BOOK RIOT
Critical Linking: October 1, 2014 
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee.

Can You Guess The Famous Book From The First Line? Can you get an “A” in Book Nerdery?

I CRUSHED this quiz about the first lines from famous books. You?

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According to Pobst, who worked on the Xbox version of 2002′s The Fellowship of the Ring adventure game, initially there were going to be pumpkin patches in the Shire and “the Tolkien Enterprises people went nuts about it,” to the point where production had to be shut down while the pumpkins were removed. The reason? Because Middle-Earth is meant to be inspired by an ancient version of Europe, and pumpkins are native to North America. 

Right, because it will be the presence of the wrong gourds that will break the verisimilitude of Middle Earth.

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The project would create a Library Map application which would allow users to tap into the library landscape around them. This app would not only enable users to find the closest library but also reveal hidden and specialized libraries that they may not realize are open to them. 

Ooooooo, I want this app to exist.

Critical Linking: September 30, 2014 
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee.

The school board voted to remove three copies of John Green’s “The Fault in Our Stars” from the library shelves of Frank Augustus Miller Middle School and to forbid its inclusion at other middle school libraries in the district. Even donations of the book are not to be accepted.

Absolutely disastrous job, Riverside, California. Perhaps the biggest inspiration for teenagers to read since Harry Potter and you are fucking it up.

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When librarians talk about a commons it is almost always about “the stuff in the space” – whereas communities are about “people doing stuff together.” I’m trying to move away from a focus on serving “the user” and instead trying to appreciate that we engage and support a multitude of different people with diverse and different needs. Our libraries are different things to different people. We cannot be everything to everyone, but we can be very good at being some things to many people.

Thinking about a library as a community rather than a space seems like a keen insight indeed.

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Photos of Bradbury’s home office in Los Angeles showed a room stuffed full of manuscripts and books, awards and action figures, signed memorabilia and art. Many of those items went up for auction last week. There were 16 bids for a collection of Bradbury’s personal watches — eight wristwatches and a pocketwatch — which sold for a total of $3,495. The biggest-ticket item was the original, commissioned artwork for the cover of “The Illustrated Man” by Dean Ellis, which went for $45,894.

All together, Ray Bradbury’s cache of memorabilia went for just about 500k.

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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: September 29, 2014 
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee.

 The must-read young adult fiction (YA) and best teen books released in 2014 so far. 

It really is astounding how diverse and good YA is.

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So why is the scholar Philip Weinstein, who has published critical studies of literary masters like William Faulkner, Marcel Proust and Franz Kafka, writing an in-depth study of the life and work of Jonathan Franzen?

Why? Because if you are going to troll the literary internet, really commit to it.

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We are thrilled to announce that the winners of this year’s National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest:

National. Book-Collecting. Contest.

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E-book sales accounted for 23% of unit sales in the first six months of 2014, according to Nielsen Books & Consumer’s latest survey of the nation’s book-buying behavior. Paperback remained the most popular format in the first half of the year, with a 42% share of unit sales. Hardcover’s share of units was just ahead of e-books, accounting for 25% of unit purchases.

Just the facts, ma’am.

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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: September 28, 2014 
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee.

[The Art of Racing in the Rain] was among seven books suspended last week after parents challenged their content because of sex scenes and references to rape, abuse and abortion. In emails and at meetings, parents said high school students should not be exposed to some of the hardships and controversies of adulthood.

High schoolers should definitely never learn anything about the hardships or controversies of adults through books. /sarcasm

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Having raced to the top of the US box-office charts with a first-week gross of over $32 million, The Maze Runner has proved that the appetite for young adult novels-turned-Hollywood blockbusters remains as strong as ever.

Here are 5 more YA books being turned into film in the next few months.

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A fascinating visual look at where book challenges happen and the reasons behind them.

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It’s a city of gangsters, a cradle of the blues, but if you want to explore Chicago there’s no better place to start than with its literature. The Windy City shaped the imagination of writers from Ernest Hemingway to Saul Bellow, from Philip Roth to Philip K Dick. Charlotte Jones laid out a few key coordinates when she described Chicago as “the unexpected cultural centre of European modernism” and asked you to tell us your favourite books about Chicago. We’ve assembled the best recommendations.

A nice look at some Chicago-set books. Even more interesting is it’s from the UK perspective.

Critical Linking: September 27, 2014 
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee.

The 16-24 generation is still firmly in favour of print books, new research shows, with 73% saying they prefer print over digital or audio formats.

Exclusive research conducted by Voxburner for The Bookseller showed that while nearly three-quarters of young people said they prefer the print form, only 27%  prefer e-books and 31% said they don’t buy e-books at all.

A study out of the UK says that teens and younger 20-somethings prefer print, which isn’t really surprising.

