a collection of destinations for you

Today I wanted to share with you how I start my day, and where it takes me. Maybe you’ll come along.

When I get to the library in the morning, one of the things I try to do as it fits into other necessary morning tasks, is read my Shelf Awareness email. This is a daily digest for booksellers (or, in my case, librarians) with bookish news. A lot of the news regards the bookselling industry specifically – how Barnes and Noble and Borders are doing, profiles of small or family-owned book stores, market trends, and whatnot. These items are not terribly interesting to me, usually, but I skim them and am sometimes interested. I read it, more, for the book reviews and interesting links. Generally, bookish trends are of interest to me and help me do my job. It does pay for me to know what people want to buy because I buy the books for my library and obviously I try to provide what people are wanting these days. If you’re interested in the emails, you can sign up here.

Today, for example, I learned from Shelf Awareness of the renaming of the Boscobel Aerodrome in Orcabessa, Jamaica as the Ian Fleming International Airport. Ian Fleming wrote the James Bond books, reportedly at a “scenic retreat” nearby. That’s a fun fact.

I also found this teaser: “the Guardian asked readers to check their literary balances with a ‘banking in literature’ quiz”, and I thought, oh boy a literary quiz! but it turned out to be quite specifically a quiz about banking in literature, which turns out to be something in which I am not an expert, so that was kind of a flop, for me personally. Maybe you’ll do better.

But then I found Tom the Dancing Bug’s classix comix version of the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Corrected to reflect modern sensibilities). If you’re reading my reading blog you’re probably the sort of person who is also aware of the general furor regarding NewSouth‘s republication of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn without use of the n-word or “injun”. I will say very briefly that I am scandalized and strongly against this move, for the oft-cited reasons that a) we respect Mark Twain for his original genius and no one should be re-writing him, b) he put those words in on PURPOSE for goodness sake and with a purpose, which included satire and the bringing to our attention that these words are and were overused and wrong, and c) that the use of these very words always incites discussion (as evidenced by this recent furor), which is a good thing. YES these words are offensive, and this offense is still relevent; that’s why we still need Mark Twain’s work as he originally, thoughtfully created it. So. See the above cartoon for what I think is a very clever satire of the republication.

Next, Shelf Awareness tells me that David Nicholls’ book One Day is moving forward and being made into a movie, which was predicted from the very start. I read this book when a patron loaned it to me, and I enjoyed it fine, although I definitely agreed with Publishers Weekly’s view that it was made for the screen. I don’t watch a lot of movies (largely because the Husband doesn’t like to) but I do like Anne Hathaway, who’s in this one, so I may find a way to see it (without the Husband).

Something else I got out of today’s Shelf Awareness email – and this is a little embarrassing – but when I followed the above link to that ‘banking in literature’ quiz, I found mention of Watership Down as “bucolic children’s fiction”, which didn’t sound familiar to me. I mean, I know the name Watership Down (by Richard Adams), but didn’t think it was a children’s book; I think I had it crossed up in my head with Fahrenheit 451 or Slaughterhouse 5 or something. So I had to go look up Watership Down, and it sounds lovely (and also it turns out that at least somebody on wikipedia agrees with my vague impression that it’s highly allegorical), and now I am determined to read this book because it sounds great. So there you go, after clicking several links and looking things up, I have a new book TBR, and I guess that’s part of what Shelf Awareness is all about.

Finally, in my blog explorations, I came across a really, really delightful post today from author Sharon Kay Penman, in which she discusses historical accuracy, her dedication to it (hear hear! something I blogged about earlier), her responsibility to us readers, and some specific challenges. For example, the personalities she writes about, from the Middle Ages, have significantly different values from ours, regarding women’s rights, animal cruelty, conduct in warfare, etc. I highly recommend taking a few minutes to read this post from an author I deeply respect. (Sharon Kay Penman–>)

You’ve just taken a tour through my morning ramblings on the interwebs; hope you’ve found something interesting. 🙂 What do you play with on the internet to find bookish news or tidbits?

4 Responses

  1. Always good to hear how people find Shelf Awareness useful. We aim to provide exactly that mix of news, information and fun. Thanks for sharing us with your readers!

  2. Thank you! It’s always a good start to my morning.

  3. […] these days? I stay aware of this issue mostly thanks to Shelf Awareness, which as I’ve said before covers bookselling more than it does libraries, and often beyond my level of interest; but this […]

  4. […] Shadow of the Wind    Carlos Ruiz Zafon 15    The Hobbit    J. R. R. Tolkien 16    One Day    David Nicholls 17    Birdsong    Sebastian Faulks 18    The Help    Kathryn […]

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