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Gabriel Garcia Marquez dies at 87

Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel García Márquez has passed away at the age of 87, according to the Associated Press. García Márquez was recently hospitalized for an infection in Mexico City, and on Wednesday, April 9, he was released to convalesce at his home. The Colombian-born author and journalist is considered one of the most important writers of the 20th century. In his lifetime, he published six novels and seven nonfiction books, as well as numerous novellas and short story collections. His work transcended Spanish-language literature to become internationally beloved.

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See the cover for Pittacus Lore's newest I Am Number Four, 'The Revenge of Seven' -- EXCLUSIVE

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Check out the cover for Pittacus Lore’s The Revenge of Seven, the fifth installment of the I Am Number Four series. (God, that’s a numbers jumble, isn’t it?) The book goes on sale August 26th. HarperCollins gave this preview of the story: READ FULL STORY

On The Books: Laura Hillenbrand rewrote 'Unbroken' as a YA book

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Laura Hillenbrand has rewritten her best-seller Unbroken, the life story of Olympic runner Louie Zamperini, as a YA nonfiction book that will be published on Veterans Day (Nov. 11, 2014). The original Unbroken tells the tale of Zamperini’s Odysseian journey from a hard-scrabble kid in Southern California during the Depression to his meteoric rise as an Olympic runner in the 1936 Berlin Games. Later he signed up as a fighter pilot during World War II and flew planes in the South Pacific. His bomber crashed 850 miles off the coast of Hawaii and he spent 47 days stranded on a raft before being captured by the Japanese and brutally abused in a POW camp until the end up the war. But it’s not a downer! He perseveres and with the same buoyant spirit that carried him to the Olympics, he recovers from his wartime experiences and finds new life for himself.

I’m not sure why this needs a “YA” version. It sounds pretty appropriate for the 12+ ages of the “young adult” genre. Surely if you can be conscripted to read Lord of the Flies at 13, you can read this amazing real-life tale of the triumph of human spirit. Hillenbrand didn’t say specifically what she changed for the younger version, only that “Louie Zamperini’s story is spellbinding to people of every age. At the urging of librarians, teachers, and parents, I’ve created this edition specifically for younger readers. I’m delighted to bring Louie’s inspiring, exhilarating story to a new generation.” Since its original publication in November 2010, Unbroken has sold nearly 4 million copies and has remained on the bestseller list for over 160 weeks, with 14 weeks at #1. Angelina Jolie is directing a film adaptation (written by the Cohen brothers no less!) which is set for release on Christmas Day 2014.

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Cassandra Clare's 'City of Bones' read by 'Parenthood's Mae Whitman -- EXCLUSIVE

City of Heavenly Fire, the final book in The Mortal Instruments series, comes out in only six weeks on May 27, 2014. That means you have six weeks left to revel in the saga of Clary and her golden boy Jace and her dark angel brother Sebastian and the most loveable dork/vampire Simon and the man-eating, demon-killer Isabelle and poor, lovesick Alec. After this, guys, it’s finito.

As we roll up to the final book, Simon & Shuster is releasing a new edition audiobook for City of Bones, which will be narrated by Mae Whitman, who plays Amber Holt on Parenthood. (She was also Roxy Richter, Evil Ex #4 in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Such a great performance.) We’ve got an exclusive interview with Mae, talking about her preparation for the book and who her favorite characters are. Check out the video: READ FULL STORY

See the trailer for 'The One' by Kiera Cass -- EXCLUSIVE

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The One, the final installment of Kiera Cass’ Selection trilogy, doesn’t hit shelves until May 6. So unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until then to find out if America Singer chooses Aspen or Maxon. I’m emotionally preparing myself for either outcome, though I’m quite partial to Maxon. So fingers crossed things work out in his favor. In the meantime, check out this exclusive trailer teasing the conclusion to Cass’ best-selling YA series.  READ FULL STORY

Kid Lit's Primary Color: White -- REPORT

Of 3,200 children’s books published last year, only 93 featured black characters—and the numbers weren’t great for Asians, American Indians, and Latinos either. What gives?

If you’re a parent of a child of color, finding relatable kids’ books can be something of a challenge. Just ask Lori Tharps, an African-American journalism professor and the mom of three bilingual, bicultural children. “I’m not trying to make my kids read about slaves all the time,” she says. “A black wizard story would be nice. Flat Stanley could be Asian or Latino. But they’re not there… at least it would be one less blond-haired, blue-eyed heroine or hero to worship.” A survey of 3,200 children’s books published in 2013—out of a total of 5,000—found that only 67 were by African-American authors, and only 93 titles centered on black characters. That’s the lowest number of black protagonists since 1994, when the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison began tracking that data. The numbers were similarly abysmal for children’s books by or about American Indians, Asians, and Latinos — proving that publishing, like the film and TV industry, has a long way to go when it comes to fostering and promoting diversity.

So why are bookshelves so whitewashed? For one thing, children’s books about diverse characters don’t sell (though there are exceptions, such as Octavia Spencer’s middle-grade mystery, Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective: The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit). Says one children’s-book executive, “If we thought there was a demand for more nonwhite characters, we would try to fill it.” Sales can “certainly impact visibility and output,” says Rosemary Brosnan, editorial director at HarperCollins Children’s Books. Award-winning Mexican-American writer Gary Soto knows this all too well: He had to end his 20-year career writing children’s books due to low sales. “I think many buyers think, ‘We already have a Gary Soto book in our library or classroom; we don’t need any more.’” Tharps, a former EW staffer, says, “Part of this problem could be solved if the great books that are out there that feature characters of color were given more promotional push by publishers and not shoved into the multicultural section.” READ FULL STORY

J.K. Rowling reports live from the Quidditch World Cup!

