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By: Sue Bursztynski,
Alice Pung is a writer best known for her memoir, Unpolished Gem and, more recently, the follow-up, Her Father's Daughter. In the first, she wrote about growing up in Braybrook, with her parents opening a store in Footscray. both in Melbourne's multicultural, working class Western suburbs. The second book, Her Father's Daughter, was mostly centred around her father's family - her mother's was in the first book - and their sufferings in Cambodia's killing fields. And powerful stuff it is, too! We have a student reading it right now.
Last year, thanks to Ambellin Kwaymullina, whom I met at a con, I learned that the Stella Prize for women's writing now has a schools program - and that they might have a little money put aside for disadvantaged schools like mone. She contacted them on my behalf and I emailed them and they said that yes, they did, and would pay for a visit. I had a choice of three writers, one of whom had won a CBCA Award and one who had been writing and visiting schools for many years - and Alice Pung.
We're a Western suburbs school. The English staff asked, please, could we have Alice Pung? So I agreed and arrangements began. It has taken since last year, but was worth the wait.
Yesterday, Alice came to visit. Her talk was designed to appeal to boys as well as girls. Because most of her output is her memoirs, by the time she got to Laurinda
, her YA novel, the session was nearly over and the lunchtime bell was about to ring. She had some fascinating stories to tell, including a visit to a school in a boys' prison and the experiences of the comedian Anh Do, whose book our Year 9 students are reading. We did go a little beyond the bell, with questions, and the book giveaway was to a girl from one of our other campuses, as they had had to walk half an hour to reach us.
Afterwards, some students came to get posters autographed and then we went to lunch in the staff room.
Here's where Ms Pung showed her sheer generosity. Three girls from our Senior campus, who had been invited, arrived too late for the talk, due to a confusion of times. Alice gave them at least half an hour, perhaps more, and had her photo taken with them. And she is heavily pregnant and had another gig that evening and must have been tired.
We were lucky; ours may be one of her last school visits!
Anyway, thank you, Alice, Stella For Schools, Booked Out Speakers Agency and Ambelin!
It's Day 3 of the classroom challenge!
By: Jerry Beck,
Blog: Cartoon Brew
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I’m sitting in my writing chair
And staring into space.
The page is empty – there is nothing
Even to erase.
I’m tapped out of ideas right now
And way too pooped to pop.
At least I’ll get a few lines down
Before my eyelids drop.
It would be wrong for me and you
To skip this poem tonight,
So I will post it just because
Two wrongs require a write.
Book’s Title: As White As Snow
Author’s Name: Salla Simukka
Release Date: March 3, 2015
About the Book
The heat of the summer sun bakes the streets of Prague, but Lumikki’s heart is frozen solid.
Looking to escape the notoriety caused by the part she played in taking down Polar Bear’s crime ring, seventeen-year-old Lumikki Andersson escapes to Prague, where she hopes to find a few weeks of peace among the hordes of tourists. But not long after arriving, she’s cornered by a skittish and strange young woman who claims to be her long-lost sister. The woman, Lenka, is obviously terrified, and even though Lumikki doesn’t believe her story—although parts of it ring true—she can’t just walk away.
Lumikki quickly gets caught up in Lenka’s sad and mysterious world, uncovering pieces of a mystery that take her from the belly of a poisonous cult to the highest echelons of corporate power. On the run for her life again, Lumikki must use all her wits to survive, but in the end, she just may discover she can’t do it all alone.
About the Author
Salla Simukka is a YA author, translator, film & TV screenwriter, and winner of the prestigious 2013 Topelius Prize (Finland’s oldest prize in recognition of the best Finnish book for children and young people.) She is also the youngest recipient of the Finland Prize, which was awarded to her by Finland’s Ministry of Education and Culture in 2013 in recognition of her exceptional artistic achievement. Simukka lives in Tampere, Finland.
Find her on Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, and Pinterest
2 winners will each receive one copy of As White As Snow. US only.
Entering is simple, just fill out the entry form below. Winners will be announced in our monthly newsletter (sign up now!) within 30-60 days after the giveaway ends.
