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Author: Stephan Lee (1-10 of 550)

Usher and Scholastic join forces to promote young readers

The Scholastic catalogs you got in elementary school were already cool, but now Usher is joining forces with the children’s publishing giant to launch the “Open the World of Possible” initiative, which is designed to encourage young readers. On Nov. 6, Usher will perform and host a a live webcast, “Bigger Than Words,” which will broadcast live from the Scholastic headquarters in New York City.

“I established New Look, a charitable organization to assist young people to become leaders and to instill in them a belief that they can create change in their communities and around the world,” said Usher. “I’m excited to host the webcast with Scholastic to demonstrate to kids how reading frequently, and being a reading mentor to their friends and others in their community, can open doors to endless possibilities.”

As a further part of the initiative, the Scholastic Possible Fund will make a donation of 100,000 books, and each of three leading non-profits that distribute books to children who need them most will receive a portion of the donation.

Buzz book alert! Read an excerpt of 'Station Eleven' by Emily St. John Mandel

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One of the most buzzed-about literary titles of the fall is almost upon us, and it’s well worth the hype. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (out Sept. 9) is hard to describe: Yes, it’s a post-apocalyptic novel, as the world as we know it is over early on — a brutally effective pandemic called the “Georgia flu” wipes out all but one percent of the population — but save your eye-rolling for a lesser novel. The story is grounded in a traveling caravan of performers post-apocalypse, many of whom have mysterious connections to a man, Hollywood actor Arthur Leander, who dropped dead 20 years earlier, before the rest of the world did. Check out an exclusive excerpt from Station Eleven below: READ FULL STORY

Read an excerpt from 'The Infinite Sea' by Rick Yancey

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The Fifth Wave rocked earth back in 2013, garnering rave reviews and hordes of fans. The alien invasion survival story by Rick Yancey — about a girl named Cassie Sullivan left to fend for herself in a decimated world — has already caught Hollywood’s attention: Sony Pictures has a film in the works with Chloë Grace Moretz to star. The release is planned for Jan. 29, 2016.

In the meantime, the sequel, The Infinite Sea, will hit shelves on Sept. 16 this year. See below for an exclusive, action-packed excerpt! READ FULL STORY

Get a sneak peek at the next Wimpy Kid book 'The Long Haul'

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We’re pretty sure someone’s going to get carsick in The Long Haul, the ninth book in the Wimpy Kid franchise by Jeff Kinney. Before you ride shotgun in the Heffleys’ minivan on Nov. 4, Abrams will be handing out an excerpt tomorrow at Comic-Con — but if you can’t make it to San Diego, you can see it even earlier right here. In the exclusive excerpt below, the whole Wimpy family takes off on a road trip in Heffley style: Greg fends off a deranged seagull, Mr. Heffley fights his bridge-o-phobia, and everyone fights over the radio dial. READ FULL STORY

'Eat Pray Love' author Elizabeth Gilbert on the books of her life

To celebrate the paperback publication of her triumphant return to fiction, The Signature of All Things, Elizabeth Gilbert, author or Eat, Pray, Love, talked to us about the books she loves, her literary blind spots, and the works that have shaped her as a writer and as a person.

My favorite childhood books
The Wizard of Oz series. Those stories are such a wild and unpredictable protofeminist mythological fever dream. What’s not to love? Also, as a restless farm girl myself, I identified, big-time.

The book I enjoyed most in school
In third grade, a thoughtful teacher introduced us to The Phantom Tollbooth. I think school reading pretty much peaked right there.

A book I read in secret
I am a child of the 1970s, so my secret reading was—and could only ever have been—that thrillingly wicked mixed classic cocktail of Forever and Flowers in the Attic.

The book that cemented me as a writer
I love that you think I’m cemented as a writer.

The books I’ve read over and over
The only things I can go back to forever and ever, without tiring, are certain poems. Walt Whitman will always be there. Also, Sharon Olds, Jack Gilbert, Seamus Heaney, Hafiz, Tennyson, good old Mary Oliver. I suppose this is because reading poetry is like listening to music, and you never get tired of your favorite songs.

