Happy Banned Books Week! Since 1982, the American Library Association has celebrated our freedom to read by calling attention to the books that are most frequently banned in the United States. This year's BBW runs from September 25-October 2.
Here's a bit more on the purpose of BBW, from the ALA website:
Intellectual freedom—the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular—provides the foundation for Banned Books Week. BBW stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints for all who wish to read and access them.
See this list for BBW library events around the country.
Also, Judy Blume—a personal favorite author of mine, and no stranger to censorship—maintains a great website on why books are challenged and why it's important to speak up for intellectual freedom.
Have any of your favorite books been challenged? (Hello, Harry Potter!)
Today is the 7th annual National Punctuation Day.
According to a column in the Seattle Times, the day was founded in 2004 as "a celebration of the lowly comma, correctly used quotation marks, and other proper uses of periods, semicolons, and the ever-mysterious ellipsis."
How are you going to celebrate? By pointing out grammatical errors on street signs? Revisiting ole Strunk & White? How about reading what is surely the liveliest book on punctuation published in recent years, Lynne Tuss's Eats, Shoots & Leaves?
When this book came out in the United States in 2004, BookPage editor Lynn Green described it as "funny and self-deprecating but always serious" about encouraging the proper use of punctuation. "Truss is a stern commander in the war on careless writing. Weary editors, schoolteachers and fellow sticklers everywhere will wish her victory in this much-needed battle."
I would also recommend you read The New Yorker's less glowing (but amusing) review, which points out Truss's punctuation mistakes and includes the line: " 'I am not a grammarian,' Truss says. No quarrel there."
Also, read this blog post (I linked to it a few months back) about writing a love letter to your favorite punctuation mark.
What is your favorite punctuation mark?
If you're into teen books—especially paranormal teen books starring tough girls (written by smart chicks)—then you will not want to miss this event.
Author tours are usually organized by the publisher. All we have to do is show up, which is great, but we started thinking maybe we'd like to try something different. Organize our own tour, just the way we want it. Pick the cities. Pick the authors. Organize the events. So, in Sept 2010, we'll do just that.
Tonight they're in Jackson, MS, at Lemuria Books. Later in the month, they'll also be in Arizona, California, Illinois, Ohio and Ontario.
Is anyone going to check out the tour?
Also: What's the most memorable book tour event you've ever attended?
Our clips from the event will crack you up—and remind you of why it's so much fun to get excited about a book.
Davis-Kidd's Mockingjay party had lots of appropriate programming, such as raiding a Cornucopia filled with snacks, Hunger Games buttons and fake bows-and-arrows that would make Katniss proud:
We formed an alliance (in Hunger Games parlance) with 9-year-old Darby to compete in a trivia match. Surprise, surprise. . . Darby knew way more answers than we did:
Watch more videos from the party on BookPage's YouTube channel. If you live in Nashville, check out Davis-Kidd's packed events calendar. September authors include Meghan McCain, Chelsea Handler and Rosanne Cash!
Did any readers of The Book Case go to a Mockingjay release party last week? We'd love to hear about it!
Maragaret Peterson Haddix's Into the Gauntlet—the 10th book in the 39 Clues series—goes on sale tomorrow. If you are a fan of the series, you will not want to miss Scholastic's "Inside Access to The 39 Clues" event.
For the past few weeks, readers have been able to submit and vote for questions about the series, and at 4 p.m. EST tomorrow, each of the 39 Clues authors will give their answers in a live webcast. (Authors include Rick Riordan, Gordon Korman, Peter Lerangis, Jude Watson, Patrick Carman, Linda Sue Park and Margaret Peterson Haddix.)
Never heard of this popular adventure series for tweens? Read our review of Book One: The Maze of Bones.
Yeah, yeah, Mockingjay comes out tomorrow. If you've read The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, you've probably had August 24 marked off in your calendar for months. (And if you're totally obsessed with the series—like me—you'll be reading the book on a Kindle at 12:01 a.m.)
