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1. Jumping Into Form - Interview with Bob Raczka

National Poetry Month is long over, but I believe in poetry EVERY day and still have forms and interviews to share. So without further ado, another wonderful poet weighs in on form.

* * * * *

Today I'm sharing the thoughts of Bob Raczka, author of numerous books about art and art history, the seasons, as well as poetry. Recent poetry titles include Presidential Misadventures: Poems That Poke Fun at the Man in Charge (2015), Santa Clauses: Short Poems From the North Pole (2014), Lemonade: and Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word (2011), and Guyku: A Year of Haiku for Boys (2010). I'm looking forward to a new book coming out in 2016 entitled Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems.
How do you begin a poem? Or, how does a poem begin for you — with an idea, a form, an image, or something else?
Bob: I usually (but not always) start with the form. And it helps to have a theme in mind. For example, my book Santa Clauses consists of 25 haiku “written” by Santa. Haiku are about nature, so when I started writing, I thought about things in nature that are unique to the North Pole, and that might make an impression on Santa. Pretty soon, I was writing poems about the northern lights, reindeer and snow hares.

How do you choose the form of your poems?
Bob: Most of the time I’m inspired by other poems. For example, I just finished a manuscript of 20 poems that I’m calling “skinny sonnets”. The form is based on a 14-word sonnet written by a poet named Frank Sidgwick in 1921. His abbreviated sonnet is called The Aeronaut to His Lady, and once I read it, I knew I had to try one for myself. The same thing happened with my book Lemonade, which was inspired by an anagram-like poem called rain by a poet named Andrew Russ.

Are there any forms you haven't tried but would like to? Why or why not?
Bob: There are many forms I haven’t tried. I tend to gravitate toward shorter forms like haiku, cinquains, clerihews and limericks. I find them easier to wrap my head around. Call me a minimalist. I also don’t have a lot of time to write poetry with my day job in advertising, so the shorter forms work well with my schedule. That’s not to say that short forms are easy, or that I don’t rewrite my short poems many, many times. I do love the fact that you can say so much, and be so clever, with so few words.

What tools (rhyming dictionary, book of forms, etc.) do you use in writing poetry (if any)?  
Bob: I love my rhyming dictionary. It’s paperback and the edges are well-worn from all of my quick-flipping back and forth. I also have quite a collection of poetry books for inspiration, mostly adult poets. Some are anthologies, others are by individual poets. One book that I return to again and again is Poem-Making: Ways to Begin Writing Poetry by Myra Cohn Livingston.

What would you like students or children to know about poetry?
Bob: First, poetry is about playing with words. So if you like playing with words, or seeing how other people play with words, chances are you’ll like reading and writing poetry. Second, don’t expect to like—or even understand—every poem you read. Poems are like books, and poets are like authors: you’ll like some more than you like others. Third, reading poems is a great way to slow down and appreciate the little things in life. I like to read a handful of nature poems before I go to bed. It makes me feel good and helps relieve any stress I may be feeling.

Finally, one of your esteemed colleagues suggested I ask for a poem in a foreign verse form. Would you be willing to share a poem for this project?

I reach for firefly’s
flicker, but all I catch is
a handful of dark.

Poem ©Bob Raczka, 2015. All rights reserved.

A million thanks to Bob for participating in my Jumping Into Form interview and for waiting ever so patiently for it to post.

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2. Audiobook Review: Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

From Goodreads:
Claudia Rankine's bold new book recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in twenty-first-century daily life and in the media. Some of these encounters are slights, seeming slips of the tongue, and some are intentional offensives in the classroom, at the supermarket, at home, on the tennis court with Serena Williams and the soccer field with Zinedine Zidane, online, on TV-everywhere, all the time. The accumulative stresses come to bear on a person's ability to speak, perform, and stay alive. Our addressability is tied to the state of our belonging, Rankine argues, as are our assumptions and expectations of citizenship. In essay, image, and poetry, Citizen is a powerful testament to the individual and collective effects of racism in our contemporary, often named "post-race" society.
Beautifully written, but I feel like some of the quality was lost in an audio recording.  I've read many reviews about the poetry here, but it's particularly hard for me to appreciate poetry when I'm not seeing it on the page.  That said, I did find the book to be well-composed, utilizing a unique voice to bring up the small scale and large scale racial aggressions seen and experienced in day to day life, both personally and from the media.