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During each giveaway, we ask entrants a question pertaining to the book. Here is the question tyou'll be answering in the comments below for extra entries: Where is the protagonist, Lumikki Andersson from? Find the answer here by reading more about Lumikki!
I’m glad you’re here for the third day of the 8th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge! Or, perhaps you aren’t taking the month-long challenge but have arrived for our weekly Tuesday challenge. Either way, you’re in the right place.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Linda Boström Knausgård's The Helios Disaster.
This will presumably get a reasonable amount of attention because of who Boström Knausgård is married to -- that Karl Ove guy (My Struggle 1-6, etc.).
It's also noteworthy as one of the first publications from Dutch publisher World Editions, De Geus' English-language publishing venture, with an ambitious list (and a confounding website).
Disclaimer: I received no compensation from the author, Netgalley or the publisher for this honest review.
About the Book
For centuries, Dethan has been trapped in a fiery inferno for defying the gods and snatching the power of immortality. Condemned to have his battle-hardened body licked by flames only to regenerate and be consumed all over again, Dethan has lost all hope—until the Goddess of Conflict appears. She will release him from torment—if he’ll use his power and strength as a warrior to raise an army and defeat a fierce enemy faction of gods.
Free to live as a man once again, Dethan meets Selinda—heir to the throne of Hexis—and his thoughts quickly turn from the conquest of cities to the conquest of this headstrong beauty. Betrothed to a cruel, calculating powermonger, Selinda needs a champion, and so Dethan enters into another bargain: If she will share her bed—and her body—with him, Dethan will save her city from destructive forces within and without. As the lovers ignite a searing passion, Dethan will risk all—even the wrath of the Goddess of Conflict—for a chance to make Selinda his forever.
Here's what I'm giving it:
Rating: 4.5 stars
I am in love with this couple. Dethan and Selinda make up one of the best pairings I've read in a while.
Scarred, yet beautiful and with a innate fierceness and love for her people made Selinda one of the most believable characters I've read about in a while. Dethan was no slouch either in that department.
Intelligence, flaws, redemption, treachery, I read this book in one day and can't wait to read the next one in the series.
Well done, Ms. Frank, well done.
Would I recommend this? That's a resounding YES!
Photo from ALSC Stock Photos
Baby, it’s cold outside (at least it is in Indiana), but we’ve got summer on our minds.
If you, too, are thinking about your Summer Reading Club, make sure that you hop on over to Marge Loch-Waters’s blog Tiny Tips for Library Fun and check out her series on shaking up your Summer Library Program.
The question that’s been on my mind as we’ve started planning our summer programs is whether we need to have registration for programs. I’ve been back and forth and back and forth.
When I first started at this library six years ago, I found that asking folks to register in advance really helped our attendance. We were able to do reminder calls and I think that really helped bring people in.
For the past two summers, our program registration has been a disaster. I’m not sure what switch has flipped, but what we’ve found for the past two summers is that our programs filled up really quickly. We were turning folks away for days or weeks before our programs and then on the day of the program (even with reminder calls AND emails), less than half of the registered attendees would show up. This left us with small groups, leftover supplies, and sometimes dozens of people we had turned away, believing the program would be full.
So this year, I challenged my staff to come up with programs that could be done as drop-in programs. Not only will this be easier on my staff (no program registration!), I’m hoping it will improve attendance and our relationship with our patrons (no having to turn people away!).
What does that mean for our programming?
- We’re moving more towards “unprogramming” and focusing on creative and experiential programs instead of crafts with lots of prepared pieces. Please read Amy Koester’s and Marge Loch-Waters’s series on Unprogramming for a complete guide.
- Instead of crafts, we might play a game or do an activity or do an open-ended art project.
- We’re going easy on theme this summer. We always do. I’d rather have excellent, fun programs that staff are REALLY EXCITED about than “meh” programs that fit a certain theme.