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Harry Potter’s official fan site, Pottermore, posted two new pieces from J.K. Rowling as part of the “History of the Quidditch World Cup.” And now we know why! Because Ginny Potter (née Weasley) is going to be “reporting live” from the 2014 Quidditch World Cup, which is happening in the Patagonian desert this year, folks. (So I guess South America is hosting all the World Cups. Lucky dogs.)

These days, Ginny is married to Harry and enjoying a post-player career as a sports journalist. Her byline says, “from the Daily Prophet’s Quidditch Correspondent in the Patagonian desert, Ginny Potter.”  J.K. Rowling also quotes the magical creatures expert Rolf Scamander in the piece – which a press release noted that “knowledgeable Harry Potter fans” should be able to “spot the link to the screenplay for Fantastic Beasts that J.K. Rowling is currently writing, the protagonist of which is Newt Scamander, Rolf’s grandfather.” So are you a true fan? Did you catch that?? (I didn’t.)

This first article from Ginny describes how the international teams’ mascots, magical creatures from the world of Harry Potter, took part in the ceremony and caused havoc for their handlers. We find out why more than 300 crowd members are suffering from shock, broken bones and bites following the ceremony, and why failure to bring their usual mascots — a troupe of performing trolls — caused a great deal of trouble for the Norwegian delegation.  A match report details the thrilling action between Norway and Ivory Coast in the first match of the tournament.

To check out the articles, sign in to Pottermore and go to the Office of The Daily Prophet section.

On The Books: Original text of Hunter Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas -- for FREE!

You can still read the original text of Hunter S. Thompson’s gonzo-epic “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” as it appeared in Rolling Stone in November 1971. I wish that I could say they had the layout intact, so you could see the original Ralph Steadman drawings and dated adverts, but alas that’s not the case. The whole rambling, drug-addled, calculated chaos of a manuscript clocks in at 23,000 words. Thompson would famously keep Jann Wenner waiting for articles until the absolute last second. HST described his version of the manic push to the finish line in the intro to Rolling Stone‘s “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72″ (another classic):

“One afternoon about three days ago the Editorial Enforcement Detail from the Rolling Stone office showed up at my door, with no warning, and loaded about 40 pounds of supplies into the room: two cases of Mexican beer, four quarts of gin, a dozen grapefruits, and enough speed to alter the outcome of six Super Bowls. There was also a big Selectric typewriter, two reams of paper, a face-cord of oak firewood and three tape recorders – in case the situation got so desperate that I might finally have to resort to verbal composition.”

[Rolling Stone via Open Culture]

Vijay Seshadri won the Pulitzer Prize for his poetry collection 3 Sections yesterday and he answered a few questions about the meaning of his poems and his motivations for writing them. His short poems manage to be both tongue-in-cheek and poignant, so bear that in mind when he says poetry is “psychologically naked.” [NPR]

On the 25th anniversary of the Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa against Salman Rushdie, Vanity Fair interviewed the author, his British and American publishers and a number of his peers including Stephen King, Ian McEwan, Gay Talese and Martin Amis about their memories of the time and the deadly edict’s effect on the literary community. Amis recounts a time that he supposedly got into an argument with Prince Charles at a dinner party (where else?). The Prince refused to publicly defend Rushdie who was a U.K. resident at the time. [Vanity Fair via The Guardian]

Don’t you love a good Shakespeare conspiracy theory? Well this morning, it’s whether Prospero, the exiled wizard in The Tempest, might actually be Shakespeare writing himself into the character. WHAT?? If you’re confused, this article will clear very little up for you. But it certainly is interesting to hear all the things we actually “know” about Shakespeare — “all the things” being only six things. One of the six is that in his will he left his wife Anne his second best bed. So he was a generous man. [Guardian]

For those celebrating Passover this week, The New Yorker has a thought little personal essay by Bernard Avishai on the Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai and keeping a open heart during the holiday. [The New Yorker]

2014 Pulitzer Prize winners announced; Donna Tartt takes the big fiction prize

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Donna Tartt’s sprawling literary epic that centers on a mysterious little painting has taken the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, besting other lengthy titles, such as The Son by Philipp  Meyer and The Woman Who Lost Her Soul by Bob Shacochis, both of which received “A” grades from EW. READ FULL STORY

On The Books: 2013's Ten Most Challenged Books

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Every year the American Library Association publishes a list of the most challenged books in the country to keep the public informed of encroaching censorship. The ALA defines a challenge as “a formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness.” The number of challenges reflects only incidents reported. The group estimates that for every reported challenge, four or five remain unreported. This year’s list is topped by the The Adventures of Captain Underpants series, which also held that slot in 2012. The humorous and cartoony book about two 4th grade boys and their imaginary-turned-real superhero Captain Underpants was cited for: offensive language, unsuited for age group, and violence. Fifty Shades of Grey also made the list, as did The Hunger Games. Check out the complete list. READ FULL STORY

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