Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday Five: A Bundle of Book News

Most of the people who read this blog fall into one of two categories. The first are those who know me and want to find out what's going on in my life. The second are those who love books and come here looking for book recommendations. For the people in the first group, you might not think this post is about my life, but I assure you I have spent more time contemplating these issues than anything else in my life this week (with the possible exception of my not-so-internal grad school debate). For the second group, much of this will be old news though maybe you'll be happy to see someone else cares just as much as you do. And for those of you who fall into both categories, well, that's why you're my best friends in the world.

1. ALA Youth Media Awards: I could not have been more excited for the authors honored by the ALA. This year, more than any year I can remember, the awards reflect a great cross-section on literary works for children that highlight the skill of writers and the diversity of readers. I was, however, disappointed not to see Sugar Changed the World by Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos on the nonfiction list. But the Quick Picks almost made up for it by listing several of my favorite QPs.

2. Today Show Snub: My exhilaration was quickly followed by great frustration when those well-deserving winners were cut from the Today Show's usual coverage. We wonder why children aren't reading and media is taking over the lives of our children. Umm...maybe it's because we aren't setting a very good example for them. Maybe it's because we aren't instilling within them a love of books anymore. We should be ashamed of our selves that Snooki, a character who will be forgotten sooner than her tan fades, takes precedence over characters who will be a part of the literary world for more than a hundred years to come. Oh, yeah, and the 90-second Newbery videos being made as a form of protest are kind of hysterical.

3. Copyright Violations: This has not always been an issue I much cared about. But as I've gotten older, learned more about intellectual property and experienced first-hand the frustration of breaking into the publishing industry, this topic infuriates me. People, go to the library! Spend $20 on a book rather than a movie! Find a book exchange! Learn to live without a book! But for heaven sakes, don't steal from a poor author by ripping their books online, no matter how unfair you think the pricing is. Find another way to communicate your frustrations, but don't illegally download books just because you feel you are entitled to the content. Because you're not! The only person who's entitled to that content--legally, ethically and morally--is the author who created it.

4. Sad News from Lisa Madigan: It's not every day you hear a contemporary author so openly address her own mortality. Fortunately, Lisa Madigan exhibits a grace and internal strength that is far from common. A friend going through a mastectomy recently wrote her friends: "I knew I wanted to share this journey with you and not only it would allow others to cry with me but it would allow others to pray for me, to fast for me and to comfort me. Thank you so much for your prayers, for your tears and for your faith!" I thank Lisa for doing the same, and I hope her fans and the writing community will give her the same support my friend is feeling.

5. Comic Books, Poetry and Mark Twain: I think it's funny that stories on all these subjects are currently floating around the blog-o-sphere. I can't tell you how many people tell me they don't get comic books, they can't stand reading poetry, and they hope never to have to pick up another "classic" book again. But the truth is, our lives are richer for all of these types of creative works. They expand our horizons, give us commonality and at least provide us with a medium we love to hate.

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