Still getting settled in from the move. The big news is that my new bookshelves finally came yesterday. They look amazing! I'll get pictures up this week.
- Most important news first. MotherReader has announced the date for her third annual 48 Hour Book Challenge. For those who missed the first two, the idea behind the 48 hour book challenges is to see how much continuous time participants can spend reading and blogging about books over a 48-hour period on the same weekend. I participated in the first one (and even won a prize!) and I much enjoyed it. I was able to prioritize reading in a way that I'm generally not able to (or not willing to, I guess), and feel a sense of community with the other participants doing the same thing. Plus Pam really makes the whole thing fun. I missed the challenge last year because I was traveling, but I have high hopes of participating this year. Click here for details.
- Big news from Rick Riordan this week. The first printing of the fourth Percy Jackson book, Battle of the Labyrinth, will be one million copies. How amazing is that? Publication is one month from today. And I just checked Rick's calendar, and learned that he's going to be at Hicklebee's, my local children's bookstore, on May 15th. I don't care what else comes up - I intend to be there. Anyone care to join me?
- This week's Poetry Friday round-up can be found at Becky's Book Reviews. See also another Becky's plan for and links about celebrating National Poetry Month at Farm School. As commenter Tara said, "It’s an embarrassment of riches." Also, as a nice companion to poetry, Jama Rattigan's Alphabet Soup is hosting a tea party. Jama says "This month, I'll be posting my favorite tea recipes, along with some tea trivia, folklore, and history, as well as excerpts from children's and adult literature that mention tea." She's also looking for audience participation (shared recipes and experiences and such).
- At Chasing Ray, Colleen Mondor laments the dearth of straightforward mysteries aimed at the young adult audience. There are lots of mysteries out there for younger kids, and for adults, but Colleen identifies a gap for the YA audience. Something to heed, all you aspiring authors out there.
- Over at Destined to Become a Classic, Mme T writes about the power of series books. She says "It's hard when you come to the end of a book you love. You mope around for days and there's a big hole inside. Today's youth don't have to deal with that pain. There's always another book in the series, the trilogy turns out to be five books, or the characters turn up in another series."
- At The Longstockings, Daphne Grab asks readers: what kind of Madeleine L'Engle girl are you? Meg, Vicky, or Polly? Daphne says that you can only truly identify personally with one of the three (and she pooh-poohs the other YA L'Engle heroines, such as they are). As for me, I'm Meg all the way, right down to the glasses and the red-headed love of my life who I met while still in my teens. How about you?
- I learned from Stephanie at Throwing Marshmallows that you can, in fact, use your regular Audible credits to make purchases at AudibleKids. This isn't obvious - the AudibleKids site doesn't show you how many credits you have available when you log in - but if you put a book into your shopping cart and go to check out, you have the option of paying with any credits that you might have available. Good news, I think, for those of us who have been concerned for the future of Audible's subscription model. Though it's still clear that they are downplaying the subscriptions on the kids' site.
- Inspired by the start of baseball season, TheHappyNappyBookseller, a new blog, has a post this weekend about sports books for kids, and what she thinks is missing from the genre (namely, "books featuring female athlete/sport fans" and "books starring extreme sports athletes").
- Maureen writes about books with a strong sense of place at Confessions of a Bibliovore. She says "I'm not talking about the guidebook kind of location-- "She walked down 5th Avenue and stopped at [insert landmark store here]." I mean the kind of location chosen because it reflects the characters and the story. In some cases (like Meg Cabot, who obviously loves NYC) it reflects the author as well." For me, a strong sense of place is one of the big four things I look for in a book - not 100% necessary, but something that, paraphrasing Maureen, adds a lot when done right. (The others are well-rounded characters that I care about, a plot that keeps me reading to find out what happened, and the effective use of language, including dialog).
- Congratulations to Daphne Lee from The Places You Will Go for getting her long-hoped for children's reading room off the ground. It will open May 3rd, in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. She has a lovely column up now about why she started this project, based on how books give dreams validity, and how important that is for disadvantaged kids. For example: "Books say it's OK to have an idea or opinion that doesn't match everyone else's, or even deliberately challenges what's accepted and established. Call it creativity, imagination, contrariness or thinking out of the box - it's what leads people to invent amazing machines, discover cures, climb mountains, find lost lands and, indeed, write good books." But do read the whole column. I think you're making a difference, Daphne.
And that's all for today. Happy reading, all!