BOOK RIOT
Critical Linking: August 20, 2014 
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee.

How Well Do You Know Classic Literature? Think you know your Moby from your Dick? Find out.

You can totally ace this quiz about classic lit. I know you can.

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Author Louise Erdrich, whose writings chronicle contemporary Native American life through characters representing its mix of heritages and cultures, was announced Sunday as the winner of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize’s distinguished achievement award.

Exceedingly well-deserved.

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By our estimates, after stripping off the amount that the government already spends to subsidize higher education — including at predatory for-profit institutions — the total amount of new money necessary is less than $13 billion a year.  Thirteen billion is a lot of money, to be sure, but within the scope of the Federal budget it is a fraction of one percent of yearly spending — merely a rounding error.

A very interesting thought experiment.

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People in the know say “The Giver” was the first young adult dystopian novel. I majored in English in college so I read the classic dystopian novels like “1984” and “Brave New World.” But apparently it hadn’t been done for kids before “The Giver.” So I’m not sure what happened between “The Giver” and maybe 15 years later when these others suddenly burst forth. Nobody copied “The Giver.” Those ideas are out there and emerge. But I’m glad it happened. Although there’s too many of them now. But I think that trend is ending. We’ll go on to the next trend and we all wish we knew what that was so we could go out and write it. Dystopian fiction is passé now.

Passé seems pretty strong, though it seems to me Lois Lowry speaks with some authority.

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Coming coming this fall, we’ll be launching a new site devoted to comics: Panels. You can sign up here to get notified about when Panels goes live, and it already has its own Twitter and Facebook up and running.

Critical Linking: August 19, 2014 
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee.

In honor of Shelley’s birthday this month, here’s a list of 25 other writers who created heartbreakingly beautiful work before they could get a discount on a rental car or have their publishers demand an active Twitter account.

This list of writers is both amazing and, if you aren’t careful, a little depressing.

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Samira Chigani, 26 years old, was thus introduced to the quirky brainchild of Mr. Yazdany and Ms. Heraner: a mobile reading room and taxi service, complete with chauffeur-librarian. Books surround them, from Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis” to Charles Bukowski’s “Pulp.” There are also works by Iranian standouts such as Nader Ebrahimi, Zoya Pirzad and Sohrab Sepehri.

Dammit I should have been a chaffeur-librarian.

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The only really necessary people in the publishing process now are the writer and reader. Everyone who stands between those two has both risk and opportunity.

I suppose only bread and water are necessary too. But that doesn’t mean some other things don’t make life a little more enjoyable.

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Even the Big Five know this: why else would they devote so much time and effort to building relationships with thousands of unique stores despite the fact that those stores represent only 3-5% of their annual sales?

Sometimes it’s a mistake that things are done for logical, quantifiable reasons. Not saying it is the case here, but saying “if they are doing X, then X must be important” isn’t true.

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Coming coming this fall, we’ll be launching a new site devoted to comics: Panels. You can sign up here to get notified about when Panels goes live, and it already has its own Twitter and Facebook up and running.

Critical Linking: August 18, 2014 
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee.

As you get older, you start seeing the world a little differently — the same goes for the books you read. Whether it was a book you were forced to read in sophomore English class or your favorite childhood novel, some literary classics have a strange way of changing when we revisit them as adults. For better or worse, things just can’t stay the same.

Indeed. For example, #2 on this list of books that change when you read them later in life goes from being a sad book to a torture device of inescapable depression.

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Everyone’s educational journey is different. But whether you’re a math prodigy, a writing whiz or a future business leader, your education will still have one fundamental building block: reading. Reading is a crucial part of every level of education, from preschool to grad school. And if you find yourself buried in books outside the classroom as well, your love of reading could pay off in the form of college scholarships for readers, writers and book lovers.

Interesting round-up of college scholarships for teenage booklovers.

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“If we keep making noise about the way women’s books are perceived, marketed, sold and discussed, I think that in 10, 20, 30 years’ time, I am going to look at The New York Times book reviews and see something different than I’m seeing now.”

I wonder how many book reviews the NYT will actually be running in 30 years.

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 Did you know that Book Riot has a YouTube channel? We do. It’s new and we are having fun with it. Check it out here.

Critical Linking: August 17, 2014 
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee.

According to The Beat, July’s profits beat previously held records to become what may have been the most profitable month in comic book history, at least according to monthly records recorded since 1997. Customers bought comics in some form or another worth a total of $53.63 million this July, beating October 2013′s record by more than $3 million.

The month’s huge profits are only part of an overall trend of growth in recent years.

Comic book buying is surging, and July was the best month on record.

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People in the know say “The Giver” was the first young adult dystopian novel. I majored in English in college so I read the classic dystopian novels like “1984” and “Brave New World.” But apparently it hadn’t been done for kids before “The Giver.” So I’m not sure what happened between “The Giver” and maybe 15 years later when these others suddenly burst forth. Nobody copied “The Giver.” Those ideas are out there and emerge. But I’m glad it happened. Although there’s too many of them now. But I think that trend is ending. We’ll go on to the next trend and we all wish we knew what that was so we could go out and write it. Dystopian fiction is passé now.

