News & Notes is a weekly Saturday post featuring book- and publishing-related news, links to interesting articles and opinion pieces, and other cool stuff
- The 2014 Nebula Award nominees were announced on Feb 20. (SFWA) You can see the entire list here.
- Hitler’s Mein Kampf returns to Germany as the first German edition since the end of WWII nears publication. The reissue is stirring up controversy both within and beyond Germany. (Washington Post)
- Lost Sherlock Holmes story discovered in man’s attic (The Telegraph)
- Booktrope is trying out a new publishing model that blends the strengths of traditional and self-publishing. (GalleyCat)
Literary (and other) Losses
Leonard Nimoy, best known for playing Spock in the original Star Trek series and movies, died Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. An outpouring of grief and remembrances by fans and fellow actors filled social media sites, many with the hashtag #Spockisdead. Read the New York Times obituary for details of Nimoy’s life and career. A piece in Entertainment Weekly looks at his mastery of the acting craft in his portrayal of Spock. And Neda Ulaby said on NPR, “Spock could have been just pointy ears and punch lines. Leonard Nimoy gave him gravitas.” And humanity. (You can read my tribute to the man who brought Spock to life here. I’m still crying.)
Bertrice Small, one of the early pioneers of the modern romance novel, died Feb. 24, 2015, at the age of 77. She was one of the original “Avon Ladies” of the 1970s. NPR, RT Book Reviews, and Sarah of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books all pay tribute to her influence on romance as we know it today.
- How to Write About Chararcters Who Are Smarter Than You. Graham Moore talks about Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes, and his own experience writing the screenplay for The Imitation Game. (Medium)
- Perceptions of Diversity in Book Reviews. (Diversity in YA blog) Malinda Lo looks at the ways in which trade (professional) book reviews perceive and discuss diversity in YA books, and the biases they reveal. To quote, she describes “an environment in which particular beliefs are held as given: that readers are predominantly white; that books should explain their diverse content to those white readers; that too much diversity is unbelievable.” Her essay is long, but extremely well-written and backed up with plentiful examples. She is careful not to identify or single out individual reviewers, and focuses on trade reviews en masse. Though she does not address bias in reader reviews (like the one written by bloggers), her piece opened my eyes to assumptions I may be making without being aware of them.
- The Politics of Comfort. Jim C. Hines argues (persuasively) that all fiction, including SFF, is political, and that is part of what makes it important. (His definition of political goes well beyond systems of government; he’s talking about diversity and inclusion, among other things.)
- Diversity in SF/F. Jim Hines is also hosting a series of guest posts on diversity and (under)representation in science fiction and fantasy. I have found all the posts interesting and thought-provoking. Here are a few: Discovering the Other (John G. Hartness talks about developing empathy as a result of reading SF/F) and I’m Not Broken [Annalee Flower Horne on the portrayal of sexual assault survivors (not graphic).]
- Fifty Shades of Grey and the Sexual (Mis)Education of Boys. (Jackson Katz, Huffington Post) Thoughtful and thought-provoking essay by a father.
Great Blog Posts
- Why Do So Many Books Have the Same Title (The Emerald City Book Review)
- Interview w/ Alethea Kontis, author of Dearest (Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf)
- Word From the Herd: 30? Girlfriend you’re WAY too OLD for romance. Mmhm. (Herding Cats & Burning Soup) Have you noticed that romance heroines are almost always under 30? So has Anna, and it makes her mad.
- The Soft Tyranny of Low Expectations: boys shamed for empathising with female protagonists (Hoyden About Town blog) Why we need to stop assuming boys won’t (or shouldn’t) read books with female protagonists.
For Writers & Bloggers
- Contacting an Author or Publisher (How the Heck Did You Do That? feature on The Caffeinated Reviewer)
Book & Movie Announcements
- The SYNC titles for 2015 are up! SYNC is a program offering free YA audiobook downloads It runs from runs May 7 through Aug 13. Each week, they offer two titles for download, usually a newer release and a thematically-related classic or older title. The schedule hasn’t been finalized yet, but the books are listed at the link above. You can also go to SYNC’s home page and sign up for their email list.
- J. K. Rowling: A Bibliography 1997-2013 has been compiled by Phillip Errington, whom I assume is a very dedicated fan. It contains “details of each edition of all her books, pamphlets and original contributions to published works, there is detailed information on the publishing history of her work, including fascinating extracts from correspondence.” OK then. (GalleyCat)
- “Frozen” Chapter Books: 10 Titles For Kids Who Love the Disney Movie (A Book Long Enough blog)
That’s it for this week!