ALA Awards Newbery, Caldecott at Midwinter

The big deal event at ALA's Midwinter meeting is the announcement of several book awards, most notably the Newbery and Caldecott. People start lining up outside the room an hour before the ceremony, and through the convention center walls, from the adjoining room, I could hear shouts and applause and jubilation as I sat in the Cognotes office typing up a story. Listening to the ceremony from another room was akin to standing outside a sports bar during the Super Bowl. I'm pretty sure no one was drunk at the 9 a.m. ceremony, though--just hopped up on $4.00 double-shot Starbucks and the supernatural energy inherent in youth services librarians. Kate DiCamillo got word Monday morning about her Newbery award for The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread, and burst into tears, according to this USA Today story. Mordicai Gerstein, illustrator and author snagged the Caldecott for "The Man Who Walked Between the Towers."


Seussentennial Festivities

Every year on March 2, the nation's readers mark Ted Geisel's birthday with "Read Across America." This year is extra special: it's the 100th anniversary of the birth of The Man Who Would Be Seuss.

The Seussentennial Imagination Tour, which kicked off January 3, will visit more than 40 cities, with performances, readings, and interactive Imagination Workshops.

Here are some suggestions for ways libraries can participate in the observance.

The National Education Association offers a resource kit on "The Many Hats of Ted Geisel" -- teaching materials to help K-12 students learn about the man behind the pseudonym (scroll down to find it; for some reason it's the last item in the box).

Read the Geisel biography on the Seussville web site.

Finally, watch for the March 2 release of the Theodor Seuss Geisel commemorative U.S. postage stamp.


British bestseller about punctuation

Steve Fesenmaier writes "So it has been a shock to the rarefied system of Ms. Truss, 48, that her book "Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance
Approach to Punctuation," has become this year's surprise No. 1 best seller here. Among the legions of the surprised are the
executives at her publishing house, Profile Books, who ordered a modest initial printing of 15,000 books, but now have
510,000 in print; and Ms. Truss's friends and family.
NYTimes Has The Story."

I wonder what she has to say about "Colons: When Is Enough, Enough" or "Colons: The Spam of Punctuation"


In the Master's Voice, Old Books Live Again

A NY Times story about the "Spoken Word" CD series from the British Library's sound archives which features writers reading their books. Some of the writers recorded are J.R.R. Tolkien, Virginia Woolf, and Arthur Conan Doyle.

One of the great surprises is finding which writers actually do voices and which don't. When A. A. Milne reads from "Winnie-the-Pooh," his creations sound like Victorian gents — soothing, paternal Victorian gents reading a bedtime story, it's true, but rather Victorian nonetheless.

"He gave a little squeak of excitement," Milne reads about Piglet spotting a paw print, yet sounding not very excited at all.


Unmasked - the identity of Shakespeare's Dark Lady

Charles Davis writes "A miniature painting that has been on full view to the public at the Victoria and Albert Museum, but whose significance has passed
thousands of visitors by, may hold the key to one of the great mysteries of English literature - the identity of the Dark Lady of Shakespeare's
sonnets. Full Story"


Author Friedman May Throw Hat Into Gubentorial Ring

Mystery writer and oddball renaissance man, Kinky Friedman, is rumored to have his eye on the top post in Texas, according to the San Antonio Express News and the NY Times. His campaign is scheduled to kick off this week with the Governor's Balls Tour. In addition to penning mystery novels, Friedman performs with his band, The Texas Jewboys, and runs the Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch.


Indian writer wins 'bad sex' prize

Good News for Aniruddha Bahal who is this year's Literary Review's "Bad Sex in Fiction" award.
Aniruddha Bahal's book, "Bunker 13" -- described as a combination of the styles of ex-SAS author Andy McNab and romance novelist Jilly Cooper -- was awarded the prize on Wednesday for the most inept description of sexual intercourse in a novel.

"Your RPM is hitting a new high. To wait any longer would be to lose prime time...

"She picks up a Bugatti's momentum. You want her more at a Volkswagen's steady trot. Squeeze the maximum mileage out of your gallon of gas. But she's eating up the road with all cylinders blazing. You lift her out. You want to try different kinds of fusion."


Fears for Murdoch's books

Charles Davis writes: "from
The BBC:

There are fears a collection of 1,000 books that belonged to novelist Dame Iris Murdoch may leave the country. The books are being sold by the novelist's widower, Professor John Bayley, who said it was "painful" to sell his late wife's library but he had no room for them in his Oxford home.

The collection is on sale for £150,000 and there are fears it may go to the United States which, along with
Japan, has shown some interest."


Stephen King joins literary lions

Horror writer Stephen King, lauded by readers but panned by many critics, called for support of other popular fiction authors last night as he received the prestigious Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters from the U.S. National Book Foundation. The Toronto Star, AP, Boston Globe, CSMonitor and an NPR Piece.


What would O'Brian have thought of 'Commander'?

Patrick T. Reardon Says Patrick O'Brian would have hated "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World." He says It's a wonderful film, But, as he knows from interviewing him, O'Brian was a prickly coot, and, when it came to his writing, his characters and just about anything, he was quick to take offense. With no control over the movie, O'Brian would have been aghast at the liberties the filmmakers took, such as the way they cherry-picked scenes from the long run of novels to give the movie a near-constant flow of action. That continuous action, too, went against the general tenor of his novels, which focused much more on the everyday routines and challenges of shipboard life than on events such as storms and battles.
But how would he have felt about his URL?
Another good look at the movie/book connection at



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