Entertainment Value
This one flew by - only a little bit over two hours on audio - so I'm assuming that it would also be a quick read in print.  It really packs a punch though.  I think it's so important right now for people of all races to be listening to each other's stories.  You can hear a lecture on racism or read an article about it, but what's really going to make a difference in the way you see the world is hearing a person's story - how they feel when certain phrases are used, how media reactions affect their day to day lives, etc.  This book completely fit that bill for me.  It gave me a glimpse into the casual racism that, being white and privileged, I'd most likely never pick up on.

The narrator does a great job, but I found myself getting lost a few times, particularly during portions that are more poetic in format.  I think I would have enjoyed this more if I read it in print and will be making an effort to find a print copy.

I don't think anyone of any political persuasion would deny that the last year has been a difficult one for our country in terms of race relations.  And as I mentioned above, I think the key to combating racism (or gender inequality or sexual orientation or religious differences or any other) is to sit down and listen to what a person on the other side has to say about their own experiences.  Hearing "this hurts me because" or "this makes me furious because" from another human being will always make more of an impact than hearing a list of arbitrary reasons.  I think that Rankine does an excellent job here of using various forms of literature, from essay to poetry, to convey her personal story.  I highly recommend this book to everyone - it's so important to do the hard work and think the hard thoughts that will help us make a difference in the ways we relate to each other.

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3. Publishing Jobs: Farrar Straus & Giroux, Harmony, Kirkus

This week, Farrar Straus & Giroux is hiring a copy chief, while Harmony needs an editor. Kirkus Media is seeking an editorial assistant, and Cavendish Square Publishing is on the hunt for an editor. Get the scoop on these openings and more below, and find additional just-posted gigs on Mediabistro.

Find more great publishing jobs on the GalleyCat job board. Looking to hire? Tap into our network of talented GalleyCat pros and post a risk-free job listing. For real-time openings and employment news, follow @MBJobPost.

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4. Green Valentine Launch!




6 August, 6pm.

Readings Bookshop, 309 Lygon Street, Carlton, Victoria, Australia 3053

Buy the book! Get it signed!

I’ll give you a free herb or veggie seedling!

No RSVP necessary, but you can on fbook if you really want to.

Official publication page.

Preorder now!


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5. Summer Buzz

Flies and moths and wasps and bees
Flit among the summer trees
Searching for, while they’re in flight,
A proper place to take a bite…

Or use a stinger, poised to stick,
(Or grabby claws, if one’s a tick).
Whatever creature’s in their way
May find them hard to keep at bay.

We humans, though we are aware,
Are still not able to prepare
And so, we often are annoyed
By insects that we can’t avoid.

This season’s great in many ways –
The flowers, warmth and longer days,
But I’m not one who’s summer-smitten
‘Cause I don’t like being bitten!

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6. Pizza a Day Diet: St. Philip

Today's pizza came from St. Philip, a pizza place with the look and feel of a sushi bar, which seems appropriate, since it's by the same folks responsible for Uchi.  The pizzas are all thin crust, and they give the option of "traditional" sauce and "white."  The latter apparently means there is no tomato sauce at all, which is just wrong :-).  Although I'm slightly curious about it...

I had the House Meatball, which features "ricotta, grilled onion, garlic, basil, [and] chili flakes."

The pizza itself hit the mark on all four of the Very Important Pizza Criteria: crust, cheese, sauce, and toppings.

Crust was nicely textured, with a good level of chewiness and it stood up to the ingredients without getting soggy.  The sauce had a good flavor and was proportional with the cheese - neither overpowered the other and the combination had an elegant subtlety.

And the meatballs were fantastic (and they also sell them as an appetizer).  I might go back just for those.

The only thing I wasn't totally crazy about was the basil -- yes, they added a nice color and texture and flavor, but I kind of object to leaves on my pizza as a matter of principle --  they end up looking wilted and sort of look like the thing has been sitting under a tree in a windstorm.

Still, very, very good, and with reasonable prices and excellent, friendly service -- and I'm curious to try some of their more exotic offerings.

Oh, and did I mention they have their own bakery?

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7. I'm Vlogging About My Run Up To Comic Con!

