The first most important thing, from Robin McKinley's blog. She just vistied Diana Wynne Jones and reports thus -- "I assume a lot of you know that Diana’s been seriously ill. She’s doing enormously better than the medical establishment, in its somewhat less than total wisdom and foresight, predicted,†† but she’s still a bit frail." and the footnote reads "AND SHE’S WRITING"
The second most important thing, to me at least: On October 1st, the nomination period for the Cybils Awards begins! Anyone, anyone at all, can put forward the titles of their favorite books in a variety of genres by this award, bestowed by panels of bloggers, on books that combine quality of writing with tremendous audience appeal. I'm one of the middle grade science fiction/fantasy panelists who will be paring down the nominations (there were almost a hundred last year) to a short list of five to seven books that will progress into the final round of judging.
Please start thinking of your favorite middle grade sff books published from October 16, 2009 to October 15, 2010, and make sure they don't get left outside in the cold, whimpering sadly to themselves! (if you need help remembering what was published, check my handy "new releases" posts, although I make not claim that these lists are a. complete b. entirely accurate)
Attack of the Fluffy Bunnies, by Andrea Beaty, at Biblio File.
The Battle for Gullywith, by Susan Hill, at My Favorite Books.
Boom! by Mark Haddon, at Biblio File and Eva's Book Addiction.
Brains for Lunch, a Zombie Novel in Haiku, by K.A. Holt, at Biblio File.
The Crowfield Curse, by Pat Walsh, at The Excelsior File.
Dandelion Fire, by N.D. Wilson, at Read in a Single Sitting.
A Different Day, a Different Destiny, by Annette Laing, at Lucy Was Robbed.
Green, by Laura Peyton Roberts, at Ms. Yingling Reads.
Into the Woods, by Lyn Gardner, at My Favorite Books.
Katie Kazoo Switcheroo: Horsing Around, by Nancy Krulik, at Manga Maniac Cafe.
Nightshade, by Hilary Wagner, at Writing the Renaissance (includes an interview with the author).
On Etruscan Time, by Tracy Barrett, at Charlotte's Library.
Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future, by Dav Pilkey, at Literate Lives.
Out of the Woods, by Lyn Gardner, at My Favorite Books.
Palace of Mirrors, by Margaret Peterson Haddix, at Biblio File.
Reckless, by Cornelia Funke, at Becky's Book Reviews.
Runemarks, by Joanne Harris, at By Singing Light.
The Shadows, by Jacqueline West, at Cloudy With a Chance of Books and Musings of a Book Addict.
Summer of Moonlight Secrets, by Danette Haworth, at Book Nut.
Thomas and the Dragon Queen, by Shutta Crum, at Lost for Words.
Wildwing, by Emily Whitman, at One Librarian's Book Reviews
Zombiekins, by Kevin Bolger, at KinderScares.
Katherine Roberts has been taking a look at Scottish Legends at The Reclusive Muse.
Alan Garner (The Weirdstone of Brisingamen etc.) is interviewed at The Independent today. And some of us really wish we go back to Alderly Edge, in Cheshire, England, where the fiftieth anniversary of Weirdstone is being celebrated the weekend of October 8th.
Vordak the Incomprehensible (How to Grow Up and Rule the World) at Manga Maniac Cafe and at Charlotte's Library. (I'm also giving a copy of this book away--ends Monday night).
Shutta Crum (Thomas and the Dragon Queen) at Lost for Worlds.
Hiromi Goto (The Water of Possibility) at Bookmark.
Hilary Wagner (Nightshade) at Odd Shots.
I've now read Ninth Ward, by Jewell Parker Rhodes, and loved it, but I'm still a bit on the fence as to whether it is "fantasy" or not (more on this later). But I wanted, regardless, to include this interview with her at TheHappyNappyBookseller.
Authors saying interesting things:
First, three fairy tale posts-- "Why Fairy Tales" by Gail Carson Levine, Adele Geras is featured in the Fairy Tale Reflections series at Seven Miles of Steel Thistles, and Lyn Gardner visits My Favorite Books, and talks about "wolves and fairy tales."
Michael Grant (The Magnificent 12) visits Literate Lives.
Susan Fletcher (Waiting to Fly) is a guest at Cynsations.
R.L. LaFevers talks about the different journeys of girl and boy protagonists.
If words aren't enough, one can try an "interactive augmented reality experience" while reading The Search for WondLa, by Tony DiTerlizzi. Read more at ReadWriteWeb, where the conclusion is thus "It's great to see a major publisher like Simon & Schuster get behind augmented reality, as implementations like these could change the way young adults read in the near future." (to which I reply, is there something wrong with the way they read now????)
The folks at io9 (or at least one of them) went to see the Guardians of Ga'hoole movie and found it "a hoot".
You can get a sneak peak at the first chapters of the eagerly anticipated new book by Rick Riordan, The Lost Hero, here!
TV programs I wish I could watch: The BBC aired a wondrous sounding program last Friday--The Magic Carpet Flight Manual. From their website:
"Web-dreaming one day, writer Cathy FitzGerald stumbled on a site belonging to a museum in Iran. It purported to tell the "true history" of the flying carpet and detailed its many uses – military, as a means of aerial attack; commercial, as a vehicle for the transport of goods; and cultural, as a device to help readers in the library at Alexandria reach the high books. The article appeared across the web, rarely with any caveat or credit.Thanks to The Fairy Tale Cupboard for the heads up!
In search of a "real" flying carpet, Cathy tracks down the article's author, Azhar Abidi, who helps her separate carpet fiction from carpet fact. She goes on to meet a physicist working on levitation in the quantum world, and a Japanese astronaut who took a carpet ride in space.
Cathy FitzGerald explores the past, present, and future of the magic carpet and wonders what our desire to defy gravity tells us about ourselves."
Banned Books Week is here again. Sigh. On this Banned and Challenged List for 2009-2010 I found Zilpha Keatley Snyder's The Egypt Game; it isn't fantasy, but it is one that appeals strongly to mg fantasy readers.
"Challenged as part of a reading list in a fourth-grade class at Southern Hills Elementary School in Wichita Falls, Tex. (2009) because the book includes scenes depicting Egyptian worship rituals. The Newbery Award-winning book has been an optional part of the school district’s curriculum for years. “I’m not going to stop until it’s banned from the school district. I will not quiet down. I will not back down. I don’t believe any student should be subjected to anything that has to do with evil gods or black magic,” said the student’s father."
And finally, just because it caught my fancy--why your face is older than your feet (from io9)