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Apparently voices aren’t the only things that carry.
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Remember how when you were a kid and you got your new books handed to your by your teacher, your grumpy uncle said that it was unethical for Scholastic as a for-profit publisher to be using schools as their retailers? Well, some things never change—the Scholastic Book Clubs are now on Tumblr, and their FIRST POST is directed squarely at your grumpy uncle.
When kids choose their own books, a neat thing happens… they read them! Welcome to the Scholastic Book Clubs Tumblr!
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Do you think the traditional reading is dying? If so, what should it be replaced by?
I think there’s still a lot of value in the traditional reading/Q&A format. When an author is also a skilled performer and reads aloud from her or his own work, it can really illuminate a book and make you understand it in a new way. I don’t want to replace that, but I’m happy to try other formats when it will present a book’s ideas more clearly. Sometimes that means inviting two authors to read together or to engage in a conversation. Other times, I’ve hosted artists and even politicians for panel discussions. Books are a central part of our culture, and we need to see them as tools to expand our minds and enrich our lives. The joy of reading is only the first half of the pleasure a book can give you. The rest comes when you look up from that book and see your world anew.
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Clive Rosengren, a retired Hollywood actor, followed a simliar path that his protagonist Eddie Collins does in his debut novel Murder Unscripted for 18 years of his career (except, hopefully, the part about murder). The victim in the novel is Eddie’s ex-wife, a higher-scale actress; you can read chapter one for a feel of the book and plot. Booklist calls it “luscious” and Carl Bookins says it’s a “short, fast read, well plotted and intrinsically solid.” Rosengren will be reading from Murder Unscripted at Once Upon a Crime on Monday, April 30.
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Sherlock Holmes visited Minnesota several times—but maybe you already knew that. I confess that I didn’t, though I’ve long been a Sherlock Holmes fan, and also knew Larry Millett as the Twin Cities’ preeminent writer on architectural history.
Happily for Millett and Holmes fans, the University of Minnesota Press has just published new paperback editions of his six Sherlock Holmes novels:
Millett sticks to tradition, with Dr. John Watson narrating the stories, but adds St. Paul saloonkeeper and detective Shadwell Rafferty, who serves as an able partner to the Holmes-Watson duo. Rafferty is a character in his own right, and primary in the cast of Minnesotans, real and fictional, who appear in the books.
A heavy dose of Twin Cities history and architecture is injected in each plot, along with footnotes that serve to situate the stories in the Sherlockian canon (“the official canon of Sherlock Homes adventures, as established by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, makes no mention of Sigmund Freud…”) as well as detailing local color (Holmes’s description of the circumstances that led to the creation of the so-called bonanza farms is correct. The most complete account of these giant wheat farms is in Hiram Drache, The Day of the Bonanza [Fargo N.D.; North Dakota Institute for Regional Studies, 1964]”).
A Minnesota Monthly feature on Millett and the series is a good introduction (and a good read). I recommend the series to fans of Holmes, fans of Millett, and history buffs who like detective novels.
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How has Minneapolis indie Once Upon a Crime Mystery Bookstore succeeded? It’s no mystery.
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“I’m looking at 1,000 books a month from publishers who believed enough in the book to put up the money to pay for publication and to pay the author something. That says something to me. There is no slush pile with self-publishing. You get the whole dang slush pile.”
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