Friday, July 31, 2015

Book News You Can Use 7/31/15



Book News out of Charleston this week: A woman wrote a letter to the local paper's editor complaining about a book her daughter (who will be a freshman at one of the local high schools) had to read for English class.  Her complaint was that it was too vulgar and that the book should be off the summer reading list (even though the child could have read another book off the list).  To make a long story short, she got her way and the school pulled the book almost three weeks before school starts.  One, if her daughter doesn't know some of that stuff that's mentioned in the book, she will by the time she graduates.  And if I was a kid or a parent of a kid who read that book and it was pulled from the reading list, I would be ticked.  Just because one parent has a problem with it doesn't mean that other parents feel the same way.  Here are reactions from the local library's YA department and the author of the book.  There is a campaign to raise money to buy copies of the book for students if they want it.  Thank God I have a mother who allowed me to read what I wanted to read as a teen and figured I could handle it.

Relax in Paradise to the undisputed Queen of True Crime, Ann Rule. I made that up but I truly doubt  people will disagree.  Writer Michelle Dean composed a tribute and tells why we true crime fans loved Ann so much.  Investigative Discovery will have a marathon featuring episodes of shows Ann was on tomorrow morning.

Congrats to the winners of the RITA Awards!

Congrats go to the nominees of the Booker Prize!

Congrats to Cheris Hodges for her Jessie Redmon Fauset Award nomination!

There's no link, but congrats also go out to Soror Victoria Christopher Murray for winning the Osceola Award during Delta Sigma Theta's National Convention this week. It goes to a soror that has made significant contributions to the arts.

See Kwame Alexander's Newbery Award acceptance speech here.

Happy 50th Birthday J. K Rowling!

Between her thoughts on the Sandra Bland case and Bill Cosby's (alleged) victims, Roxane Gay has been writing her butt off.

What happens when a African-American children's writer and a former President have a conversation?

Lauren Francis-Sharma and Dolen Perkins-Valdez talk about the tradition of storytelling, among other things, here.

Angela Flournoy talks about her success in the publishing industry.

N.K. Jemisin talks about how it's like to be an African-American female writing fantasy and science fiction.

Here are two stories (here and here) about the new book The Sisters Are Alright.

The author of the new biography about Iceburg Slim gives a synopsis of the writer.

The documentary about Sonia Sanchez will premiere tomorrow in Philadelphia.

The movie adaptation of Room will be released in October.

Michael B. Jordan will star in the movie adaptation of Just Mercy.

Reading Rainbow is coming to Netflix!

I have been enjoying a series of short stories imagining how the Huxtables would react if Cliff died.

This writer talks about how The Baby-Sittters' Club (especially Stacey) help her cope with being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.

Here's a wonderful story about how a mailman helped a boy get books after the kid asked for junk mail.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Goodbye, South Carolina Book Festival

South Carolina Book Festival in 2012
News came out of Columbia yesterday that the South Carolina Book Festival is no more.  Instead, the state Humanities Council decided that it would be best to do author events across the state.  To be honest with you, I have not been to the state book festival since 2012 when they brought Kimberla Lawson Roby, Zane and Eric Jerome Dickey.  I was in Chicago last year and the other two years they didn't bring people that interested me enough to roll out of bed and drive almost two hours to Columbia.  There were a lot of things I think they did wrong, which lead to the book festival being the thing of the past.
  • Inviting the same people OVER AND OVER AGAIN. I can see them inviting Dorothea Benton Frank every year because she comes out with a new book every year.  But inviting Pat Conroy (and some others) just for the hell of it got old.
  • NOT ENOUGH DIVERSITY.  There were some years (like this one) you can count how many African-American authors they had with one hand.  And Asians, Hispanics and Native Americans? Whatever.  I know the festival was moved it to May from February because they were trying to get more authors before they went to BEA, but it seem like they had more minority authors when it was in February.
  • The Humanities Council also didn't try to expand their audience.  Yeah, it's good catering to middle-aged and older white people and families with small children.  But what about the rest of us?  And they always had the book festival on the same weekend as the Columbia Black Expo except for this year, when it conflicted with the African-American rodeo.  Both of those events were next door at the Colonial Life Arena.  And they hardly ever got any Young Adult authors, which would have drew the teens.  Why do they think YA'LL Fest gets bigger every year?
  • And last (but not least), the loss of two of their biggest sponsors, Books-A-Million and Barnes and Noble.  And I know how people feel about Amazon and big book stores.  The Humanities Council made it seem like they dropped the big book stores to support indie book stores in the state.  But one of my friends think it might have been the other way around and the big book stores dropped them.  It's still bad because the box stores (especially BAM) were the ones that brought the few minority authors they were getting.
I hope that the Humanities Council eventually brings back the book festival or that others start their own festivals.  It's sad that they couldn't improve on a wonderful event that many people enjoyed for almost 20 years.  And I hope that the council's future initiatives work out for the benefit of the people of South Carolina.

