Links of Note

It’s been a quieter couple of weeks in the book world, presumably as everyone is gearing up for Book Expo America. Or they’re preparing for the end of school. Or they’re cowering under their desks in anticipation of summer reading club starting. There have been some good things to share, though, so grab a drink and enjoy. (After writing this up I realized that my initial statements of these last couple of weeks being quiet was sort of wrong — there is a LOT here).

  • If I may first start by sharing the week’s incredible contributions to the Unconventional Blog Tour? I’m absolutely blown away not only by the posts everyone wrote but also the response we got. I read on one of the blogs that linked up to the tour that they were interested in this since it was blogger-driven and without any goal behind it except to educate and to share. If my experience of reading these posts is any indication, I’d say it was successful. I want to spend a special shout out to Kate Hart’s post, which came in later in the afternoon yesterday — not only is it informative about the importance of citing your sources, the graphical representation is PERFECT. If you’re teaching anything about citation, I think you might have a new tool, courtesy of Kate.
  • The ladies at Crunchings and Munchings have shared a post of YA inspired apparel, food, and more. Anyone else remember playing The Baby-Sitters Club board game to death as a kid?
  • I haven’t had a legitimate reason to link to anything related to The Jersey Shore (which I love without shame) but now I do! Guess who is getting a comic book? And not just getting a comic book, but starring as the superhero? No, it’s not Snooki. It’s The Situation. Oh and does it ever look riveting. I am not usually a fan of The Situation (he’s the bottom rung on my ladder of Jersey Shore characters) but I might have to pick this one up. Just….because. Thanks to Matt for giving me the heads up on this one!  
  • Lest you think I only link to articles in The Atlantic when they annoy me, I’d like to link to this week’s edition of YA for Grownups and applaud it for asking current authors to talk about what they’re recommending for summer reading. 
    • Blogger/reviewer Wendy Darling finally says something about the really crummy interaction she had with an author and agent that started 2012 off to a rocky start for book reviewers. I really wish she’d broken this up into a couple of posts because there are two big things discussed: the actual interaction and fallout thereafter, and then there’s the discussion of what it is book blogger reviewers DO and should be ABLE to do. I’ve been really burned out on blogging — reviews in particular — lately and have been very open about this. Her post nails a few reasons why I’ve felt that way. For the most part, book blogging is a thankless thing with immense pressure to produce and produce quickly. And when you do put your thoughts out there, sometimes what you get back makes you regret doing it either responses which are completely inappropriate or responses which just…don’t exist at all. Ahem. Anyway, read Wendy’s post. Oh, actually, my other comment about her post is this — while this incident is clearly an instance of an author and agent putting people to task about down voting her review, I think it’s important to remember that what people choose to do is their own prerogative. If an author suggests down voting reviews, for example, the people who do that are choosing to do it themselves. That’s not authorial control.
      • Have you ever been charged with creating a classroom or organizational library and have no idea where to start? Check out Sarah’s post about how she built her classroom collection, how she organizes it, and what she does to let her kids have at the books. Sarah has another post you should read if you’re interested in teen perspectives on covers. A couple weeks ago, she shared what her YA Lit students thought of YA covers; this time, she asks her freshmen their thoughts.
      • Over at Pub(lishing) Crawl, Mandy Hubbard talks about the backdoor to publishing, which is through working with a packaging company. I have a lot of opinions on book packaging companies. I understand them and think they have a real value to many writers as a means of getting a foot in the door and honing skills. But I always question the passion behind the books and stories themselves. They’re products, rather than art. And something about that makes me sad.  
      • Read this one for 2 reasons: gay relationships are called dark and edgy (unintentionally, I’m assuming) and because it doesn’t say YA books are ruining our world. 
      • The nearest chain bookstore to me is about an hour drive, but we have a really neat used book store in town I don’t get to check out nearly enough. I went last weekend with my best friend, though, because we’re both huge cookbook nerds, and we spent a good portion of the morning poring over vintage, outdated, and downright disgusting ones. So when I saw this post of 11 Vintage Cookbooks on Mental Floss, I fell in love. I’m a tiny bit disappointed neither of my books my friend ended up buying made the list, because this and this are GEMS.
      • YALSA apologized for locking down their award lists without telling anyone. It’s sincere and pretty transparent, which I appreciate, but their arguments are still terrible and illogical. The comparison to a database is terrible — we pay to be members of YALSA and we pay to attend meetings where these lists are created. WE don’t get paid to make them. We PAY to make them. Also, if you gave them your email, now you’re on their campaign mailing list. Congrats.
      • Greg Rucka on why he writes strong female characters. I love this because he emphasizes that being a strong female character doesn’t mean they’re not flawed. Quite the opposite. They should be flawed. But because they’re smart and savvy, they know this and work with it, rather than against it. 
      • I found this article too long to read through, but the point of it is something I’ve thought a lot about: are books getting too long?  I admit to being really turned off by the trend for very long YA books. Most of the time, it feels like too much is being packed into the story when it could be trimmed down so the story actually shines through stronger. We don’t need to know everything. Just give the essentials. For me, the perfect books are those falling in the 250-350 page range. They’re long enough to get the whole story and short enough to not bog me down in minutiae I don’t need to know. Of course, this isn’t always the case because there are many long books I’ve enjoyed, but this trend of length is starting to wear on me.
        • When I lived down in Austin, Texas, my favorite place in the city to go to was BookPeople. I can’t express how much I miss that book store. Turns out, they’ve started a blog run by their teen corps, and it is worth keeping an eye on if you have an interest in what teens who read think about books.  
        • This is not even book related but I am sharing because I am in shock! What happened to the original Power Rangers? This show was my life when I was younger and may have been the reason my best friend broke her arm with me once. Why the shock, you ask? Well, one of the cast members died in 2001. And I’m just hearing about it now. Is it now insensitive to slide in that I’m hoping a copy of the DVD of the original episodes (due out in August) shows up at my house? Because I do.  