Lois Lowry: over dystopian fiction.

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Fans have been waiting over 20 years for a movie version of Lois Lowry’s The Giver, and we’re finally getting one this weekend. But this isn’t the only classic novel that’s overdue for a movie adaptation. Here are 10 beloved YA novels that would make for incredible movies… and why they probably won’t get adapted.

A pile of classic YA novels that would make great movies. You can enjoy this for the vintage YA book covers alone.

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For six Wednesdays through October 15, Porter Square Books will sell picture books about farms published by Candlewick – from Martin Waddell’s Farmer Duck, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, to Vivian French’s Yucky Worms, illustrated by Jessica Ahlberg. The bookstore is also planning to hold story times and to offer other activities at its book stand.

A bookstore selling books at the farmer’s market? Pretty smart stuff.

Critical Linking: August 16, 2014 
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee.

But there are pleasures to be had from books beyond being lightly entertained. There is the pleasure of being challenged; the pleasure of feeling one’s range and capacities expanding; the pleasure of entering into an unfamiliar world, and being led into empathy with a consciousness very different from one’s own; the pleasure of knowing what others have already thought it worth knowing, and entering a larger conversation. Among my catalogue are some books that I am sure I was—to use an expression applied to elementary-school children—decoding rather than reading. Such, I suspect, was the case with “Ulysses,” a book I read at eighteen, without having first read “The Odyssey,” which might have deepened my appreciation of Joyce. Even so—and especially when considering adolescence—we should not underestimate the very real pleasure of being pleased with oneself. What my notebook offers me is a portrait of the reader as a young woman, or at the very least, a sketch. I wanted to read well, but I also wanted to become well read. The notebook is a small record of accomplishment, but it’s also an outline of large aspiration. There’s pleasure in ambition, too.

Few phrases are more bothersome than “guilty pleasure,” so this piece about the pleasure of reading — sans guilt — is fantastic.

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Here’s University of Georgia football player Malcolm Mitchell talking about joining a book club full of women older than his mom. It’ll make your heart swell.

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In a fair world, these critically acclaimed authors would be rocking the bestseller list. If you haven’t discovered them yet, our Books Editor has set you up for some incredibly memorable reads.

Overlook the slideshow format for this one, since it’s worth it. Reader’s Digest suggests 23 contemporary writers you should have read by now.

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So, as a market phenomenon that cashes in on a high-stakes, intensively calibrated sense of age, YA is indeed a late-20th- and 21st-century thing. But there is nothing new at all about great numbers of fully grown people reading fiction that was not written for adults. What is fairly new is the value we place on a particular sense of adulthood. There are lots of interesting arguments to have about what makes any novel bad, good, or great. Using age as shorthand for aesthetic quality is not the best way to frame these arguments. Since the ideal of adulthood is now so important, whenever another YA book tops the best-seller lists, the opinion pieces on mixed-age readership will continue to fly. But awareness of the complex history of age and reading may help to deepen the discussions we have about the place of YA in an English department’s curriculum.

Love this thoughtful, critical essay about what adult fiction is, what YA fiction is, and what these designations may even mean. Bonus points for why YA belongs in the English curriculum.

Critical Linking: August 15, 2014 
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee.

We’re Josephine Sinclair and Sarai Williams.  We’re 2nd graders at Willow Creek Academy. Last year, due to changes in our district, we lost our library. When we started school there were no books on the shelves and we had no librarian to help us fill them!  It was sad. Our parents have tried fundraising, but frankly they aren’t very good at it. So, we thought we’d reach out to you for help. 

Well, now how about that.

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Crucially, says Klobucar, students who feel that handing in successive drafts to an instructor wielding a red pen is “corrective, even punitive” do not seem to feel rebuked by similar feedback from a computer.

What an odd phenomenon. Do students inherently understand the subjectivity of grading? Or are they more nervous about computers?

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The Time I Spent On A Commercial Whaling Ship Totally Changed My Perspective On The World

Utter brilliance.

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After visiting more than 2,000 independent bookstores—at least virtually—the Amazon annihilation doesn’t seem quite so inescapable.

The Amazon v. Independent part of the story is just so small though. If there were ONLY independent bookstores, would we be happy?

Critical Linking: August 14, 2014 
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee.

Culled from the 14,000+ titles in PW’s Fall Announcements issue (on newsstands now and available in full here), we asked our reviews editors to pick the most notable books publishing in Fall 2014.

I count 5 absolute must-reads (for me) and at least a half-dozen other Extremely Interesteds on this list.

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The study used three tests to identify the effects of Harry Potter on students from Italy and the United Kingdom: Study 1 used 34 fifth graders to determine their attitudes toward immigrants, Study 2 focused on 117 high school students and their attitudes toward homosexuals and Study 3 assessed 75 undergraduates’ attitudes toward refugees after reading Harry Potter. Researchers concluded that the elementary school students and high school students who identified with the character Harry had improved attitudes toward immigrants and the gay community, respectively.

