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"Recently, book publishers got some good news. Researchers gave 852 disadvantaged students 12 books (of their own choosing) to take home at the end of the school year. They did this for three successive years.

Then the researchers, led by Richard Allington of the University of Tennessee, looked at those students’ test scores. They found that the students who brought the books home had significantly higher reading scores than other students. These students were less affected by the “summer slide” — the decline that especially afflicts lower-income students during the vacation months. In fact, just having those 12...

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Debut author Jodi Meadows's trilogy, beginning with ERIN INCARNATE, about the only girl who is "new" in a world where everyone is perpetually reincarnated, and her quest to discover why she was born, and what happened to the person she replaced, at auction in a good deal to Sarah Shumway at Katherine Tegen Books by Lauren MacLeod at The Strothman Agency. (World English)

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Angela von der Lippe at Norton took world English rights, at auction, to Marlene Zuk's Paleofantasy: How the Pace of Evolution Affects Our Lives.  Zuk, who teaches biology at the University of California, Riverside, sorts myth from fact in this examination of the recent claims, by slow-food advocates and self-help gurus (among others), that people can improve their health by adopting a far simpler lifestyle, more akin to the way our ancestors lived. Wendy Strothman, of the Strothman Agency, brokered the deal, which marks a move for Zuk, whose last two books were published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

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To win, simply tweet about butterflies using the hashtag #KaufmanFG. Each tweet will receive one entry.

To double your chances, tweet a picture of a butterfly.  Each tweet with the hashtag #KaufmanFG that contains a butterfly picture will count as two entries. To triple your chances identify the pictured butterfly.

Winners must be residents of the U.S. or Canada. The winner will be...

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Miracle grow

The teen brain is a marvel of smarts. It’s just not all filled in (yet).

By Elizabeth Cooney, Boston Globe-- June 28, 2010

"...  Smart kids doing stupid things: It’s the teen brain paradox. Extraordinarily quick to learn and rapidly reaching fluency in abstract thought, teens still make bonehead decisions, perhaps more so when routines relax in summer. But that’s because they’re operating with brains that are still a work in progress.

Of all the organs in our bodies, the brain takes the longest to develop. Frontal lobes — the seat of judgment — are the last pieces to be fully connected to the parts of the brain that sense danger or solve calculus problems. A growing body of neuroscientific evidence places full brain maturity at about age 25, well past the point when young people begin to drive,...

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Craig Welch's "Shell Games: Rogues, Smugglers, and the Hunt for Nature's Bounty"


By Juliet Eilperin, The Washington Post

Sunday, June 27, 2010

"Craig Welch's "Shell Games" has the most unlikely of central characters: the massive geoduck clam, a tasty creature that resides in the waters of Puget Sound and resembles the raciest part of the male anatomy. Pronounced "gooey-duck," the valuable shellfish and the humans who cannot resist plundering it make for a compelling tale that is at once ridiculous and tragic. Writing in the vein of a detective novelist, Welch recounts how a group of dedicated state and federal wildlife agents devoted years to cracking down on the lucrative trade in geoducks (scientific name: Panope generosa) in the Pacific Northwest.

One of the...

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Hitmen, smugglers, and clams? In his book "Shell Games", Craig Welch tells the story of environmental detectives who are trying to track down smugglers of the geoduck (GOO-EE duck) clam. Host Jeff Young talks with Welch about how the global black market for wildlife has increased the demand for species close to home.

Click here to listen or read the transcript.

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From The New Yorker

Alphabet Soup by Susan Orlean

"This is a true story:

My first book was acquired by two people I will call Editor A and Editor B, who ran a small imprint at a big publishing house. We had a great lunch to celebrate. A few months later, Editor A left book publishing to become a newspaper writer. Editor B became my primary editor. She and I had a nice lunch to talk about my book.

A few months after that, Editor B was promoted to publisher of the larger house—let us call it Publisher W—that owned the small imprint. Because Editor B—that is, Editor/Publisher B—now had too many duties to edit my book, I was assigned to Editor C.

Editor C and I had lunch. A few months later, he got a new job at another publishing house. I was assigned to Editor D.

Editor D and I had lunch. It was a pleasant...

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The truth about misassigned paternity

The wide availability of DNA test kits and the buzz about paternity fraud notwithstanding, the real incidence of misassigned paternity is less sensational than conventional wisdom has it.

by Marlene ZukThe Los Angeles Times

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Marlene Zuk

Israel's attack on a relief flotilla calls to mind another bloody incident

By Philip Weiss, Salon.com

" This originally appeared at Mondoweiss:

The attack on the USS Liberty is one of the great enigmas of US-Israel relations. On June 8, 1967, in the middle of the Six-Day War, Israeli planes attacked an American spy ship, the Liberty, that was in international waters off the coast of Egypt, listening in on secret communications. The attacks appeared to be deliberate, involving numerous passes on a clearly-marked American boat, strafing and napalming. The attack killed 34 Americans and produced very little by way of investigation. It was deemed an accident from the start, although many American officials doubted this conclusion.

The following quotes are from the book, "The Attack on the Liberty: The Untold Story of Israel's Deadly...

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