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These days, Mr. Frey lives in New Canaan, Conn., with his wife and three young children. His past doesn’t bother him. “I think it’s OK to be a notorious writer and also coach my kid’s soccer game, and it is OK to write a book and not allow it to be defined by genre or by categorization, to write a book that’s not fiction or nonfiction,” he says.

If anything, the controversies have only reinforced his feeling of independence. “I don’t care about your rules,” he says, “and you can hate me for that and you can blast me for that and say mean things about me, but I don’t care, and I’m not going to change.”

James Frey is “still writing.”

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It’s that week in Autumn that is welcomed into the open arms of readers everywhere, readers who cherish this celebration of freedom of speech — and freedom of the written word. We’ve talked about banned books-turned-movies before, but it’s been a while. So herewith, ten more great movie adaptations of banned books.

Why not round out banned books week with a solid adaptation or ten?

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I don’t like traditional crime novels: A pair of cops searches for an evil murderer in a rainy city or on some sunny beaches. I prefer books where the writer makes their own journey to the heart of darkness, asking not “who is the killer?” but “what is in the killer’s soul and mind? What does it mean — to be a person like this?”

Maybe now is the time of year to get your scary reading on. Here’s a list of 13 of the most terrifying serial killers in fiction.

Critical Linking: September 26, 2014 
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee.

It would take the average person 424 days to read Game of Thrones. Could you read it quicker?

Fun, fascinating quiz/test. I could read it faster, but not considerably faster.

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We went to the mall for many things — to buy a new set of socket wrenches at Sears, to pick out my sister’s prom dress at Deb, to treat ourselves with an Orange Julius. But mostly, we went to visit the bookstore.

On the underappreciated mall bookstore.

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IlluxCon, an annual science fiction and fantasy illustration showcase, was held this past weekend in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Among all the debuted paintings and drawings was a new series from Dave Palumbo inspired by some of his favorite books, painted straight on those books.

I’ve seen lots of book art, but I don’t ever think I’ve seen anything like these alternate covers painted directly on the existing covers. Very cool.

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Terry Pratchett may strike many as a twinkly old elf, but that’s not him at all. Fellow sci-fi novelist Neil Gaiman on the inner rage that drives his ailing friend’s writing.

You rarely get a glimpse of the real personality of a beloved writer, but Gaiman’s piece on Pratchett is one of them.

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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: September 21, 2014 
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee.

Slow reading means a return to a continuous, linear pattern, in a quiet environment free of distractions. Advocates recommend setting aside at least 30 to 45 minutes in a comfortable chair far from cellphones and computers. Some suggest scheduling time like an exercise session. Many recommend taking occasional notes to deepen engagement with the text.

Reading daily is good for you (with a side of technology-is-killing-our-ability-to-think).

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Wonder Woman is the most popular female comic-book superhero of all time. Aside from Superman and Batman, no other comic-book character has lasted as long. Generations of girls have carried their sandwiches to school in Wonder Woman lunchboxes. Like every other superhero, Wonder Woman has a secret identity. Unlike every other superhero, she also has a secret history.

The fascinating history and origin story of Wonder Woman.

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Young adult novels externalise evil as an enemy that can be seen and understood. They give teenagers a Lord Voldemort, a monster that can be defeated, an evil that can be vanquished. But increasingly the evil in young adult fiction is the adult world itself. In the Hunger Games it’s an adult world of political and economic repression. In Divergent it’s an adult world that demands conformity, at the expense of the individual. In The Maze Runner it’s an adult world that has escalated to such technological complexity that we are all lost within it. And increasingly, it’s not just teenagers that need allegorical warnings against adult reality, but adults themselves.

This is a nice piece on why (sci-fi) Young Adult fiction is loved by kinds of readers, not just teenagers… and why that’s just fine.

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How about some amazing Roald Dahl inspired cakes?

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

Although the data I am working with is a selected amount — these are Top 100 and Top 10 lists, not the raw list of 5,000+ challenges that the OIF received over the last decade — I think it’s still quite revealing. It’s clear to me that books that fall outside the white, straight, abled mainstream are challenged more often than books that do not destabilize the status quo.

This isn’t surprising, but the extent to which diverse books are represented on these lists — as a majority — is quite disheartening. Diversity is slim throughout all genres of books and across all age groups — except when it comes to book challenges.

The message this sends is loud and clear: diversity is actually under attack. Minority perspectives are being silenced every year.

I’ve always been curious what the breakdown of challenged/censored books looked like in terms of minority representation, and the numbers are disheartening.

