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1. Neil Gaiman Honors Douglas Adams

Author Neil Gaiman honored the late Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, in a talk at the Royal Geographical Society in London last night.

In the presentation, Gaiman told stories about his friend pointing out that Adams had predicted eBooks decades ago, and yet, still felt strongly about print’s future. The Guardian has more:

Adams told Gaiman: \"Look at a book. A book is the right size to be a book. They’re solar-powered. If you drop them, they keep on being a book. You can find your place in microseconds. Books are really good at being books and no matter what happens books will survive.’ And he was right,\" said Gaiman.

You can watch a video of the lecture here.

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2. Remembering Mal Peet

Mal Peet 1947-2015
Today, the sad news came over the Internet that Mal Peet has passed away.  Award winning Mal Peet has been a favorite children's and YA writer of mine for a long long time and I always looked forward to his informative reviews and interviews in the Children's Book section of The Guardian.

Mal Peet's WWII novel Tamar: a Novel of Espionage, Passion and Betrayal was one of the most intelligent YA books I have reviewed here at The Children's War and I am reposting it today in remembrance of him and in the hope that it will entice readers who aren't familiar with this wonderful writer to read his books or if you are familiar with him, you will take a moment to remember him.

You can also read his many articles, reviews and interviews at The Guardian HERE


Tamar is one of those stories that is difficult to talk about without giving too much away and spoiling the twist that comes at the end of the novel.  And Tamaris well worth the read just to get to that.  It begins in 1979, when William Hyde asks his son Jan if he and his wife would consider using the name Tamar for their expected baby, to which they happily respond in the affirmative.  It is this daughter, Tamar, who narratives the story that follows.

The story then switches to 1945, introducing Dart and Tamar, undercover names (based on English rivers) for two Dutch born, British trained agents for the SOE (Special Operations Executive) just as they are about to parachute into the Nazi-occupied  Netherlands to work with the Dutch Resistance in an attempt to reorganize it during that terrible Hunger Winter when so many people died of starvation.  Once inside Holland, Dart, who is the team's radio operator, operates under the name Dr. Ernest Lubbers, living and setting up his radio at the local mental asylum.  Tamar, under the name of Christiaan Boogart, is fortunate enough to be placed in the home of Marijke Maatens.  Tamar/Christiaan and Marijke have been lovers for a while, but when Dart/Lubbers realizes what is going on between them, he becomes very angry and jealous.  He has also fallen in love with Marjike.

The narrative moves to the spring of 1995.  Jan Hyde's daughter Tamar Hyde is now 15.  Her father has be missing for a few years and her beloved grandmother, Marijke, has recently passed away, after being placed in a nursing home because she was seemingly suffering from dementia.  Now, her grandfather has just committed suicide.  As a result of that, Tamar finds herself in possession of a box full of his World War II memorabilia.  Tamar knew that her Grandad "was fascinated by riddles and codes and conundrums of labyrinths, by the origin of place names, by grammar, by slang, by jokes...by anything that might mean something else.  He lived in a world that was slippery, changeable, fluid." (pg 111)  And so Tamar begins a journey to figure out that codes messages her Grandad has left regarding his life and suicide.

From here on the story alternates between 1945 and 1995 as events unfold and characters are explained.  I don't want to say too much more at this point and risk an unintended spoiler, which can so easily happen with suspense novels you feel enthusiastic about. 

Tamar is an exciting, suspenseful, very sophisticated and often gritty YA novel, but it is definitely not going to be everyones cup of tea.  A lot of readers said they had a hard time getting into the story, while others complained that it was big (379 pages)  and too slow moving, while other readers thought it was a 5 star story.  I tend to be on the side of the 5 star folks.   

Peet's teenage narrator proves to be quite formidable.  One would almost think beyond her 15 years, but given Tamar's life experiences so far, maybe her formidability is completely understandable.  Through her voice, Peet details her discoveries in a very straightforward style, clean and clear, yet it is all done in such lyrical prose that sometimes it often made me almost forget the subtext of the title.  Without my realizing that he had done it, Peet has taken that subtext espionage, passion and betrayal, wound and woven them together in a story that left me unsuspecting until the very end and then totally surprised.  In fact, after I finished it, I thought the whole novel is really a reflection of of William Hyde's love of all things enigma and that, I think, that is what makes Tamar such an unusual story.  And yet, all along the way, Tamar gives us innocent (?) hints about where things are going. 

The book is recommended for readers age 14+
This book was bought for my personal library

Walker Books Australia has a very nice teacher's guide here.