- We’re actually going easy on programming this summer, too. We’ll have all our regular weekly programs and we’ll have several large performers, but we’ve been so very active in our outreach to schools this year that I don’t want to overdo it over the summer. (Guess what? It’s going to be fine!)
I’m hoping that this is going to make a big difference this summer, for both our patrons and our staff.
What are you revamping or rethinking about your summer programs?
— Abby Johnson, Children’s Services Manager
New Albany-Floyd County Public Library
New Albany, IN
The post Do Drop In? appeared first on ALSC Blog.
I call my students The Spectaculars, and they are. As kind as they are bright. As funny as they are compassionate. They are particular, unrepeatable people. And yet—oh my. Our whole.
Teaching them, I am teaching me. Racing out ahead with books and dreams.
There is never enough time.
I watched "Whiplash"
last week and wondered how any teacher could be so cruel—and if cruelty hones. I watched "Birdman"
and considered the rewards of high narrative risk. I read Atticus Lish's Preparation for the Next Life—
and then sat with a student, just the two of us, and talked about the value of spending summers pumping gas and seeing life, the literary value of the un-rareified existence. I (and my students, along with the students of Lorene Cary and Max Apple) sat with the editor and writer Daniel Menaker and talked about how memoirs get made, how truth is shaped, the chronologies that must be broken (Lorene's blog post on that afternoon can be found here
But all of this wasn't enough, it's never enough, and so I began to read Ander Monson's Letter to a Future Lover: Marginalia, Errata, Secrets, Inscriptions, and Other Ephemera Found in Libraries
—a book that delights in breaking rules, a book that, in the midst of all its subtitle promises, its wild accords, its politics and prose, releases thoughts like these:
The space between biology and biography is vast. Both are tests. They seek to understand a life. We might believe we write our own, that who we think we are gives us the right to tell ourselves as we believe we are. The telling of a self is fiction too, salesmanship, however unintentional, how in narrating I we change the I—we make it harder, stellar, starlike, more like shell than skin, how we hide all evidence to the contrary, believe ourselves impermeable.
We read the world, we watch the art, we ask the questions, we do our own small parts. We can't make art without receiving art. Last week, most of this long winter long, I ceded, I cede, to receiving.
In the Myanmar Times Chit Su reports on the recent ninth annual Tun Foundation Literary Awards, in Literary awards seek to keep Myanmar writing.
Alas, no detailed list of the winning titles -- the winning authors are listed, but that's not very helpful -- but at least mention of some of them -- and good to see a literary prize that includes an 'environment category' (which a title like Hygiene and Sanitation Manual for Food Safety can win).
And U Myint Kywel took the 'lifetime award'.
Meanwhile, in The Irrawaddy, Kyaw Hsu Mon recently had a Q & A with Seikku Cho Cho publishing house owner U San Oo, finding Books 'Have a Future'.
Then there is Myanmar literature, for example the author Juu.
Her book sales are still strong.
But for those kinds of books, most of them are self-published.
But it's depressing to hear:
Q: Who are the best sellers in the classics category ?
A: The top classic books are by Mya Than Tint, Mg Tun Thu, Dagon Shwe Myar, Shwe Ou Daung, then Mg Moe Thu, Tin New Maung and Soe Thein.
Their masterpieces are still performing strongly.
Depressing because ... well, try to find any of these masterpieces in English.
Today Original Content begins a six-week stint as one of the Featured Blogs at the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators website. Look at the blogroll right there on the main page.
It’s still a month away from the publication date of my book with Don Tate, The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch, the true story of a young man who rose from slavery to the U.S. Congress during the Civil War and Reconstruction.
About that latter, terribly overlooked period, I could not ask for a better summation of why it’s such an important era in U.S. history than this three-minute video published today by Facing History and Ourselves. I hope you’ll watch it and be inspired to learn more.
We're getting very excited about the new book...not too long now.
My brilliant son Euan has put together this little teaser trailer to celebrate.
