News & Notes is a weekly Saturday post featuring book- and publishing-related news, links to interesting articles and opinion pieces, and other cool stuff
Norton Juster, author of The Phantom Tollbooth, died March 8 at the age of 91. Juster, an architect, began the classic children’s novel while procrastinating on a nonfiction book; he continued it as a collaboration with his downstairs neighbor, the cartoonist and illustrator Jules Feiffer. Juster wrote several other books, taught at Hampshire College for over 20 years, and designed many of the college’s buildings, but he will be best and most lovingly remembered as the creator of Milo, the dog Tock, andthe zany, wordplay-filled world of The Phantom Tollbooth.
Beverly Cleary, author of the Ramona Quimby books, The Mouse and the Motorcycle, and a slew of other childhood classics, died March 25 at the age of 104. If you are my age or younger, you undoubtedly read at least one of Cleary’s books in your childhood — possibly Dear Mr. Henshaw, which won the Newbery Medal in 1984. (My personal favorite was The Mouse and the Motorcycle, one of the few of Cleary’s books that wasn’t firmly rooted in reality…but then, I was always more interested in fantasy, the past, or the future than in the present.) Cleary’s books were a classroom and school-library staple when I was in elementary school, and remained so well into my own child’s elementary school years. She was a delightful woman, who for nearly 30 years read and answered her fan mail herself, and never forgot the real-life children for whom she wrote. The world of children’s literature would not have been, and will not be, the same without her.
Larry McMurtry, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Lonesome Dove, died March 25 at the age of 84. McMurtry was a prolific and bestselling author; several of his books, including Terms of Endearment and The Last Picture Show, became movies. He won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for the 2005 film Brokeback Mountain, based on a short story by Annie Proulx. In 2015, President Obama presented McMurtry with a National Humanities Medal for his work. A collector of rare books, for many years he also owned and ran a used/rare bookstore in his home state, Texas. McMurtry also served as president of PEN America from 1989 to 1991.
- Amazon, Big Five Publishers Face Yet Another Antitrust Suit—From Booksellers (Publishers Weekly)
- The Nebula Award finalists (nominees) have been announced (Tor.com)
- CILIP has announced the shortlists for the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals (CILIP)
- The Audie Award winners were announced on March 22 in a virtual ceremony. Some very good books won; The City We Became, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and Clap When You Land each received two awards. Hear clips and find a link to watch the ceremony at the link above.
- The State of Racial Diversity in Romance Publishing Report for 2020. (The Ripped Bodice) You can also see the reports from past years.
- Every King Arthur Retelling Is Fanfic About Who Gets to Be Legendary. Tracy Deon, author of Legendborn (which I totally have to read!), talks about the many retellings of King Arthur, how her own book intersects with the stories, and questions of inclusion/exclusion. (Tor.com)
- Strong Fairy Tale Heroines: An Introduction (Seven Miles of Steel Thistles blog) Katherine Langrish writes perceptively and well about fairy tales. She has a series on strong fairytale heroines, and I’m all in. Based on the strength of the essay on her blog, I also ordered her book, Seven Miles of Steel Thistles, which is unfortunately out of print, and picked up a Kindle omnibus of her 3-volume MG fantasy trilogy, West of the Moon, based on Norse history and mythology. (And no, this isn’t an ad or sponsored content; it’s just me.)
Books, Movies, and TV
- JRR Tolkien’s own illustrations appear in Lord of the Rings for the first time. (The Guardian)HarperCollins will publish the new edition in October. I know what’s going on my wish list this winter!
- Stacey Abrams — yes, the politician/political activist — has written a legal thriller. While Justice Sleeps comes out in May, from Doubleday. (Publishers Weekly)
- Emily March’s ‘Eternity Springs’ coming to TV with Phyllicia Rashad executive producing (and possibly starring) (Deadline) That’s a series I’ve been waiting to have adapted! With Rashad at the helm, I’m sure they will also diversify the books’ overwhelmingly white cast, something that has bothered me for years.
- Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate novels have been optioned for an animated series (Intrado Global News Wire; more on Gail Carriger’s blog.) It’s only optioned, not yet in development, so it may not happen. But if it does, that would be cool!