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BOOK NEWS FOR JULY 15TH: YA VAMPIRES & WEREWOLVES, HARRY POTTER TRIAL, AND SLOW READING

by Dawn, July 15, 2010

School and Library Books About Vampires and Werewolves Take Hold of Today’s Youth

Via PR web
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There’s no denying it: vampires and werewolves are hot! These ancient legends have become the latest craze, and young people are particularly smitten. This is clearly evident in the outpouring of interest in the Twilight Saga movies recently hitting the big screen. So it is no surprise that Mason Crest Publishers is tapping into this phenomenon to bring high interest school and library books to students across the country. The Making of a Monster: Vampires & Werewolves is comprised of 9 titles in book series which is coming out this fall for students ages 12 and up.

This series builds on the current obsession with vampires and werewolves, offering young adults information on the history, the science, and the literary connections behind these fascinating creatures. Myths and stories about creatures of the night have been popular throughout history, as people are drawn to the allure of the “other.”

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Willy Wizard Takes on Harry Potter in U.S. Court

By Eriq Gardner at ABC News
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The estate of Adrian Jacobs, who authored the 1987 book “The Adventures of Willy the Wizard,” has filed a lawsuit in New York district court against Scholastic Inc., publisher of “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.” The lawsuit claims that J.K. Rowling misappropriated copyrighted elements from Jacobs’ book.

The estate filed a similar lawsuit last year in England against Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, the UK publisher of the Harry Potter franchise.

Jacobs estate trustee Paul Allen said in a statement the estate is contemplating legal action in key territories worldwide and the “USA being the world’s largest market for Potter books means that our first overseas action is brought here in America.”

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The art of slow reading

By Patrick Kingsley at The Guardian
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If you’re reading this article in print, chances are you’ll only get through half of what I’ve written. And if you’re reading this online, you might not even finish a fifth. At least, those are the two verdicts from a pair of recent research projects – respectively, the Poynter Institute’s Eyetrack survey, and analysis by Jakob Nielsen – which both suggest that many of us no longer have the concentration to read articles through to their conclusion.

So are we getting stupider? Is that what this is about? Sort of. According to The Shallows, a new book by technology sage Nicholas Carr, our hyperactive online habits are damaging the mental faculties we need to process and understand lengthy textual information. Round-the-clock news feeds leave us hyperlinking from one article to the next – without necessarily engaging fully with any of the content; our reading is frequently interrupted by the ping of the latest email; and we are now absorbing short bursts of words on Twitter and Facebook more regularly than longer texts.

What’s more, Seeley argues, Bayard’s literary bluffing merely obscures a bigger problem: the erosion of our powers of concentration, as highlighted by Carr’s book. Seeley notes that after a conversation with some of her students, she discovered that “most can’t concentrate on reading a text for more than 30 seconds or a minute at a time. We’re being trained away from slow reading by new technology.”

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I like the idea of having one book which gives the basic history and lore of vampires and werewolves. There isn’t really one book that has a concise history, and it’s hard to find online. If the book is thorough, I’ll have to get it. And I really wish the Willy the Wizard people would just give up already. They aren’t going to reach a settlement, because they are the only ones who think JK Rowling plagiarized. And I’m sick of hearing about it. I think that we are getting worse and worse and being able to concentrate on reading. I know that’s true for me, but it depends on format. I won’t skim a physical book, but I do when I read online–whether it’s an article or a book. That’s one of the reasons I don’t really want an e-reader.

Do you think the internet is making people less likely to sit down with books? What do you think of the Harry Potter trial?

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