Do you think a children's book illustrator has any business selling prints at Comic Con? Do you think he will fail? Do you think he has no game plan? Do you think he can compete in the vast sea of nerddom? Do you think he won't recover the costs of production, entry, etc.? Do you think he will share his gross sales receipts with you in a future video? Tune in to have these and other silly questions answered about my upcoming run for President - I mean comic con artist! Disclaimer - the amount of honesty that will be divulged might be too intense for younger members of the viewing audience - viewer discretion advised!

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8. Frankie and Joely by Nova Weetman

Frankie and Joely are best friends. They love each other like no one else can. But when a summer break in the country brings fresh distractions, simmering jealousies and festering secrets, can their friendship survive? 

It’s the holidays and, together, Frankie and Joely board a train and escape the city and their mums for a week of freedom. But when Joely introduces Frankie to her country cousins, Thommo and Mack, it soon becomes clear that something other than the heat is getting under their skin. As the temperature rises and the annual New Years’ Eve party looms closer, local boy Rory stirs things up even more and secrets start to blister. Suddenly the girls’ summer getaway is not panning out how either of them imagined. Will they still be ‘Frankie and Joely’ by the end of their holiday?

I love novels about female friendship and rural Australia and hot summers, and Frankie and Joely has all of these things. The stifling heat and the dusty middle-of-nowhere town are depicted beautifully. The story is told using third-person omniscient - predominantly from the perspectives of Frankie and Joely, but also offering Mack's, Thommo's and Rory's viewpoints. This is a style of narration that is really difficult to get right, and at times, as POV changed from paragraph to paragraph, I felt at a remove from the characters. The stark differences in how Frankie and Joely view each other and themselves make their perspectives the most compelling - had the story instead been told by only one or the other, so much of the exploration of their friendship would be missing, and it wouldn't be as rich or as nuanced a story. I am always fascinated with the awful characters in stories, so more of Rory's point of view and his particular background and motivations would have been terrific; similarly, Mack and Thommo aren't POV characters for particularly much of the story, and I feel they could've contributed more.

Joely's aunt and uncle are the most sympathetic characters of the novel - there's a scene where the aunt makes scones with Joely which is one of the loveliest in the novel (and made me really want to make and eat scones. Which I might do after I finish writing this). Frankie's desire to be accepted, and her love and care for her off-the-rails mum makes her far more likeable than Joely, whose childishness is at times grating. That said, they are fifteen-year-old characters and, knowing actual fifteen-year-olds (and having been fifteen myself), they're very realistically depicted. I think the pettiness and melodramas and general complexities of intense teenage friendship are well-drawn. The girls communicate poorly and behave like idiots and treat each other badly, despite how important the friendship is to both of them, because they're both dealing with their own issues: trying to deal with family and boy dramas and attempting to work out who they are and who they want to be.

It's an easy, enjoyable contemporary Aussie YA read, which I think will appeal most to younger teenaged readers who can identify with Frankie and Joely and the intensities and difficulties of their friendship. If you liked Kate Gordon's Writing Clementine, I reckon you'll like this one, too (and vice versa).

Frankie and Joely on the publisher's website

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9. Punctuation and Rhythm

The different punctuation marks can be used to speed up or slow down the pace of your readers, adding rhythm to your story.


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10. Writer Wednesday: Amazon's New Review Policy

I'm sure most of you have seen or heard about how Amazon is removing reviews and not allowing people to review certain books because they believe the reviewer knows the author. If you haven't seen this yet, here is how the notice to the reviewer begins:
“We removed your Customer Reviews because you know the author personally.”
There's another message that says something to the effect of: You are ineligible to review this book...

Authors and reviewers seem to be in an uproar about this. Today, I want to share my feelings on it. As an author, I love reaching out to readers. I have my FB group, Kelly's Coven, and I interact with readers on my FB author page, FB profile page, Twitter, my website, Goodreads, you name it! So does this mean all those people I interact with will no longer be able to post reviews? I highly doubt Amazon will be able to keep track of them all, but I'm sure the number of reviews I have per book will decrease.

So what does this mean? Personally, I don't plan to change anything. Not one thing, because I LOVE talking to readers. Sure, I want reviews because they are important to a book's success. But more than that, I want to have a genuine relationship with my readers. So if I have to sacrifice reviews to keep my readers happy, I will.

