Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Shel Silverstein's Five Book Celebration

HarperCollins is marking several of the late author-illustrator Shel Silverstein (1930–1999) milestones this year.The Giving Tree (which has sold more than 10 million copies), Don’t Bump the Glump!Who Wants a Cheap Rhinoceros? and A Giraffe and a Half all celebrate 50 years in print, and poetry collection Where the Sidewalk Ends(which also has sales of 10 million copies) turns 40.

In February, the publisher kicked off a six-figure, year-long marketing campaign to observe these significant book birthdays. Commemorative editions of each of the five titles were released on February 18, as was the first-ever digital version of The Giving Tree, marking the only time a Silverstein book has appeared in a format other than hardcover.

The challenge of any Silverstein book anniversary is “what do you do to the books that is in line with what Shel had done or might have liked? Sometimes all you can do is add a sticker.” As examples of more significant tweaks, she cites the 50th-anniversary edition of The Giving Tree, which features a green foil jacket, and the 30th-anniversary edition of Where the Sidewalk Ends, which included 12 additional pages of previously unpublished poems.But any planning for new projects begins by speaking with Silverstein’s family members, who maintain an archive of his original art and papers in Chicago. “We talk to the family and see what they might consider,” editor Antonia Markiet says. “And it’s great that they do consider what we suggest. For the recent editions of A Giraffe and a Half and Lafcadio, the Lion Who Shot Back (which turned 50 last year), Markiet says she went back to the vintage jackets using the type and color from 50 years ago. 

“We looked at our archives and the family archives to see if the paper was a different color and it was cream more than blue-white,” she said. The vintage jackets will be available for a limited time, in tandem with the more familiar, long-running, black-and-white versions. “It’s nice to offer both and let people decide; they can buy a copy for nostalgia,” Markiet notes.

Shouldering the responsibility for Silverstein’s backlist is “humbling and terrifying,” Markiet says. “There is certainly gratification, and being able to bring 50-year-old classics to new generations of kids spoils you a bit,” she adds. “Shel was one of the best that ever was. Kids still love his work and scream with laughter – and so do people my age!”

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Thirty Early Truman Capote Stories Discovered

A Swiss publisher was searching for chapters of Truman Capote’s unfinished final novel last summer when he stumbled upon a different find. While poring over Capote’s writings and papers at the New York Public Library, the publisher, Peter Haag, discovered a collection of previously unpublished short stories and poems from Capote’s youth.

Truman Capote
Portofino, Italy
Leonida Barezzi/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images        

Four of the stories, believed to have been written from 1935 to 1943, appear in German translations in the German publication ZEITmagazin. Those stories will be seen in German more than a year ahead of the scheduled release of the full collection, a dozen poems and roughly 20 stories, by Random House in English and by Kein & Aber in German.

Editor David Ebershoff says:

By the time Capote was writing these early stories, his voice was already formed. Reading the manuscripts — with his corrections and edits — is fascinating. You can literally see a young genius at work. I don’t use that word lightly, but these early stories show that Capote’s talent and way of experiencing the world was with him from a very young age

Truman Capote
Even in translation, Capote’s style is immediately recognizable in the short stories, under the titles “Miss Belle Rankin,” “This Here Is From Jamie,” “Saturday Night” and “The Horror in the Swamp,” laced with his incisive attention to detail and themes of longing for love and acceptance, and the transience of life.

Capote, who died in 1984, at 59, is believed to have written these works between the time he was 11 and 19, although not all are dated.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

