It is a gorgeous weekend at the Southern Festival of Books, and I couldn’t be more excited. I went for a few hours yesterday afternoon and had sightings of Ron Rash, Tasha Alexander, Andrew Grant—and Audrey Niffenegger!
A few BookPage staffers made the trip from our office to downtown Nashville to hear Niffenegger’s reading, and I have to admit that I felt like a total fangirl. The Time Traveler’s Wife is one of my all-time favorite novels, and though our staff was divided over Her Fearful Symmetry, I am firmly in the “like” camp.
Niffenegger was speaking about her graphic novel The Night Bookmobile, released September 1 from Abrams. Though I missed the actual reading portion of the session, I learned a few things in the Q&A that will be of interest to readers:
The author is thinking about opening a bookstore in Chicago called Artists Books. She’d stock all the books that “wouldn’t be in normal bookstores.” Niffenegger has never seen The Time Traveler’s Wife movie. The author’s next novel, Chinchilla Girl in Exile (see this blog post for more information), is about “how people treat you if you’re different.” When Neil Gaiman was working on The Graveyard Book he took Niffenegger’s tour at Highgate Cemetery.
I think of Niffenegger as a total rock star author, but she was nice as could be during the signing—and when I cornered her for a picture.
What author would make you feel like a groupie?
Stay tuned for more news from the Southern Festival of Books. . .
Here at BookPage we are getting very excited about this weekend's Southern Festival of Books, held right here in Nashville.
It would be impossible to see everyone at the SFoB, but I am going to do my best to hear:
If you can't make it, follow the action live on Twitter with the #SoFest hashtag. Visit The Book Case next week for a report on all the festivities.
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?