I'm not going to stop interacting with anyone who wants to discuss my books with me. I love you all and talking to you is one of my favorite things about being an author.

What do you think about Amazon's new policy?

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11. Rhys Ifans visits School he is Patron Of, Hosts Q&A

Rhys Ifans plays many ostensibly “quirky” characters, and is best known to us as Xenophilius Lovegood. Like many other Harry Potter actors, Rhys Ifans works to be apart of the community of which he is from, and give back in anyway he possibly can. Originally from northern Wales, Ifans has become patron of a school near where he grew up.Ysgol Plas Brondyffryn in Denbigh, the school that Ifans is patron of, is the regional center for autism education. Of its importance to him, Ifans said thatYsgol Plas Brondyffryn feels like “home.” On a recent visit to Ysgol Plas Brondyffryn, Ifans hosted a Q&A about his acting career, and spoke to The Daily Post about his work there. The Daily Post reports:

The Ruthin-born actor was treated to an impromptu performance of the song from Oliver! by youngsters at Ysgol Plas Brondyffryn, the regional centre for autism education in North Wales of which he is a patron.

Ifans, who has appeared in blockbusters such as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and The Amazing Spiderman, responded with applause and said: “That was great guys. When are we going on tour?”

He spoke of his rise to fame and the pros and cons of life in the spotlight during a question and answer session which followed.

“They (the staff) very kindly invited me to be patron. I thought it was just a great opportunity.

“I have many friends with children who suffer with varying degrees of autism, so I am familiar with the condition.

“My friend’s kids who are autistic, I am so very, very fond of them. They’re just such amazing kids on every level.

“Given that there was an establishment like this doing such great work on my doorstep, it made sense to get involved as much as I can.

“For all my success, being able to give up my time and energy to support this beats any award you can ever be given.”

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12. Writing from ... Singapore

       In The Straits Times (here at AsiaOne) Akshita Nanda writes about Chasing the elusive literary prize -- seen as the key to success, especially abroad.
       A couple of Malaysians seem to have made the leap, so:

all this begs the question of why no Singaporean writer of fiction has ever achieved international acclaim for literary quality.
       It doesn't help that:
Asian literary writing in English is relegated to speciality shelves rather than front-of-store displays unless one or more authors make headlines.
       (And I don't even want to ask about 'Asian literary writing not in English ...'.)

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13. Cuba’s Animation Industry Filled With Challenges and Promise

Driven by enthusiasm and a can-do attitude, artists want to grow Cuba's underdeveloped animation industry.

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14. The Giver Readalikes

The GiverThe Giver Readalikes

If you’ve just read The Giver by Lois Lowry (and had your mind totally blown), chances are you’re on the lookout for something equally awesome to read next. But where do you start?! Have no fear, fellow fans! If you’re craving more mystery and adventure in a world full of secrets, check out this super-rad list of The Giver readalikes for ages 10 and up!

Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry
The author of The Giver takes us on a journey to a future very different from the one created in The Giver. After The Ruin, the world is now a bleak place with no technology. Kira, a young weaver, is taken to live in the Council Edifice after her mother dies. There, she is responsible for restoring the Singer’s robe worn at the Ruin Song Gathering, an annual ceremony for retelling the world’s past. In the process, she uncovers more and more about the truth of the Ruin and what she can do to change the future. See also Messenger and Son by Lois Lowry.

Running Out of Time by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Jessie Keyser, age 13, lives with her family in the village of Clifton, Indiana in the year 1840. When the children of the village fall ill with a deadly disease, it’s up to Jessie to find a cure — and that means discovering that her whole life until now has been a lie. The year is actually 1996, and the world outside of her hometown is radically different from everything she’s known. But even if she’s never seen a car, or television, or telephone, she’s still on a mission to save the children . . . and find out why this enormous secret was kept from her in the first place.

Holes by Louis Sachar
Stanley Yelnats has been unfairly sent to Camp Green Lake, but it’s not the kind of camp you’re expecting — it’s a boys’ detention center. At Camp Green Lake, there’s no lake in sight, just a dried-up lake bed. The boys spend all day digging holes 5-feet wide and 5 -feet deep. It’s supposed to “build character,” but it seems suspiciously like there is something else going on. What are the boys really digging for? What’s the warden looking for? Stanley’s hunt for the truth lands him in a whole lot of trouble, but he’s about to unearth the secret of a lifetime!

