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.
I posted about this contest three weeks ago, but here's a little reminder since you're running out of time to enter.
For a chance at winning, all you have to do is enter here and you could get—well—free books for a year! (That breaks down to four books per month for 12 months.) We'll be sending the best new books every month to the winner—and we can even tailor our selections to your taste (i.e. only send out nonfiction, YA, etc.).
Sound like a prize you would like? Enter away because the contest ends tomorrow night at 11:59 p.m. Good luck!
Book blogs, including us, have been buzzing about two things this week: the release of Mockingjay—which I finished this morning; yahoo!—and the media's coverage of Freedom, which has sparked a heated discussion on whether literary or commercial/genre fiction "deserve" more critical attention.
Many of you are probably sick of these topics, although it would be an unrepresentative "Best of the Blogs" roundup without mentioning them. So, without further ado. . . a few notable links:
I love this "resolution" that encourages people on opposite sides of the literary vs. commercial/genre fiction debate to just . . . chill out. Here's an excerpt:
FULLY BELIEVING that some readers read genre, literary, and mainstream fiction, sometimes in the same day, even, sometimes expecting different things from those books, sometimes expecting the same things; further believing that some readers only read one subsection of fiction; further believing that this is all pretty normal,
EMPHASIZING that people will read what they like to read and that attacking people’s personal taste in books is about as useful and appropriate as attacking their taste in food (with an obvious exception made for mocking people who hate cilantro, because they are just WEIRD). . .
How a Kid-Lit Favorite Is Really About Trash Television
Posted by Rich Juzwiak on Jezebel
I can't say that I focus too much on the reality TV allusions when I'm reading The Hunger Games books, but I enjoyed Rich Juzwiak's post on the topic over at Jezebel—especially because pre-planned propaganda footage plays a major part in Mockingjay. Here's an excerpt:
Before she even enters the arena, Katniss is aware that the game she's to play will be played to the audience, as any clever reality television star knows. Her advisor before and silent guide during the Games, Haymitch, tells her up front, "It's all a big show. It's all how you're perceived." This instills Katniss with a self-awareness typical of the best reality stars, but with a crucial difference: Collins eschews the unsavory narcissism that drives reality television's stars such infectious acting out by making participation in the games mandatory. And still Katniss repeatedly plays to the camera, whether she's taunting enemies on the ground from a tree she just scurried up (of one such incident, she admits, "I know the crowd will love it."), determining whether or not to ally with the other player from her district ("I know if I was watching, I'd loathe any tribute who didn't immediately ally with their district partner") or, once officially allied with him, deciding how far to take it ("If I want to keep [fellow tribute] Peeta alive, I've got to give the audience something more to care about. Star-crossed lovers desperate to get home together. Two hearts beating as one. Romance.").
10 Reading Revolutions Before E-Books
Posted by Tim Carmody on The Atlantic's Science & Tech blog
If you think e-books are a big deal, this post should put things in perspective. From the Print Revolution to "the shift from vertical to horizontal writing, and then back to vertical again," Tim Carmody highlights how our reading and writing habits have been changing drastically for centuries.
What book blog posts have you enjoyed this week? Bonus points if they have nothing to do with The Hunger Games or Jonathan Franzen!
If you follow authors on Twitter, chances are you know all about the Jennifer Weiner-Jodi Picoult-Jonathan Franzen literary vs. commercial fiction showdown taking place online.
Well, I suppose "literary vs. commercial fiction showdown" isn't entirely appropriate. Weiner explains the issue on her blog:
[Franzen's] back! On the cover of Time! In the pages of Vogue! Reviewed, glowingly, not once but twice in the New York Times! Which has also devoted a news story and an inside-the-list column to FREEDOM, even though it won’t come out ‘til next week!
Jodi Picoult, number-one bestseller of quote-unquote commercial fiction (full disclosure: she and I attended the same college and are published by the same house), has a problem with that. Last week, she tweeted about all of the attention the Times gives to its white male literary darlings, at the expense of the hundreds of thousands of other writers – some of them literary, some of them quote-unquote genre writers – who get no love at all.
But if you do want to get up-to-speed on the drama, here are few notable links:
As someone who reads both literary and commercial fiction (as do most readers of this blog, I'd imagine), I haven't gotten too bent out of shape over this dispute. I'm just happy it inspired the hilarious @EmperorFranzen twitter page!
Also in BookPage:
Interviews with Weiner about Goodnight Nobody and Best Friends Forever.
Interviews with Picoult about Change of Heart and The Tenth Circle.
Interview with Franzen about The Corrections. (I'll post our interview about Freedom on August 31, the novel's publication date.)
While many of us think of the summer months as prime reading season, publishers tend to save plenty of their sure-to-be fiction hits for fall. And this year’s crop of late 2010 novels is certainly no different.