This book was awarded the following well-deserved honors:

2005 Carnegie Medal
206 Wirral Paper Back of the Year
2008 ALA's Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults
2011 De Gouden Lijst

Thank You, Mal

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3. Maude Leads the Self-Published Bestsellers List

Maude by Donna Mabry returns to the top of the Self-Published Bestsellers List this week.

To help GalleyCat readers discover self-published authors, we compile weekly lists of the top eBooks in three major marketplaces for self-published digital books: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. You can read all the lists below, complete with links to each book.

If you want more resources as an author, try our Free Sites to Promote Your eBook post, How To Sell Your Self-Published Book in Bookstores post and our How to Pitch Your Book to Online Outlets post.

If you are an independent author looking for support, check out our free directory of people looking for writers groups.

Amazon Self-Published Bestsellers for the Week of March 4, 2015

1.  Maude by Donna Mabry: “In 1906, I was barely over fourteen years old, and it was my wedding day. My older sister, Helen, came to my room, took me by the hand, and sat me down on the bed. She opened her mouth to say something, but then her face flushed, and she turned her head to look out the window. After a second, she squeezed my hand and looked back in my eyes.”

2. Falling for My Best Friend’s Brother by J.S. Cooper: “He’s devastatingly handsome, sexy, arrogant and he’s out of reach.
He’s my best friend’s brother and the one man I can’t have.
However, now that my best friend Liv is getting married, I’m seeing him more than ever.”

3.  Trace Trace Part Three by Deborah Bladon: “Vanessa Meyer has overcome the struggles of her past to build a life that she can be proud of. She’s a nurse in the ER and her relationship with attorney Garrett Ryan fulfills her in a way that nothing else can. She has accepted the fact that her mother held damaging secrets but she’s ready to move on and start a new life.”

4. Their Stepsister by Alexa Riley: “Sweet, innocent, virginal Sarah had never once stopped thinking about her stepbrothers since she left for college. Identical in looks but opposites in personality, the twins were everything Sarah wanted in a lover.”

5. Boxed Set: Destined For Love Series by Janelle Denison: “The Millionaire’s Proposal . . . Grace Holbrook believed she couldn’t have children, but now she was pregnant after just one night with sexy, bad boy Ford McCabe. She was delighted by the news, but not so thrilled when Ford insists they get married, especially when his recent return to Whitaker Falls after eleven years away is shrouded in secrets.”

6. Beneath This Ink by Meghan March: “I’ve always known she was too good for me, but that never stopped me from wanting her. And then I finally had her for one night. A night I don’t remember. I figured I’d blown my shot.”

7. The Deal by Elle Kennedy: “Hannah Wells has finally found someone who turns her on. But while she might be confident in every other area of her life, she’s carting around a full set of baggage when it comes to sex and seduction. If she wants to get her crush’s attention, she’ll have to step out of her comfort zone and make him take notice…even if it means tutoring the annoying, childish, cocky captain of the hockey team in exchange for a pretend date.”

8. Departure by A.G. Riddle: “Harper Lane has problems. In a few hours, she’ll have to make a decision that will change her life forever. But when her flight from New York to London crash-lands in the English countryside, she discovers that she’s made of tougher stuff than she ever imagined.”

9. The Hurricane by R.J. Prescott: “Emily McCarthy is living in fear of a dark and dangerous past. A gifted mathematician, she is little more than a hollow, broken shell, trying desperately to make ends meet long enough to finish her degree.”

10. Prick: A Stepbrother Romance by Sabrina Paige: “Caulter Sterling is a prick. A filthy-mouthed, womanizing, crude, spoiled, arrogant prick. The tattooed, pierced, panty-melting-hot son of a celebrity.”

Smashwords Self-Published Bestsellers for the Week of March 4, 2015

1. Sixty Words or Phrases Commonly Misused by ESL/EFL Students Preparing for Universities By Kenneth Cranker

2. Communications for ICT: The Essential Guide By David Tuffley

3.  English Grammar and Essay Writing, Workbook 2 By Maggie Sokolik

4. Job Searching in Student Affairs: Strategies to Land the Position YOU Want By Patrick Love

5. Negotiating for Success: Essential Strategies and Skills By George J. Siedel

6. Neuropsychopharmacology By Nicoladie Tam, Ph.D.

7. Health Promotion Pathways: Applied Activities for the Collegiate Classroom By Jennifer J. Edwards, Ph.D.

7. This Time Is Divine: A Tribute To Black Tusk’s Jonathan Athon By Stereo Embers Books

8. Principles of Biology: Animal Systems By Nicoladie Tam, Ph.D.

9. The Key To Your Car By Dominic Vinci

10. Throwing Like a Girl By Robin Bourjaily

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4. The Complete Phantom Detective

 
 A4
Paperback, 
black & white
36 Pages
Price: £6.00
Ships in 3–5 business days
 
Murdering Ghouls. Satanic Masses. Demonic Possession. 
 
