Good morning, book people! It’s daylight savings in Massachusetts now – and this is the second day we’ve slept in! Of course, it can’t all be blamed on daylight savings–there were several hours’ worth of screaming toddler, too. And now for something completely different…
Author Maureen Johnson ran a hugely successful campaign–over $14,000 worth of successful–to raise money for disaster relief in Japan this weekend. Although her campaign is now closed, you can still donate to Shelterbox. Never heard of Shelterbox? Here’s why they’re awesome:
We respond instantly to natural and manmade disasters by delivering boxes of aid to those who are most in need. Each box supplies an extended family of up to 10 people with a tent and essential equipment to use while they are displaced or homeless.
In January The Hunger Games movie was given a release date–and now it may have its lead actress. Variety is reporting that Lionsgate is close to reaching a deal with blonde-haired, blue-eyed, fair-skinned actress Jennifer Lawrence. I’ve written about why The Hunger Games needs an actress who’s closer to Katniss in terms of physical description in the past–and I stand by that now. Lawrence may be a skilled actress, but casting someone who’s clearly not “olive-skinned” to play Katniss is a Big Deal. Why? From my original piece (at PopMatters):
Although physical description is, generally speaking, a less-significant detail, Katniss’ status as a non-white heroine is important because she’s that rare commodity: a big time, mainstream non-white heroine.
Over at the Blue Rose Girls, a bit of fun - pictures from a children’s book bar! The murals are by Ludwig Bemelmans, the original illustrator for the Madeline books. I love Madeline – and the pics are definitely worth a look.
At The Guardian, David Barnett fills us in on the latest genre wars – as in last year’s Franzenfreude, the fracas is all about marginalization. Author Stephen Hunt is accusing the BBC of bias against his genre, science fiction. He’s taken his crusade one step further, though, and has launched a petition for one genre “to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.” Do you think SF (and its counterpart, F) are marginalized?
Graham Moore at The NYT has a review of Death Cloud, Andrew Lane’s attempt “to update and adapt Sherlock Holmes for a new generation, much the way Guy Ritchie has done with a swashbuckling Sherlock on screen.” The book follows 14 year old Sherlock, and sounds like a fun read. (I’ve read the entire Holmes series several times over, and will definitely be picking this up.)
And finally, at The WSJ, Helen Schulman writes about the process of constructing a novel: Write. Rewrite. Obsess. Repeat. Go read it now, especially if you’ve ever tottered at the edge of the Great and Terrible Abyss of Writerly Indecision.
And that’s all for now! I’ll be back later with the next installment of Cover Notes.Read More
Earlier this month, I saw Booker Prize winning author Salman Rushdie at a discussion with fairy tale scholar Maria Tatar in Cambridge, MA. Asked about his use of gods in literature and Luka, the British novelist—and knight—had a few interesting things to say:
“[The] great pantheons were once living religions. The Greek gods were once the religion of Greece, the Roman gods ditto, and the Norse gods the same and the Aztec gods the same and so on. And they had priests and temples and no doubt inquisitions and the whole apparatus of a church. Which doesn’t attract me. But when people stop believing in [these gods] literally, they become available to us to believe in in a much more interesting way…
With publishing numbers taking a nosedive, the industry is scrambling to find a way back to profitability. Could ads in books be the answer?Last week, MediaBistro’s GalleyCat and The Wall Street Journal reported on what may soon be a disturbing new reality for readers everywhere: ads. But advertising directly in books, print or otherwise, offers its own particular set of problems which may keep publishers from calling up their buddies in the biz anytime soon…
My earlier *ILBNH* post on trends is over @ the PopMatters Re:Print blog this week. Drop by & join the discussion!
Vampires. Zombies. Sea monsters with an unfettered love of double java chip frappuccinos. In the book world, trends appear to come and go quickly—the Twilight vampire boom is already coming to an end, just five years after Meyer’s book hit shelves the world over. Five years? Although that may seem a long time, it’s really only two to three publication cycles. But where do trends come from? Do authors band together to write books of the same ilk? Or are they the result of a rare and spectacular cosmic boom?Read More
We’ve all done it — bought a book based on a good review, passed over another because of a bad review. But why do reviews affect us? And how do they do it?
Once upon a time, only professional reviewers wrote book reviews. The greater the number of publishing credits and letters after your name, the greater your chances of being taken seriously. Of course, it doesn’t take a degree to work out if you like a book (though in the case of Edward Bloor’s Storytime, you might need an MFA to work out why). And a good review is still a good review—whether it’s over at your friend’s blog, or in the Books section of The New York Times.Read More