The Bibliophile's Adventurers Club

Exemplars of bookish delight

Friday Field Notes 052915


This week, USA Today gave us their 25 hot books for summer. It is about that time. After all, this weekend marks the last days of May–then summer fare is fair game.  Time to kick back, relax, and settle in with a good book.

In other bookish news . . .

People interviews Judy Blume. My favorite quote: “I’m happy for anybody to read my books because I don’t like books being characterized for certain readers.” I do believe, if I wrote books, I’d feel the same.

Flannery O’Connor is set to appear on a new U.S. postage stamp. She’ll make her debut June 5.

The Boston Public Library comes under fire for tossing The Prospect Before Us, by James T. Callender, a rare 18th century book (worth $19,500, we might add) into the pile for a library book sale.  Whoopsie! Lucky for them, they realized the error of their ways in time–though it doesn’t appear they’ll live it down any time soon.

Chinese and American authors take a stand against BookExpo America’s focus on China, without regard to the country’s known issues of censorship and intimidation. Ruediger Wischenbart, BookExpo’s director of international affairs, explains “it’s important for them to have a seat at the table and engage in a cultural and commercial exchange that could have a positive impact on the future of publishing both at home and across the globe.” Hmm, right . . .

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{Twain and Keller–sounds like they could have had a stage show}

As you read this, I hope you’re preparing for a long holiday weekend. I certainly am–in between gatherings,  and gardening, and miscellaneous projects I hope to get in some good reading. Seems it shall be a face-off between Dorothy Whipple’s The Priory and Shusaku Endo’s Deep River (book club, you know–once again I skid at the last minute).

Now, this week, in bookish news . . .

We now know what Shakespeare really looked like–thanks to a 400 year old botany book. The intrigue. (BBC)

Seems Mark Twain and Helen Keller were friends.  The way they spoke of one another . . . we should be so lucky as to have such friends.

There’s always hullabaloo surrounding one book or another in the school system. The thing I love about this story concerning the Kite Runner, is this student’s response: “If they expect you to choose your future, you should be able to choose your own books” (Skye Satz). Perfect, non?

We’ve talked of the Future Library, before–and Margaret Atwood shall be placing her book in the time capsule next week. While it’s highly unlikely any of us will be around in a hundred years to read it, we can watch the live stream of the encapsulating ceremony.

Oh, and in case you’re curious, here’s the most popular book set in each state, according to Good Reads (via The Stand).

Finally, here’s what Bill Gates’ beach reading list looks like.

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Believe it or not, I’ve been reading more this year . . . which is one of the reasons I’ve been a tad pitiful here. While I don’t quite have the whole balancing act down yet, I’m confident its on the way. By the end of the year, I may even post a review or two–the anticipation, I know.

In the meantime, some bookish news items to get you by . . .

McSweeney’s has jumped on the crowdsourcing bandwagon. There are still a few days left, if you’d care to join the fun and otherwise “keep McSweeney’s going.”

All you Mark Twain fans, rejoice: there are new stories afoot. Mainly, Berkley’s Mark Twain project has uncovered articles written by Twain when he was a 29-year-old newspaperman in San Francisco (AP).

Shukri al-Mabkhout’s The Italian has won the International prize for Arabic fiction, despite the fact it’s banned in the United Arab Emirates (The Guardian).

Here’s a Q&A with Zachary Leader on the Life of Saul Bellow (courtesy of The Biographile via Alfred A. Knopf).

And Ashley Strickland (CNN) introduces us to the Children’s Choice Book Award winners. Remember, you’re never too old for children’s books.

Friday Field Notes 050115


Happy May Day!

This week, a friend posted the link to a Q&A with Gene Wolfe. It was originally posted on the MIT Technology Review last summer. So, while it may not technically be considered new, it was new to me, and may be new to you. And neither of us should be missing out on such good stuff!

In other bookish news . . .

There was a lot of bad news coming from Baltimore this past week. But, much like any time of crisis, there are glimmers of hope. One of my favorites: Baltimore Libraries Stay Open Through Riots, Because ‘The Community Needs Us’ (MTV news).

Remember when Rooth gave her review of Maus? Well, it has been banned in Russia for its cover (NPR has the story).

Speaking of book art, take a look at this master craftsman as he restores an old book to its former glory.

Tomorrow, May 2, is Independent Bookstore Day. Just in case you needed a good excuse to buy yourself a new book . . . or ten.

As if that weren’t enough, tomorrow (May 2, 2015) is also Free Comic Book Day! Search your zip code for a participating store.

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For those of us residing in Idaho, there’s really only one bookish news item worth mentioning. That being, Anthony Doerr (All the Light We Cannot See) has won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.  I cannot imagine a more deserving recipient.

With that, a few other bookish bits from the week:

We bid farewell to M.H. Abrams. He was 102 (New York Times). And might I just say, college just wouldn’t have been the same without his Norton Anthology of English Literature.

We caught a sneak peek at Dr. Seuss’ book What Pet Should I Get (CNN)—and by peek, I do mean peek (CNN).

Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti celebrated World Book Day by posting a photo of five wee books floating on the International Space Station (  How fun is that?

The Oyster Review provided us with their very own 100 Best Books of the Decade.

U.S.A. Today offers some weekend picks for book lovers, in case you haven’t a clue what to read in the coming days. Luckily, I know exactly what I’ll be reading: Peace like a River, by Leif Enger. I have until next Thursday to finish it. Book club, you know.

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