In the coming days, we will have plenty of Mockingjay coverage on BookPage.com (here's a hint: subscribe to Reading Corner to read our first reactions to the novel), but in the meantime here are some links to get you even more pumped up for the book release:
And more importantly: Are you Team Peeta or Team Gale?
We're pretty sure the answer to this question is "no"—which is why we're sharing our very first invite to a twitter launch party with you.
Novak will be chatting about the book with fans using the hashtag #bnparty. Fans will have the chance to ask questions about Novak's work and win prizes—including an iPad.
Have you ever attended a twitter launch party? Will you drop by this one? Tell us in the comments!
We've posted quite a bit leading up to the 50th anniversary of To Kill a Mockingbird; see this "Happy Birthday, Harper" post or Lynn's description of re-reading the classic novel with her book club.
And now the big day is finally almost here--July 11, the actual date that To Kill a Mockingbird was published. To celebrate, Monroeville, AL, is hosting a weekend-long celebration, starting today. If you're somwhere in the vicinity this weekend (about 100 miles southwest of Montgomery), it'd be worth it to drop by Harper Lee's hometown. There will be a silent auction for a signed edition of the novel; a screening of upcoming documentary Our Mockingbird; a public reading from the judge’s bench in the old courtroom where Lee’s father practiced law; and more. Visit this website for information.
The July 2010 edition of Southern Living has an interesting essay on the festivities, with perhaps more anecdotes about the ever-elusive Lee than is typical in a magazine piece. There's an excerpt of the article online, although it leaves out my favorite section, in which former Auburn football coach Pat Dye describes a conversation with Lee. She tells him, "I never could finish another book. I started two or three more." He responds that that's probably a good thing; "I don't think you could ever have matched the masterpiece that you wrote," he says. Lee answers, "You're probably right."
Anyone heading to Monroeville this weekend?
Scholastic announced today that the print run for Suzanne Collins' Mockingjay has been increased from 750,000 copies to 1.2 million copies.
BookPagers have been fans of The Hunger Games series for a while now, but we hear from Scholastic that interest in the series and sales of The Hunger Games and Catching Fire continue to build every week.
I know many readers will be thrilled to hear that in August Collins will go on her first book tour since September 2008. Per a Scholastic press release:
Beginning on the August 24, 2010 publication date for Mockingjay, Collins will tour bookstores in New York City, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Boston. . . In September 2010, she will continue the tour in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, DC, and in October she will travel to Chicago, and Minneapolis/St. Paul. The tour will conclude in November 2010 with visits to bookstores in Northern California, Seattle, and Vancouver.
Mr. Peanut came out yesterday, and the BookPage staff rang in the publication at a packed reading/signing at Davis-Kidd Booksellers and a party at a local restaurant. Author Adam Ross is originally from New York, though he said Mr. Peanut is his "Nashville book" since he started working on it about 15 years ago after he moved to town with his wife.
In BookPage, reviewer Jillian Quint gave a perfect description of the novel: "Through three men’s interlocking though asymmetrical narratives, Mr. Peanut tells the story of all marital strife—with an emphasis on the ugly side, replete with violence, pain, inertia, manipulation, sexual longing and destruction." As you might imagine, the story is complex, and I won't describe it other than to say it's got one of the most interesting and unique structures I've seen in a book all year. (I finished it two nights ago and stayed up until 2 a.m. reading. Ross told me he thinks the book is best read in "chunks," and I agree—you won't want to put it down, anyway.)
If you have the opportunity to see Ross on tour, I would go for it, as Ross (a child actor—and you could tell from his expressive voice) was an entertaining reader and very engaged with the audience. See the cities he's visiting here.
Notoriously harsh Michiko Kakutani called Ross "an enormously talented writer" in the New York Times and Mr. Peanut "induced nightmares" in Stephen King. Last night, people who had either started or finished Mr. Peanut were noticeably excited about the book, and here at BookPage editors have been fighting over review copies. I think it's safe to say that Ross's debut novel is already a hit, and there will be many readers eagerly waiting for his next project: story collection Ladies & Gentlemen.
Have you read Mr. Peanut? Is it on your TBR list? What authors have you enjoyed meeting?