Highlighting the unseen artists behind comic books

Rob Stull says black comic book artists have always been in the industry, they just haven’t gotten the visibility they deserve.

Growing up in Brookline as a comic book geek, Rob Stull devoured iconic titles like Spider-Man, Captain America, Iron Man, and Batman.

As an African-American, he was especially enthralled by Black Panther and X-Men’s Storm, as well as other characters of color in Green Lantern. Stull assumed — correctly, of course — that even these superheroes of color were mostly created by white men like Marvel’s Stan Lee.

Continue @ The Boston Globe

National Geographic explores fiction for first time with new kids book series

Exacad Cha 1 Spot

For 130 years, the name National Geographic has stood for exploration of science and culture in the real world. Now, in an unprecedented move, Nat Geo’s kids division is exploring the world of fiction to spur children to learn more about their planet.

On Sept. 4, Nat Geo will debut the first in its seven-book children’s fiction series, Explorer Academy. The initial installment, Nebula Secret, will roll out in the United States and more than a dozen other countries that include the United Kingdom, China, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Romania, Taiwan and Turkey. Subsequent books in the series will be published every six months.

Continue @ USA TODAY

Judy Blume wants to know which of her books you want to see adapted

Earlier this week, EW compiled a list of 50 books that deserve to be adapted into a TV show or movie. The list of great books that haven’t yet been adapted is, of course, even longer than that. The stories of Judy Blume, for instance, have remained on the page despite millions of sales and dozens of awards. That might change soon, however. Blume tweeted on Thursday that she was meeting with “many talented people” in Los Angeles about possible adaptations. She even asked her followers to chime in with suggestions for which of her books they would like to see on screen.

Continue @ EW.com

Does Literature Help Us Live?

Is literature wise? In the sense, does it help us to live? And if not, what exactly is it good for?

One way into that question might be to look at how great writers themselves have benefited. Or haven’t. The situation is not immediately promising, since the list of writers who committed suicide, from Seneca the Younger to David Foster Wallace, would be long; Nerval, Hemingway, Plath, Pavese, Zweig, Mayakovsky, and Woolf all spring to mind. But I suppose you could argue that there are situations where suicide is the wise decision, or that without literature these talented people might have gone much earlier. The list of those who have driven themselves to an unhappy death would likely be longer still. Dickens, Tolstoy, Joyce, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Henry Green, Elsa Morante, and Dylan Thomas arguably fall in that category. Not to mention those forever frustrated by insufficient recognition and other occupational hazards; the gloom of Giacomo Leopardi would appear to have been oceanic. It is not that there aren’t cases of writers who have approached the end of their lives happily enough—Victor Hugo, Alberto Moravia, Natalia Ginzburg, Fyodor Dostoevsky of all unlikely candidates, even that great pessimist Thomas Hardy—simply that a few moments reflection will suffice to convince us that being a fine writer does not necessarily mean being “skilful” in the Buddhist sense of acting in such a way as to foster serenity, joy, happiness.

Continue @ The New York Review of Books

Ernest Hemingway story from 1956 published for first time

The themes and trappings are familiar for an Ernest Hemingway narrative: Paris, wartime, talk of books and wine and the scars of battle.

But the story itself has been little known beyond the scholarly community for decades: A Room on the Garden Side, written in 1956, is being published for the first time. The brief, Second World War-era fiction appears this week in the summer edition of The Strand Magazine, a literary quarterly which has released obscure works by Raymond Chandler, John Steinbeck and others.

Continue @ CBC.ca

Teacher restores over 1000 ancient books in 13-year career

#CHINA-HEBEI-ANCIENT BOOK RESTORATION (CN)

Photo taken on Aug. 2, 2018 shows some of the tools used for ancient book restoration in Shijiazhuang, capital of north China’s Hebei Province. Gao Huiyun is a teacher of cultural relics restoration and protection at Hebei Vocational Art College. Gao has restored over 1,000 ancient books in her 13-year career time. (Xinhua/Chen Qibao)

Continue @ Xinhua

How Book Vending Machines Can Help Those Living In America’s Book Deserts

Low-income neighborhoods in major cities across America have book deserts — a limited access to children’s books negatively impacts children’s vocabulary and reading comprehension. Book vending machines, installed in high-trafficked areas within these book deserts by NYC’s JetBlue airline, might be able to combat the problem.

In 2016, NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development led a study in partnership with JetBlue. The results shed a light on the lack of children’s books in low-income neighborhoods across the three major cities of Detroit, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. Those living in concentrated poverty, the study holds, have a much more limited access to print: They live in book deserts. The socioeconomic inequalities can be stark and they come at a cost, given that reading books as a child can have an out-sized impact on someone’s reading skills across the rest of their life.

Continue @ Forbes

Operation Paperback: Sending books to those who serve

Sandy Marron of Heritage Harbour collects books for soldiers.

Operation Paperback, a non-profit founded in 1999, sends shipments of books to military bases all over the world. Marron is one of 19,000 volunteers under the Operation Paperback umbrella.

The books go to military families, veterans, hospitals and bases overseas. The books help soldiers learn, pass the time or, on deployment, read to their children via webcam. Romance and religious books aren’t accepted.

Continue @ Bay Weekly

The public library was never just about books

On July 21, Forbes published a piece by economist Panos Mourdoukoutas arguing that Amazon stores should replace public libraries. The backlash was rapid and unforgiving; library-lovers from around the world responded with angry tweets, and Forbes removed the piece two days later. Yet the article highlights a concerning fact: Too many Americans misunderstand the role of the public library.

The library is not a warehouse of books like Amazon, a tech developer like Apple or a cafe like Starbucks. It is a public institution of learning predicated on the principle that all Americans should be able to access information, education and culture free of cost. In practice, the unique mission of the public library leads to a distinct set of services, ranging from book-lending to computer- and English- language classes. The growing diversity of library activities is not a means of compensating for the rise of the Internet or a decline in the number of library users. Libraries have been re-inventing their programs for over a century in an effort to advance the same old mission: information for all.

Continue @ Baltimore Sun

Tourists Are Swapping Their Japan Guide Books for Instagram

Tourism is booming in Japan, but a growing number of visitors are ditching their guidebooks for an app better known for celebrity snapshots and images of food: Instagram.

The social photo-sharing service is proving to be especially popular among those seeking destinations off the beaten track. Nagato, located on the southern tip of the main island of Honshu, saw more than 1 million visitors in 2017, a 36-fold increase in three years. After CNN profiled the town as one of “Japan’s 31 most beautiful places,” postings of the local shrine started to flood Instagram.

Continue @ Bloomberg