News & Notes is a weekly Saturday post featuring book- and publishing-related news, links to interesting articles and opinion pieces, and other cool stuff
Independent Bookstore Day – April 24
Independent Bookstore Day is next Saturday, Apr. 24, 2021. If you’re comfortable going into shops, and your local indie bookstore is open, it would be a great day to visit them; not only would it show your support, but many indie bookstores have events or sales planned. That said, we’re still in the middle of a pandemic, many people still aren’t fully vaccinated, and you may prefer to avoid stores and lines/queues. If so, or if there are no indie bookshops in your area, there’s always Bookshop.org, where you can shop online from any of a growing number of independent bookstores. You can use their “find a bookstore” locator to identify a store you want to support, or simply search for the shop by name. If you don’t pick a specific store to shop through, you can still order books from Bookshop.org, and the profits will go into a pool that gets distributed among indie bookstores.
- 2021 Hugo, Astounding, and Lodestar Awards Finalists (Locus) All the novella finalists were published by Tor, which might look shady if it weren’t for the fact that Tor is one of the few (possibly the only?) publishers currently publishing novellas in book form. (Also, Tor’s editors are apparently really good at spotting and supporting talented writers.)
- Disney Launches An Adult Imprint (Publishers Weekly)
- Enter the World of Goodnight Moon in New Immersive Art Exhibit (Untapped Cities)
- How Bookishness Affects the Book Biz (Publishers Weekly)
- Forget about irony, witty writing is all it takes to capture a child’s imagination (Emma Brockes, The Guardian)
- A 4,000-Year-Old Student ‘Writing Board’ from Ancient Egypt (with Teacher’s Corrections in Red) (Open Culture)
Books, Movies, and TV
- Bridgerton Breakout Regé-Jean Page Will Not Appear in Season 2 (Variety), but the series has been renewed through Season 4. (Deadline)
- Children’s Books That Take Place in Museums (NYPL) The two I have read, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and Chasing Vermeer, were both wonderful, so I’m inspired to track down a few of the others and give them a try.
- From Jamaica Inn to Treasure Island: the best books about the sea (The Guardian)
Cool, Fun, and Awesome: The Voynich Manuscript
The Voynich Manuscript has baffled scholars, cryptologists, and rare-book enthusiasts for centuries. Written in a cryptic language no one has yet been able to decipher, and filled with detailed botanical drawings of plants that don’t exist and strange images of nude female figures, the manuscript offers plenty of room for speculation and no definitive answers. The vellum on which it is written dates to the 15th century; the writing style appears consistent with that period. But what the book means, and even what it is about, remain a mystery.
The manuscript is currently owned by Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, but if you are intrigued, you can peruse it online, download high-res jpeg files from Yale, or buy your own photographic copy from Amazon.
- Voynich Manuscript (short article, including the video above, by the Beinecke Library)
- Explore Online the Mysterious Voynich Manuscript: The 15th-Century Text That Linguists & Code-Breakers Can’t Understand (Open Culture)
- Rene Zandbergen maintains a website about the Voynich Manuscript.