A classic I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never read
God help me, but it’s Ulysses. I’ve tried a dozen times, but I’ve never gotten past the opening pages. I feel like I’m being punk’d whenever I try to read post-Dubliners James Joyce. I always want to look up from the book and ask everyone in the world, “Seriously?! You guys are seriously following this?” READ FULL STORY

David Levithan to release musical-novel spinoff to 'Will Grayson, Will Grayson'

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Jazz hands at the ready!

Tiny Cooper, described as “the world’s largest person who is really, really gay,” stole our hearts when he debuted in Will Grayson, Will Grayson, the 2010 YA novel co-written by The Fault in Our Stars author John Green and Every Day author David Levithan. Four years later, Levithan is giving us a closer, more razzle-dazzle glimpse at the larger-than-life character with the full script of the musical Tiny was working on in Will Grayson. So meta!

Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story (March 2015) will tell of Tiny’s birth up to his ongoing quest for true love, complete with “big, lively, belty” musical numbers. We talked to David Levithan about what exactly a “musical-novel, novel-musical” entails and how he pulled it off. READ FULL STORY

Lena Dunham's book tour features spectacular roster of guests

The hype for Lena Dunham’s first book Not That Kind of Girl might be even louder than we expected — this will be the bookstore equivalent of a Beyonce and Jay-Z stadium concert tour. Dunham announced the dates for Not That Kind of Tour today, and the lineup of special guests is absurdly amazing. Certain stops will feature local talent (you can apply to an open call on Dunham’s website), but others will feature well-known women, including fellow Apatow collaborator Amy Schumer, poet and memoirist Mary Karr, Portlandia star Carrie Brownstein, filmmaker Miranda July, and novelist Zadie Smith.

See below for a full list of stops for Not That Kind of Tour: READ FULL STORY

Tote this! 10 great summer paperbacks

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No one wants to lug a hardcover to the beach. Luckily, there are some literary gems out in paperback and on e-readers. The best news? Their digital prices dropped, too.

FIRST UP: The Patron Saint of Ugly

Amazon picks best books of 2014 so far

Redeployment

2014 is about half over, and the Amazon team has already chosen their top 10 books of the year so far, just in time for you to make a few additions to your summer reading list before the avalanche of prestige titles hits in the fall. There are already books here that will likely make plenty of top 10 lists at the end of the year, including Redeployment by Phil Klay, as well as some books that should have been a bigger deal: Red Rising by Pierce Brown, anyone?

In case you’re wondering, none of the books in Amazon’s top 10 is a Hachette title, although a few made the top 20: To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris (#11), The Fever by Megan Abbott (#14), and Those Who Wish Me Dead by Michael Koryta (#19). See below for Amazon’s list: READ FULL STORY

Young adult at heart: literary classics imagined as YA books

At the height of Fault in Our Stars fervor — just before the film adaptation hit screens this month — Slate published an essay by Ruth Graham with the incendiary headline “Yes, Adults Should Be Embarrassed to Read Young Adult Books.” Graham, who argued that young-adult novels such as Fault were mostly about “escapism, instant gratification, and nostalgia,” proceeded to get clobbered on social media. Not-so-young adults, bloggers, esteemed critics, and tweeters flaunting the hashtag #NoShameYA took to the Internet to berate her, and their message was loud and clear: There’s no shame in YA—and don’t you dare call it mediocre and clichéd.

So who’s right? The fans, it turns out. Sure, there’s treacly garbage on YA shelves. That’s true of any book category. But not only is Fault as emotionally complex as adult fiction, quite a few books now considered literary classics—from The Catcher in the Rye to Jane Eyre—might well be classified as YA (or its older cousin New Adult) if they were published for the first time today. Need proof? EW combed the canon for de facto young-adult reads and then asked Jason Booher, art director of Blue Rider Press, to redesign their covers for a modern YA audience. Take that, shamers.

[Ed. note: The EW.com version of this post, which originally ran in the print edition of EW, includes commentary from Booher on his designs. They are reproduced below each book-jacket image.]

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