The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.
Conservative radio commentator Rush Limbaugh won the Author of the Year award at the Children's Choice Book Awards for his book Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims: Time-Travel Adventures With Exceptional Americans, in which Rush Revere and a talking horse named Liberty travel back in time to visit the pilgrims. Although the book has never been a critical favorite — one review accused it of "disdain for even the most rudimentary standards of storytelling" — it has been an enormous commercial success. Four finalists for the award were chosen because of their places on bestseller lists, and the winner was chosen by children's votes. In response to concerns about the list of finalists announced in March, the prize organizers — Children's Book Council and Every Child a Reader — had released a delicately worded statement: This program has never been about CBC or ECAR endorsing finalists. It has always been about CBC and ECAR endorsing young readers and giving them a choice and a voice on a national scale." In accepting the honor, Limbaugh said, "I love America. I wish everybody did. I hope everybody will. It's one of the most fascinating stories in human history ... and it's a delight and it's an opportunity to try to share that story with young people so they can grow and learn to love and appreciate the country in which they're growing up and will someday run and lead and inherit."
On the side of a road in Sheffield, England, an ode to the air is etched on a plaque. It reads, in part: "Both dragonfly and Boeing
/ dangle in its see-through nothingness ... / ... My first word, everyone's first word, was air." But the plaque serves as more than just an appreciation. Coated with titanium dioxide, it actually purifies the air around it. A project by the poet Simon Armitage and the chemist Tony Ryan, both professors at the University of Sheffield, the plaque is part of the university's Lyric Festival of Poetry. "This poem alone will eradicate the nitrogen oxide pollution created by about 20 cars every day," Ryan said in a statement. "If every banner, flag or advertising poster in the country did this, we'd have much better air quality."
Publishers Lunch has released a free e-book with excerpts from more than 30 of the most anticipated books of this fall and winter. Buzz Books 2014: Fall/Winter has writings from John Scalzi, Lev Grossman and many others. Publishers Lunch also has a YA edition, with excerpts from authors including Garth Nix and Meg Wolitzer.
S. Hope Mills has a great short story in Guernica called "What Lights Up the Night": "This is how your parents have explained Paula's coming: In Northern Ireland, the Protestants and Catholics are fighting. You are one of several families who will host children from both sides with the hope that one day, as grownups, they will remember that they are not so different from each other. Paula's hair is the color of honey (like yours), eyes a murky green (not like yours). She arrives in black jeans and a Madonna t-shirt. You are not allowed to listen to Madonna. She does not look you in the eye when you are introduced."
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Corrected: May 14, 2014 at 11:00 PM CDT
A previous version of this post incorrectly stated that Publishers Weekly has released a free e-book with excerpts of highly anticipated books. The e-book is from Publishers Lunch.