Monday News: Conan Doyle estate is at it again; HC debuts Harlequin Audio; profile of Judy Blume; and UK children’s literacy rates up
The estate notes in its lawsuit that although many of Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes works are in the public domain, 10 works published between 1923 and 1927 remain under copyright. Those works develop details of Holmes’ retirement and later life, the estate claims.
Among other things, the lawsuit claims that Cullin “copied entire passages from Conan Doyle’s copyrighted story ‘The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier.’ Cullin took from that story the creative point of view of Holmes rather than Watson narrating a detective story — and the plot behind it: that Watson has remarried and moved out of Baker Street.”–Variety
For digital audiobooks, Harlequin Audio will operate in conjunction with the audio unit at HarperCollins, which acquired Harlequin in summer 2014, working with digital distributors for the retail and library markets. Harlequin Audio will distribute physical CD versions of all titles through Blackstone Audio and Midwest Tape. –Publishers Weekly
The following passage, too, had me thinking about Simon Pegg’s argument about societal infantalization through regressive stories, because in Blume’s case, her unselfconsciousness about her writing certainly does not translate into simplistic, immature literary fantasies. Rather, her willingness to embrace ambiguity and ambivalence, her refusal to distill everything down to simple, homespun truths, and her rebellious embrace of the chaotic realities of both adolescence and adulthood do not make for simple escapism.
Blume is verbal and warm and open, but she says that her son has called her “the least analytical person he has ever met.” She has no theories, for example, to explain why she, of all people, felt unburdened by the unspoken rules marking certain subjects off limits for children, or why, for that matter, she has that particular gift, that ability to recall the emotional experiences of adolescence, the confusion, the longing, the rivalries — the memories, in other words, that most of us try to bury as quickly and deeply as we can.
Blume does think that she turned toward children’s fiction because she was still living a relatively sheltered life. “I didn’t have any adult experience when I started to write,” she said. “So I identified more with kids.” Her own fate felt sealed, airless. “I felt, I made this decision. This is it. It’s not all open for me anymore.” To her, it was only natural that she look backward, to the age when she felt most powerful and adulthood still promised the adventures her father wanted for her. She had been a fierce and creative child; on the page, at least, she still was. Blume likes the idea that everybody has an age that defines them for life. For her, she said, that age is 12. –New York Times
Findings from our fifth annual survey of 32,000 children and young people aged between eight and 18 show that enjoyment of reading and frequency of reading are both at their highest levels for nine years. . . .
- Levels of reading enjoyment continue to improve. 54.4% of children and young people enjoy reading either very much or quite a lot. 35.5% only enjoy reading a bit and 10% do not enjoy reading at all.
- Levels of daily reading also continue to increase – dramatically. Between 2013 and 2014 there was a 28.6% increase in the number of children and young people who read daily outside class, rising from 32.2% in 2013 to 41.1% in 2014. –UK National Literacy Trust