“In the fourth edition of the Kids & Family Reading ReportTM, a national survey released today, kids age 6-17 and their parents share their views on reading in the increasingly digital landscape and the influences that impact kids’ reading frequency and attitudes toward reading.”
“I’m often asked how I choose the books that I’m going to talk about on Morning Edition’s “Under the Radar” segments. Simple: I just pick some of the titles that I’ve most enjoyed since the last time I was on, without concern for whether they’re fiction or nonfiction, genre or not, or aimed or classified as being for children or teens. Because I am an omnivorous reader, at first glance my choices always seem to me to be completely higgledy-piggledy, with no book bearing any similarity to any other. Certainly some of these books have elements in common. Among Others and The Double Game could both be described as “booky.” America Aflame and Color of Lightning are both about the Civil War. But beyond that, I can’t see much that these titles have in common with one another besides my deep enjoyment of them.”
“Amid the seemingly endless debates today about the future of reading, there remains one salient, yet often overlooked fact: Reading isn’t only a matter of our brains; it’s something that we do with our bodies. Reading is an integral part of our lived experience, our sense of being in the world, even if at times this can mean feeling intensely apart from it. How we hold our reading materials, how we look at them, navigate them, take notes on them, share them, play with them, even where we read them—these are the categories that have mattered most to us as readers throughout the long and varied history of reading. They will no doubt continue to do so into the future. Understanding reading at this most elementary level—at the level of person, habit, and gesture—will be essential as we continue to make choices about the kind of reading we care about and the kind of technologies that will best embody those values. To think about the future of reading means, then, to think about the long history of how touch has shaped reading and, by extension, our sense of ourselves while we read.”
via Slate Magazine
“Larry McMurtry, the famed author of “Lonesome Dove” and dozens of other books, was walking slowly along State Highway 79 on Friday morning toward this town’s only intersection. Down the block, more than 150 collectors and dealers were queuing up to bid on 300,000 used books — about two-thirds of the stock of Booked Up, the four-building literary mecca that Mr. McMurtry started here in 1988.”
“As Anthony Burgess once commented, there is no better reason for not reading a book than having it, but an exception should be made for Jacques Bonnet’s “Phantoms on the Bookshelves,” just out this month. It appears at a time when books and literature as we have known them are undergoing a great and perhaps catastrophic change. A tide is coming in and the kingdom of books, with their white pages and endpapers, their promise of solitude and discovery, is in danger, after an existence of five hundred years, of being washed away. The physical possession of a book may become of little significance. Access to it will be what matters, and when the book is closed, so to speak, it will disappear into the cyber. It will be like the genie—summonable but unreal. Bonnet’s private library, however, comprised of more than forty thousand volumes, is utterly real. Assembled according to his own interests, idiosyncratic, it came into being more or less incidentally over some four decades through a love of reading and a disinclination to part with a book after it was acquired. Among other things, he might need it some day.”
via The New Yorker
“You shrink from leaping on to a media bandwagon, but this seems to be an unexpectedly good cause. The headline-making novel Fifty Shades of Grey is doing what years of good-hearted effort have struggled to achieve: encouraging people who normally have little to do with books, to read them. And to use their local libraries which, for all the occasional bright spot such as York’s new Reading Cafe in Rowntree Park which the Guardian Northerner highlighted yesterday, are at risk from the public spending cuts. Hartlepool is an example. Our colleagues at North News have sent a despatch on how E.L.James’ novel and its successors are bringing borrowers in.”
“It’s a debate we expect to hear a lot more of in coming years: is developing a ratings system for increasingly dark young adult literature a move toward responsibility and oversight – or a slide into censorship? In its latest iteration, the debate is being played out across the pond in the UK, where bestselling children’s authors G.P. Taylor and Patrick Ness sparred on BBC Breakfast over Taylor’s proposal to establish an age-ranging system for children’s lit.”
“Restricted access is still censorship, the Kids’ Right to Read Project declared in its call for the return of Patricia Polacco’s In Our Mothers’ House to school library stacks in Davis County, UT. The Kids’ Right to Read Project is a joint effort of the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) and American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE), In a letter sent (click for .pdf) to the Superintendent of schools, the Kids’ Right to Read Project criticized the County’s recent moves to restrict access to the book, allowing it to be checked out of the school library only with a signed permission slip.
1) NCAC, Free Speech Groups Criticize M.D. Library’s “Porn” Ban – “The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) united with other freedom of expression organizations again today on behalf of E.L. James’ best-selling erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey (Vintage), this time in Harford County, Maryland. In a joint letter (below) issued to the county library’s board, NCAC has arrayed co-signers representing publishers, authors, booksellers and journalists from across the nation to urge Harford County to reconsider the thinking behind its generic ban on “porn,” a subjectively and selectively defined category.”
2) NCAC Unites Orgs in Support of “The Family Book” in Erie, I.L. – “Following the ban of Todd Parr’s The Family Book (Little, Brown and Company) in Erie, Illinois, seven organizations have joined with the Kids’ Right to Read Project to oppose the decision. The Kids Right to Read Project is a joint effort of the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) and American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE), In a letter sent to the Erie School Board, NCAC and other free expression defenders criticized the district’s decision to ban the book and other materials endorsed by the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN). In doing so, the letter says, it acquiesced to religiously-motivated complaints by some parents at the expense of the rest of the community.
“Patricia Polacco, whose children’s book In Our Mothers’ House got bounced from a Davis County elementary school library shelf to “behind the counter,” wants to make one thing clear: The book did not belong in the kindergarten-third grade section.
Rather, she says, it should have been on the fourth-grade-and-up shelves, where curious kids might read it and spark a good discussion with their families at the dining room table.”