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
Humankind has survived the end of the world in the city of Ember, protected by a dome overhead and surrounded by darkness. For 241 years, humans have lived in this city that is lit for 12 hours a day by lamps. There used to be a way to get out, but the instructions have been long lost . . . or have they? With blackouts happening more often and storerooms getting dangerously empty, it’s up to 12-year-olds Doon and Lina to find a way to save humanity.

The Finisher by David Baldacci
Vega Jane, age 14, has always believed there is no life outside of her village of Wormwood — just deadly and mysterious creatures that roam the surrounding forest, called the Quag. That all changes when she spots her mentor Quentin fleeing into the unknown and finds a note he’s left behind for her. What was Quentin running from, and what was he running towards? Vega is about to be tossed into a thrilling and terrifying adventure where each answer just brings more and more questions.

The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm by Nancy Farmer
Welcome to Harare, Zimbabwe in the year 2194. The 3 children of military leader General Amadeus Matsika have just been kidnapped and spirited away from their robotically protected and controlled home, and are about to learn a whole lot about the world outside their front door. Sent on a mission to rescue the kids are 3 mutant detectives from an agency called The Ear, the Eye and the Arm. The past, present, and future collide in this rollicking adventure that will take you deep into a fantastical world of mile-high skyscrapers, slums, plastic mines, witchcraft, strange traditions, street gangs, bizarre technology, and more!

The Last Book in the Universe by Rodman Philbrick
When the world more or less ended in the “Big Shake” a select group of people sealed themselves off in the land of Eden and rebuilt a more perfect civilization inside its walls. Spaz, an epileptic teenager, lives in the Urb — the land outside of Eden — and in constant fear of the gangs that freely roam there. When a gang sends him to rob an old man named Ryter, Spaz stumbles across something truly sacred: the pages of the last book in the universe, which Ryter has been writing. In this toxic wasteland, Ryter may hold the key to finding a way to save the rest of the “normals” left out of Eden.

Thank goodness it’s summertime, because these readalikes are going to make a great addition to my summer reading list! Have you read any of these readalikes? What book would YOU recommend for fans of The Giver? Share your thoughts and picks in the Comments section below!

Happy reading, and I’ll see ya around! And you outdoor readers: don’t forget your sunscreen!!!


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15. The party that was Caldecott

The place: San Francisco. The occasion: ALA Annual. The party: Caldecott. From January 2014 – January 2015, I studiously studied. I looked at over 500 picture books, and along with 14 other intrepid souls, decided which of those were the most distinguished. Our committee is incredibly proud of our list of books. And this year at ALA annual, we got to celebrate with the distinguished artists in the class of 2015.

At the banquet - photo by Angela Reynolds

At the banquet – photo by Angela Reynolds

Starting with a great street party for Melissa Sweet (which included yummy tacos & a baby shower), and then the next night a dinner with all 6 honor winners, followed the next evening by “Dinner with Dan”, and then Sunday  the Caldecott-Newbery-Wilder awards banquet, it was a wild and fun ride!

But it wasn’t just fine dining. At each of these events our committee got to have some quality time with the illustrators that we honored. And we felt honored to do that. Each one of them thanked us profusely. I can speak for myself only (though I have a feeling many of my co-committee members will be shaking their heads yes), but I felt like I should be thanking them for their work, for their contribution to children’s literature. In Dan Santat’s award acceptance speech, he said the Caldecott changed his life. I must say, it changed ours, as well, Mr. Santat. 15 people became fast friends, confidantes, cohorts, colleagues. We bonded over art, over time spent together, and yes, even tattoos. This great party we called San Francisco created memories to last a lifetime.

Beekle tattoo - photo by Angela Reynolds

Beekle tattoo – photo by Angela Reynolds

At the banquet, I was asked by Mac Barnett if serving on the Caldecott Committee was exciting as it sounds. I had to say a resounding yes to that. And you know what folks, only an ALSC member can do this. I’ve been a member for 21 years, and yes, I worked hard to get to a place where I could serve on this illustrious committee. But so can you. If it is your dream (as it was mine as a starry-eyed grad student), then work towards it. The rewards are immense, and they go far beyond a fancy cocktail dinner (though those are certainly nice, too). Thanks to all the publishers who wined and dined us, to all my committee members who opened my eyes to so many viewpoints, to the illustrators and authors who make amazing books, and to ALSC for being there to hold up children’s books as shining stars. Thank you all!

