Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 4:56 pm
A few years ago I did an author visit at an overcrowded junior high school in a rougher part of San Antonio. I write young adult novels that feature working-class, "multicultural" characters, so I'm frequently invited to speak at urban schools like this.
As is often the case, the principal and I talked as the kids filed into the auditorium. The student body was mostly Hispanic, he told me, and over 90 percent qualified for free and reduced lunch. It was an underprivileged school, a traditionally low-achieving school, but they were working hard to raise performance.
Originally published on Mon November 11, 2013 7:43 pm
This Veterans Day, considers these lines from the preface to Fire And Forget, a collection of short stories by veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan:
On the one hand, we want to remind you ... of what happened ... and insist you recollect those men and women who fought, bled, and died in dangerous and far-away places. On the other hand, there's nothing most of us would rather do than leave these wars behind. No matter what we do next, the soft tension of the trigger pull is something we'll carry with us forever.
Originally published on Mon November 11, 2013 2:50 pm
An organization representing 40,000 private schools in Pakistan says it has decided to ban I Am Malala, a memoir written by Malala Yousafzai, the teenager shot by the Taliban for promoting the education of girls.
Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 2:37 pm
Welcome to SymboGen, your friendly neighborhood medical company; have you stopped by for your tapeworm implant? Fair warning: There have been some unusual side effects ...
Health care has swallowed American headlines in recent years; besides the arguments over who deserves treatment to begin with, issues are emerging in pharmaceutical brand ethics, anti-vaccination activism, and the overuse of antibiotics. The war against disease is spreading against the smallest enemies of all.
Originally published on Sat October 26, 2013 11:19 am
Most people watch The Simpsons to laugh. And, perhaps, feel a little superior to the animated family who are Springfield's best known, if often most dysfunctional citizens.
But Simon Singh, the Cambridge-trained physicist and best-selling author, watches the show not just for laughs, but also for the ... math? In his new book, The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets, he argues that the writers and producers have woven a lot of math into The Simpsons — and into a highly honored show from the same team, Futurama.
Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 3:05 pm
Rarely as the rush of romance felt so, well, rushed as it does in Rebecca Walker's maiden novel Adé: A Love Story. It's a wild ride along with an unnamed (more on that later) biracial college student who's traveling through Africa with her white best friend. Our unnamed narrator falls in love with a Swahili man she meets on an island just off the Kenyan coast, grows apart from her friend and closer to her lover's family, and must struggle with the brutal realities of life under brutal Kenyan leader Daniel arap Moi — all in 112 short pages.
Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 2:35 pm
The drawings are MS Paint-style doodles, and the stories are about everyday things like cake, poor spelling and dopey dogs. And yet each month, millions of people visit Hyperbole and a Half, the hybrid Web comic and blog created by 28-year-old Allie Brosh, who says she "tries very hard to be funny." Hyperbole has just come out in book form with a mix of old and new material featuring Brosh's absurdist take on the world and her author avatar, a stick figure with a pink dress and what might be a blond ponytail — or might not.
Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 5:24 am
When it comes to book publishing, all we ever seem to hear about is online sales, the growth of e-books and the latest version of a digital book reader. But the fact is, only 20 percent of the book market is e-books; it's still dominated by print. And a recent standoff in the book business shows how good old-fashioned, brick-and-mortar bookstores are still trying to wield their influence in the industry. You might even call it brick-and-mortar booksellers' revenge.
Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 7:49 am
In early 1968, country singer Johnny Cash gave one of the defining performances of his career when he played for inmates at California's Folsom State Prison. Robert Hilburn, a music critic early in his career at the Los Angeles Times, was the only reporter to cover that legendary concert.
Originally published on Sun October 27, 2013 5:59 pm
At Night We Walk in Circles is set in an unnamed, war-scarred Latin American country. The book follows young actor and aspiring playwright Nelson as he traverses his nation, performing in a provocative play called The Idiot President.
It's Daniel Alarcon's second novel — his first was Lost City Radio, published in 2007. The Peruvian author says there are some parallels between him and his protagonist, dreaming of a life as an artist.
What makes Jeff Kinney look down and close his eyes because he can't bear what he's done? Check out his answer in our interview ahead of the November 5 publication of the 8th book in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, Hard Luck.
Ohio author Louise Borden will receive the 2013 Ohio Book Award for Juvenile Literature for her book His Name Was Raoul Wallenberg. Listen above as she describes the story that inspired the book and her belief that one person can make a difference.