James Patterson: Sharing His Wealth Across the Pond

James Patterson is a man who, as the saying goes, puts his money where his mouth is.  In the UK and Ireland, 73 indie booksellers are feeling very lucky, indeed.
Taking a page from his 2013 announcement to give a cool $1 mil to independent bookstores around the U.S. to help keep print reading and indies alive, Patterson has extended his sharing of the green across the pond, pledging to donate £250,000 (approximately $406,000) to bookshops in the UK.
In his first round of grants, more than £130,000 (approximately $211,120) was given to 73 bookshops in the UK and Ireland. Eligible were any bookshops with a dedicated children’s book section, and 183 applied. Grants ranged from £250 ($406) to £5,000 ($8,120).
Speaking to The Bookseller, Patterson said:
I have been completely overwhelmed by just how many people have applied for the grants and impressed and enthused by the caliber of the applications. It’s been a very difficult decision process and I have worked to identify independent bookshops for whom this money may make a difference. I’m excited to follow their progress and see the proposed ideas in action.
James Patterson is a top-selling author of detective thrillers. He is best known for the Women's...Among the plans Patterson might see, according to The Bookseller, are a camper van that will take books into rural communities, leaving from Book-ish in Crickhowell, Wales; a “Hagrid’s Hut” children’s room come to life in the existing hidden stockroom at Far From the Madding Crowd in Linlithgow, Scotland; new shelving and display materials including a children’s books “Christmas ‘wow’ window” at the Gutter Bookshop in Ireland; and a reading and writing room for families at the Newham Bookshop in London.
A second round of Patterson’s generous grants will be awarded next year, and UK bookshops are being encouraged to apply again for a grant via The Booksellers Association in the UK.
Stateside, the recipients of James Patterson’s second round of grants have been named.
The U.S. indie booksellers will be receiving the remainder of that $1 million throughout the rest of 2014

Friday, October 10, 2014

Marcel the Shell (The Most Surprised I've Ever Been) is Back!

Time was back in 2013, I wrote a post about a wonderful app called Marcel the Shell With Shoes On.  Brilliant as it was, I wondered if we would see Marcel again.  And sure enough, he's back!

Brainchild of writer/director Dean Fleischer-Camp and writer/actress Jenny Slate, Marcel is a shell you want to hug. 

For those of you who have been living under a shell rock, Marcel originated as a bit Slate joked around with while feeling cramped in a hotel room, she told MTV News

Since then, there have been multiple stop-motion short films starring Marcel, as well as the first 2011 children’s book centered around the little guy. And that’s not all: there are plans for a Marcel movie musical as well!
Marcel the Shell: The Most Surprised I’ve Ever Been, hits shelves October 21.

As the title implies, the follow-up to the 2011 bestseller “Marcel the Shell: Things About Me,” chronicles the most surprising incident in Marcel’s life. When Marcel finds himself flying through the air (you'll have to wait to find how he does this), one of the things he sees down below is his grandmother’s house.

Personally, I can't get past Marcel's grandma's French bread, the place Marcel sleeps, of course, when visiting.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

More ‘Lost’ Stories From Dr. Seuss

Ted Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, filled his books with fun and happiness, but as a new collection of his early, little-known magazine stories demonstrates, there was method to his madness, reason to his rhyming.
Alison Flood tells that In the 1950s, in stories published in Redbook and other magazines, Geisel started experimenting. He moved away from a mostly prose style and launched the wildly inventive wordplay that would become his trademark.
Four examples are collected in a new book, “Horton and the Kwuggerbug and More Lost Stories,” which have just been published..
“His intention was to craft stories that would make kids want to learn to read what they had heard, and in so doing, he ended up revolutionizing the way reading is taught to children,” said Charles Cohen, a Massachusetts Seuss scholar who wrote the book’s introduction.
An illustration from Horton and the Kwuggerbug and More Lost Stories by Dr. SeussBy 1957, Geisel had perfected the technique with “The Cat in the Hat,” and three years later added “Green Eggs and Ham,” still two of the best selling and most influential children’s books of all time. His experimenting in magazines was pretty much over.
Geisel died in 1991 at age 87, but his catalog — more than 40 books in all — remains as popular as ever, with some 600 million copies sold over the years in 17 languages and 95 countries. “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” is a perennial holiday season favorite, and “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” a staple at graduation time.
An illustration from Horton and the Kwuggerbug and More Lost Stories by Dr. SeussThe new book features familiar characters. There’s Horton, the elephant, and Marco, the boy from Seuss’ first book, “And to Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street.” And there’s a Grinch, who cons a Hoobub into believing that a piece of green string is more valuable than the sun.
“It’s like finding a lost one-act play by Shakespeare, or occasional verse by Walt Whitman,” said Philip Nel, director of the children’s literature program at Kansas State University and the author of two books about Seuss. “Even minor works of major artists tell us something about their unique genius.”


This is the second book of forgotten Seuss, and probably the last. Cohen, the driving force behind the projects, said copyright issues will keep the few remaining early tales from being republished..
The first collection, “The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories,” came out in 2011 and was a New York Times best-seller.
Cohen makes his living as a dentist, but he’s also an avid collector and researcher — baseball cards, bourbon — who got interested in Geisel after the author died 23 years ago this month. Cohen lives about 20 miles from where Geisel grew up in Massachusetts.

The new collection of stories is available through  Random House.