I am not completely surprised by this and it seems good news. But how and why does this happen? I wonder if we’ll ever know.

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Bookstore sales for the first six months of 2014 were down 7.9% compared to the same period last year, according to preliminary estimates released Wednesday morning by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Well….that’s not good.

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The fallacy that the pleasures offered by reading must necessarily be pleasures to which a self-defeating sense of shame is attached offers a very impoverished definition of gratification, whatever book we choose to pull from the shelf.

Pleasurable reading and “reading for pleasure” are related, but markedly different phenomena.

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Did you know that Book Riot has a YouTube channel? We do. It’s new and we are having fun with it. Check it out here.

Critical Linking: August 13, 2014 
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee.

And although the surveys schools use to match night owls and messy kids with others who share their habits may cover the basics, you can tell a lot more about a person by looking at the prized books they lug along with them to make sure their classmates can tell how cultured they are. Here are a few common picks, and what they say about the 18-year-old who loves them.

Jokey, but for real if your college roommates’ favorite author is Joan Didion, you hit the jackpot.

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“So many readers were reading the books with so much attention that they were throwing up some theories and while some of those theories were amusing bulls— and creative, some of the theories are right. At least one or two readers had put together the extremely subtle and obscure clues that I’d planted in the books and came to the right solution.”

I mean, with millions of readers guessing, at least a few are going to figure out how the Song of Ice and Fire ends, right?

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Unlike retailers, publishers invest heavily in individual books, often for years, before we see any revenue. We invest in advances against royalties, editing, design, production, marketing, warehousing, shipping, piracy protection, and more. We recoup these costs from sales of all the versions of the book that we publish—hardcover, paperback, large print, audio, and ebook. While ebooks do not have the $2-$3 costs of manufacturing, warehousing, and shipping that print books have, their selling price carries a share of all our investments in the book.

Hachette responds to Amazon cooly, calmly, and collectedly.

Critical Linking: August 10, 2014 
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee.

Celebrities such as Mindy Kaling and Jim Parsons have embraced a New York Public Library social media campaign by posting pictures of themselves with their noses buried in books.

Using the hashtag “IReadEverywhere,” stars of the “The Big Bang Theory” and “The Mindy Project”  posted pictures of themselves lounging on a couch (Ms. Kaling,) getting their hair done (Mayim Bialik,) sitting under some foliage (Melissa Rauch,) and in serious and silly poses (Mr. Parsons and Ike Barinholtz.)

Kind of a neat campaign. This may explain why your Twitter celeb feeds have featured more reading than usual in the last week or so.

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It’s pretty much been settled that everyone should read more books by women. But when looking for recommendations, it’s often all Woolf, Morrison, Lessing, Austen, Brontë. Of course, these are essential authors for a reason, and you should definitely read all of their books. That said, there’s something to catching a writer at the beginning of her career and following her for years that is supremely satisfying — not to mention the fact that young female writers need readers rather more than Jane Austen does. So in an effort to get you in on the ground floor (or at least, like, the third floor), after the jump you’ll find a compendium of 50 novels written by 50 female novelists under 50 that are worth your time.

This is a pretty solid list of 50 novels by female novelists under 50 years old (though does it matter a whole lot the age of these women since a solid literary career can begin after 50, too?).

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Google and Barnes & Noble are joining forces to tackle their mutual rival Amazon, zeroing in on a service that Amazon has long dominated: the fast, cheap delivery of books.

Starting on Thursday, book buyers in Manhattan, West Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area will be able to get same-day deliveries from local Barnes & Noble stores through Google Shopping Express, Google’s fledgling online shopping and delivery service.

Faster book delivery from Barnes & Noble in a few parts of the US and what it might mean for the company’s brick and mortar stores.

Critical Linking: August 9, 2014 
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee.

And even for those who like the idea of seeing their favorite boy wizard on a stamp, the results leave much to be desired. The Harry Potter stamps certainly don’t show the commitment to design we’ve seen in other commemorative stamps, like last year’s Althea Gibson stamp or 2012’s Innovative Choreographer series. They’re just photographs of Dumbledore, Dobby, and Hagrid slapped onto some postage.

The former postmaster general’s still pretty upset about the Harry Potter stamps that came out a while ago.

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While the character has a significant role in teaching kids to be good eggs (rather than the rotten ones that get tossed away), many Charlie and the Chocolate Factory fans expressed their dismay over the new edition’s front image.

“Where’s Charlie, Mr Wonka, or some aspect of the factory? It doesn’t get to the essence of the story,” one fan responded on Facebook. Another reader wrote, “Quentin Blake should forever be the only cover artist for Roald Dahl.”

Lots of people upset about the new Penguin Modern Library cover for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Perhaps the book’s new cover isn’t intended for children but adults.

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Last week, Bop, the teenybopper magazine that’s been churning out covers featuring boy band stock photos splashed atop garish fuchsia backdrops since 1983, announced they would cease publication. If you’re all, “Bop still existed?” you can’t be blamed to assume it had folded years ago. Most teen magazines did.

It makes me a little sad how many of these teen magazines folded and how few remain. But times, they’re a changing.