Werewolves. 
 
Poltergeists. 
 
Vampires. 
 
To many of the uninitiated these are just “things that go bump in the night” - TV or film fantasy.   In the Victorian era The Phantom Detective used his decades of occult study to help those in danger from these “things” and ultimately he paid the ultimate price…. ….
 
...yet he continues to help and to observe as best he can for now he is a true... 
 
                                                                                              PHANTOM  DETECTIVE! 
 
A collection of text stories and comics strips by Ben R. Dilworth and Terry Hooper-Scharf to keep you cold on a Summer's night...or any night!

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5. New Voices: Opening the Book With Peggy Kern!

Peggy Kern, author of Little Peach, one of our Winter 2015 New Voices, stopped by The Pageturn to chat! Little PeachYou can find a sneak peek of the novel right here.

Which was your favorite book from childhood, and what are you reading right now?

My favorite book as a teen was Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I just finished Citizen by Claudia Rankine, which is absolutely brilliant.

What is your secret talent?

I think my friends would say that I can select the perfect song/playlist for any given occasion. So, awesome DJ. That’s my secret talent.

Fill in the blank The movie Little Miss Sunshine always makes me laugh.

My current obsessions are:

D’Angelo’s new album, Black Messiah. Genius!

Researching my new book idea.

Any gem of advice for aspiring writers?

Don’t waste your time writing about things you don’t care about. It takes a lot of stamina to write a book, so find the story that fires you up. That fire will keep you going, and it will spill onto the page, too – an added bonus.

Finish this sentence: I hope a person who reads my book…

… will be outraged, then inspired to ask the hard questions about why sex trafficking occurs anywhere on the planet, but especially in a country as wealthy as ours.

How did you come to write this book?

I was home alone on a random Saturday night and stumbled upon the documentary “Very Young Girls”, which is about child sex trafficking in the U.S. I was devastated by what I saw. I had no idea this was happening in our country. I wept and wept and then became furious, so I decided to write a book about the issue. It was VERY important to me to be as accurate as possible, to tell the story from the viewpoint of a victim starting from when she was child. because that’s when the tragedy begins for these girls. I wanted to show how poverty, together with failing social safety nets like our public schools, juvenile care facilities, and criminal justice system, contributes to the trafficking of minors. Pimps are certainly villains, but there are deeper issues, too.

My friend Joe happened to be a detective with the NYPD at the time and was kind enough to help me with research. Through him, I was able to see the sex trade in Brooklyn. I was also able to speak with several women who were trafficked at kids, including a woman named Miracle who was “recruited” by a pimp when she was 12 years old right out of the group home where she was living at the time. She taught me so much of what I now know about traffickers, gangs, victims, and perhaps most importantly, our failure as a society to protect these kids. Miracle had absolutely no say in her fate. She was totally abandoned by society. The level of trauma she has endured in her life borders on unimaginable. I was blown away by the stories she shared with me, blown away by her pain, her heartache, her terror, her shame, the unbelievable choices she has had to make just to survive. Just to make it one more day.

Too often, our only exposure to prostitution is what we see on television, or glimpse briefly if we happen to drive through the wrong neighborhood at night. Or, if we do hear a story about sex trafficking, it has a happy ending: the girl is rescued, the pimp is arrested. Problem solved.

Well, most victims aren’t rescued. Most end up caught in cycle of addiction, incarceration, and untreated trauma that leads to all sorts of misery. Little Peach is an attempt to honor the fate of the majority of victims – victims like the women I met in Brooklyn, who are still out there, right now, barely holding on.

My hope – my belief – is that if people come to understand this issue through the eyes of the children it ruins, they will be inspired to act.

Girls like Little Peach are the daughters of America. We should fight for them in every way we can.

You can pre-order Little Peach here.

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6. Grammar Help: INFOGRAPHIC

big starKeeping track of all the rules of grammar can be tough. To lend a hand, the team at Big Star Copywriting has developed an infographic called “10 Grammar Mistakes Every Writer Needs To Avoid.”