          That should cover things for a couple of weeks, I think. And as a note, we’re going to be running our Twitterview a little late this month, to account for taking part in the Summer Blog Blast.

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          1. says

            Hey Kelly, thanks for linking to my blog post.

            One thing I do want to address: the author and her agent discussed upvoting reviews on Twitter and on her blog (not downvoting, since that's impossible to do on GoodReads and would also reflect poorly on them if they were to say so publicly), although certainly there's been plenty of downvoting and trolling going on over at Amazon. I also think that author affiliates and fans sometimes also take their cues from an author's behavior, as evidenced by the many YA author blog posts this year naming specific reviewers, who were then attacked by the author's readers or friends. So while yes, it's true that it IS the choice of readers to downvote/troll/whatever, the implied encouragement from a perceived celebrity or person of authority has to make an impression, particularly on some teenagers who are the target audience for these books. Especially if the author camp plays the victim.

            Also, the next time I spend 5 hours on a blog post I publish at 3 am in response to a vicious personal attack, I will try to organize my thoughts a little better. 😉

            Thanks for sharing your feelings on a lack of enthusiasm for reviewing, too. People who don't do it have no idea how much it can take out of you.

            • says

              I don't disagree at ALL that there is some encouragement. And I think in the case where you were a victim, that was definitely a matter of (how to say this…) the author/agent really did persuade the activities of those who unfairly attacked you. It's still an act of free will, and I do not for a second think it's right what happened. As someone who has been called out and attacked by an author on their blog (in a post that's still up on their blog), I know it sucks. Certainly not at the level of what you are going through. I thought — and I don't think this came across clearly, either — your post was incredibly well done and I am so GLAD you laid it all out there in a calm, respectful, and thoughtful manner. Because you definitely DID.

              In regards to my comment about the two issues you discuss, I'd only wished you'd brought them up as two separate things for this reason: the response you received from it. But that also goes back to your not controlling how other people react. It'd have been two separate discussions. That said, I think it is incredible and really telling how much support YOU have over this. You've been a class act when you could have acted entirely different.

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