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Posts Tagged ‘Harper Lee’

How High School Reading Has Changed Since 1907

Renaissance Learning has released its fifth edition of the What Kids Are Reading report. Among the many topics covered in the free report, it compared high school reading across the last century.

Below, we’ve linked to free eBook copies of the most popular books in 1907, 1923 and 1964. The complete report noted “a decline over time in the complexity of required texts for high school students.” Follow this link for an infographic summary of the research. Here’s more from the report:

Although our analysis is restricted to the  period of 1907 to 2012, there is evidence that writing has become less complex over the last several hundred  years. Complexity is impacted in part by average sentence length; books with longer sentences tend to be more  difficult to comprehend than books with shorter sentences … it is worth noting that just because the books students are being assigned to read are less complex than in  prior years, this does not necessarily mean that they cannot read or comprehend books at higher levels, nor can  we assume that assigning more complex texts would necessarily lead to improvements in achievement.

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Lauren Berger Writes New Book for Young People Entering "Real World"

Lauren Berger Welcome to the Real WorldCareer Expert, Lauren Berger, releases her second book, Welcome to the Real World: Finding Your Place, Perfecting Your Work, and Turning Your Job Into Your Dream Career (Harper Business), on April 22nd. In this book, Berger shares everything she wishes someone told her after graduation. Her book is the essential guide to anyone starting their first, second, or third job. She encourages readers to be fearless, step outside of their comfort zones, and go after what they want.

Harper Lee Sues Literary Agent

To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee has sued agent Samuel Pinkus, alleging that he received undeserved royalties from her book. Bloomberg has the scoop:

Lee, who has failing eyesight and hearing, was residing in an assisted-living facility in 2007 after suffering a stroke when she signed a document assigning her copyright to Pinkus’s company, according to the complaint. While the copyright was re- assigned to Lee last year after legal action and Pinkus was discharged as Lee’s agent, he was still receiving royalties from the novel as of this year, according to the complaint.

The Bloomberg story also noted that the lawsuit named Gerald Posner, the author and former Daily Beast writer who resigned in 2010 after he was accused of lifting passages. According to Bloomberg, Posner “incorporated one of Pinkus’s businesses.”

75,000+ NPR Listeners Voted on Best YA Novel List

Harper Lee‘s To Kill a Mockingbird is the No. 3 best YA novel ever written, according to NPR listeners. The 100 Best-Ever Teen Novels list was, not surprisingly, led by the Harry Potter series and The Hunger Games. The Hobbit, The Catcher in the Rye, The Lord of the Rings and Fahrenheit 451 also made the top 10.

An impressive 75,220 NPR listeners voted. The contest began with listeners sharing their favorite titles, which resulted in a list of more than 1,200 nominations. Then a panel of book experts whittled this down to a list of 235 choices, which was then put back to NPR listeners to decide.

Panel members included: Pamela PaulThe New York Times Book Review’s features editor and children’s book editor; Diane RobackPublisher’s Weekly’s children’s book editor; Tasha Robinson, book editor for The Onion’s A.V. Club; and teacher and librarian Ted Schelvan.

Most Frequently Challenged Library Books of 2011

The American Library Association (ALA) has released its annual list of the most frequently challenged library books of the year. We’ve linked to free samples of all the books on the list–follow the links below to read these controversial books yourself.

During the past year, the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom received 326 reports of “attempts to remove or restrict materials from school curricula and library bookshelves.” The list was part of the ALA’s 2012 State of America’s Libraries Report.

Here’s more eBook news from the report: “The rapid growth of ebooks has stimulated increasing demand for them in libraries, but libraries only have limited access to ebooks because of restrictions placed on their use by publishers. Macmillan Publishing, Simon and Schuster and Hachette Book Group refused to sell ebooks to libraries. HarperCollins imposed an arbitrary 26 loans per ebook license, and Penguin refused to let libraries lend its new titles altogether. When Random House raised ebook prices, the ALA urged it to reconsider.”

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Book & Documentary Projects Round-Up

Bibliophiles and film fanatics can look forward to a plethora of book-and-documentary projects. Simon & Schuster announced that rock artist Pearl Jam has signed a deal with them; the illustrated self-portrait, Pearl Jam Twenty, will be released in September.

Here’s more from the press release: “Published and in celebration of Pearl Jam’s twentieth anniversary and in conjunction with Cameron Crowe‘s definitive documentary film and soundtrack of the same name, Pearl Jam Twenty is an aesthetically stunning and definitive chronicle of their two decades as a band.”

The video embedded above features the trailer for HBO’s Bobby Fischer Against The World. We reported earlier on the books Bobby Fischer and Living in the Material World: George Harrison; the accompanying films will be available later this year.

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Mary McDonagh Murphy to Release Harper Lee Documentary

Filmmaker Mary McDonagh Murphy has created a new documentary about celebrated author Harper Lee entitled Hey, Boo: Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird.

According to Shelf Awareness, the film will feature interviews with Anna Quindlen, Tom Brokaw, James McBride, James Patterson, Wally Lamb, and Oprah Winfrey. Some of those celebrities can be seen in the trailer embedded above.

Initially, the film will have a limited release in New York City and Los Angeles starting May 13th with a nationwide release to follow. Last year, Murphy published Scout, Atticus, and Boo: A Celebration of Fifty Years of To Kill a Mockingbird for the book’s 50th anniversary.

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Research Advice from National Book Award Winner Kathryn Erskine

Kathryn Erskine (pictured, via), tackles tough subjects through children’s books.

Her debut novel, Quaking, responded to the Virginia Tech tragedy. Her second novel, Ibhubesi: The Lion, dealt with apartheid. Her third book, Mockingbird, featured a character with asperger’s syndrome–winning this year’s National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. We caught with her to learn about her writing process. Here are some highlights from the interview.

Q: Can you talk about the writing process you undertook for Mockingbird?
A: As in all my writing, I do a lot of research to put myself in the most authentic place. For Mockingbird, I researched how families deal with death and trauma, but focused on Asperger’s extensively, attending workshops and seminars, interviewing teachers and caretakers who interact daily with kids on the spectrum, in addition to living with a close family member who has Asperger’s.

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Readers Share Memories of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, HarperCollins set up a special video booth at BEA 2010–recording the thoughts, feelings, and memories of the novel’s fans. In the video embedded above, we stopped by the booth to find out more.

For more BEA coverage, check out our reporting for BEA Day One, BEA Day Two, and BEA Day Three.

Here’s more about the author: “For some years [Lee] spent most of her time in New York City, where, until she began writing, she was employed in the reservations department of an international airline. “Aside from writing,” says Lee, “my chief interests in life are collecting memoirs of 19th-century clergymen, golf, crime, and music.”

Cliffs Notes on Your Telephone

NY31808.jpgEven multitasking 21st Century students still have to cram for literature tests, and Wiley Publishing, Inc. built them a CliffsNotes iPhone app for this digital age.

The company released five individual apps in the first wave of smartphone study aids–including guides for “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain and “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee–the series will eventually include 40 titles. The app provides summaries of plot and thematic elements, character relationship maps, quizzes to test your comprehension, and “audio CramCasts” about the books.

Here’s more from the release: “Modality’s content architects created two distinct review modes to allow for a more customizable study experience. A prescriptive ‘Cram Plan,’ created by the experts at CliffsNotes, orders the content of the app to maximize even small increments of study time. A more traditional e-reader interface presents the app’s complete content in a fashion similar to that of the printed literature notes.”