Book News You Can Use 7/24/15



Relax in Paradise Chenjerai Hove, E. L. Doctorow and Tom Moore.

Prayers go out to Alan Cheuse, who was seriously injured in a car crash.

Congrats to Deborah Johnson for winning the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction!

Is Go Set a Watchman an indictment of the limits of liberalism?

Sebastian Junger is writing a book about how solders deal with stress after returning from wars.

Pledged, a book about how it goes down in (mostly white) sororities, has been recently updated.  Author Alexandra Robbins talks about how some sororities deal with sexual assault claims.

Reshonda Tate Billingsley talks about stereotypes and violence while promoting her new book Mama's Boy.

Edwidge Danicat talks about how she wrote her first Young Adult novel.

Toni Morrison talks about the inspiration behind The Bluest Eye.

Nigerian author Dillibe Onyema talks about the many authors that have come from his home country.

A new book discusses the impact of the late 60s-early 70s PBS show Soul.

Thanks to a lady and her neighbors, Franklin from Peanuts was created.

Here are some diverse fantasy books.

Hey Taylor, try to relate on what Onika was saying by reading these diverse feminism books. Maybe it will also inspire you to squash your beef with Katy.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Book News You Can Use 7/17/15



Congrats to Tracey K. Smith, who was named director of Princeton's Program in Creative Writing!

Ida B. Wells was honored with a Google Doodle yesterday.

Is there a third Harper Lee novel out there?  A fourth?

A Charleston native spoke about his feelings after reading Go Set A Watchman and how it relates to his family and life.  And Jabari Asim has been rethinking his thoughts on To Kill a Mockingbird.

Another book that received a lot of hype this week was Ta-Neishi Coates' new book, Between the World and Me.  Based on his Facebook post, Dr. Cornell West wasn't a fan (and Michael Eric Dyson told him to get over it).  And this guy from the New York Times missed the damn point.

Booksellers and authors are demanding the federal government investigate Amazon over anti-trust violations.

Publishers Weekly is already talking about fall releases.  And The Million has also dropped their list of books to look forward for the rest of the year.

Speaking of Publishers Weekly, Naomi Jackson was named a writer to watch this fall.

One of my favorite female singer-songwriters, Carly Simon, is releasing her memoir this fall.  Surprisingly, the publisher that her father co-founded is not publishing the book.

Kelis is showing off her cooking skills in a new cookbook.  No word on whether the book will have milkshake recipes.

Hoda Kotb is releasing another book of inspirational stories.

Spike is developing five new dramas, with one based off of a Walter Mosley book.  Crossing fingers this one will see the light of day.

Here are some books to help talk to your kids about prejudice.

The Harlem Book Festival is this weekend and discussions will be aired on C-SPAN2.

Remember the UGA football player who joined a book club?  He wrote a children's book to celebrate the love of reading.  Even a Gamecock like me can get behind this.

Speaking of Gamecocks and children's books, two former football players wrote a children's book to promote literacy and celebrate (the real) USC. #justachicken #notatrojan

If you drink coffee, tea or whatever type of drink you would like to put in mugs, here are some mugs with literary themes.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Book News You Can Use 7/10/15


Many people are awaiting Tuesday's release of Harper Lee's Go Set A Watchman, which is the "sequel" for To Kill A Mockingbird.  PBS will be showing the American Masters episode chronicling Harper's life tonight and will include an update about the new book.  Here is a picture of Harper receiving a finished copy of the book.  And you can read the first chapter here.

Relax in Paradise James Tate.

Congrats to the Andrew Carnegie Award winners!

Congrats to Chimamanda Ngzoi Adichie, who is expecting a little one!

Congrats to Lawrence Hill, who was honored with the Order of Canada.

The huge news that is coming out of my home state is that the Confederate Flag is FINALLY off the Statehouse grounds. THANK GOD. This recent interview of Percival Everett (who is releasing a short story collection) and his thoughts on the Confederate Flag were…interesting.

Speaking of the flag coming down, poet Nikky Finney wrote a passage to commemorate this day.

Here is a review of TaNehisa Coates' upcoming book.