We’ve embedded the full infographic below for you to explore further—what do you think? Follow this link to check out other online sources for help with grammar.

10 Grammar Mistakes Every Writer Needs To Avoid

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7. Channel to reset in order to rebuild

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8. Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron - Trailer 3

Shriiiiiiiiiiek!

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9. Acquerello III - Kickstarter Extra Rewards!

Acquerello III Kickstarter Update:
Thank you for your wonderful support, we are getting very close to the goal now!! 
I will be developing a series of watercolor painting and charcoal drawing video demos. In these videos, you will get to see the concept art/reference image of my paintings; learn about my approach and technique in watercolor, and follow my painting process from beginning to finish. I would also share the tools I used and behind-the-scene fun facts.
These are never-before-seen videos and exclusive for Kickstarter backers only. They will not be released in any form beyond this campaign. Learn more about the videos and pledge now:

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10. Stay, Clute

Stay cover

Strange Horizons has now posted my review of John Clute's latest collection of materials, Stay. A taste:
Even a mere glance through Stay, John Clute’s latest collection of book reviews, short stories, and lexicon entries, (or through any of Clute's books, really) will convince you that you are in the presence of genius.

But a genius of what type? The type that can turn a million candy wrappers into a surprisingly convincing small-scale replica of a rocket ship, or the type that zips to the heart of a zeitgeist faster than the rest of us? Is this genius a fox, a hedgehog, an anorak? Does it sing in seemingly effortless perfect pitch, or is its singing, like that of a dog, remarkable simply for being at all?

The desire to taxonomize is inevitable after reading even a few pages of Clute. He is a wild literary Linnaeus: obsessively compulsed to categorize. As someone generally uninterested in taxonomy, I have struggled to learn to read Clute appreciatively. I used to want to shoot his clay pigeonholes, to mock his neologistic frenzies, to clothe the emperor. But then I realized I was enjoying his work too much to do so. Clute’s imperative to categorize is contagious. I’d passed through the portal and made my way into Cluteland.
This review marks ten years of my writing for Strange Horizons — I began as a columnist in February 2005 with a rather odd piece titled "Walls". I stopped as a columnist after writing fifty, since I felt like I'd done what I could do with the form for that audience, but I've continued occasionally to write reviews.

I don't do a lot with genre speculative fiction these days, since other things have taken me elsewhere, but it's nice to be back now and again at a publication that feels so much like home. I owe thanks to lots of people there, especially former editor-in-chief Susan Groppi, who first asked me to write for the magazine, current editor-in-chief (and the first, if I remember correctly, reviews editor) Niall Harrison, recent past reviews editor Abigail Nussbaum, new reviews senior editor Maureen Kincaid Speller, and book reviews editor Aishwarya Subramanian, who not only let me keep some of my bad puns and jokes, but even liked some of them! Strange Horizons remains a unique, wonderful place out there in the wide world of the web, and it has always been an honor to be associated with it.

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11. Extra Rewards - Acquerello III Kickstarter!!

Acquerello III Kickstarter Update:
Thank you for your wonderful support, we are getting very close to the goal now!! 
I will be developing a series of watercolor painting and charcoal drawing video demos. In these videos, you will get to see the concept art/reference image of my paintings; learn about my approach and technique in watercolor, and follow my painting process from beginning to finish. I would also share the tools I used and behind-the-scene fun facts.
These are never-before-seen videos and exclusive for Kickstarter backers only. They will not be released in any form beyond this campaign. Learn more about the videos and pledge now:

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12. Portrait of Henry Smookain, as told by Hairy Tell Tall ~ from the Ancient Region of Hairiness

The Ancient Region of Hairiness is a fictional place where everyone is loved, nurtured, adored and respected when little and throughout their lives, which in turn results in a land filled with delight, true wildness and extreme contentment. Oh, plus everyone and thing is hairy, whiskered, bearded, or both (even the pigeons).

portraitofhenrysmookain

ancient hairiness details


Filed under: finding norway, flying, love

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13. Another Shipment to Japan

Interest in the Bedbug series continues to grow and we've received another order from Japan for both books and bugs. A shipment will be soon on its way and heading from New Zealand and going over to Japan. Parents and children are clamoring for this bedtime story of the sleepy bedbug that chooses not to bite. The Bilingual book I helps children to learn English/Japanese. The toy bedbugs

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14. Book Bloggers

How to approach book bloggers to review your book.

http://writersinthestormblog.com/2014/11/4-tips-for-working-with-book-bloggers/

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15. ‘Doggy Love’ by Wong Ping (NSFW)

A young boy has an erotic fixation with a classmate boasting breasts on her back.