May 12, 2015Barnes & Noble Indie Bound Amazon.com McNally Robinson Indigo Powell’s Hive
Available to pre-order at:
By: Andye ReadingTeen,
Blog: Reading Teen
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THE STORYSPINNERThe Keepers' Chronicles #1by Becky WallaceHardcover: 432 pagesPublisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (March 3, 2015)Language: English Goodreads | Amazon
Drama and danger abound in this fantasy realm where dukes play a game for the throne, magical warriors race to find the missing heir, and romance blossoms where it is least expected.In a world where dukes plot their way to
The Art publishers 'EasyArt' are relaunching today under the new name King & McGaw. I was very kindly asked to look over their catalogue and pick out my top five favourite designs for their relaunch features. I chose prints by Inaluxe, Simon C Page, Ana Zaja Petrak, Ellen Giggenbach and very vainly made the 5th choice of design one of my own. You can see my 5 faves at the King & McGraw blog
If I had not read A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess along with Danielle, I doubt I would have managed to finish it. It’s a book that is generally ranked among the classics and I have been wanting to read it for ages. It wasn’t the Nadsat slang that put me off, I admire Burgess for doing that, a very bold move on his part. I mean, there must have been, and are, so many people put off by a book that reads like this throughout:
Then, brothers, it came. Oh bliss, bliss and heaven. I lay all nagoy to the ceiling, my gulliver on my rookers on the pillow, glazzies closed, rot open in bliss, slooshying the sluice of lovely sounds. Oh, it was gorgeousness and gorgeosity made flesh.
Burgess created the slang himself using the Russian language as a base. Sometimes the language in the book can be rather poetic. At other times I was a bit baffled and just had to go with it. To Burgess’s credit, I was never lost and unable to figure out what was going on in the story because of the language.
In case you don’t know what the book is about, a quick synopsis. Alex is a teenager and lives in a not too distant future England. Alex is the leader of a gang and he and his “droogs” go out at night to drink and get high and do some “ultra-violence” (burglary, armed robbery, assault, rape and eventually murder). When Alex murders a woman in her home, his gang abandons him. Alex goes to prison and after a couple years he is offered a choice. He can serve out his fourteen-year sentence, or he can undergo a behavior modification treatment called the Ludovico Technique and be released from prison. Alex, not quite understanding what he is agreeing to, opts for the treatment. The results of the process make Alex become sick at even the thought of violence. Unfortunately, the treatment also leaves him unable to enjoy the classical music he so loves.
Once out of prison, Alex finds his parents have rented out his room and he has nowhere to go. His first day out is a harrowing one as he is assaulted by people he had beat up previously and one of his former droogs and a gang rival are police officers now who take Alex outside of town and pretty much beat the crap out of him. Eventually Alex tries to commit suicide. He fails to kill himself but the head injury he gets from it cures him of his “cure.”
There is a controversial final chapter that appears in the British version but not in the US version. In the UK version, the book has a “happy” ending: Alex “grows up” and decides he wants to get married and have a family. The US version ends with Alex being cured from his conditioning and thinking of all the violent fun he’ll be able to have again.
That synopsis did not go as quickly as I had hoped.
The book is broken up into three sections. The first section is unrelentingly violent. This is why I almost put the book down. It really made me feel sick as though I was the one who had gone through the Ludovico Treatment. The next section is Alex in prison and the aversion therapy. The final section is Alex after being released from prison.
I had a few problems with the book besides the violence. Alex is such an unsympathetic character with no remorse for his actions that I had a hard time feeling sorry for him going through the aversion therapy. Burgess clearly wants us to know the therapy is wrong; it takes away a person’s free will. It is also, of course, a slippery slope. First the state puts violent criminals through the therapy and next thing you know, anyone who doesn’t agree with the government is getting the treatment too. If Alex had been a more sympathetic character I would have felt the wrongness of the treatment more than just intellectually. As it was, I found myself pleased about Alex getting a taste of his own medicine, as it were.
The other problem I had is with the “happy” ending. Alex gathers together a new gang and continues in his old ways until suddenly one day, after meeting one of his old droogs who is now happily married, he decides he’d like to get married and have a family. But as he is thinking all this, he is also thinking that his son will probably be violent and his son, and so on and so on and there is nothing that can be done about it. This, to me seems like a boys-will-be-boys kind of thing as well as suggesting that violence is something they just have outgrow. I almost hurt myself grinding my teeth together.
