A few weeks ago I blogged about the "summer slide"—the learning loss that sometimes occurs in children during summer break—because a professor at the University of Tennessee has found that giving low income kids access to books during the summer can decrease the learning gap. Several media outlets have reported on this study (we cited an article from the Christian Science Monitor) and now the New York Times is weighing in.
Tara Parker-Pope (author of the just-published For Better: The Science of a Good Marriage, reviewed in the June issue of BookPage) begins her Health column with a provocative question: "Has your child cracked a book this summer?"
Her advice is to allow your kids to choose their own books.
“A child’s interests are a door into the room of reading,” said Ms. Galinsky [president of the Families and Work Institute], who said her own son turned away from books during grade school. Because he liked music, she encouraged him to read music magazines or books about musicians. Her son later regained an interest in reading and has a Ph.D.
“If your child is turned off by reading, getting them to read anything is better than nothing,” she said.
Annexed by Sharon Dogar
HMH, October 4, 2010
Curious to see what the fuss was all about, I took the book home with me and read it over the weekend. Annexed is told from the point of view of Peter van Pels, whose family hid in the Annex along with Anne's. I dimly remembered Peter from my own reading of Anne's diary, years ago. Dogar imagines what it would have been like to be Peter—to have to hide in the Annex, of course, but also to come to know Anne and her family, and to wonder what Anne was writing about him in her diary. I found that I wanted to know more about Peter and to think about what his experience of the Annex might have been.
As for the novel's sexual aspects, it spoils very little to say that Peter and Anne only share a few brief touches and kisses. Although I don't know whether or not the real Anne and Peter ever kissed each other, I do remember that Anne wrote about gradually developing feelings for Peter over the course of the two years they lived in the Annex together, and she also wrote about wanting to grow up, wanting to menstruate and to fall in love and to become a woman. Anne Frank was an adolescent girl, a young woman, and I can readily believe that she could have shared the kind of experiences with Peter that Dogar describes.
Dogar says she tried to stick as closely as she could to events that actually happened and were recorded in Anne's diary, such as the following scene, which takes place shortly after Peter's family arrives in the Annex:
I want to stretch out my arms and knock the walls down. I want to run so far and fast that I remember what it's like to feel my breath burn in my body. I want to move. I want to live. I want to . . .
I whistle. I whistle so loud that I imagine the whole of Holland could hear me. I'm a Jew. I'm a Jew! And I'm right here in the middle of Amsterdam. Hiding. See me! I take a big, deep breath and shout as loud as I can down the chimney.
"I won't come down!"
This just in—the cover of Sarah Palin's second book, which comes out November 23 and has an announced first printing of 1 million copies.
It's shaping up to be a big fall for HarperCollins, between Palin's book and Justin Bieber's "official illustrated memoir" (Justin Bieber: First Step 2 Forever: My Story, out on October 12).
What do you think of the cover?
If you've ever been laughed at for including your pet in your family photos, this may be your chance for revenge: Following in the footsteps of its sister site, AwkwardFamilyPhotos.com, AwkwardFamilyPetPhotos.com has gotten a book deal from Random House—and they're looking for submissions. Of course, you might have to get creative to top images like the one below.
The Awkward Family Pet Photos book will be published in 2011.
Mary Roach has written about the history and science of sex (Bonk), cadavers (Stiff) and the afterlife (Spook). What do you think could possibly interest her next? Why, what happens to people in space, of course.
Packing for Mars came out yesterday, and Roach wrote on her website that Norton's book trailer "captures the essence of Packing for Mars . . . It made me laugh out loud, something my own books only rarely do." (It made me think that I would most certainly not like to know what my body odor smells like after 10 days in a space suit.)
Also, don't miss Roach's funny essay on the trickiness of researching cadavers, or an interview about Packing for Mars (click here to find out what she would bring on a trip to outer space).
Will book trailers are you buzzing about today?
Here in Nashville, we're still mourning the loss of the RWA 2010 convention, but the RITA and Golden Heart winners have a lot to celebrate. We were especially pleased to see Kristan Higgins' Too Good to Be True get the nod for Best Contemporary Romance (read our interview with Higgins for The Next Best Thing). Former BookPage columnist Barbara O'Neal's The Lost Recipe for Happiness (read our review) took home the trophy for Best Novel with Strong Romantic Element.