Our September issue has already gone to press, and we are particularly excited about our interviews with Jonathan Franzen and Emma Donoghue. Franzen’s Freedom and Donoghue’s Room are two of the most talked-about upcoming releases, and we can’t wait to see what readers make of them once they go on sale in the coming weeks (for Freedom, that’s August 31 and Room, September 13).
September also marks the release of Sara Gruen’s follow-up to the smash hit Water for Elephants, Ape House, (Sept. 7), Ken Follett’s first part in a new trilogy, Fall of Giants (Sept. 28), another love story from Nicholas Sparks, Safe Haven (Sept. 14) and Michael Cunningham’s first novel since Specimen Days, By Nightfall (Sept. 28).
But things don’t slow down in October. Nicole Krauss is back (after The History of Love) with Great House on Oct. 12 (be sure to check out our interview with Krauss in the October issue of BookPage) and John le Carré returns with Our Kind of Traitor (also on sale Oct. 12).
In November, we’re excited about a new—and very dark—story collection from Stephen King, Full Dark, No Stars (on sale Nov. 9) and Dennis Lehane’s follow up to Gone, Baby, Gone, Moonlight Mile (on sale Nov. 2).
If courtroom dramas and thrillers are your cup of tea, you are certainly in luck this fall. Vince Flynn, John Grisham, Lee Child, David Baldacci, Patricia Cornwell, James Patterson, Tom Clancy and Steve Berry all have new releases in the coming months.
So as the kids go back to school and the leaves change from green to red, be sure to pick up one of these new novels. You won’t be disappointed!
Get ready for a refreshing, relaxing recipe this week from our cookbook of the month, Rick Bayless' Fiesta at Rick's [read our full review here]. These watermelon mojitos are perfect for your weekend barbeque.
Set out eight tall 12-ounce glasses. Put the leaves stripped off a single sprig of mint into each glass—you’ll need about 10 leaves for each drink—and top with 1/2 cup watermelon cubes. Divide the Simple Syrup among the glasses (1 tablespoon per glass). Use a muddler (or the handle of a wooden spoon or a long-handle ice tea spoon—though neither is anywhere near as effective) to crush the mint and watermelon, releasing their flavor into the syrup—the more muddling, the fuller the flavors. Fill each glass with ice. Measure in the rum (2 ounces per glass) and the lime juice (1 tablespoon per glass). Use a long-handle ice tea spoon to mix everything together. Top off each glass with a little sparkling water or soda and you’re ready to serve.
Out of Flint, Michigan:
An article in today's Wall Street Journal has been making the rounds on Twitter and in blogs—the piece is about the habits of e-reader owners, and as Penguin imprint Dutton tweeted this morning, the conclusions are "maybe not what you'd think."
The major conclusion? Studies show that e-reader users read more often than they did before they owned the device, but they read slower. (This does not surprise me. I read the first 100 pages of Mockingjay on a Kindle and the second 100 in a hardback; I made the switch because the lag time between pages was starting to get on my nerves.)
Marketing and Research Resources reports that e-reader owners read 2.6 books per month, whereas old-fashioned (i.e. print) readers read 1.9 books per month. (A comparison: according to our 2010 Reader Survey, 65% of BookPage readers read at least 4 books per month. 20% of you read at least 8!)
An e-reader study found that 40% of e-reader users read more than they did with print books. 55% of the group said they'd use the device to read even more books in the future.
E-reader users: How have your reading habits changed since you got your Kindle, iPad, Nook, Sony Reader, etc.?
For more on this subject, read Lynn's iPad vs. Kindle blog post.
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Scholastic • $17.99 • August 24, 2010
I know that many fans are afraid of spoilers, so all I'll say is that Mockingjay is a page-turner (duh); I am not disappointed with what I've read (aren't you always worried you'll be disappointed after looking forward to a series conclusion for so long?); and I love Katniss Everdeen—our heroine—more than ever.
You can listen to our staff's reactions to the story's twists, turns and surprises in a podcast we'll be posting later in the month. In the meantime, read a short excerpt from the novel:
"Katniss, I'm not arguing. If I could hit a button and kill every living soul working for the Capitol, I would do it. Without hesitation." He slides the last pencil into the box and flips the lid closed. "The question is, what are you going to do?"
It turns out the question that's been eating away at me has only ever had one possible answer. But it took Peeta's ploy for me to recognize it.
What am I going to do?
I take a deep breath. My arms rise slightly—as if recalling the black-and-white wings Cinna gave me—then come to rest at my sides.
"I'm going to. . . "
By the way, so far I've managed to avoid reviews of the novel—although I am happy to say that BookPage's review is a satisfying read, yet contains no spoilers.
Have you already managed to finish Mockingjay? What'd you think? Please avoid posting major plot twists (and if you're unsure of whether your comment is a spoiler, write "spoiler alert" before your note). Happy reading!