The post The party that was Caldecott appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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16. The Fault in Our Stars: Dramatic Structure

The dramatic structure of The Fault in Our Stars

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17. What Is It? Fables & Parables For All Readers

Today I thought I’d take a closer look at the differences between fables and parables and come up with some recommendations for readers of all ages who enjoy a little learning with their leisure. A fable is: a short story that conveys a moral to the reader, typically with animals as characters. A parable is: a short story designed […]

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18. Looking Up

Theresa Brandon, www.theresabrandon.com

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19. Supporting literature in translation

       In The New York Times Benjamin Moser pleads for more attention and support for literature in translation in (the embarrassingly titled -- come on, NYT, really ?) Found in Translation.
       Moser specifically blames: "the increasing global dominance of English" for the obscurity of foreign literature.
       It seems a bit of a circular argument to me -- and while it's understandable he harps on Clarice Lispector (he wrote a biography of her, and has been instrumental -- including via retranslations of her work -- in fostering an impressive Lispector-in-English revival) she surely wasn't that obscure in the first place, even in English (several of her works were available -- I have novels of hers first published in translation in 1986 and 1988) but especially elsewhere (meaning also: not just in Brazil).
       Moser suggests:

For every Karl Ove Knausgaard or Elena Ferrante, who are translated almost as soon as they appear in Norwegian or Italian, there are many Lispectors.
       But surely the real problem is the many, many great writers who are not available in any form in English. (You can quibble, or outright dismiss the early Lispector translations, but at least it was possible, even as an American reader, to get a sense of the author almost three decades ago.)
       Some of his examples also are somewhat underwhelming: sure, Jonathan Franzen published a translation of Spring Awakening -- but it was something he did at college and just polished up a little (also: it's not like that piece hasn't been translated before ...). And while I admire the work of the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation it seems a bit of an exaggeration to suggest here was the final necessary piece and: "Thanks to Ms. Kostova, contemporary Bulgarian writers have a chance at being known internationally". Quite a few have been translated into continental European languages -- foremost among them German -- and have been doing just fine, 'internationally' (as long as one accepts that means: not necessarily in the US/UK ...).
       Getting translated into English is still, of course, the holy literary grail: it is the most-desired and most useful transmission language, but French and German seem to still hold their own in the spreading-the-authors'-words department; indeed, audiences there (and elsewhere) seem more receptive to the foreign, and I often wonder whether it wouldn't be wiser for national literary organizations to try harder in those markets, rather than putting all their eggs in the still dubious and fickle English-language market.

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20. Return Of The Gods & The Cross-Earths Caper

Parts 1 & 2 Of The "Invasion Earth" Trilogy

The Return Of The Gods:Twilight of the Super Heroes

Terry Hooper-Scharf
Black & White
331 Pages
Price: £20.00
It begins slowly with Earth’s heroes going about their daily tasks –fighting a giant robot controlled by a mad scientist’s brain , attackers both human and mystical -even alien high priests of some mysterious cult and their zombie followers and, of course, a ghost and a young genius lost in time. 
Pretty mundane. But there is a huge alien Mother-ship near the Moon and strange orange spheres chase some of Earth’s heroes who vanish into thin air –are they dead?
 Then black, impenetrable domes cover cities world-wide. 
Alien invasion of Earth! 
A war between the Dark Old Gods and the pantheons that followed! 
Warriors from Earth’s past having to battle each day and whether they die or not they are back the next day!
 And no one suspects the driving force behind the events that could cause destruction and chaos throughout the multiverse —assaulted on all fronts can Earth’s defenders succeed or will they fail...is this truly the end?


 Terry Hooper-Scharf
Black & White
107 Pages 
Price: £12.00
Following the events on Neo Olympus and the Boarman invasion of Earth, many heroes and crime-fighters have withdrawn from activity. 
 Some are trying to recover from injuries while others are fighting the mental scars left by the events. 
 As heroes from other parallels who helped during the events return home, members of the Special Globe Guard are shocked at the sudden appearance of Zom of the Zodiac. 
Very soon, a group of heroes find a quick rescue mission turn sour as they become lost between parallel Earths and threats. Sometimes one Earth just is not enough. 
The complete story published in issues 7-10 of Black Tower Adventure now in...one handy dandy book!

