Happy Memorial Day weekend, to those of you in the U.S. I'm a bit late with this post because it is a holiday weekend, and we had friends over today. But it is still Sunday here. I haven't been as successful as I would have liked at spending time reading this weekend, but I have gone for some walks, and watched a lot of baseball (how about those Red Sox!). And there's been a lot of good stuff out there in the blogs this week. Here are some can't miss discussions.
- Shannon Hale writes about the golden mean, "a balance between these two worlds, the literary and the popular, the fine-tuned language and the rip-roaring adventure." I'll tell you, even if I didn't like her books (which I do), I'd be a fan because of the things she writes on her blog. I'm looking forward to reading Austenland.
- Don't forget that Mother Reader's 48-Hour Book Challenge is two weekends from now. There are lots of great prizes in the works. So, you'd better start piling up your selections now. I have little chance of winning anything myself, because I'm going to be on the East Coast that weekend, attending a memorial service, and seeing some friends and family members. I will certainly read on the flight, and bring my computer so that I can blog while I'm there, but once I arrive I expect time to be pretty scarce... Hopefully by next year my life will be less busy, and I'll be able to truly set aside a weekend for the challenge.
- HipWriterMama writes about the hold of mesmerizing books, a post inspired by the wonderful Stephenie Meyer books. She also shares a lengthy Poetry Friday post about the difficulties of being a girl in today's world. This one is a must read, and has generated a slew of thoughtful comments.
- For another post that generated many comments, check out Read Roger's post about didacticism in children's books. He says "the problem I do have with overt didacticism is less with its frequent technical clumsiness, where swatches of sermons or lessons are just slapped into the story, then it is with the way it reminds readers Who Is In Charge." I agree. I hate that feeling of seeing behind the curtain. I also liked Liz's response at Tea Cozy.
- The Big Read Blog is asking junior high and high school teachers about their students' favorite books. "Not necessarily their favorite assigned books — though if somebody says The Great Gatsby, nobody’s going to try and talk ‘em out of it — but their favorite books, assigned or not, fiction or not, with word balloons or not." They promise to read and blog about frequently mentioned titles.
- Gregory K. asks GottaBook readers why they continue blogging, in response to the announcement of the end of the Miss Snark blog. Right now I'm so behind on my reading that I consider it a valid question. But I so love all of this discourse about all things children's literature related - I simply must be part of it.
- In honor of Memorial Day weekend, Chris Barton muses on the relative dearth of books for children that focus on peace and pacifism, instead of on war. He asks readers for suggestions, and has, happily, received a number of responses so far.
- Via Readergirlz and Little Willow, Samsung is having a writing contest for kids in which the winner can win up to $200,000 in Samsung and Microsoft products for his or her school. You can find more information here.
- And for another writing contest for kids, Mitali's Fire Escape is looking for "poetry and short stories written by teens between cultures." You have to hurry, though. The deadline for submissions is June 1st, with prizes announced June 30th. You can find details here.
- David Elzey muses about summer reading (his third post on the subject at the excelsior file), revisiting some genre books from his own teen reading years.
- And finally, for some writing inspiration, be sure to check out Michele's recent post at Scholar's Blog, in which she asks, tongue in cheek, for her brain back. She asks how it is "that not only did none of my writer acquaintances warn me that writing fiction is as addictive as hard drugs (well so I assume - I've never actually taken hard drugs), but none of them warned me, either, that writing fiction would result in my brain teeming with ever more ideas".
And that's all for today. I'll be traveling for work this coming week, but I'll check in when I can.