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I use comics in my classroom because stories like these inspired my own interest in history. As a junior in high school during the 1990s, I read the classic March 1963 issue of Tales of Suspense, which includes Iron Man’s first appearance. In this story, the Viet Cong capture wealthy industrialist Tony Stark. To escape, Stark cobbles together his first primitive Iron Man suit. As a 17-year-old, I knew very little about the Vietnam War and what role America had played. The comics piqued my interest, and I went on to read several history books on the conflict. Weeks later, fate smiled upon me when my history teacher assigned a research paper on the Vietnam War.

Teachers who use comics in the classroom are awesome.

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Don’t get me wrong, I don’t miss those pencils that were made of stackable tips (oh the horror when you lost one!) or erasable pens that are really neither pen nor pencil but I do miss a good Choose Your Own Adventure book.
Those were the highlight of my childhood and in the interest of bringing back my childhood, I’ve compiled a list of books that would make great Choose Your Own Adventure books. 
These 5 books that would make great Choose Your Own Adventure books would indeed make great CYOA books.
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The Lawrence Public Library on Thursday unveiled its third edition of banned books trading cards, the project that asks residents to submit artwork inspired by censured books for the chance to have it converted into a collector’s item.
These Banned Books Week trading cards get better every year.
Critical Linking: September 17, 2014 
Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee.

“YOU KNOW, I WANNA WRITE A BOOK SOMEDAY.”

This list of things never to say to a writer is just damn funny.

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Slow reading advocates seek a return to the focused reading habits of years gone by, before Google, smartphones and social media started fracturing our time and attention spans. Many of its advocates say they embraced the concept after realizing they couldn’t make it through a book anymore.

I’m a fan of anything that gets people to read more, though I am skeptical of these “time-out” solutions. Maybe the solution is to work on how to be focused when you want, not just when you have it scheduled.

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According to Deadline, Brown’s book “Digital Fortress,” which was first released in 1998 and centers on cryptographer Susan Fletcher, is being adapted as a pilot for ABC by director Ron Howard’s production company Imagine Entertainment.

YES. Give me all the Dan Brown adaptations. And this is even better because it’ll be weekly.

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HarperCollins Publishers today announced a Holiday Express Shipping program for independent bookstores in the United States for all HarperCollins and HarperCollins Christian Publishing titles beginning November 3, 2014 and running through January 16, 2015. All qualifying orders from participating stores received by 1:00pm (EST) will ship out the next business day and be expedited so that in most cases they will be delivered within two business days

This is good I guess, but I’m surprised this wasn’t already a thing.

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If you like Book Riot, you might try our newest podcast, Reading Lives. Reading Lives is a bi-weekly interview podcast with interesting people about their lives in books. The first episode is up and available now, featuring Clive Thompson, author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better. You can listen to the first episode right here.

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

It’s always nice to see people celebrating books, but my favorite part of book lists is learning about books that I haven’t heard of before. So with that in mind, I thought I’d make a list of ten books that stayed with me that not that many people have read. These books all only have a few dozen to a few hundred ratings on Goodreads (for comparison’s sake, the most recent George Saunders collection has 24,000 ratings and the first Harry Potter book has several million.)

Not often I see a book list where I haven’t heard of a single title, but so it is with this list of unheralded but recommended books. Think I will check one of these out.

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Naming her own most irksome new phrase as “on accident” – and I’m slightly bemused as to how to use this one, so can happily state I’ve not sinned here – Lahey asked King if he had any additions to this list. “’Some people say’, or ‘Many believe,’ or ‘The consensus is’. That kind of lazy attribution makes me want to kick something. Also, IMHO, YOLO, and LOL,” said the novelist.

LOL, Stephen King.

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There had better be a lot of pencil-sharpening going on at the Guinness Book of World Records headquarters, because there’s a new sheriff in town, in the form of up to 550 Jane Austen fans dressed in petticoats, smocking, chemises and more. According to The Telegraph, the merry band of men, women and children overtook the quaint tourist town of Bath, Somerset on 13th September in an effort to unseat the United States as the record holder for the largest gathering of people dressed in regency costume.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen fans are the hardest core of the regency cosplayers.

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The anti-piracy solution embeds unique, imperceptible and traceable digital watermarks into e-books, enabling distributors and publishers to track where their content is appearing online and identify the sources of leakage and unauthorized distribution.

In other words, if you work for HC and have a digital copy of a book: don’t leak it because you’ve been branded.

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While he declined to give specific numbers, Stromberg said the numbers of Oyster subscribers is growing, “the past few months has seen strong subscriber growth driven by adding new digital platforms,” he said.

Indeed Stromberg said Oyster was generating “30% to 40%” growth in revenue each month for its top publishers

Hmmmm. Oyster is now a year-old. I think if their subscriber numbers were strong, they would have released them.

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If you like Book Riot, you might try our newest podcast, Reading Lives. Reading Lives is a bi-weekly interview podcast with interesting people about their lives in books. The first episode is up and available now, featuring Clive Thompson, author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better. You can listen to the first episode right here.