News & Notes – 5/31/14

May 31, 2014 public libraries, romance 14

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:

    BEA News: 

    Worth Reading/Listening to: 

    • “The sad reasons why Amazon’s #1 reading city doesn’t belong on the list” is really a look at the library crisis in Alexandria, Virginia, and elsewhere. David Rothman rightly points out that book-buying habits only reflect the reading habits of the haves; the have-nots are often dependent on libraries whose funding is shrinking. (LibraryCity)
    • William Giraldi’s polemic against 50 Shades of Gray, a recent scholarly analysis of it, and romance in general will probably enrage many of my readers (as it did me) for the intellectual snobbery, ignorance of the genre, and sheer misogyny that he displays. (The New Republic
    • Author Eloisa Jame’s defense of the romance genre refutes Giraldi’s argument, but does so with a faint air of the same intellectual superiority that he displays — which surprised me. Her statements that “The women buying romance don’t give a damn what is said in The New Republic. They’ve never even heard of it” and “I have a huge amount of respect for my readers, who are not versed in intellectual language but who do very much the same kind of thinking and analysis” both left me a little sad. Hey, Ms. James, I know what The New Republic is, and I’m certainly versed in intellectual language. I took more than a few literature courses in college. I’m sure I’m not the only romance reader of whom that is true. (Vulture)
    • But then there’s Bobbi Dumas’s response in Kirkus, which is a positive and unapologetic defense of romance as well as a riposte to Giraldi and his ilk — with lots of useful links.
    • And there’s Alyssa Rosenberg’s wonderful response in the Washington Post, in which she points out the problematic nature of many of the classics for women — lack of agency being foremost.

      For Writers & Bloggers:

        Literary Losses:

        Maya Angelou. Photo by York College ISLGP . CC BY-2.0

        • Maya Angelou, the celebrated author, poet, and activist, died Wed., May 28. She was 86. Her strength, spirit, and creativity won the respect of people throughout the world. Rather than try to encapsulate her life and work, I’m just going to point you to a few of the better obituaries I’ve found:  Time, The Guardian, The Washington Post


        Mary Stewart. Photo: Hodder and Stoughton (publishers)

        • Mary Stewart, the author who pioneered romantic suspense featuring intelligent, capable young women before turning her talents to Arthurian myth and Romano-Celtic history, died May 9, aged 97.  I know that’s several weeks ago, but Stewart had a huge impact on me, both through her romantic suspense and her Arthurian saga. Angie of Angieville wrote a brief but lovely tribute to Stewart a few weeks ago, which echoes my own experience. For the facts of Stewart’s life and career, you can’t do better than The Guardian‘s affectionate and detailed obituary.
        Requiescat in pace, lovely ladies, and thank you both for your wonderful work.

          Free & Bargain books:

          • This week’s free SYNC audiobooks are Confessions of a Murder Suspect (James Patterson and Maxine Paetro; read by Emma Galvin) and The Murder at the Vicarage (Agatha Christie; read by Richard Grant.) Both feature female detectives, but one’s a teen with memory loss and one’s a deceptively fluttery elderly spinster with the razor-sharp mind of a Holmes. You’ll need the Overdrive Media Console to download them but the plus side is, they never expire.

          Awesome lists: 

          • 25 Bookish Quizzes collected by BookRiot.
          • Adoption in YA Lit pairs older and newer titles about various aspects of adoption. (YALSA’s The Hub. Thanks to BookRiot, whose tweet pointed me toward this one.)
          • Amazon’s 10 Summer Blockbusters You Should Read (via Huff Post) Hey, it includes Deborah Harkness’s The Book of Night and the new Harry Dresden novel, along with new books or sequels by a bunch of other big names (Diana Gabaldon, Cassandra Clare, Janet Evanovich, Daniel Silva, James Patterson, etc.)

            Really cool:

            • A poem which points out the chaos which is English pronunciation.  ( A sample couplet: “Billet does not rhyme with ballet; bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.” It goes on (and on) for 112 lines. Read it aloud (and try a British accent.) If you can pronounce every word correctly, you’re amazing. (I got most of them, but “groats” tripped me up.)

              Just for fun:  

              Cat paws in a fifteenth-century manuscript
              (photo taken at the Dubrovnik archives by @EmirOFilipovic)

                Bookish Quotes:

                image by

                That’s it for this week!

                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.

                14 Responses to “News & Notes – 5/31/14”

                  • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

                    Those made me chuckle. I’m sure my cats would leave paw prints on my books if there were ink around. As it is, they have to settle for leaving cat hairs between the pages. 😉

                1. Susan

                  Thanks for the link to the Adoption in YA Lit post. As an adoptive mom, I’m always looking for books about adoption. I never get tired of reading about adoption in all its many varieties!

                  • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

                    I thought that post was cool. I’m glad you found it helpful! I’ve occasionally seen lists of books on adoption for younger kids, but few that look at it from the YA pov. Our niece was adopted, so adoption was certainly something we discussed with our daughter and read some books about, particularly when Niece first came into our family (a blessing we remain eternally grateful for!)

                2. Bea

                  The cat prints made me chuckle. We lost two amazing ladies and authors, so sad.

                3. Tressa S

                  What a busy, busy week! I LOVE SYNC Adio’s titles! I missed arm chair BEA last year too. I meant to do it this year, but I’ve just been busy and it hits right when the kids get out of school.

                4. Stephanie Shepherd

                  The loss of Mary Stewart and Maya Angelou are such a blow but they certainly left behind an incredible literary legacy. May need to think of doing some memorial reading this summer.

                  • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

                    That’s a lovely idea! I’ve got so many books to read this summer, but I can probably squeeze in at least a few of my favorite Stewart novels, and some of Angelou’s poetry.

                5. Rita_h

                  I’m so happy to hear about LeVar Burton bringing back Reading Rainbow! My kids loved it and always called the host “Reading Rainbow Man” as if that was his name 🙂 Upon telling my grown daughter about this, she promptly sang the whole theme song. A great way to get kids to think about books at an early age. Thanks for sharing.

                  • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

                    Reading Rainbow was a terrific show. I’m so glad it’s not going to languish in the PBS vaults. I hope they’ll add additional content as time goes by, too. I must admit, I tend to think of LeVar Burton as Geordi LaForge from Star Trek: The Next Generation, but actually, I first saw him as Kunte Kinte. (He was amazing.) My daughter liked Reading Rainbow, but didn’t watch it very often. Still, we have fond memories of the show and the song.

                6. Lory

                  Thanks for the great news and links! I’ve never been able to get audio books to work on my iPod, but I downloaded the Christie to try again. I’ve just started on Mary Stewart — I can’t believe I never found her books before, but I’m going to have fun going through them. Thanks to all the bloggers who pointed me her way.

                  • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

                    I’ve got a classic iPod, and I find that unless you buy your audiobooks through iTunes, they actually show up in the Music folder. Try looking for the title under Albums. (Forgive me if that’s not the problem; you may have DRM issues and if so, I’m not sure what to do about that.)

                    Enjoy the Mary Stewarts! I think her older/mid-career ones are the best, but that’s just me. 🙂