News & Notes is a weekly Saturday post featuring book- and publishing-related news, links to interesting articles and opinion pieces, and other cool stuff
- Banned Books Week starts Sunday, and bannedbooksweek.org has ideas and resources. Also, scroll down for a bunch of banned books lists.
- The Plot Twist: E-Book Sales Slip, and Print Is Far From Dead (Alexandra Alter, New York Times) Independent bookstores are also making a comeback.
- Rupert Murdoch’s 20th Century Fox buys NatGeo – and here’s what Salon thinks you should know. (Washington Post; Salon)
- The BBC Is Creating a Netflix-Style Streaming Site (David Sims, The Atlantic)
- Author Patrick Ness’s [Syrian] refugee fund tops $1m (BBC News)
- Would-be Buyer of B&N Settles Fraud Charges stemming from his bid to buy the ailing bookstore chain.
- Oyster appears to be shutting down. Their blog announcement is vague and includes no timetable; it also hints that they are planning a “next step”, but it will involve “sunsetting” the existing book subscription service.
Jackie Collins, the best-selling novelist whose books featured strong, independent women, sex, and scandal among the rich and powerful, died this week of breast cancer at the age of 77. The Santangelos, her latest book, was published earlier this year. (Obituaries: The Guardian, LA Times, Washington Post; The Guardian also offers up a list of her top five novels.)
C. K. Williams, whose poems range from deeply personal to political and whose career spanned nearly 50 years, died this week at his home in Hopewell, New Jersey. He was 78. (Obituary: Slate; you can read more of his poems in The New Yorker and The Paris Review, and listen to his TED talk on poetry of youth and age.)
- The mysterious origins of punctuation (BBC)
- An Alabama bookstore that sells only signed copies – at cover price. (Brian Barrett, Atlas Obscura)
- Clues, red herrings, and whodunnits: words you need to solve a murder (Oxford Dictionaries blog)
- Pride and Prejudice at 20: The scene that changed everything (Nicholas Barber, BBC)
- On Breaking Up with a Book (Sharanya Sharma, BookRiot)
For Writers & Bloggers
- Scrolling Text Box: Ashley at Noze Graze explains the CSS you need to create a scrolling box for text inserts (like book excerpts.) And if you’re not comfortable with doing that, she has a totally free plug-in for wordpress.org.
- Why Writing by Hand Is Underrated (The Freelancer on Contently) I’m not sure I agree with Gelber’s comment about writing without editing being easier when writing by hand. I do a lot of editing-on-the-fly when I write by hand, whether I’m drafting a review, writing in my journal, or writing a creative piece. From that point of view, I think it’s less the medium than the mental practice of silencing the editor. However, I do see lots of benefits to writing by hand, particularly when it comes to taking notes.
- How to Use Mind Maps to Unleash Your Brain’s Creativity and Potential (Melanie Pinola, Lifehacker)
Book & Movie Announcements
- A. G. Howard is writing a Phantom of the Opera retelling to be called RoseBlood. It’s due out in January 2017. (Howard’s blog)
- St. John’s Abbey and University gave an edition of the St. John’s Bible to the Library of Congress on Thursday in honor of Pope Francis’s visit to the U.S. The St. John’s Bible is the first fully handwritten and illuminated edition of the Bible commissioned since the advent of the printing press. The version given to the Library of Congress appears to be a full-scale fine-art edition. The original, hand-calligraphed and illuminated pages are owned and curated by St. John’s Abbey and exhibited there and at other instutitions across the country. The Library of Congress will be exhibiting its photographic copy for several months, beginning today.
- J. K. Rowling released the Potter family backstory on Pottermore. Unfortunately, as miraniel points out on Tumblr, the new information is inconsistent with canon already in the books. The new “story” has James inheriting the cloak at age 19 when his father dies, while the books clearly show he had it at Hogwarts. Maybe Rowling should leave well enough alone?
- The 10 Oldest Languages Still Spoken In The World Today (The Culture Trip)
- 22 Patterns for Literary Mittens (Book Riot).
Banned Books Lists
- How Scandalous Is Your Reading History? (Buzzfeed, based on ALA’s lists of most frequently banned/challenged books in the US)
- Here Are the 10 Books Americans Try to Ban From Schools and Libraries Most (in 2014) (mic.com)
- Banned and Challenged Classics (ALA)
- Banned Books That Shaped America (Banned Books Week)
- Frequently Challenged or Banned Young Adult Fiction 2014 (Banned Books Week)
- Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009 (ALA)
- 75 Banned Science Fiction and Fantasy Books (List Challenges)
- ALA’s 2012-2013 Banned & Challenged Book List (List Challenges)
That’s it for this week!