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16. Review – After Ghandi: One Hundred Years of Nonviolent Resistance by Anne Sibley O’Brien and Perry Edmund O’Brien

After Gandhi: One Hundred Years of Nonviolent Resistance, by Anne Sibley O’Brien and Perry Edmond O’Brien (Charlesbridge, 2009)

After Gandhi: One Hundred Years of Nonviolent Resistance
by Anne Sibley O’Brien and Perry Edmond O’Brien
(Charlesbridge, 2009)

 
An extraordinarily powerful and … Continue reading ...

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17. HEAVY METAL TEENAGER is back in the woods!! (First spotting in over a year. He looked older, but his...

HEAVY METAL TEENAGER is back in the woods!! (First spotting in over a year. He looked older, but his long locks remain golden, abundant; his bangs still hang to the frames of his thick, thick glasses; and his t-shirt game is still on point.)

0 Comments on HEAVY METAL TEENAGER is back in the woods!! (First spotting in over a year. He looked older, but his... as of 3/4/2015 1:34:00 PM
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18. Haven't I seen you someplace before? Dueling covers of paper cutouts

Unknown-3Unknown
Unknown-4Unknown-5

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19. Patrick (H) Willems Shoots an X-Men Parody Video

What would have happened if Wes Anderson took the helm on an X-Men film adaptation? Patrick Willems decided to find out by creating a short video.

The parody piece embedded above has drawn more than 19,000 views on YouTube—what do you think? Click here to access a behind-the-scenes video. (via The Hollywood Reporter)

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20. Pubslush Foundation Gives $10K Grant to NaNoWriMo

The Pubslush Foundation revealed a new grant for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

The $10,000 prize will be used to fund future literacy initiatives, including NaNoWriMo’s Young Writers Program. The financing comes from Pubslush authors that have donated a percentage of their campaign budgets to fund literacy initiatives.

“We’re thrilled to receive such generous support from Pubslush,” Grant Faulkner stated Executive Director of NaNoWriMo. “We believe that everyone has a story to tell, and that everyone’s story matters. This grant will help fuel NaNoWriMo’s creative revolution so that more people can realize themselves as creators.”

Pubslush has also official partnered with NaNoWriMo to promote its crowd funding platform to NaNoWriMo participants.

 

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21. "Art Is a Way Out. Do not let life overwhelm you. When the old paths are choked with the débris of..."

“Art Is a Way Out. Do not let life overwhelm you. When the old paths are choked with the débris of failure, look for newer and fresher paths. Art is just such a path. Art is distilled from suffering.”

- Nathanael West, Miss Lonelyhearts (via)



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22. My Favorite Carle

Though I certainly have always respected Eric Carle's accomplishments (great museum, for instance), I can't say I was ever particularly taken with his work. The whole caterpillar business kind of escapes me.

However, this weekend someone asked me to read him Carle's Dream Snow. And now I know why Eric Carle is Eric Carle.

What a fantastic combination of story and image. Little bits of animals can be seen through barn windows. Later, the whole entire body can be found behind an overlay of snow. And then the Santa-type figure decorates a tree that lights up. (Or maybe there was music. I was kind of excited over this, and now I can't remember.) I think this book makes the best use of what some might consider gimmicks, the overlays and the music or lights, that I've ever seen.

Someone in our family was totally drawn into this book. I had told him I was looking for a cow book in his room. He asked for Dream Snow, pointed out the cow in the barn, and when we lifted the snow overlays, announced, "There's the cow" and then "There's the-----" whatever the next animals were. Yes, he is amazing. But this book should make it easy for all kids to be amazing.

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23. 48h BD - troisième édition les 3 & 4 avril 2015

Rendez-vous chez nos libraires !

