Monday News: Comic-Con, Somalia’s growing book culture, publishers on the cannabis train, and 10-year-old book blogger
Comic-Con 2016: Has pop culture reached peak superhero? (+video) – Does Comic-Con reflect a mainstream saturation of SFF, or has it just become just one more commercial vehicle for major film studios and publishers? The growth of the event and the current popularity of television shows like Game of Thrones is credited to the advent and success of the original Star Wars movie back in the late 70s, and the series definitely doesn’t seem to be waning in popularity. The more hardcore fan culture appears to some to be more widely understood and enjoyed, according to some Comic-Con regulars:
Even industry insiders are seeing a change. At his booth at Comic-Con’s illustrators’ area, DC Comics artist Philip Tan explains how he has watched as lovers of the genre have been increasingly welcomed into the mainstream fold.
“People don’t shy away either from considering themselves as a fan of certain things, or as passionate enthusiasts of certain things,” says Mr. Tan, who been a professional comic book artist for more than 15 years. “And they don’t judge other people as much as they used to.
“It creates less conflicts and divides,” he adds. “And … when people start to accept people that are not the same as themselves, that’s a good improvement for everyone.” – Christian Science Monitor
Somalia’s nascent love affair with books is blossoming as safety returns to the country – The Hargeysa International Book Fair, held in the breakaway region of Somaliland, is inspiring more book fairs in different areas of the country, reflecting a more robust book culture in tandem with more political stability. As the 5th poorest nation in the world, Somalia continue to struggle with high levels of unemployment and low educational opportunity. So book fairs, and even some new bookstores, are hardly business as usual, and their development is hopeful but also still fragile.
Many of the newer events ride on the coattails of the Hargeisa fair. Started in 2008, it has grown into an annual attraction featuring thousands of writers, poets, journalists, and photographers from across the world. Somaliland declared independence from Somalia in 1991 and has since stood as a peaceful oasis in the warring nation. The book fair has named a guest country every year, with writers from Nigeria, United Kingdom, Malawi, and Djibouti hosted in previous years. Ghana is the guest nation this time around. . . .
The success in Hargeisa is now trying to be replicated in Mogadishu. When the first book fair took place in Somalia’s capital in August last year, more than 30 writers and 3,000 people attended the three-day event. More than 3,000 books were put on display, a big step for a city that didn’t have any public libraries or commercial bookstores at the time.- Quartz
Dope Reads: Publishers Have High Hopes for Marijuana Books – Tobacco companies may have to wait a while before they can start planting acres and acres of marijuana, but publishers don’t have the same legal worries, so – surprise! – we’re getting everything from weed-inspired cookbooks to coloring books. Oh, this is so very amusing (and who doesn’t want the recipe for “Potzo Ball Soup”?!).
Combining weed and food is nothing new, but this season’s cannabis-inspired cookbooks and cocktail guides suggest that high cuisine has moved beyond pot brownies and cans of Pringles. Two titles offer recipes that disregard longtime caution against “cross-fading” (mixing weed and alcohol). The Book of Dangerous Cocktails by Dylan March and Jennifer Boudinot (St. Martin’s, Oct.) includes, among libations such as flaming shots, instructions for an assortment of cannabis-infused concoctions. Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails and Tonics (Fair Winds Press, out now) by Warren Bobrow, who blogs at the Cocktail Whisperer, explores not only weed-infused mixed drinks but also butters, oils, and syrups. Bobrow’s 2013 book with Fair Winds, Apothecary Cocktails, has sold 7,000 print copies according to BookScan.
On the edibles side, there’s The 420 Gourmet (Harper Wave, Aug.) by Jeff the 420 Chef, whose cooking has received coverage by media outlets such as Vanity Fair and Newsweek. He offers dishes for a variety of meals and courses—breakfast and brunch, mains and sides, sweets and snacks, and more—with recipe names such as Eggs Canna-Dict with Cherry-Pepper Bacon, and Potzo Ball Soup. – Publishers Weekly
Profile: Athena, the Book Explorer shares her adventures – Although she’s only ten, Athena began reading novels at 6, is probably better read than many adults, and just wants to inspire other kids to love reading as much as she does. How great is that?! She certainly makes me feel like a supreme underachiever.
With help from her mother, she started a literary blog for kids last December. She took on the fanciful moniker of Athena, the Book Explorer — L’exploratrice de livres in French. Athena is trilingual — at home she speaks only Greek with her family, she attends a French school and bilingual day camp in summer and speaks mainly English with the kids at the Greek school she attends on Saturdays — but the blog includes only French and English recommendations.
Her reading tastes are eclectic, but she has a special interest in history. She particularly likes Greek mythology and books set during the reign of Louis XIV. “I really like how, when you read, you get to imagine worlds you never would otherwise,” she said. – Montreal Gazette