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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.

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).

New Trailer Unleashed For ‘Mockingjay’ Part 1

Lionsgate has unleashed the official trailer for Mockingjay part one. The video embedded above offers glimpses of soldier Gale Hawthorne, former Hunger Games victor Peeta Mellark, and the reluctant rebel Katniss Everdeen.

Throughout the past few months, several promotional videos have surfaced for this movie including two “Panem Addresses” from the villainous President Snow and a teaser trailer. The next installment of The Hunger Games film franchise will hit theaters on November 21, 2014.

British Politician Claims Prisoners Have Better Libraries Than the Public

35440.jpgUK Parliament member Philip Davies is claiming that British prisoners have a better reading selection than public library patrons.

In an address to the House of Commons, Davies explained his reasoning. The Telegraph has more:

Mr Davies said: “In a recent Parliamentary Question it was confirmed that £106 per prisoner is spent on libraries in prison. From a recent Freedom of Information request I did, I found out that in Leeds prison there are ten-and-a-half books per prisoner. In Wakefield prison there are 16.9 books per prisoner.

“By contrast, in the libraries in my constituency for the general public, there is only about one book per person. Would the Secretary of State agree with me that rather than prisoners being denied reading material, actually they are far better served than the general public?” Read more

‘Inside Stories’ Project Inspires Incarcerated Individuals to Create Children’s Books

CreateA United Kingdom-based charity organization called Create has launched a literary-theme initiative called “Inside Stories.” The mission is to introduce professional artists to incarcerated individuals so that they can work on a creative project together.

Once a pair is formed, the teams design and construct a children’s book. The prisoners typically send their finished books to their own offspring. What do you think?

Here’s more from The Huffington Post: “The storybook illustrations chronicle the adventures of princesses, dragons, giant frogs and broom-riding witches, in the brightest of colors and textured materials. If your favorite childhood story was re-imagined by an outsider artist, it would probably look something like this…The initiative is as practically beneficial as it is emotionally. Numerous studies report links between family ties, post-release employment and recidivism.”

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