Arkansas wants to ban all classroom mentions of Howard Zinn (teachers, get your free books!)

The Arkansas legislature is considering a bill that would prohibit "any books or other material authored by or concerning Howard Zinn" in its schools, on the grounds that Howard Zinn says means things about America, like, "It has the kinds of censoring, undemocratic state governments that ban all books by and discussions of critics of America and its actions." Read the rest

Queen Bees and Wannabes: a parents' up-to-date guide to the perils of "girl-world"

It's been fifteen years since the first edition of educator Rosalind Wiseman's Queen Bees and Wannabes was published; now in its third edition -- updated with current, timely material about social media and other fast-moving subjects, as well as reflections from girls who were raised on the techniques in the previous editions -- the book is a compassionate, aware, and intensely practical guide to navigating the toxic, gendered lives of young girls in a diverse, politicized world.

Declining adult coloring book sales challenge bookselling's recovery

The unexpected success of adult coloring books was a huge boon to booksellers, going from a standing start to $90M in sales in 2015, and bringing plenty of readers into bookstores, where they availed themselves of the rest of the stores' wares. Read the rest

Terms and Conditions: the bloviating cruft of the iTunes EULA combined with extraordinary comic book mashups

Back in 2015, cartoonist Robert Sikoryak started publishing single pages from his upcoming graphic novel Terms and Conditions, in which he would recount every word of the current Apple iTunes Terms and Conditions as a series of mashup pages from various comics old and new, in which Steve Jobsean characters stalked across the panels, declaiming the weird, stilted legalese that "everyone agrees to and no one reads."

The 'Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillian' series

"Your first doomsday machine is a malevolent, inscrutable wristwatch.”

The Please Don't Tell My Parents series, by Richard Roberts, is a wonderful young adult series of novels about Penelope Akk and her two friends Claire and Ray. They are normal middle school kids just hoping their superpowers will kick in soon. Read the rest

When an Elephant Falls in Love — an irresistible meditation on the quest for connection

Award-winning children’s author, Davide Cali, teamed up with visual artist, Alice Lotti, to create When an Elephant Falls in Love, a book about the sweet and silly things one does for love.

A no-named elephant works hard to impress the one he adores. He tries to eat healthy foods (no cheesecake!), he takes daily baths (and washes behind his ears), he tries on stylish neckties, and he leaves flowers on a doorstep (but runs away before the door is opened). He’s unsure, confused, gleeful and sometimes sad. He’s normal. He’s in love.

But does he enchant his beloved?

Charming pen and ink illustrations accompany text that is understandable to children and truly relatable to adults as well.

Appropriate for ages 4-8.

– Carole Rosner

When an Elephant Falls in Love by Davide Cali, Alice Lotti (Illustrator) Chronicle Books 2016, 32 pages, 7.8 x 0.5 x 10.5 inches, Hardcover $10 Buy on Amazon Read the rest

The Free: unflinching YA novel about juvie, desperation and empathy

Lauren McLaughlin is no stranger to hard-hitting, unflinching young adult novels: her debut, Cycler (and its sequel, Re-Cycler) was about a teenaged girl who turned into a boy for four days every month; Scored was a class-conscious surveillance dystopia; now, in The Free, McLaughlin sheds any fantastic or futuristic elements and mainlines a pure, angry, relentless and stripped-down story about a kid whose desperate circumstances become almost unbearable when he takes a fall for a car-theft and goes to juvenile prison.

New Yorkers! Come see Edward Snowden and me onstage at the NYPL on the Walkaway tour!

I'm touring 20 US cities (plus dates in Canada and the UK!) with my forthcoming novel Walkaway; the full tour hasn't been announced yet, but I'm delighted to reveal that the NYC stop on May 3 will be at the New York Public Library, where my interlocutor will be the whistleblower Edward Snowden. Tickets are $10-25! (Reminder: there are also signed first-edition hardcovers available for pre-order in the USA and UK). Read the rest

THEFT: A History of Music

It's been seven years since we previewed Theft: A History of Music, a comic book that explains the complicated history of music, borrowing, control and copyright, created by a dynamic duo of witty copyright law professors from Duke University as a followup to the greatest law-comic ever published: the book was due out years ago, but the untimely and tragic death of illustrator Keith Aoki delayed it -- until today.

Femme Magnifique! A Kickstarter for an anthology about amazing women!

