The shortlist for the East Midlands Book Awards has been announced today, and the winner will be announced on May 15th; see http://www.writingeastmidlands.co.uk/awards/ for further information.
It’s always a cause for celebration when Neil Gaiman puts pen to paper so here’s the latest from the great man himself!
Fortunately, the Milk will be published in hardback in September this year. Like Neil suggests, buy two.
Bloomsbury Children’s Books is also publishing a new picture book Chu’s Day, and Unnatural Creatures, a collection of beastly stories chosen, introduced and featuring a short story by Neil.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane, for adult readers, will also appear later this year, and joy of joys, Neil is also returning to the Whoniverse with another Matt Smith episode. Let the Neil-fest begin!
Thanks to Ian at Bloomsbury for the heads up!
I was heartened but not at all suprised on reading the report in The Bookseller which found that children and young people still enjoy reading print books – http://www.thebookseller.com/news/children-still-prefer-reading-physical-books-finds-scholastic.html. The report by Scholastic found that although e-books are on the rise amongst 6-17 year-olds in the USA, the attachment to hard copy remains.
As a school librarian I carried out my own survey a few years ago and there was a distinct lack of interest in e-books amongst my students, much to my surprise at the time. What, you don’t want gadgets?! Well, no, the students didn’t. They wanted more books. I think the report is right in identifying sharing as an important factor, but with young adults there is also that ever-so-important factor of demonstrating who you are to your peers by showing what you’re reading. Lugging about War and Peace or a dog-eared copy of Fifty Shades of Grey makes a certain social statement! And this is an important part of asserting your belonging to a group – or your rejection of one. (I see a similar behaviour amongst my fellow passengers on the commuter train every day.) An e-reader is also a statement, but a rather bland one, really.
What you read is who you are.
Interestingly the comments on this Bookseller post have raised the argument that reading is a predominantly female activity. The young adult novelist David Almond has risen to the bait to refute this and I totally agree with him; there were always far more boys in my library than girls, and more boys asked me to buy particular books for them; they also talked more about what they read.
One of my favourite moments as a librarian was when I was visiting another college to “booktalk” to fourteen-year-olds. I read extracts from some of my favourite books, and the sessions had gone very well. But as I was leaving, crossing the playground I saw two big boys beating up a smaller one. They saw me and stopped.
“Hey, miss, you’re that library lady. What was that book you were on about? The one with all the swearing and fighting?”
Me: “Oh, er, it was (un)arranged marriage by Bali Rai.”
“Cool, let’s get to the library and get a copy before they’re all gone!” And off they ran, to the relief of their victim (and me, as they were much bigger than me too!).
See, reading is good for you.
Just before I left that job, I asked my students to write me a list of the books they thought everyone should read. We had a long debate about what to call this list and came up with:
50 BOOKS THAT THE “DIFFERENTLY INSANE” SHOULD READ BEFORE THEY DIE
And here it is.
There are two exciting book events taking place in Leicester this spring which will be well worth attending if you are interested in the publishing universe!
The first is a free event called States of Independence, which celebrates independent publishing and boasts seventy authors reading from their work, bookstalls and the opportunity to meet publishers and fellow readers and writers. It takes place on Saturday 16th March, 10.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m., at the Clephan Building, De Montfort University, Oxford Street, Leicester LE1 5XY, and you can find out more at www.statesofindependence.co.uk.
The second is the Self-Publishing Conference, which takes place the following week on Sunday 13th March, at the University of Leicester, Stamford Court Conference Centre, between 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. You do have to book a place for this on the website at www.selfpublishingconference.org.uk, and it costs £45, but you get the chance to meet key people in the self-publishing world and find out more about this new phenomenon – if you write and are even slightly curious about the self-publishing route, I am sure that this will be a worthwhile investment!
Both events sound fascinating and a great way to meet other bibliofiends – so see you there!