Friday, May 30, 2014

Book News You Can Use 5/30/14

Several months ago, I borrowed a copy of Nikki Giovanni's new book Chasing Utopia from my coworker Kathleen.  And lost it.  I think I left in on the bus.  Looked everywhere and couldn't find it (and it still hasn't popped up anywhere).  So I told her that I lost it and that I was going to replace her copy.

So when it was announced Nikki was coming to Columbia for the South Carolina Book Festival, I figured that I can get her to sign the replacement copy.  And it became very important once Kathleen announced her retirement after 26 years on the job.  But there was one problem: I was going to be in Chicago during the book festival. And my friend Valinda, who usually goes every year, didn't go to the festival.

I sent out an SOS on Twitter and Facebook to see if anyone was going to the book festival.  Luckily, my friend Deona was going to be in the Columbia area and agreed to get the book signed.  And trying to get that book signed lead her to have dinner with Nikki and Kwame Alexander in Columbia.  Sweet.

Yesterday at her retirement party, Kathleen got her book back with a message from Nikki wishing her a happy retirement.  And she loved it, since Nikki is her favorite poet.

LeVar Burton started a Kickstarter campaign to raise $1 million to further Reading Rainbow's technology outreach.  It took less than 11 hours to reach his goal.  And I don't blame him for getting emotional over the response.

Gillian Flynn is writing an updated version of Hamlet.

The cover of Amy Poehler's memoir has been released.

The twins who were co-valedictorians at Spelman last year have written a self-help book.

Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney is opening a bookstore.

Book Expo America is happening this week and diversity seems to be an issue. Duh. When this article started to circulate on Twitter this week (and a copy of this story was posted on a well-known African-American publication), Jason from Rubicon Reader brought up the lack of support African-American authors get from traditional African-American publications.  He showed me (and the rest of Twitter) a blog post he wrote three years ago and how things haven't changed since then.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Memories of Maya

I am sad to return to this blog with a heavy heart.  Dr. Maya Angelou passed away this morning.

Many have given their thoughts about her passing in various mediums, but I want to write about the time that I got to see her in person.

It was April 21, 2007.  I was living in Greenville at the time, working at the public library there.  The city has an arts festival every year called Artisphere and at the time, it was a fairly new festival (they just celebrated their 10th anniversary).  So it was a major coup that they were able to get Maya at this festival.  So I gather the little bit of coins that I had (because I sure wasn't making a lot of money working circulation at the library) to come up with the $30 (I think) to see Maya at the Peace Center.

The Peace Center was PACKED. People from all colors were there, trying to soak up the knowledge that Maya was going to give us.  But the sad thing is that I don't remember much what she talked about. Or the poems she read. I also wished that I had taken pictures, but from what I remembered, no pictures were allowed (except for media). She did talk for about an hour. I wish I could find a more detailed story about her time in Greenville, but all I could find was this AP blurb. Some of it did come back to me after reading the article.  And as far as I know, there is no YouTube video.

But what I do remember was what happened when the event was ending.  While everyone was participating in a standing ovation, someone was drawing the curtains.  Since the ovation was still going after the curtains were drawn, the curtain operator decided to pull the curtains back.  Someone was bringing Maya's wheelchair and ran to the back of the stage.  I guess she didn't want anyone to know that she was using a wheelchair at that time.  I figured because of her age she would need one. Such an odd memory for me to have of her.

I didn't get a chance to meet her, take a picture with her, or get her to sign my book (I had a camera and a book just in case the audience was able to greet her).  But I am blessed that I was at least in the same room with her for an hour. Even if it was with several hundred people.

My thoughts and prayers go out to her son Guy, other family members and countless friends she left behind. May Maya relax in paradise.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Book News You Can Use 5/9/14

Relax in Paradise Marsha MehranFarley Mowat and Leslie Thomas.

Congratulations to all of the O. Henry Prize winners!

The Residue Years and Long Division were two of the nominees of the Saroyan Prize.

A sequel to The Pillars of Earth is on the way, but no date of release has been made.

The Daily Mail has to pay JK Rowling after making false claims about the Harry Potter author.