In honor of Malala Yousafzai's 18th birthday this weekend, she is putting a spotlight on global education.  Use the hashtag #booksnotbullets in your social media accounts with a picture of you and your favorite book to show your support.

Will Waiting to Exhale become a musical?

Incoming college freshman are reading some interesting books for the summer. I hope Duke doesn't catch hell for reading Fun House like College of Charleston did.

Got a kid who loves to read? Here is some ways to motive them to enhance their love of reading.

I just finished reading Judy Blume's new book.  Here are some recommended books of hers for every age.

How well do you remember the Baby-Sitters Club? I got 4 out of 7!

I had outgrown Goosebumps by the time they came out (I was into Fear Street), but I know a lot of people are excited for the Goosebumps movie!
Pearl Thompson is proof that it's never too late to get a library card.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Happy Independence Day!


Hello!  I'm still in recovery mode from what's been happening in Charleston the last few weeks.  I'll be back next Friday with the return of Book News.  Have a safe and happy holiday!

Picture is from Healthline.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Donations in Memory of the Emanuel Nine

Program at the Charleston NPHC Prayer Vigil on Saturday
Several of you have asked about ways you would like to help the families of the Emanuel Nine or donate funds in their memories.  Here is a short list (which will probably grow in the next few days) on ways you can help.

Picture I took at Mother Emanuel when I visited the church on Tuesday

The biggest fund is the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund.  This fund will help family members with funeral and burial expenses.  Any remaining money will go to the AME Church, in which the leadership will determine how to use it.  There are three ways to donate:

1. By check to:
Mother Emanuel Hope Fund
c/o City of Charleston
Post Office Box 304
Charleston, SC 29402

2. Stop by any Wells Fargo Bank nationwide and make a donation.

3. And texting 'prayforcharleston' to 843-606-5995 or going to www.bidr.co/prayforcharleston.  Passcode is FAMILY.

Another fund that was started is the Lowcountry Unity Fund. The Unity Fund will be used to address racism and economic inequality in the African American community. It will be run by the Coastal Community Foundation and you can donate to the fund on their website.  The foundation will also oversee the Mother Emanuel AME Scholarship Endowment, which will be used towards scholarships for students in the African-American community.  The endowment was started by the InterTech Group and the Zucker family.

You can also donate to Mother Emanuel directly at http://www.emanuelamechurch.org/.

Lowcountry Ministries has started a fund in memory of the Honorable Rev. Clementa Pinckney. These funds will be used to support local initiatives that the reverend was passionate about. There are three ways to donate:

1. By check to:
Lowcountry Ministries – Reverend Pinckney Fund
c/o The Palmetto Project
6296 Rivers Avenue #100
North Charleston, SC 29406

2. By donation online at www.palmettoproject.org.

3. And texting 'prayforcharleston' to 843-606-5995 or going to www.bidr.co/prayforcharleston. Passcode is PINCKNEY.

Charleston Southern University has started a fund in memory of Sharonda Singleton.  Funds will go towards educational expenses for her son Chris (who is a student and plays baseball for the school) and any remaining funds will go to a baseball enrichment center that will be named in Sharonda's memory.  You can donate to the Singleton Memorial Fund at http://www.charlestonsouthern.edu/ or by mail at:

Charleston Southern University
Advancement Office
PO Box 118087
Charleston, SC 29423
(address the check to Singleton Memorial Fund on the memo section)

A tribute to Cynthia at the Main Library
There are three ways to honor Cynthia Hurd, who was a librarian at Charleston County Public Library for over 30 years.

1. CCPL has set up a fund in Cynthia's memory.  The money will go towards educational programs at the St. Andrews and John L. Dart libraries (she was a manager at both libraries during her career).  You can donate through PayPal through this link or mail a check to:

Charleston County Public Library 
 c/o Cynthia Graham Hurd Memorial Fund
 68 Calhoun Street
 Charleston, SC 29401


2. The Charleston Friends of the Library, which is the nonprofit organization that supports CCPL, will also accept donations in her memory. You will have to tell them that it's in memory of Cynthia Hurd and they will set aside the money raised for programs at St. Andrews and Dart.  You can donate on their website or mail it to the previous address (instead of Charleston County Public Library, use Charleston Friends of the Library).

3. Cynthia's brother and his family has started a fund to provide books at Freedom Schools in the Charlotte area (where they live).  Click here to donate.

Again, thanks for all of the messages, support and prayers that my city and I has received over the last week.  Funerals started yesterday and will go on until the middle of next week.  Please keep the families and friends of the victims in your thoughts and prayers as they say goodbye to their loved ones and as they begin life under a new normal.