“There is a link, I mean to suggest, between literary writing and music — a very specific link, a link of great relevance, which finds itself in the fact that literary writing is an aural phenomenon, though it appears on the page.”—Read an excerpt of Rick Moody’s new book, On Celestial Music and Other Adventures in Listening, and a review by Siddhartha Mitter. (via nprmusic)
Mr. de la Peña donated his fee to buy 240 copies of his books, which he gave to the students. “I want to give back what was taken away,” he told Samantha Neville, a reporter for the school newspaper, The Cactus Chronicle.
As for Ana, this may have been the greatest day of her life. Having finished all four of Mr. de la Peña’s novels, she is now reading “The Lucky One” by Nicholas Sparks, about a Marine’s search for a mysterious woman in a tattered photo he finds, who turns out to be strong but vulnerable.
“It’s not the same,” Ana said. “I don’t know anybody like that.”
By now you’ve probably noticed that two prominent elements of the book-publishing landscape — Amazon and ebooks — have yet to crop up in this story. While Amazon was as enthusiastic as other booksellers about the publication of “The Hunger Games” (and Collins is a member of the elect Kindle Million Club — a half-dozen authors who have sold more than a million titles in the Kindle format), the e-tailer just doesn’t have the community presence of a bricks-and-mortar children’s bookstore.
High school teachers aren’t checking in with Jeff Bezos to find out what to assign to their classes next fall. Desperate parents don’t ask him for a title that will get their 14-year-old son reading again. Furthermore, teenagers and younger children still list browsing in bookstores and libraries as the primary ways they find out about new books and authors. They’ve been much slower to adopt e-books than older readers. Some observers think this is because e-reader devices are too pricey for kids; others say that kids see print books as a pleasant break from staring at screens all day. YA titles are selling well in various e-book platforms, but no one knows how many of these books are being bought by the growing adult readership for YA.
A fascinating piece from the fabulous Laura Miller about how Scholastic created buzz for The Hunger Games from the get-go, which of course means talking about the true champions of the children’s and YA literary community: booksellers and librarians, teachers and bloggers. And the thing all of them have in common: being passionate readers who truly care about books.
“Only hang around people that are positive and make you feel good. Anybody who doesn’t make you feel good kick them to the curb and the earlier you start in your life the better. The minute anybody makes you feel weird and non included or not supported, you know, either beat it or tell them to beat it.”—Amy Poehler (via stupidhandshakeything)
“Even inapplicable feedback is helpful feedback. Even if a suggestion or criticism doesn’t jive with my vision of my work, it’s helpful to know how a reader who is very different from me approaches that work. Reader response is always valid, and interesting. The ability to synthesize a whole bunch of reader feedback into glittering generalities about what readers want has been key to my growth as a writer.”—Phoebe North on writing and revising the best of all possible books.
“The romantic tension between Rowan and Bria is palpable but complex and believable. With an extraordinary setting, delicately rendered and well informed by Hubbard’s years as a guide to Central American travel on About.com, this becomes a wonderful story of kindred souls in a land of beauty, illuminated by Hubbard’s own drawings.”—Booklist review of Kirsten Hubbard’s Wanderlove, available now! And if you live in southern California, don’t miss her release party, Saturday March 17 at the Yellow Book Road in San Diego!
“From Publisher’s Marketplace:
Author of The DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) Kody Keplinger’s GOLDFISH, about a teen dealing with the fallout from her failed suicide attempt and her romance with a boy with secrets of his own, again to Kate Sullivan at Poppy, for publication Fall 2013, by Joanna Volpe at Nancy Coffey Literary & Media Representation (World).”—Congratulations to Kody Keplinger on the sale of her 4th book!
"One of the woeful aspects of GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder: I haz it. I also haz bad and outdated Internet slang) is how it traps you inside yourself. Believe me, I don’t want to be stuck in here. It’s a very tense environment. There are a lot of rules and YOU BETTER NOT TRACK DIRT ON THIS CARPET, YOUNG LADY.
Yet somehow I’ve convinced myself that worrying is a form of control, and refusing to worry means giving up that control, so reading, which involves not worrying because I am in someone else’s head, feels a lot like being out of control. I am aware that this is irrational. Believe it or not, my being aware of the irrational-ness doesn’t help it to go away, though I reallyreallyreally wish it did.
And beyond that, I don’t want to be cracked open because I’m worried about what will spill out. Another aspect of Anxiety Woes is that they make your mind into a corset for your emotions. When I loosen the threads of that corset, everything starts to spill out— joy and excitement and love, on the plus side, and anger and sadness and frustration, on the minus. And a part of my mind—a very persuasive part—would rather have neither than both, because it’s just easier that way.
Some people read to escape, but that doesn’t work for me anymore, and that’s why. “
This week’s publishing news, including Fifty Shades of Grey, March Madness book brackets, Hunger Games marketing, an author who reports making $50K/mo, Paypal backing down on censorship, least helpful reviews & more!
I’m starting a new column for The Millions called Ask the Writing Teacher. In it, I will answer letters from writers about all things writing-related, about sticky things like point of view and plot and dialogue and all that. I’ll seek second opinions from the best…
“A popular exercise among High School creative writing teachers in America is to ask students to imagine they have been transformed, for a day, into someone of the opposite sex, and describe what that day might be like. The results, apparently, are uncannily uniform. The girls all write long and detailed essays that clearly show they have spent a great deal of time thinking about the subject. Half of the boys usually refuse to write the essay entirely. Those who do make it clear they have not the slightest conception what being a teenage girl might be like, and deeply resent having to think about it.”—
David Graeber, “Beyond Power/Knowledge: An Exploration of Power, Ignorance and Stupidity” (pdf)
He also says much the same thing in “Revolutions in Reverse,” an essay included in the book Revolutions in Reverse (which can be read in Scribd at the link). I’d been meaning to post a quote from the second source for a while, thanks to Aaron Brady for the actual excerpt above. That last link is a good essay on the recent Rush Limbaugh BS and how patriarchy works and how male privilege is defended by having men like Limbaugh around to keep women’s opinions out of the allowed discourse on the subject. To keep high school boys forever unable to write essays that could relate to the issue of needing hormonal birth control to control ovarian cysts.
We talked about this a lot this year in English. Girls are taught from a young age that we have to connect to what we read, so when we do excercises in class, everyone talks about how they connect to Huck Finn, or to Jay Gatsby, or to Julius Caesar. We connect to all the characters because we have to, because if we don’t then we won’t survive through the years of school.
Boys don’t deal with this. Practically every book or story they encounter from the time they begin school is full of male characters and written by men. So when confronted with female characters of female authors, they don’t know what to do. They feel as if they can’t connect with these characters because of the gender boundaries. As one woman in my class pointed out, “girls have to connect to male characters, but boys don’t have to connect to female characters.” By the time they’re my age, it’s not even intentional: many honestly think that they won’t understand a female character because they have no shared experiences whatsoever.