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PAPER CHASE: Patchett tells of transformation to bookstore owner

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Ann Patchett, the Orange Prize-winning author of Bel Canto, Run and State of Wonder, describes her transformation to co-owner of an independent bookstore in the December issue of the Atlantic.

Patchett, who co-founded Parnassus Books in 2011 after her hometown of Nashville, Tenn., found itself bereft of bookstores, also discusses the consequences of an appearance on TV's Colbert Report, in which she and satirist Stephen Colbert discussed the future of books and bookselling.

After she implored viewers to order her novel State of Wonder from the Parnassus Books website, instead of Amazon, she ended up recruiting help to mail out 533 boxes of the novel.

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The Writers' Union of Canada wants to know what you read today. And the national writers' organization is teaming up with Kobo to get you to tell the world.

Submissions are open until Dec. 31 in TWUC's fifth annual National Reading Campaign. Participants can enter the contest to win one of 10 Kobo readers, preloaded with a variety of books, by tweeting to @readingcampaign with the hashtag #whatdidyoureadtoday? Libraries can win $1,000 worth of free books for their collections by creating a space for kids to list what they're reading.

Kobo will support the campaign by donating $1 for each tweet, up to a total of $10,000.

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Winnipegger Rikki Marie-Josée Dubois has written a children's book, illustrated by Denis Grenier, to help children understand what it means if a parent has gone through a gender change.

Muffy Was Fluffy tells the story of a child's beloved pet, who "was not comfortable with the way she was born." In order to be happy, Fluffy "must change into Muffy, the type of pet she was meant to be."

The book is self-published through PublishAmerica.

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Somebody at the U.S. Department of Education seems to view as a role model Thomas Gradgrind, the schoolmaster villain of Charles Dickens's Hard Times who demanded that children learn "facts!"

Standards proposed by the U.S. Department of Education call for 70 per cent of reading in Grade 12 to be non-fiction or "informational texts" by 2014.

Some examples of informational texts cited on the Common Core Standards website are positively Gradgrindian: The Environmental Protection Agency's Recommended Levels of Insulation and the California Invasive Plant Council's Invasive Plant Registry.

booknewsbob@gmail.com

 

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 15, 2012 J8

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