News & Notes is a weekly Saturday post featuring book- and publishing-related news, links to interesting articles and opinion pieces, and other cool stuff
- Over 100 stories & letters by Mark Twain uncovered by scholars. They were written while Twain was a journalist in San Francisco. (To clarify, we’re not talking about fiction; these are stories in the newspaper sense of the term.) (The Guardian; also BookRiot)
- First Book to donate 60K diverse children’s books to low-income children (GalleyCat)
- The Locus Awards shortlist is out. The Locus Awards honor excellence in SF and fantasy… and unlike the Hugos, these haven’t been tarnished by controversy. (Locus Magazine)
- Judy Blume and Junot Díaz have become advocates for the NYPL.
- The #TwitterFictionFestival kicks off on May 11.
- Scholastic signs favorite children’s authors to get kids reading this summer. By logging their reading minutes online, kids can unlock 12 original short stories by authors such as Blue Baliett, R. L. Stein, Gordon Korman, and Maggie Stiefvater.
Mystery author Ruth Rendell, author of over 60 novels including the Inspector Wexford series, died May 2, 2015, at the age of 85. Rendell also wrote psychological thrillers under the name Barbara Vine. (BBC News). Obituaries: BBC, The Guardian, NPR (with audio)
Children’s book author-illustrator Marcia Brown, winner of three Caldecott Medals and honored for six other books, died April 28, 2015, at the age of 96. Brown is perhaps best known for Stone Soup. Obituaries: Publishers Weekly; Seattle Times
- Karina Sumner-Smith on Hope and Wonder in Science Fiction. “No one has walked on the moon in my lifetime,” I told them. “Yet you try to tell me that it’s my generation who has lost their wonder? That it’s the young people of today who have let everything slip and fall into ruin? You don’t understand. You had the dream and the potential and the opportunities, and you messed it all up. You got hope and moon landings and that bright, glorious future. I got only the disasters.” That paragraph hit me – a child of 6 when Armstrong first walked on the moon – like a punch in the gut. But it’s not all bleak; in the second half of the essay, she writes with insight about SF’s relationship to the present rather than the future, and maintains that the hope and wonder are still there. (Fantasy Book Cafe)
- 7 Reasons It’s Actually Totally Feminist To Read (And Write) Romance Novels, Thank You Very Much (Maya Rodale, for Bustle)
- On Being Book Shamed in Middle and High School (Jessi Lewis, for BookRiot)
- Fan(ne)girl – Maddie Rodriguez examines what Anne of Green Gables meant to her when she was growing up. (BookRiot)
For Writers & Bloggers
- Headed to BEA? PW rounds upt the MG/YA galleys to grab. (Publishers Weekly)
- 27 Pieces Of Writing Advice From Famous Authors (Buzzfeed)
- DIY: How to Request Permissions (especially to quote song lyrics.) (Publishers Weekly)
Book & Movie Announcements
- Agent Carter has been renewed for a second season! Huzzah! I really love this show. (Entertainment Weekly)
- Spielberg’s Amblin Television to adapt Brave New World for SyFy. SyFy also plans to adapt Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End and Lev Grossman’s The Magicians. (Hollywood Reporter)
- Martin Freeman has signed on for Captain America: Civil War, though his role has not been revealed yet. (Marvel)
- 9 Made-up Languages from Books (Chris Beckett, for The Huffington Post)
- Cool Maps of Fictional Literary Places (BookRiot) From Middle-earth to Earthsea, Narnia to Lilliput, and even Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County.
- 12 Creative Examples of Bookish Advertising (BookRiot)
- Sh*t Book Nerds Do (BookRiot) Sigh. So many of these. (Sorry about the profanity, but the post is pretty accurate if you can put up with that.)
- Male Characters You Would Run From If They Tried To Date You (Goodreads) Here’s your chance to name the ickiest guys in fiction. You can vote for books on this list, and even add books. Among the top 20 titles: Fifty Shades of Grey, Twilight, Lolita, American Psycho, Dracula.
Free and Bargain Books
Tor Books has partnered with BitLit to let book owners download inexpensive ebooks of titles they already own. (I checked; the titles aren’t up yet.) Other publishers who have signed on with BitLit include HarperCollins, Farrar Straus Giroux, and Angry Robot. Note that not all titles are included in the publishers’ agreements with BitLit, and those that are are usually backlist titles – but more large publishers have signed on than I anticipated when the service first started.
Once you verify your book and purchase the ebook, you will be emailed the title, which you can then upload to your device (presumably using Calibre.) While they do mention Kindle readers and MOBI files in their FAQ, it’s not clear whether all titles are available in MOBI format – and the FAQ suggest that Calibre can convert from ePub to MOBI, which doesn’t work if the file is DRM protected. So if you have a Kindle reader, you might check out Kindle’s Matchbook program first – though Matchbook only works for books you bought through Amazon.
That’s it for this week!