Clockwork Orange is an interesting book and I am glad to have read it, but I can’t say I liked the book or the reading experience.
Filed under: Books
Tagged: Anthony Burgess
, dystopian fiction
I had a wonderful chance recently to work with artist Jo Chambers of Studio Legohead. Jo created portraits of my two cats for me - which you can see in these snaps hanging on my wall. Oxford based Jo has an Etsy shop where she offers custom pet portraits as well as cards and prints. Her latest card range is called Dolled Up Dogs featuring canines with pink cheeks, occasional eyeshadow and
What: Ontario Teen Book Fest
When: Saturday March 21st , 9 am to 5 pm
Where: Colony High School, 3850 E. Riverside Drive, Ontario, CA 91761
The Ontario Teen Book Fest is a FREE AND UNTICKETED EVENT! Meet 20 YA authors, hear them speak about their books and writing, and meet other book lovers like you. Books will be available for purchase on-site from Once Upon a Time. There will also be t-shirts and posters available for purchase.
Official Blog Tour Schedule
February 28th: Spotlight on Kasie West -- Adventures of a Book Junkie
March 1st: Spotlight on Melissa Landers -- What A Nerd Girl Says
March 2nd: Spotlight on Brad Gottfred -- Recently Acquired Obsessions
March 3rd: Spotlight on Catherine Linka -- Read Now Sleep Later
March 4th: Spotlight on Debra Driza -- Read Now Sleep Later
March 5th: Spotlight on Katie Finn -- Fearless Kurt Reads YA
March 6th: Spotlight on Claudia Gray -- A Bookish Escape
March 7th: Spotlight on Shannon Messenger -- People Like Books
March 8th: Spotlight on Lauren Miller -- The Thousand Lives
March 9th: Spotlight on Elizabeth Ross -- Kid Lit Frenzy
March 10th: Spotlight on Anna Carey -- The Reader's Antidote
March 11th: Spotlight on Sherri Smith -- Movies, Shows and Books
March 12th: Spotlight on Mary Elizabeth Summer -- What A Nerd Girl Says
March 13th: Spotlight on Jessica Khoury -- The Consummate Reader
March 14th: Spotlight on Maurene Goo -- The Windy Pages
March 15th: Spotlight on Cecil Castellucci -- Nite Lite Book Reviews
March 16th: Spotlight on Jessica Brody -- The Romance Bookie
March 17th: Spotlight on Gretchen McNeil -- Movies, Shows and Books
March 18th: Spotlight on Aaron Hartzler -- Fangirl Feeels
March 19th: Spotlight on Michelle Levy -- The Consummate Reader
Spotlight on Catherine Linka
Today's stop on the tour is a spotlight on Catherine Linka, author of A Girl Called Fearless.
About A Girl Called Fearless
Avie knows her life is over when her dad “Contracts” her in marriage to millionaire Jessop Hawkins. Hawkins has bought Avie to be his first lady as he runs for governor of California on the Paternalist ticket. But Avie’s lifelong friend, Yates, believes she has the strength to flee to freedom in Canada. As Yates draws her into the secret world of Exodus, their friendship turns to passion, and freedom means leaving Yates and hoping they can reunite over the border.
This romantic spec fiction/political thriller is set in a contemporary America upended by the deaths of millions of women from a hormone in meat. Teenage girls are a valuable and restricted commodity “protected” by guards, gates and Paternal Controls on phones, internet and media. After Avie leaves the mansions of LA and Malibu, she learns dangerous truths about who controls the US government. Pursued by federal agents as she heads for the border, Avie must find the courage Yates always believed she possessed.
