Friday, April 24, 2009

Indies Choice Book Awards Hall of Fame

Voters at independent bookstores across the USA have produced the first 3 inductees to the Indies Choice Book Awards Picture Book Hall of Fame. These are the children's books, and these sorts of books are NOT easy to put together. It's even harder to keep the attention of kids and parents, generation after generation. These books are consistent favorites - they are
Congratulations, fellas - you're the best!

Happy 19th Birthday Hubble!

The Hubble Space Telescope was launched 19 years ago today.

I was here in Baltimore, watching in the Auditorium at the Space Telescope Science Institute. I had just spent 2 weeks hanging out in Florida waiting - I had a shuttle launch pass - but the launch delay was longer than my vacation time. Ah, well, it turned out OK as I was surrounded by all my colleagues who had ALSO waited years for it to launch. Lots of cheering ensued, followed by ordering lunch in so we could celebrate a little while working.

Did we know what anxieties (with the mirror) were to come? No. We knew whatever happened - it would be new and unexpected and had the potential to revolutionize our view of the universe. I happen to think the satellite has lived up to her potential. :)

Side note - this is the International Year of Astronomy, marking 400 years since Galileo's telescope opened our eyes to the planets and worlds beyond Earth. PBS is running a documentary called 400 Years of the Telescope, and there are lots of commemorative events going on all over the world.

Go out and check out your night sky tonight!

See if you can find a familiar star or planet!

Think about Galileo, toting his little telescope all over Europe - he's the original Street Corner Astronomer. (Yes, Herman Heyn is following in Galileo's footsteps.)

Think also about Hubble and her buddies both in orbit and watching from the high mountains - they bring us Great Stuff.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

New Dan Brown book coming in September!

For those of you hooked on the Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown is releasing a new book in September.
Details here.


Book Burn tonight!

There's a local Book Burn tonight!
Not a book burning - a book burn to promote local independent authors.

Cool idea, huh?

Thanks to the Read Street Blog for the heads up.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Indies Choice Book Award Winners!

From Bookselling This Week:

"The American Booksellers Association today announces the winners of the inaugural Indies Choice Book Awards. Formerly the Book Sense Book of the Year Awards, the new Indies Choice Book Awards reflect the spirit of independent bookstores nationwide through new categories and a broader range of winners and honor books..."

And the winners are
  • Best Indie Buzz Book (Fiction): The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (The Dial Press)

  • Best Conversation Starter (Nonfiction): The Wordy Shipmates, by Sarah Vowell (Riverhead)

  • Best Author Discovery: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, by David Wroblewski (Ecco)

  • Best Indie Young Adult Buzz Book (Fiction): The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins)

  • Best New Picture Book: Bats at the Library, by Brian Lies (Houghton Mifflin)

  • Most Engaging Author: Sherman Alexie
NOTE - Sherman Alexie is responsible for the many scripts and books, including "Smoke Signals", "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian", and "Reservation Blues."
All GREAT stories.

More information can be found here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Pride, Zombies and Beautiful Struggles

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

I am approaching Pride and Prejudice and Zombies on tiptoes. What has Seth done to Jane's delicately perceived book? Here's an example. Elizabeth and her sisters are at their first assembly with the love interests - Mr Bingley and Mr Darcy, when zombies break in.

"A few of the guests, who had the misfortune of being too near the windows,were seized and feasted on at once...As the guests fled in every direction, Mr Bennett's voice cut through the commotion "Girls! Pentagram of Death!" Elizabeth immediately joined her four sisters, Jane, Mary, Catherine, and Lydia in the center of the dance floor. Each girl produced a dagger from her ankle and stood at the tip of an imaginary five-pointed star. From the center of the room, they began stepping outward in unison-each thrusting a razor-sharp dagger with one hand, the other hand modestly tucked into the small of her back...Apart from the attack, the evening altogether passed off pleasantly for the whole family."

Well he's stomped all over it with blood and zombies hasn't he? It is quite a surreal journey. Well worth a read.

The Beautiful Struggle
by Ta-Nehisi Coates

This book is a coming of age in West Baltimore. Not one of the best neighborhoods but with a Black Panther Dad raising you to Consciousness you have a chance. Plus Dad has a printing press in the basement where he revives the forgotten heroes of black thought, history and biography. It's going to rub off on you. The knowledge, as taught in the street, is tough to beat. Ta-Neshi's Dad trys a constellation of values to anchor his children and he eventually pushes all of his children towards Mecca-Howard University. I was lost in the slang but the rhythm of the writing kept me reading. How beautiful the language it's style, the humor. I would love to hear it read out loud. So if you want an experience-cultual and literary- try The Beautiful Struggle, a beautiful book.


Friday, April 10, 2009

National Library Week + National Library Worker's Day!!

Next week (April 12-18) is National Library Week and Tuesday, April 14th is National Library Workers' Day. Stop by and thank your librarians for all they do!


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Brandon Sanderson on the last Wheel of Time story

I say story because it looks like it will be a trilogy.
Go, Brandon! He explains it here.