Good morning book people! I’m starting to believe spring might actually be here–there are tiny buds on the tree outside my window, the pavements are wet with snow melt, and our windows are open to let in the fresh (not chilled) air. Of course, the arrival of spring means the arrival of spring cleaning, which isn’t nearly as much fun as crocuses and daffodils and walks by the river, but that’s optional, right?
In the coffee break this morning, bits and pieces from all over. I’m feeling a bit scattered, so my reading is scattered–which makes it a little more fun, I think!
In response to the NYT’s piece on the death of blogging, The Economist considers how we define a blog. Is a blog simply a “website on which people publish periodic entries in reverse chronological order and allow readers to leave comments,” or is something more? It also considers the definition in terms of social networks.
Back at the NYT, Dan Kois considers why writers abandon novels. It’s a longer piece, but definitely worth reading, regardless of where you are in the writing process, because it does that all-important thing: Shows that big time authors like Michael Chabon struggle with their work, too.
And, last but not least at the Old Grey Lady, Pamela Paul has a review of two gorgeous children’s books. The first, Underground, “summon[s] up for young readers the spirit and emotions — desperation, fear and, ultimately, celebration — of the Underground Railroad.” I’ll definitely be grabbing a copy for our shelf.
Elsewhere on the interwebs…
Ari over at Reading In Color has posted a list of the Arab & British Literature she’s reading for school. There are some obvious picks on the list – Frankenstein, Shirin Ebadi’s Iran Awakening – and a few more off the beaten path (or more off my beaten path, at least). I love seeing what’s being read, especially in novels and memoir, in classes; it’s an excellent way to get outside the genre box.
io9‘s Charlie Jane Anders has a well-thought out, nicely balanced review of I Am Number Four. That said, it’s still pretty negative–and not enough to turn me off seeing the movie, though I might wait ’til it hits Netflix or DVD, whichever comes first.
Also at io9, Orbit’s new buy one get one free e-book deal. For every science fiction novel you buy, you get a free fantasy novel, or vice versa. It’s a little reminiscent of the Baen Free Library (check the back of some Baen books, & you’ll find a disc with the whole series up to that point), which has had its fair share of success. But what I really love about this idea is that Orbit is getting its readers into a whole new genre, and opening up their market in a truly novel way (no pun intended)–outside of handselling, publishers and booksellers tend to stick to promoting a favorite genre or author. I’ll be paying a lot of attention to see how this pans out.
What are you reading this morning? Did you see the I Am Number Four movie?
image credit: omarmk, via flickr.Read More
io9 wonders if slowing the Earth’s rotation could be the next big thing in YA and kidlit. It’s definitely a new one–and more interesting than the angels phenomenon I keep hearing about. YA certainly transcends genres (aside from the new paranormal romance section in B&Ns, when was the last time you saw “YA humor” or “YA science fiction?”), but I haven’t seen a lot of good non-dystopic YA science fiction lately; this is definitely exciting! But does it mean the end of the dystopia trend is nigh?
Yesterday, launched its new children’s books site, “designed and curated with the help of a dedicated editorial panel of 100 children and teens from around the world.” Anyone under 18 is welcome to get involved, and with excerpts, giveaways, and a book club, the site is clearly about getting kids reading. It also looks like a great resource for writers – check out this video q&a with author Michelle Paver and this one with Phillip Pullman.
Eric at Pimp My Novel has more on Random House and the agency model, including a quick look at what it means for consumers (iBooks) and authors (perhaps a change in royalties). Also from Eric, a retweet of some great words by author @TaherehMafi, which definitely bear repeating:
here’s a tip: YA books don’t want to be graded on a curve. they’re not lesser books. they don’t want to be coddled. they dont want sympathy.
An old post, but an interesting one – over at Arabic Literature in English, some thoughts on the emergence of YA in Arab Lit. And a great new post on the book fair in Casablanca, with video of a group of young male book denouncers being kicked out.
And finally, over at Tahereh Mafi’s blog (yes, the Tahereh with the great quote one from above), a checklist of 50 things to do before writing your novel. My faves:
17. buy a lot of chocolate.
18. call your friends to let them know that you’re going to be really busy, and not to invite you to anything, just in case they were going to, on account of you’re so busy writing this new book.