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World Book Day is a celebration of authors, illustrators, books and… (most importantly) it’s a celebration of reading.

It is the biggest celebration of its kind, designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and marked in over one hundred countries all over the world.

This is the Fifteenth year there’s been a World Book Day.

Tomorrow, children of all ages will come together to appreciate reading.

Very loudly and very happily.

The primary goal of World Book Day is to encourage children to explore the pleasures of books and reading by providing them with the opportunity to have a book of their own.

If you don’t have children of your own, you can be a volunteer reader at your local public library, or volunteer to buy a book for child in need.

Find out more about this important and wonderful programme here.

The question that the courts are being asked to answer, in a suit brought by an employer against a former employee, is;

Does an employee who leaves a job that involves working with social media have the right to take his or her Twitter account and followers along?

 According to Ron Barnett, a writer for USA TODAY,

That’s the question at the heart of a case unfolding in U.S. District Court in Northern California. It pits Noah Kravitz, who worked as an editor and video blogger, against his former employer, PhoneDog, a Mount Pleasant, S.C.-based company that offers reviews, news and information about phones and related technology.

By the time Kravitz left PhoneDog in October 2010, he had amassed nearly 17,000 followers. PhoneDog says in the lawsuit those followers should be treated like a customer list, and therefore are its property. The company is asking that Kravitz pay $2.50 per follower per month for eight months, or a total of $340,000. In his answer filed last week, Kravitz argues that PhoneDog is overstating the account’s value and that Twitter is the legal owner of the account.

Eric Menhart, a Washington attorney specializing in cyberlaw says that, “unless there’s a written agreement, there’s no clear line that answers this question.”

This lawsuit has the potential to touch the lives of anyone who uses social media, especially if they use it not only to promote a a particular employer’s brand-name but to create valuable name recognition for themselves.

Rachael Horwitz of Twitter’s media relations office stated that “Twitter does not comment on individual users for privacy reasons.”

Note: It is generally accepted in employment practices that for any work performed for an employer that creates value for said employer while said employee is under an employment contract… that value is effectively owned by the employer.  


Longtime friends and colleagues gathered at the New York Public Library last Friday afternoon to honor legendary editor and publisher Margaret K. McElderry, in a program called “Lessons from a Literary Legend.”

The atmosphere was celebratory and at many times, jovial, as speakers told stories, reminisced, and paid tribute to a woman who, as the NYPL’s Jeanne Lamb said, “touched all of us and inspired us.”

An audio recording of the event is available here.

This is a wonderful tribute to an amazing woman. It is funny, heartfelt and will have you alternately in tears and stitches.

As you may be aware by now, author Diana Wynne Jones passed away this last week. I won’t post her bibliography  here; you can read it for yourself. Diana was a remarkable, fascinating woman and an amazingly prolific author who could spin a story out of a gossamer thread of a memory or an idea at seemingly, the drop of a hat. She will be sorely missed, though her works will carry on (I hope) to delight and challenge many generations of young fans yet to come.

What follows is a reposting, in it’s entirety, of a remembrance of Diana, written by author Emma Bull and posted at TOR.COM. It explains, I think, in words that fail me just now, why we so loved and admired her.


Remembering Diana Wynne Jones

by Emma Bull

Three days ago I woke up thinking, “I wonder how Diana Wynne Jones is doing? I should crochet her a shawl.” What shape, I thought, and what color? It should be vivid and striking; otherwise it had no hope of living up to the woman it was meant to wrap around.

Then I thought, “Man, I hope this doesn’t mean I’ve picked up some bad news out of the ether and she’s not faring well.”

So much for that hope.

I remember Diana Wynne Jones as standing somewhere around six foot one. But that suggests she was a towering presence in person as well as in young adult literature. No, she was just one of those people who seemed to make the space around her expand and crackle with energy.

She made you aware of things. I can’t see the enormous June strawberries in a U.S. supermarket without remembering how awestruck she was by them, and how it led her to an analysis of the difference between British and American  produce aisles.

She told stories the way some people eat ice cream: eagerly, with delight and no self-consciousness. She told them about her family in a way that made them familiar characters in my imaginary world, and she talked about her characters as if they were family.

Some of her best stories were about the unexpected intersections of her life and her work. She was diagnosed with a severe dairy allergy, and out of her longing for all things milk, invented the butter pies in A Tale of Time City. She wrote a scene in The Homeward Bounders in which a character is hit in the head with a cricket bat, and not a month later, her son was hit in the head with a cricket bat. She felt responsible, rather.

She was passionate about what children want and deserve from their literature. Adults would approach her at signings, wanting to know why she wrote such difficult books. In one case, when a woman protested, the woman’s young son spoke up and assured Diana, “Don’t worry. I understood it.” She believed in the flexiblility of her readers’ minds, their willingness to puzzle things out, and to wait for clues to anything they couldn’t yet puzzle. She gave her readers books like Fire and Hemlock, Time of the Ghost,Archer’s Goon, Black Maria, and Dogsbody, and knew they’d chase the themes and meanings and resonances until they caught them.

And cried, and laughed—because in a Diana Wynne Jones story, there’s always some of each. In books like Witch Week and The Ogre Downstairs, she balanced hilarious mixups and secrets with very real threats, consequences, and life-changing discoveries. Wilkins’ Tooth, with its, er, “colorful language,” is hilarious; but it’s also got danger, nobility, and wisdom woven into its seemingly-light fabric.

The drawback of associating with Diana Wynne Jones is that she seemed to carry her story-generating equipment with her, hidden somewhere on her person. If you spent any time at all with her, you had Adventures, of the sort that made you wonder if you would appear someday, in disguise, in a book full of absurd and powerful people and events.

She visited us once when we lived in Minneapolis. Several of us sat comfortably in the living room of our elderly two-story house while another friend from out of town went upstairs to take a bath.

Suddenly, just in front and to the left of the arm of Diana’s chair, a drop of water fell from the ceiling. Then two more. Before we could quite believe it, the ceiling was running like a faucet, and the paper that covered it was sagging like a structurally unsound water balloon above Diana’s head. We all launched ourselves up the stairs shrieking, “TURN OFF THE WATER!” to which our bathing guest shrieked back, “IT’S OFF!”

In a Diana Wynne Jones book, of course, the first floor would have filled up with unstoppable water from who-knew-where. We were spared that. But when we finally fixed the leak (well after the departure of all our company), repaired the holes in the ceiling, and repainted it all, we sent before, during, and after photos to Diana to prove it was safe to sit in our living room again. At least, until the next Adventure…

Now she’s gone. After some consideration, I realize no shawl would have been magnificent enough. But I would have been happy to try.


Emma Bull is the author of War for the Oaks, Territory, and several other fantasy and science fiction novels. She lives in southern Arizona.

 

I’m not going to spend a lot of column space on the details of Judge Chin’s decision. You can read that and much of the analysis of the decision elsewhere on the web.

Needless say it’s not over… yet. As determined as Google is to develop a Digital Library, there’s little doubt that there will be yet another plan, most likely sooner than later.

The Outer Alliance is a group of SF/F writers who have come together as allies for the advocacy of LGBT issues in literature. Made up of individuals of all walks of life, our goal is to educate, support, and celebrate LGBT contributions in the science-fiction and fantasy genres.

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