About Catherine Linka
Catherine Linka was almost thrown out of boarding school for being “too verbal.” Fortunately, she learned to channel her outspokenness and creative energy into writing. She is the author of the romantic spec fiction thriller, A Girl Called Fearless. Catherine has traveled to such out of the way places as the Arctic circle, Iceland, and the Amazon and her personal goals include seeing penguins and orcas in the wild. She doesn’t believe in fate, but she did fall in love with her husband on their first date when he laced up her boots after she broke her hand.
Q&A with Catherine Linka
RNSL: When you started writing A Girl Called Fearless, did you think your book was going to be a YA novel, or did that develop later on the road to publication?
Catherine Linka: Avie is sixteen, almost seventeen, and she tells her story as she’s experiencing it. She’s dreaming of going to college and falling in love, and bam!--universities shut out women and her dad signs a contract for her to marry a guy twice her age. Avie has to choose whether to be fearless and run for freedom, or submit to a marriage she doesn’t want. I knew when I heard her voice in my head that this was YA, but I didn’t know that older readers would love her story, too. What’s been great is that some readers get swept away by the action and romance, while others dig deeper for the political undercurrent.
RNSL: What project are you actively working on at the moment?
CL: We’re finishing the final copy on A Girl Undone which is the sequel and conclusion to A Girl Called Fearless, and that comes out in June. Plus, I am super excited to be working with St. Martin’s Press and Wattpad.com to feature my novella, A Girl Called Defiant: Sparrow’s Story. Everybody loved Sparrow in A Girl Called Fearless, and so I wanted to share her story. It’s sexy and tragic, and you don’t have to read A Girl Called Fearless to enjoy it, but you might want to later.
RNSL: You have worked in the book industry apart from being an author. How has that influenced your writing life (or not)?
CL: Buying YA books for an indie bookstore is an amazing education if you want to be a writer. You’re reading all the time, seeing what books sell, and learning about different publishers. And I was really lucky I ran a teen board for 7 years because it was like watching a focus group every month about what teen readers love and hate. The one thing I had to learn was to not let what I know about the business keep me from writing what I need to write. I have to say, “Shut up!” to my evil inner voice that tortures me by saying, “Oh, that will never sell.”
RNSL: Are you able to read other books while writing your own? Why or why not?
CL: I read every night even when I’m writing. I had to read constantly for my job at the bookstore, and it was easy, because I had tons of advance copies. When I was writing A Girl Called Fearless, I avoided reading dystopian, because I didn’t want to accidentally steal from someone else. It’s funny, but readers tell me that the characters in A Girl Called Fearless express much more emotion than they do in most spec fiction and I think that might be because I read a lot of contemporary fiction.
RNSL: Your series is rather frightening to me in that Margaret Atwood sort of, something-like-this-could-possibly-happen-within-our-lifetimes kind of way. What makes you the most afraid? (Or are you fearless?)
CL: I wanted to write a story that when a reader put it down, they would say, “Oh my God, I could totally see that happening.” As I wrote A Girl Called Fearless, I kept thinking about how people act when a country has been through a horrible loss, and how fear or anger can be manipulated for political gain. We saw the Tea Party soar to power, and I don’t care what your political beliefs are--that was an amazing display of how emotion can be turned into political might. One teen reviewer talked about how the rise Paternalists reminded her of the rise of Hitler--which shocked me, because that had been in the back of my mind, too.
RNSL: Cake or pie (or both)?
CL: Pie, absolutely. And when it comes to ranking pie: berry (any kind!!), lemon meringue, pecan--oh wait, did I forget chocolate pecan pie!!!
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Blog: Perpetually Adolescent
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Congratulations to those shortlisted for this year’s Aurealis awards. As a judge of the YA novels and short stories, I feel bereft for those whose fascinating works couldn’t be included. Hopefully some of these will appear on other shortlists. Our best short story selections veer towards the upper end of the YA age group with […]
Blog: The Children's Book Review
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This month, A Boy and a Bear in a Boat, by Dave Shelton, is still The Children's Book Review's best selling middle grade book. And we're very happy to add the very popular Kid President’s Guide to Being Awesome and The Terrible Two to our selection from the nationwide best selling middle grade books, as they appear on The New York Times.
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