“JK Rowling’s writing advice: be a Gryffindor”

Steering clear of what she calls “lists of must do’s”, Rowling points out that she found success as an author “by stumbling off alone in a direction most people thought was a dead end, breaking all the 1990s shibboleths about children’s books in the process. Male protagonists are unfashionable. Boarding schools are anathema. No kids’ book should be longer than 45,000 words.” So instead of advising would-be writers what they have to do, she tells them instead what qualities they can’t do without.

The Guardian

Read Full Article @ The Guardian

Follow Ms. Rowling on Twitter @jk_rowling

“Can’t sleep? You need some ‘slow lit’ in your life”

Very interesting. I had never heard of “Sleep Stories”. Apparently many people love them.

“It’s being able to tell a story that’s interesting enough to listen to it, but not so exciting where you can’t sleep as you’re desperate to hear the end,” she tells me. “It’s a constant balance.” They’re all about slowing the pace down and as a result, they aren’t the quickest things to write. “I’m constantly reading it aloud to make sure it all flows – trickling away like water to help people relax.”

Read @ Get The Gloss

The Little Blue Books That Made French Literature Mainstream

In 1602, brothers Jean and Nicolas Oudot were printers in Troyes, and sustainably minded to boot. Using recycled paper from previously published books, the innovative printmakers created low quality, travel-sized brochures, protected with covers made from used sugarloaf packaging the color of faded denim. These updated editions of classic texts (think fun-sized SparkNotes) this small-format printing model birthed were thus named livres bleus (blue books). Blue books, and the broader Bibliothèque bleue (blue library) publishing house, were made possible through the Oudot brothers’ association with the family of Claude Garnier, who was a Renaissance-era printer of popular literature himself, primarily for the king of France.

Continue @ Atlas Obscura

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