News & Notes is a weekly Saturday post featuring book- and publishing-related news, links to interesting articles and opinion pieces, giveaways on this and other blogs, and other cool stuff.
Books & Ebooks in the News:
- A first edition of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol was recently discovered in the Cleveland Public Library’s collection. (The Cleveland Scene)
- Censorship and attempted censorship of children’s books was up considerably in 2013, according to the Kids’ Right to Read Project, as reported by Shelf Awareness.
- “Museum of Science Fiction to Open in Washington D.C.” — assuming its founders can come up with enough funding. (GalleyCat)
- The Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) has approved a new Code of Ethics that it hopes publishers will follow, including editorial and design excellence, observance of all copyright laws, and reuse/recycling where possible. The move is clearly aimed at newcomers to the publishing world — self-publishers and small indie publishers who may have little knowledge of publishing conventions and standards. (Publishers Weekly)
- Ebook subscription service Oyster has signed a deal with Perseus Group to offer some Perseus titles, while rival service Scribd will now offer all of Smashwords’ catalog. (GalleyCat)
- Dave Eggars believes “US writers must take a stand against NSA surveillance” (Dave Eggars, The Guardian)
- “Famous Writers’ Sleep Habits vs. Literary Productivity, Visualized” (Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings blog; infographic by Giorgia Lupi and her team at Accurat)
For Writers & Bloggers:
- “The Best Books on Writing and Creativity of 2013” (Maria Popova, Brain Pickings blog) A detailed review of and sneak peek at a number of wonderful books on writing and creativity.
- “Organization Wants to Lure Writers to Detroit” by deeding them a house after a two-year residency. (Publishers Weekly)
- Memoir contest: The Huffington Post and AARP are sponsoring a memoir writing contest, open to anyone born before Dec. 31, 1964. You can find the rules here.
Janet Dailey died Saturday, Dec. 14, in Branson, Missouri, at the age of 69. Ms. Dailey was the author of over 100 romance novels, and was one of the first American authors published by Harlequin. Married at 19 to her boss, Dailey once said that many of her heroes were based on her husband Bill, who died of cancer in 2005. Dailey’s recent career was shadowed by accusations of plagiarism in two of her novels, Aspen Gold and Notorious; she later admitted that the two books contained passages and ideas from works by bestselling novelist Nora Roberts. The case was settled out of court, and Ms. Dailey continued to write romance novels. Her most recent release was October’s Merry Christmas, Cowboy. (ABC News; Branson Tri-Lakes News. The New York Times also published an obituary for Ms. Dailey, but could not resist several disdainful comments regarding her chosen genre.)
Ned Vizzini, author of several YA books, committed suicide on Thursday, Dec. 19. He was 32. Vizzini’s books included It’s Kind of a Funny Story, about a teenage boy who is hospitalized after school pressures drive him to think of suicide. In an interview, the author stated that the book was “85% true.” Most recently, Vizzini collaborated with Chris Columbus on The House of Secrets, the first in a MG fantasy series. He also wrote for television, including the upcoming Cuaron-Abrams NBC series, Believe. (Obituary, Publishers Weekly)
Children’s book author Lila Perl died Wed., Dec. 4, at the age of 92. Ms. Perl was the author of over fifty fiction and nonfiction books for children. Her books often featured strong female characters. Perl also co-authored the award-winning Four Perfect Pebbles with Holocaust survivor Marion Blumenthal Lazan; the book recounts Lazan’s family’s internment in and survival of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. (Obituary, School Library Journal)
Book and Movie Announcements:
- J. K. Rowling is working on a stage play based on Harry Potter’s childhood. She will coproduce as well as work with a collaborator on the script. (The Guardian)
- Joseph Gordon-Levitt to work with Neil Gaiman on movie version of ‘The Sandman’ (The Verge) Gordon-Levitt tweeted that he will help produce the movie.
- A standalone sequel to the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy will be written by Swedish journalist David Lagerkrantz. (Author Steig Larsson died in 2004.) The new book will be released on the 10th anniversary of the publication of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
I’m always on the lookout for interesting articles, lists, and links for News & Notes, so please let me know if you see (or write!) anything that might be good for this feature. You can leave me a comment or send me an email — my address is on the About/Review Policy/Contact page.