Monthly Archives: May 2008

Oh, Scholastic, Give Her a Chance!

Are there other characters you’d love to have illustrated?

If I were to pick a classic character, Alice in Wonderland would be a really fun one to maybe put a modern spin on her. I know that’s been done, but it would be fun to do it my way.

From this interview with US Harry Potter illustrator, Mary Grandpre. (Thanks to BookMoot for the link.)


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Biometric Daemons

Pantalaimon, avert your eyes.

According to this article, a couple of professors have come up with a new device “inspired by the Philip Pullman fantasy novels – recently turned into the hit film The Golden Compass – which include animal daemons which are physical representations of character’s souls.”  They have in mind “… biometric daemons [that] could carry people’s personal details and replace pin numbers and passwords for everyday transactions, reacting to different levels of risk and becoming stressed and eventually dying if they are apart from their owner.”

According to one of the professors, Dr. Clark,  “The idea of the daemon is that it is a living credit card,” he said. “It would recognise it is with you, and if you put it in your pocket, it can recognise your walk and your voice.”

And would it also know what is in my heart?

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Filed under His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass

Closing of Donnell Library and What Happens Next

The New York Public Library’s Central Children’s Room has been located at the Donnell Library (where blogger Fuse #8 works), but is moving now, now, now. As has been reported before and now in more detail, the building (across from MOMA) is to come down and replaced by a fancy hotel. As for where the children’s and teen materials will be going, the following is what I found on the NYPL site).

Children’s Collections
including Winnie the Pooh and Friends
Humanities and Social Sciences Library
42nd Street and Fifth Avenue
Historic and reference children’s materials will be available in the Rose Main Reading Room. Circulating children’s materials will move to the Humanities Library in the fall. Winnie-the-Pooh and friends are on view now on the Library’s third floor.
Hours: Mon, Thu, Fri, Sat: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Tue & Wed: 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.; Sun: 1 to 5 p.m.

Adult Materials and Teen Central
Adult materials and Teen Central will be relocated to a temporary site in midtown while the new library is constructed. Please check for forthcoming details about this location. Over the summer the Teen Advisory Group meetings and programs for teens, including author talks, gaming, web 2.0 programs, and summer reading related activities, will be held at the Columbus Branch. Teen Central staff will also be there to work with young adult library users.

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Filed under Children's Literature

Shaun Tan on Tales from Outer Suburbia

“Suburbia,” Tan reflects, “is often represented as a banal, quotidian, even boring place that escapes much notice. Yet I think it is also a fine substitute for the medieval forests of fairytale lore, a place of subconscious imaginings. I’ve always found the idea of suburban fantasy very appealing.

In The Australian’s “Suburban Dreaming” Shaun Tan talks about his new collection of stories about suburbia.

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Zadie Smith on Middlemarch

Henry James complained that Middlemarch was too messy. But it was George Eliot’s ‘riot of subjectivity’ that made the novel so bold. Zadie Smith salutes the Victorian novelist who gave future writers the freedom to push the form to its limits.

I’ve been listening to George Eliot’s Middlemarch and so was happy to come across this wonderful essay on the book. The book of revelations | Review | Books

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Book Promotion: A Cautionary Tale

From bookninja who got it from one of his blog readers.

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Jonathan Stroud’s Heroes of the Valley

Listen then, and I’ll tell you again of the Battle of the Rock. But none of your usual wriggling, or I’ll stop before I’ve begun …Halli loves the old stories from when the valley was a wild and dangerous place – when the twelve legendary heroes, led by his ancestor Svein, stood together to defeat the ancient enemy, the bloodthirsty Trows. Halli longs for adventure but it seems these days the most dangerous thing in the valley is boredom. He tries to liven things up by taunting his siblings and playing practical jokes. But when one of his jokes goes too far reawakening an old blood feud, Halli finds himself on a hero’s quest after all. Along the way he meets a ruthless thief, a murderous rival, and a girl who may just be as fearless as he is. Halli may be about to make his own last stand and discover the truth about the legends, about his family, and about himself…Jonathan Stroud has created an epic saga with a funny, unique spin, and an unforgettable anti-hero.

The above description comes from the page (as, interestingly, there is none at the US site) for Jonathan Stroud’s new novel, due to be published in the US early next year. Since I was a very big fan of the Bartimaeus Trilogy (that got better as it went on — the final book being, in my opinion, amazing), I was happy to hear about this new book with a new anti-hero.

Curious to find out more I came across Stroud’s journal where he mentioned that he will be at BEA “… where Heroes (this seems to be the title again) will first see the light of day in the form of a teaser pamphlet with a couple of chapters in. A galley proof of the full text will be done later in the year, prior to publication in January.”  He also (in the October 19th, 2007 post) wrote:

Q: Is the book fantasy?
A: Yep. Although not quite the same kind as the Bart books. Not so many imps, for one thing.

Q: Is it a series?
A: Nope. I think it’s a single volume.

Q: Is it a vast, shelf-breaking, back-straining sort of novel, or a pencil-thin novella that might blow out of your hand in a light breeze?
A: It’s sort of medium. I thought it would be on the short side when I began, but now it’s creeping up. I guess it’ll be a little slimmer than The Amulet of Samarkand.

Q: Has it got lots of action?
A: Yep.

Q: Jokes?
A: Ditto. At least, they make me laugh.

Q: When’s it going to be published?
A: Probably the very end of next year or first thing 2009 in the UK and US. Twelve months or more seems like a long time away, but I thought the exact same thing when I began writing this at the end of October 2006 with a deadline of about now. Suddenly, with a whizz of light, I’m here… and I STILL haven’t finished! Besides, once I get the approval of my editors, I’ll be able to talk about it properly here in the run-up to publication…

Q: Has it got a map in it?
A: Hmmm… Maybe.

Well, I for one, am very eager to see what this one is all about!


Filed under fairy tales, Fantasy Worlds

A New Pullman Profile in the Independent

Philip Pullman: His dark materials – People, News – The Independent

The death and absence of his father has informed so much of the fiction written by this highly acclaimed authorover the years, but he has never known – or wanted to know – the truth about what really happened. Until now… Cole Moreton meets Philip Pullman


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Lewis J. Edinger: 1922-2008

This is a very hard post to write. I tend to not write personal posts on this blog, but will today.

My father, Lewis J. Edinger, died on Monday. There is a notice in today’s New York Times and I hope they will publish an obituary in the next few weeks. I wrote briefly about him in this post about Holocaust literature and will certainly write more about him here and elsewhere now. He was an emeritus professor of government at Columbia University specializing in leadership, post-war Germany, Europe, and other related areas. His last book, co-authored with Brigitte Nacos, was From Bonn to Berlin: German Politics in Transition. My father came from a line of prominent academics, notably his grandfather Ludwig Edinger, a prominent neurologist who helped found the University of Frankfurt and discovered the Edinger-Westphal nucleus in the brain. His institute continues to thrive today and in April 2005 my father and I were guests of honor at a celebration and symposium for his 150th birthday.

Aside from his intellectual prowess, scholarship, and heritage, my father was a wonderful husband, father, and grandfather. All who knew him were enriched by the experience.


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Jon Scieszka’s Knucklehead

Knucklehead: Tall Tales and Almost True Stories of Growing up Scieszka is one ARC I’m very, very, VERY eager to get my hands on. I remember Jon mentioning this work years ago so I’m very excited that it is ready for prime time — this fall. (And I like how he tackles the memoir quagmire straight on with that subtitle. Well done, Mr. Knucklehead-Ambassador -Trucktown-Scieszka.)

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