Click on over to the RWA site for the full list of winners.
What book blog posts have you enjoyed this week? A few of my favorites are highlighted below:
Freebie Friday: Penguin's 75th Anniversary
Posted by The Quivering Pen
Today is the official 75th anniversary of Penguin Books, and bloggers are celebrating in style—with posts and giveaways galore. To locate the blog coverage online, start by searching #Penguin75 on Twitter. Also, check out this documentary on Penguin's website, The Bird You Have Throughout Your Life, in which the company's execs and staffers talk about Penguin's history and future.
David of The Quivering Pen is doing a nice giveaway from this list of 75 Penguin books (Penguin itself did a similar giveaway which is now expired—but the giveaway is still active on the blog). David writes:
At some point in our reading lives, all of us have held a Penguin. (And if you haven't, then you're really missing out on the world's finest literature.) What began as the brainchild of Allen Lane in 1935 as a way to distribute quality paperbacks at a price cheaper than buying a pack of cigarettes, soon exploded into a publishing phenomenon.
It's a big day over at Penguin, but I bet the folks at Harlequin are celebrating, too, as right now the 30th annual Romance Writers of America conference is in full swing in Orlando. (I write that with some amount of sadness, as the conference was originally scheduled to take place in Nashville—until the flood made that impossible.) So, from July 28-31, I have been vicariously attending RWA via blog coverage. Harlequin is posting about events, authors and more; it's definitely worth a read if you enjoy romance novels.
Top 100 YA novels
Posted by Persnickety Snark
YA blog Persnickety Snark is counting down the top 100 YA novels ever. The list appears to be leaning toward more contemporary novels, and some of you will probably be outraged by the choices. (Let's just say that nobody consulted me before choosing A Ring of Endless Light as #89 and Eclipse as #58.) But still, it's fun to browse through the choices. What would be your #1?
It's Friday, and I bet many of you are looking forward to this afternoon, when you can take off from work and go out for a drink with friends. Maybe followed by some quiet reading time at home?
At the Gyopar, a small pub in a town outside of Budapest, you can do both at the same time. Listen to this genius idea: The Gyopar is a public library inside a pub.
Customers can quench their thirst not only for ales and spirits but enjoy some intellectual refreshment as well . . . The rules are simple. There are no registration or borrowing fees and the library works on a bring one, take one basis.
Does anything of this kind exist in your town?
Yesterday Anne Rice announced on her Facebook page that she was through with Christianity.
For those who care, and I understand if you don't: Today I quit being a Christian. I'm out. I remain committed to Christ as always but not to being "Christian" or to being part of Christianity. It's simply impossible for me to "belong" to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group. For ten years, I've tried. I've failed. I'm an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else.
In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen.
When she came back, it was with the spirit of a reformer. "People are always going to misuse things. And some Christians are going to misuse Christianity. They are going to use Christianity to hit someone over the head because they frighten them or threaten them," she told the LA Times in 2005. "We Christians have to get back to our roots as a people of love. Now we're associated with a religion of intolerance and hate. We have to come forward and speak about love." It seems she got tired of trying.
Rice's Songs of the Seraphim series, which began with last year's Angel Time and continues in November with Of Love of Evil, blends religious and supernatural themes—Rice calls them "metaphysical thrillers." She is said to be working on the third Christ the Lord book.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid #5 (coming out on November 9) will be titled . . . The Ugly Truth:
Amulet Books, an imprint of Abrams, announced the book's title and released its cover today. The book's first printing will be an enormous 5 million copies (book #4, Dog Days, had a first printing of 4 million). Author Jeff Kinney has said this book is the "linchpin of the series." We'll have to wait a few more months to find out why.
In the meantime, read a hand-written (and illustrated) interview with Kinney or watch a trailer of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie. Also, did you know that Rodrick Rules, a movie based on book #2 in the Wimpy Kid series, is coming out on March 25, 2011?
Who's excited about this announcement?