LC d'après CP News 04/03/2015 à 16:26 263 visiteurs

Juste après celui du printemps, le début du mois d’avril marquera le retour de l’opération 48h BD. Les 3 & 4 avril, en France et en Belgique, les librairies associées à l’opération proposeront 12 albums au choix de clients occasionnels ou réguliers et , pour certaines d’entre elles,  des animations variées.Quelques nouveautés au programme de l’édition 2015 :
  • la palette des éditeurs participants s’étend : à Casterman, Dragaud, Dupuis, Fluide glacial, Bamboo, Jungle !, Le Lombard et Urban comics s’ajoutent Glénat, Delcourt, Soleil et Futuropolis.
  • le nombre d’exemplaires diffusés pour l’occasion passe de 100.000 à 216.000 albums.
  • la gratuité a vécu puisque pour recevoir un livre, il faudra payer 1 €uro symbolique.
  • des BD – 50.000 - seront offertes à des écoles, des collèges, des lycées et des bibliothèques.
  • douze autres titres seront proposés au format numérique par Iznéo à 0,99 €uro.
Par ailleurs des animations et des rencontres seront proposées, avec notamment 100 séances de dédicaces prévues.
BDGest est une nouvelle fois partenaire de cette fête de la BD.
Plus d’information sur le site dédié : www.48hbd.com
 ____________________________________________________________________

Sorry but this is a Google translation!

 Just after the spring, the beginning of April will mark the return of 48h BD operation. 3 and 4 April in France and Belgium, bookstores associated with the transaction will offer 12 albums to choose from occasional or regular customers and, for some of them, various animations.
Some new additions to the 2015 program:

    
The participating publishers palette extends: to Casterman, Dragaud, Dupuis, cold fluid, Bamboo Jungle, The Lombard and Urban comics Glénat addition, Delcourt, Sun and Futuropolis!.
    
the number of copies distributed for the occasion pass 100000-216000 albums.
    
free since lived to receive a book, it will pay 1 € uro symbolic.
    
BD - 50,000 - will be offered to schools, colleges, high schools and libraries.
    
twelve titles will the digital format by Iznéo 0.99 € uro.
Furthermore animations and games will be offered, including 100 signings planned.
BDGest is once again partner of this festival of comics.
More information on the dedicated website: www.48hbd.com


 

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24. Book Review: Texts From Jane Eyre by Mallory Ortberg

From Goodreads:
Hilariously imagined text conversations—the passive aggressive, the clever, and the strange—from classic and modern literary figures, from Scarlett O’Hara to Jessica Wakefield.

Mallory Ortberg, the co-creator of the cult-favorite website The Toast, presents this whimsical collection of hysterical text conversations from your favorite literary characters. Everyone knows that if Scarlett O’Hara had an unlimited text-and-data plan, she’d constantly try to tempt Ashley away from Melanie with suggestive messages. If Mr. Rochester could text Jane Eyre, his ardent missives would obviously be in all-caps. And Daisy Buchanan would not only text while driving, she’d text you to pick her up after she totaled her car. Based on the popular web-feature, Texts from Jane Eyre is a witty, irreverent mashup that brings the characters from your favorite books into the twenty-first century.
The idea behind this is brilliant and the execution is perfect.  I don't really have just a ton to say about it other than that it's hilarious and made me laugh out loud on multiple occasions.  It reads super fast, so you can either devour it in a night like I did or you can read a few text conversations at a time.  If you're not already into books, you may not get most of the jokes as they all come from well-known works of literature.  I'd only hesitate to recommend this to those who are completely unfamiliar with all works of classic literature.  If you've read even one classic, I think you'll find this delightfully funny.

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25. The Last Jews in Berlin

The Last Jews in Berlin. Leonard Gross. 1982/2015. Open Road Media. 343 pages. [Source: Review copy]

The Last Jews in Berlin was a good read. It was oh-so-close to being a great read every now and then. What I loved about this one were the personal stories. These stories were the heart of the book. Readers get to meet dozens of people and follow their stories. As you can imagine, these stories can be intense.

Instead of telling each person's story one at a time, one after the other, the book takes a more chronological approach. The book is told in alternating viewpoints. Is this for the best? On the one hand, I can see why this approach makes it more difficult for readers to follow individuals, to keep track of each person's story. Just when you get good and attached to a certain person's narrative, it changes. It takes a page or two perhaps before you reconnect with the next narrator and get invested in that unfolding story. On the other hand, telling the story like this sets a certain tone, increases tension and suspense, and avoids repetition. So I can see why it makes sense. The method of storytelling didn't bother me.

Probably the one thing I learned from reading this is that there were Jews working with the Nazis and turning other Jews in. That there were Jews betraying one another trying to survive. One simply didn't know who to trust.

At the same time, the book shares stories of people who were trustworthy, people who were willing to risk their own lives to help Jews. Life was hard for everyone: but some were willing to share their food and open up their homes at great risk. The book did show that not every person supported the Nazis and their philosophy. There were people who disagreed and were willing to do the right thing.

It's an emotional book, very intense in places.
© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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