, 4 and 5 this week. The Prisoner of Azkaban cover made its debut at Leaky Con, while days later, Goblet of Fire showed up at ALA. Order of the Phoenix was a bit subtler, with fans finding it hidden on Scholastic’s site. This month will see the reveal of the final two new covers for the series.
- And then there were five? In years and decades past, people referred to the “big six” in publishing, meaning the six major publishing companies. But now, the merger of Penguin and Random House has been completed, creating the new Penguin Random House, a “mega-publisher.” The new company employs more than 10,000 people, publishes more than 15,000 books each year and has more than 250 imprints and houses. It’s a company that spans the globe and only time will tell how the merger will affect the future of publishing.
- And speaking of Random House, it still chugs along. The publishing company is preparing to publish novelizations of Shakespeare’s plays. The Hogarth fiction imprint is commissioning best-selling authors, like Anne Tyler, to re-write the Bard’s famous works as novels. First up is The Taming of the Shrew, due out in 2016, which is also the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. I’m intrigued by this idea, partly because so many stories already draw from Shakespeare and partly because it may help to make Elizabethan drama more accessible to more people.
- And while we’re on the subject of Shakespeare…look! A book trailer for William Shakespeare’s Star Wars!! How awesome is this? I’ll tell you: VERY awesome. (I’m allowed to be a nerd about this. It’s a combination of two of my most favorite things in the world.)
- You may remember that Jeff Bridges has been trying to make a movie version of Lois Lowry’s The Giver for quite some time. Now news comes that the powers that be have cast the pivotal lead role of Jonas – and that may not be a good thing. The actor, an Australian lad who’s name is unfamiliar to me, is 20 years old. Now, granted, quite a lot of book-to-movie adaptations age the characters up, because it’s difficult to work with such young actors. (Can you imagine an Ender’s Game movie with actual six-year-olds?). But, as Entertainment Weekly points out in a great article, one of Jonas’ core characteristics is that he’s only 12 and no matter how hard he tries, that 20-year-old actor is not going to be able to pull off 12.
As always, happy reading.