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The Book Beat - February 7, 2020

Are you comfy? Warm? Holding a cup of coffee or tea and ready for some book news? I hope so, because there’s a lot going on this week. Book-wise, that is. It’s been one of those weeks where I want to bury my head in the pages of my current read (Dear Edward by Anne Napolitano...good so far) and live in a fictional world.

Books Behind Bars

If you're looking for a cause to support, might I suggest this? It won't shock anyone that I'm a big believer in the idea that books and reading can change lives. As a quiet and shy kid and teen, books were the balm that soothed my sensitive soul. I could travel around the world and through history (and even into the future!); learn about other people, cultures, and places; learn more about myself; and be engaged and entertained by the stories and characters on the pages.

And I do believe that books can help prisoners as well. The links I've included below are for two of these types of programs. The Prison Book Program even has an Amazon wishlist where you can purchase a wished-for book and it is sent directly to the coordinator who drops them off at the prison. I think it's a worthy cause. As our Patron Saint of Book Donation Dolly Parton says, “The seeds of dreams are often found in books and the seeds you help plant in your community can grow across the world.”

Mini Bronte

Charlotte Brontë wrote six "mini" books in addition to her novels. And yes, I'm one of those cliched anglophiles who considers Jane Eyre one of her favorite books of all time (come on, you know it's fabulous). One of her mini books was purchased by a British museum and will be on display. The size of a matchbook, it features three whole short stories! And she wrote it at 14 years old.

Oh, Netflix, How Do I Love Thee?

If you work, you should plan on calling out sick next Wednesday, February 12 right now. Why? The sequel to the amazing Netflix romance To All the Boys I've Loved Before is premiering on the streaming channel. Now while I won't be getting up at 3am ET to watch it the minute it's available (yes, I did this with the Gilmore Girls revival, don't judge), I will be watching it that day. Why? Because the first one was so good and Peter Kavinsky is adorable (hey, I'm 45 not dead).

Based on the series of novels by Jenny Han, these tell the romantic foibles and triumphs of Korean-American teen Lara Jean Covey. In this article, Lana Condor, who plays Lara Jean, discusses a scene in the sequel where her character has her "Cinderella moment" and how that's rare for Asian-American characters in film.

American Dirt Comes Clean

Last week, I wrote about the controversy surrounding this book. A group of critics called #DignidadLiteraria met with Macmillan Publishers, the main publishing house of the imprint that published the novel. It seems like the meeting was a success and they claim they were able to get assurances from Macmillan that they would create better representation of Latinx authors and stories in both their books and staff.

I have the book and I promise you'll get my take on it soon!

Another Patron Saint of Books: Patti Smith

Our list is getting long, but I think we need to add another patron saint of reading and books to it. Poet, punk-rocker, reader, and all around bad-ass Patti Smith heard about a burglary at an independent bookstore in Oregon and sent the store signed first editions of her books as replacements for what was stolen. This past Tuesday, she also was announced as the recipient of the 2020 Pen American Literary Service Award. Read this article to get the scoop. I'm a peripheral fan of Patti (her memoir Just Kids about her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe has been sitting on my Audible waiting list for a while), but it's exciting to see her honored in this way. Any big Patti Smith fans out there?

A Year in the Reading Life of Roxane Gay

One of my favorite authors, Roxane Gay shares her year of reading and writing for 2019. I love this idea and am going to do it next year!

Kobe Bryant: Basketball Star & Book Lover

Something I didn't know...the late basketball star was an avid reader and recommended many books over the years through social media and interviews. The Los Angeles Library shares some of the titles he loved.

Cover of the Week: Bossypants by Tina Fey

Who doesn't love this cover? I mean, seriously. How can you not laugh when looking at this? It's amazing. It's also the personification of what I think of when I think of the actress/comedienne and her specific brand of comedy. She always manages to take something silly and make it both funny and poignant.

This book is great. Tina talks about her job as the boss, at both SNL and 30 Rock and how it can be challenging for women to take on the boss role in a traditionally male-dominated world. So how does she visually represent that? Take a man's big, hairy arms and use them in place of her arms. It comments on the male/female power dynamic in Hollywood and at any job, but it's also damn funny.

Below is a link to an article on Joe Rosario, the man's whose arms/hands were used in the photo.

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