Friday, March 18, 2011

Book News: Earthquakes in Literature, Writers for the Red Cross, & the Orange Prize

Japan has been in the hearts and minds of people the world over during the past week. I don't have words to express my own feelings about this tragedy. Suffice it to say that prayers have been going up for the people there. To tie world news in to book news, the LA Times created a list this week of books to help understand earthquakes and their effect on humanity, in the article: "9 Ways of looking at earthquakes through literature."

To help, writers are teaming up with the Red Cross in an auction-style fundraiser called, simply: Writers for the Red Cross. You can read more about the fundraiser here, then go to their main site for a listing of auction items by week. The fundraiser runs through the month of March, with changing items each week. The site also features writers' thoughts on the topic: What the Red Cross Means to Me.

Auction items have been donated by authors, publishing houses, bookstores, bloggers, and many more. Hot items for this week include: phone calls from authors, signed copies of books, appraisals of query letters and manuscripts, swag bags, book club sets, and book cover designs. For more on how the money raised will help those in Japan, visit the Update: Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami section of the site. You can also choose to just donate money, rather than bidding. Each $25 donation made will get you a free book!

A new site called Authors for Japan also launched this week. It offers similar auctions. Visit there for more options and to help raise more money for the relief effort.

Book awards are also in the news this week, as the 2011 Orange Prize longlist was released. For those of you who are unaware, the Orange Prize was "launched in 1996, [and] celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in women's writing from throughout the world," according to their website. In short, it adeptly combines all avenues of my schooling, from my degree in English: Language and Literature to my minor in Women's Studies. I still remained unaware of the Orange Prize until a book blog I follow, nomadreader, began hyping it. Nomadreader devotes an entire page to the Orange Prize, and has also posted her predictions and then the longlist this week.

On a lighter note, Jennifer Lawrence, the outbreak star of last year's Winter's Bone, has been chosen to play Katniss Everdeen in the film version of The Hunger Games. I couldn't have chosen better myself. Given her performance in Winter's Bone (which earned her an Academy Award nomination), I have no doubt Lawrence will do justice to the teen heroine.

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