In the article I posted last week, the author of the new Michael Jordan book said that he did not interview Jordan for the book, but had interview him once before.  So why are people mad that Jordan's racism quotes aren't new?

Herbie Hancock's memoir will be released in October.

Recent interviews/book events caught on video and audio include Walter Mosley and Michael Eric Dyson, bell hooks (one includes Janet Mock) and Kiese Laymon.

Marcus Books in San Francisco has been evicted from their building.

The New York Public Library has abandoned plans to revamp their main library.

A human chain of more than 400 people passed books from their town's old library to the new one.

After news that Ladies Home Journal will now be published quarterly, Jet will only publish digitally.  I wonder how this will affect my subscription.

Wes Moore will be sharing veterans' stories on a new three-part PBS documentary.

There will be no Book News for the next two weeks as I travel to Chicago for the Medical Library Association Annual Meeting. I will be spending a whole week there mingling and sharing ideas with other medical librarians.  This also means that I won't be attending the South Carolina Book Festival (which I was on the fence about attending).  I also hope to do some sightseeing, enjoy some food (looking forward to trying some food trucks and Garrett Popcorn since I LOVE POPCORN) and meet up with some friends that live in the area. Since I know Kanye will be getting married around the time I visit his hometown, I won't be able to see him, but I hope at least get an Oprah sighting (if she's in town). And maybe a Common and a Jennifer Hudson sighting too.   And if someone can take to Gary, Indiana to visit 2300 Jackson Street, that will be great too!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Book News You Can Use 5/2/14

It's that time of year where I take part in the 10 books 30 days challenge. As some of you may know, I have struggled with this challenge by only reading 4-5 books during the month.  What makes this year even harder is that somehow I have lost my reading groove.  Yes I'm still reading, but for some reason I haven't been able to finish a book. Maybe Southern Charm has zapped my brain cells. And Goodreads kindly reminds me that I am seven books behind my reading goal for the year (which is part of the reason I want to do this challenge).  And did I mention that I will be out of town for a week and have three college graduations in May?  I hope to finish reading a book. Soon.

Relax in Paradise Paul Robeson Jr.Stefanie Zweig and Al Goldstein.

Congratulations to all of the Edgar Award winners!

To Kill a Mockingbird will finally be released as an e-book and a downloadable audiobook.

Almost ten years after her passing, new short stories from Octavia Butler will be released.

Short stories from F. Scott Fitzgerald that were censored years ago will now be released uncensored.

Why are people just now noticing that BookCon and BEA are lacking diversity?  That has been the problem for a while, and sadly, they are not the only book events that lack people of color.  This is one of the reasons that the #weneeddiversebooks campaign has picked up momentum.

Adding 'Til The Well Runs Dry to the growing TBR list.

Next week's releases include a book from Richard Williams, Venus and Serena's father.

Michelle Knight, one of Cleveland kidnapping victims who was rescued this time last year, will talk about her story of survival in a new book.

There will be more Princess Diaries books in 2015.

A teen almost got arrested last week for participating in World Book Night.

The other epic fail of the week was when a patron asked the Toronto Public Library to pull Hop on Pop.  Yes, a Dr. Seuss book.

Looks like the Let The Church Say Amen movie will FINALLY see the light of day.

The story about The Black Count will make it to the big screen, with a popular singer producing.

The Good Lord Bird will also become a feature film.  This is a story that somehow missed the list a few weeks ago.

Also coming to the big screen is The BFG, directed by Steven Spielberg.

The mini-movie Danger World, created by Tananarive Due and Steven Barnes, is now on YouTube!  And Devil's Wake has been optioned by Tanya Lee Lewis. Wonder if Spike can direct it.

Mahogany Books hosted Pearl Cleage at their bookstore this week. And still no video with her and Tayari?

The nation's oldest LGBT bookstore will soon close its doors.

This article talks about 15 Black female poets you should know. I've met two of them and seen one of them in person at another event (Maya wasn't open for book signings at the event I went to).

The Crossover has made it to Sports Illustrated Kids!

This new poll list America's favorite books.

Harlequin (of romance novels fame) is being sold to News Corp, the owner of HarperCollins.

One writer talks about the dilemma of what to do with advanced copies of books after they have been read.