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21. ‘Adventure Time,’ ‘Uncle Grandpa’ Among Cartoon Network Renewals

Five Cartoon Network shows have earned season renewals.

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22. Man Booker Independent International Foreign Fiction Prize

       The Man Booker International Prize was, from 2005 to 2015, a biennial prize honoring: "a living author who has published fiction either originally in English or whose work is generally available in translation in the English language".
       The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize was a prize that ran from 1990 to 1995 and was then revived and ran from 2001 to 2015, honoring: "the best work of fiction by a living author, which was translated into English from any other language and published in the United Kingdom in the previous year"
       And now they are one, as the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize has been swallowed whole and renamed the Man Booker International Prize -- with a nice heap more of prize-money tossed in for good measure -- while the author-prize that the Man Booker International used to be has been tossed by the wayside (apparently, you see, it was beyond the comprehension of British readers that a prize might be: "awarded for a body of work rather than an individual title" (so Man Booker Foundation chair Jonathan Taylor, in this report in The Bookseller)).

       To sum up what's changed:

  • The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize no longer exists
  • The Man Booker International Prize no longer is a prize for an author's life-work (like the Nobel)
  • The Man Booker International Prize is no longer a biennial prize, but rather will be awarded annually
  • The Man Booker International Prize is now, in fact, identical to what the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize used to be -- except that they'll pay out more money
       Apparently the Man Booker folk weren't having all that much success with their author-prize and figured a book-prize was the better bet -- they do okay with the Man Booker Prize for (English-language) Fiction, after all. And rather than compete with the UK's other big translation book prize, why not just take it over ?
       Lost in the shuffle is the author-prize, which is a bit disappointing. But it really does seem to be an odd cultural thing: US/UK literary prizes tend much more to be book- rather than author-prizes (while, for example, in Germany the opposite is true -- most of the big prizes are author prizes, with the German Book Prize, for example, a relative newcomer to the prize-scene).
       The additional money -- £50,000 for the winning title, to be shared equally between author and translator, plus a bit more just for getting shortlisted -- is certainly welcome, and maybe that will help atract more attention for the prize (personally I thought the IFFP did pretty well, publicity wise, but admittedly the Man Booker Prize for Fiction is in a different league; whether this new-version Man Booker International Prize will be in the same league ... I have my doubts).
       It's good to see publishers can submit as many titles as they want (unlike the severely restricted Man Booker Prize for Fiction) -- presumably because the pool of eligible titles is so (relatively) small in the first place. Among the restrictions in place however is that both author and translator must be alive -- which really cuts into the eligibility-pool (recall that eleven (I think ...) of the twenty-five authors with works longlisted for this year's Best Translated Book Award were deceased ...).

       The Rules & Entry Form (warning ! dreaded pdf format !) does not specify whether or not the list of submitted titles will be made public (the Man Booker Prize for Fiction, for example, outrageously promises to keep the list secret); given that there are no limitations on how many titles publishers can submit (unlike with the Fiction prize, where publishers thus have a great incentive to lie to their authors and say they submitted titles they did not actually submit) one hopes and prays that they will publicize the list -- since that would also be a very useful resource for readers.

       See also the official statements from the two prizes:        And UK publishers: submit ! submit ! Here (warning ! dreaded pdf format !) ! Submit !

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23. SHARP by Leah Danz


Submitted by Leah Danz for the Illustration Friday topic SHARP.

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24. The Way Things Were review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Aatish Taseer's The Way Things Were, another big India-novel, and just out in the US.

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25. Love Stage!! Review

Title: Love Stage!! Genre: Yaoi, Romance Publisher: Viz/Sublime (US), Kadokawa Shoten (JP) Artist/Writer: Taishi Zaoi, Eiki Eiki Serialized in: Asuka Ciel Original Release Date: May 12, 2015 Due to his discreet personality and otaku-like features, people usually don’t give Izumi Sena a second glance on the busy streets of Tokyo. But things would have been ... Read more

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