Critical Notes

Roundup 17

By Jane Ciabattari

The Association of American Publishers is in search of a new slogan to inspire reading and giving books as gifts, They’re offering a $500 gift certificate as the prize for the most creative new tagline. Deadline: April 15. The AAP’s earlier campaign, “Get caught reading,” is a model, as are the National Endowment for the Arts’s “Big Read,” the independent bookstore’s “Indiebound,” and the National Education Association’s “Read Across America.” The target audience is parents, occasional book buyers, library users, readers of print and e-books. The winning slogan will balance advocacy and commerce, perhaps alluding on the relationship between reading and success in school and in professional life, the connections that stories can foster and/or the value of books as gifts.  Email ideas to Tina Jordan, Vice President, Association of American Publishers.

Paper Cuts turns to Thomas DePietro to decipher “Humbug,” in particular the wacky art of Will Elder.

Oscar Villalon finds David Grann’s “The Lost City of Z” “ridiculously entertaining.”

Steve Weinberg, creator of the NBCC’s Freelancing Guide (updated edition will be ready in a few weeks), on how journalists dropped the ball on Columbine, in the CJR.

Steve Kellman, considering Princeton philosopher Peter Singer’s new book, “The Live You Can Save,” recalls the power of reading Singer’s “Animal Liberation” 30 years ago:“I have not swallowed a morsel of meat since.”

Recent NBCC Balakian finalist Laila Lalami’s first novel, “Secret Son,” is just out. .

Granta launched new issue with a packed party at Idlewild Books, hosted by former NBCC president John Freeman, Granta’s US editor. In the mix:NBCC board members past and present, NBCC members, and awardees (Lawrence Weschler, for one).

Elizabeth Kiem ponders an evening produced by the U.N. Film Society, in which post-apocalyptic refugees from Battlestar Galactica, about to air its final episode, spent an evening at the U.N. swapping war stories with rights activists. “That was the sort of evening it was. One in which Whoopi Goldberg greeted ambassadors with a flirtatious ‘hey’ and high-ranking officials were seen slipping the Caprica delegate plaques into their briefcases as souvenirs.”

Michael O’Donnell on “Unfriendly Fire:” “don’t ask, don’t tell now belongs firmly in the dinosaur column.”