The fabulous Shelly Bond, former DC Vertigo editor and head honcho, just launched a kickstarter for an anthology called Femme Magnifique that she’s doing in conjunction with Kristy and Brian Miller at HiFi Color. Read the rest

Required reading: The 2017 Nebula Awards shortlist

The Science Fiction Writers of America has released the ballot for this year's Nebula awards, nominated for and voted upon by the organization's members; the ballot lists novellas, short stories, novelettes, YA novels (the Andre Norton award), dramatic presentations (the Bradbury award), and novels -- including two debut novels I reviewed in 2016: Nisi Shawl's Everfair and Charlie Jane Anders' All the Birds in the Sky. Read the rest

A Clinton-era tech law has quietly, profoundly redefined the very nature of property in the IoT age

An excellent excerpt from Aaron Perzanowski and Jason Schultz's The End of Ownership: Personal Property in the Digital Economy on Motherboard explains how Section 1201 of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act -- which bans tampering with or bypassing DRM, even for legal reasons -- has allowed corporations to design their products so that using them in unapproved ways is an actual felony. Read the rest

Perfectly on-point comics document the horrors and awkwardnesses of life

When you meet someone new, do you know what to say but still say the wrong thing? How much do you overanalyze everything that’s happening in your relationships? What do your brain, your heart, and your uterus think when their expectations of you are too high? Adulthood is a Myth explores these questions and more in over 100 comic strips.

Writer and artist Sarah Anderson compiled the best of her work from the online “Sarah’s Scribbles” collection and created plenty more comic strips to explain the insecurities and set back introverts face as they come into adulthood. These crisp black-and-white comic strips cover stressful situations like trying on clothes, being in crowds of people, obsessing over your flaws, and making the inevitable but always ill-advised comparisons to people who have figured out more than you have. Other comic strips show the unnamed main character having fun with her body fat, embracing her imperfections, and finding pleasure in little things like lying on warm laundry, wearing men’s hoodies, and embracing holiday costumes.

If the title doesn’t make you want to pick it up, the fuzzy sweater on the cover might convince you. Read it all in one sitting or start wherever you’d like as you linger over the expressive drawings, wonder about the talking rabbit, and generally relax with the knowledge that the things that made you think you were weird and alone are universal among introverts.

– Megan Hippler

Adulthood is a Myth: A Sarah's Scribbles Collection by Sarah Andersen Andrews McMeel Publishing 2016, 112 pages, 6.5 x 0.3 x 8.0 inches, Paperback $12 Buy on Amazon

See sample pages from this book at Wink. Read the rest

Matt Ruff talks about his masterful antiracist novel Lovecraft Country, out in paperback today

When I reviewed Matt Ruff's incredible Lovecraft Country last February on its hardcover release dates, I wrote, "Ruff inverts the Lovecraft horror, which turned so often on "miscegenation" and the duty of advanced humans to trample those around them in their drive to recapture this lost wisdom (and humanity's lost grace). His Lovecraftian horror is the horror of the people whom the Lovecraftian heroes viewed as subhuman, expendable, a stain on the human race. By blending real history (such as the Tulsa riots) and Lovecraftian tropes, Ruff's characters shine as active protagonists in their own story who have lives, have dignity, and have indomitable spirit that they use to fight back against the power structure that Lovecraft lionized." Read the rest

Decelerate Blue: YA graphic novel about the kids who refuse to keep pace with totalitarian, high-speed consumerism

Decelerate Blue is a new dystopian science fiction YA graphic novel from Adam Rapp and Mike Cavallaro that tells the story of Angela Swiff, a teen who refuses to go along with the "Guarantee," a totalitarian philosophy that demands that everyone work, play and (especially) shop as quickly as is humanly possible.

The Humble Freedom Bundle: pay $30 or more, benefit charities fighting the #muslimban, get a preview of Wil Wheaton reading WALKAWAY

The Humble Freedom Bundle will take $30 or more and in return give you more than 50 games, ebooks audiobooks and comics, including two never-before-heard audiobook titles from me: a newly mastered edition of the audiobook of my book on copyright, the internet and artistic integrity, Information Doesn't Want to be Free, featuring both Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer reading their introductions; and, the first 18 minutes of the forthcoming audiobook of my novel Walkaway, read by Wil Wheaton (the full book also features many other fine readers, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Amber Benson and Amanda Palmer from the Dresden Dolls). Read the rest

Now in the UK! Pre-order signed copies of the first edition hardcover of Walkaway, my first adult novel since Makers

The UK's Forbidden Planet is now offering signed hardcovers of Walkaway, my first novel for adults since 2009 -- this is in addition to the signed US hardcovers being sold by Barnes and Noble. Read the rest

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