Get LISNews via email! Enter Your Email Address:
Mark your literary calendars. Per an announcement today by HarperCollins, on what is author Harper Lee‘s 88th birthday, To Kill a Mockingbird will be available for the first time as an eBook July 8.
"Parents in Idaho called the cops last week on junior-high student Brady Kissel when she had the nerve to help distribute a book they’d succeeded in banning from the school curriculum.
The book in question was Sherman Alexie’s young adult novel “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.” Published in 2007, it won the National Book Award and has become popular with young teens, supposedly for its universal themes of fitting in, making sense of race, and sexual discovery."
MADISON, N.J. — THE graduate student thrust the library book toward me as though brandishing a sword. “This has got to stop,” she said. “It isn’t fair. How can I work on my dissertation with this mess?” As she marched out of my office, leaving the disfigured volume behind, her words stung — for the code of civility on which libraries depend had been violated. She was the third Ph.D. student in less than a year to bring me a similarly damaged volume, and each had expected me as the library director to turn sleuth, solve the mystery, and end the vandalism.
Someone had been defacing modern books containing translations of 16th-century texts. With garish strokes, the perpetrator had crossed out lines, then written alternate text in the margins. It did not take a Sherlock Holmes to observe that it was the work of a single hand, a hand wielding a fountain pen spewing green ink. The colorful alterations were not limited to a few pages but crept like a mold, page after page.
Some months later, in a faculty meeting, I noticed that the colleague sitting next to me was taking notes with a fountain pen. And the ink was telltale green.
More from The New York Times.
The International Publishers Association released a document on how the day is celebrated around the world.
Since 1995, the 23rd of April (birth date of Shakespeare and Cervantes) has been designated by UNESCO as World Book & Copyright Day, with many events taking place to celebrate books, authors and reading.
In Madrid, the Premio Cervantes, the most prestigious literary prize in the Spanish language, will be awarded by the King of Spain to Elena Poniatowska, a Mexican writer and journalist. In Budapest, the International Book Fair will open. In the United States, volunteers will distribute 500,000 books provided free by publishers, with one third going to school pupils. In many other countries, World Book Day events take place on March 6th.
You can read about the different traditions and events associated with World Book Day in a specially commissioned IPA report, available here as a pdf.
It's also World Book Night USA! I'm giving away copies of Jamie Ford's Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet at my Brooklyn subway plaza. Any other givers out there? Chime in!
Same as last year's...Captain Underpants.
Just as in 2012, the potty humor of the Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey brought the books to the top of the list. Other repeat offenders in the top ten included Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James and Looking for Alaska by John Green. The newcomers to the top ten were:
The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison (second place)
The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl, by Tanya Lee Stone
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
Bless Me Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
Bone (series), by Jeff Smith
We posted a story on this from another source the other day. NPR did a piece this weekend.
The New Orleans Picayune reports on state legislators choice of an official state book.
Representative Thomas Carmody (R-Shreveport), originally filed a bill to declare a specific copy of a Bible, found in the Louisiana State Museum system, the official state book. But by the time he presented the proposal to the committee, he changed language in his legislation to make the generic King James version of the Bible, a text used worldwide, the official state book.
Michael Weil, who heads up the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, said his organization -- which is cultural and not religious in nature -- hasn't take a stance on the bill. But the legislation gives him some personal pause. "I think the state should consider a text that is not religious," he said.
Another story on the same subject from NPR. And opinion from the ACLU: The bill "represents the use of religion to discriminate against Louisianians of minority faiths or who do not adhere to that particular book as part of their belief system. The bill will create more problems than it will solve by telling some Louisianians that their belief system is not full equal," the state ACLU says.
Book News on NPR
Via Fast Company: In 1994, photographer Robert Dawson began an odds-and-ends project. Whenever he traveled, he'd take pictures of public libraries. Then, a handful of years ago, he started taking trips across the United States just for the libraries--like the shed that served a one-person county in Nebraska, or the Texas library that housed a "petroleum room" with all sorts of George Bush-themed collectibles. He documented everything from a library found in a suburban strip mall to the the air-conditioned institution that functioned more like a refugee camp in sweltering Detroit July.
All told, Dawson journeyed through 48 states, fascinated and inspired by the common role libraries played in society. Libraries, he found, didn't only serve as a refuge for the poor who didn't have any place else to go, but gateways that opened up all corners of the world to anyone inquisitive enough to take a stroll among the shelves. The result is his new book: The Public Library, A Photographic Essay, published by Princeton Architectural Press. ISBN 978-1-61689-217-3. The book includes 150 photos, plus essays by Bill Moyers, Ann Patchett, Anne Lamott, Amy Tan, Barbara Kingsolver, and many more.
Nice slideshow on the author's website.
But unfortunately for the Internet, as the story started to regain traction officials from the school fleshed out the details of what really wraps at least some of the literature in their collection, and discovered it’s not human skin after all—it’s actually sheepskin. “Baaaaaad news for fans of anthropodermic bibliopegy (binding books in human skin): Recent analyses of a book owned by the [Harvard Law School] Library, long believed but never proven to have been bound in human skin, have conclusively established that the book was bound in sheepskin,” according to a post on the Harvard Library Law School’s blog, dated April 3.