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‘The Idiot’s Guide to Smart People’ Takes on Malcolm Gladwell: VIDEO

Thingstarter, a popular Kickstarter parody series from online comedy video network Above Average, has created a humorous video series called, “The Idiot’s Guide to Smart People.”

The series is a satirical animation about “smart people.” The latest episode is on author Malcolm Gladwell. We’ve embedded the video above for your entertainment.

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Publishers Events During Banned Books Week

fafabuttonNext week is Banned Books Week and to help you celebrate, the Associate of American Publishers has put together a list of ways to participate in the celebration of censored book titles. AAP members Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, Scholastic and Simon & Schuster have each created a way to help readers engage in the event, whose goal it is to promote the freedom to read.

Hachette is calling readers to share how a banned book has impacted their lives on the HBG Facebook page. HarperCollins is supporting online discussion forums on Epic Reads which will encourage discussions around banned books. Macmillan has created a website dedicated to The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander and Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden, two previously banned books. Penguin Young Readers Group is encouraging readers to share selfies of themselves holding up a sign that reads, “I celebrate #BannedBooksWeek because …” and will give away prizes to participants. The publisher will also join in several #BannedBooksWeekTwitter chats during the week. Read more

Free Samples of the NBA’s Poetry Longlist

nbaThe National Book Foundation has revealed its Longlist for the 2014 National Book Award for Poetry for the National Book Award (NBA).

Below, we’ve collected free samples of all the books on the longlist for your reading pleasure. The finalists will be announced on October 15. Here’s more from the release:

The Longlisted books range in style and content: from a single elegiac narrative poem to a provocative examination of race relations told in an experimental fusion of lyric, prose poems, and image. Among the poets on this year’s Longlist are two former National Book Award Finalists, two former Poets Laureate of the United States, a Pulitzer Prize winner, two Bollingen recipients, a Los Angeles Times Book Award winner, and a Whiting Writers’ Award winner.

Read more

Shakespeare’s Works To Be Translated Into Mandarin

shakespeareThe British government plans to give £1.5 million (approximately $2.4 million) to the Royal Shakespeare Company. The organization has agreed to translate all of William Shakespeare’s writings into Mandarin.

Here’s more from The New York Times: “The grant, announced by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, will finance a company tour of China in 2016 and allow for select Chinese dramatic works to be translated into English. In bringing Shakespeare’s canon of plays to readers, directors and actors in China, the government hopes to forge ‘stronger links with China,’ according to a statement by Sajid Javid, the British culture secretary.”

Throughout the last four hundred years, Shakespeare’s works have been translated into more than 80 different languages. What do you think?

Scholastic Publishes the ‘Open a World of Possible’ Anthology as a Free eBook

scholasticlogo082310Scholastic has published a free eBook entitled Open a World of Possible: Real Stories About the Joy and Power of Reading to celebrate the launch of its new literacy initiative.

This anthology contains over 100 stories and essays written by literacy experts and authors. The dedication in this book honors the late Walter Dean Myers and features his quote: “Once I began to read, I began to exist.”

Some of the contributors include bestselling author James Patterson, former National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature Jon Scieska, and education expert Karen L. MappFollow this link to download the digital book.

New Episode of ‘Elders React’ Features ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Movie Trailer

How did you feel after watching the Fifty Shades of Grey movie trailer? Fine Brothers Entertainment (a.k.a. TheFineBros) has captured a hilarious panel of reactions in the latest episode of their YouTube series, “Elders React.”

The video embedded above features ten people watching a short clip with Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson starring as Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele. This film adaptation will hit theaters on February 14, 2015.

John Ashbery Overcomes eBook Poetry Issues

johnashberyEver since eBooks have come out, authors have been concerned about how their work is is represented in the digital format. This is an especially pertinent issue for poets, whose use of the line on the page is part of the work itself.

But as digital continues to evolve, eBook developers are better preserving line breaks and stanza spacing. Just ask John Ashbery. Just a few years back the poet demanded that four eBook collections of his poetry be pulled after the format mutilated the work. But the 87 year-old has not given up on the digital format and in conjunction with digital publishing house Open Road, has published 17 digital collections of his work. This time, the technology is much better than his first time out.  Read more

Authors United Calls on Amazon Board Members to Take a Stand

authorsunitedAuthors United, a group of more than 900 authors including Stephen KingMalcolm Gladwell and Suzanne Collins, which has been pushing Amazon to end its dispute with Hachette, has sent a letter to Amazon board of directors asking them: “Do you as an Amazon director approve of this policy of sanctioning books?”

The letter, which is published on the group’s site, calls on these 10 board members to take a side in the Amazon/Hachette dispute. Here is an excerpt:

We are confident that you, as an Amazon board member, prize books and freedom of expression as much as we do. Since its founding, Amazon has been a highly regarded and progressive brand. But if this is how Amazon continues to treat the literary community, how long will the company’s fine reputation last? We appeal to you, with hope and goodwill, to exercise your governance and put an end to the sanctioning of books, which are the very foundation of our culture and democracy.

Free Samples of the NBA’s Young People’s Literature Longlist

nbaThe National Book Foundation has revealed the Young People’s Literature Longlist for the National Book Award (NBA).

Below, we’ve collected free samples of all the books on the longlist for your reading pleasure. The finalists will be announced on October 15. Here’s more from the release:

Among this year’s ten Longlisted books are four former National Book Award Finalists, three Newbery Honor Book recipients, a Michael L. Printz Award Winner, and a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 Honoree. The ten titles on the Longlist are a range of sophisticated voices and writing styles in genres that include fantasy, memoir, mystery, nonfiction, science fiction, and a novelized history.

Read more

Oscar Pistorius’ Agent Denies Memoir

pistoriusOscar Pistorius, the South African sprinter who was found guilty of culpable homicide after shooting and killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, is not writing a memoir about the experience.

Pistorius’ agent Peet Van Zyl has denied that his client is working on a memoir after Van Zyl was quoted in The Observer mentioning such a project. Van Zyl says that the quote was taken out of context.

He clarified his statement to The Independent: ”During the interview, I was asked about the various books (about the death of Ms Steenkamp) that are in the works. All I said was ‘If and when Oscar decides to write a memoir, that’s the only book that will matter.’” (Via NPR Books).

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