It’s time for the biweekly roundup of all things great and interesting on the internet! But first, if you missed earlier announcements, it’s true that we finally joined the ranks of Facebook — if you want to, go ahead and like us there. We’re going to try to share not only our posts over there but also things we read that we think are interesting and worth sharing (that don’t necessarily make it to the roundups here).
Now that that blatant self promotion is done, let’s dive in:
- Starting with this piece because this is a topic that’s been on my mind a lot lately, if you haven’t noticed via previous link roundups: does it matter what books your library has? My short response to this is: yes, this, yes.
- “Browsing is fundamentally an act of independence, of chasing your own idiosyncratic whims rather than clicking on Facebook links or the books recommended by some greedy algorithm.” This is The New Yorker on the art of browsing.
- I thought this piece was really interesting — how many books do you need to sell in order to become an Amazon best seller?
- This is much less in the library and book side of links, but it really struck a chord with me and it’s worth sharing. Rookie Magazine has an awesome and empowering piece about dealing with doubt. I especially like the part about how not making a decision is in and of itself a decision.
- A couple of interesting pieces popped up about Twitter and the way that Twitter does or does not promote or sell books. First, there’s this perspective. Then there is this one. From a blogger and librarian perspective, when it comes to Twitter I can say that if I’m being told about a book from someone I don’t know (especially if it’s the author), I ignore it. If it’s repeatedly told to me, I actively avoid it. The only thing that really influences my purchasing and my interest in a book via Twitter is if it comes from a reputable source — and I am okay with authors who promote their own work and who share reviews they’ve gotten because I choose to follow authors who interest me in ways other than their own books. Because here’s the thing: sometimes I don’t read the books of the authors I follow, as it either doesn’t interest me or simply just…time. But it doesn’t mean I don’t find what they share about their work — and other things! — interesting enough alone.
- While I don’t agree with all of the points in this post, there are many I do agree with. It’s about performance anxiety as a blogger. Where does it come from? What does it mean? Can you get over it? It’s thought-provoking, and I’m sure many others have had these thoughts, too.
- This is one of the best pieces I’ve read in a while — it’s lengthy but completely fascinating (I love good long form essays and long form journalism more broadly). What’s the story behind someone who is a ghost writer? Especially a ghost writer for a series like Sweet Valley High?
- Molly Wetta’s post over at YALSA’s The Hub blog on what it means to be a strong female character made me cheer. It’s not always about the swords and the battles. Sometimes, it’s the fight to just BE.
- A couple of older YA novels — dare I say classics of realistic fiction — have some news related to them. First, Rob Thomas’s Rats Saw God is getting a new look. I feel like this has been discussed quite thoroughly already (I feel like I was talking about this a year ago). The other news is that Robert Cormier’s novels, including The Chocolate War, are finally available as ebooks.
- Flavorwire offers up their top ten books for teenagers who are “outsiders,” in response to Darren Shan’s own list (which is linked in the piece, so I won’t relink). I’ve only read one of these and it did nothing for me.
- In addition to killing off Reader, Google is killing off Frommer’s printed travel guides. So, hm. Sorry librarians and everyone who likes their travel guides in print. Frommer’s is one of the big names. Also, did you know Google owned them?
- Did you know the cover for Kirsten Smith’s new novel Trinkets was created by teenagers? Melissa Walker has a really great cover story for it over at Barnes and Noble.
- Speaking of covers, how about YA book cover models who look a little like celebrities?
- If you haven’t been reading Nova Ren Suma’s “Haunted at 17” series, go to it. It’s fantastic, and I think anyone who works with teenagers would not only love it in terms of reminding themselves about what is going on in the minds of 17 year olds, but I think this series would be so, so neat to share with your teens — so many of the writers they know and read had the same struggles they’re going through now.
- Angie Manfredi has a guest post over at the Teen Librarian’s Toolbox about her favorite feminist author and why she loves her so much. (Spoiler: the author is Sara Zarr, and this post is so great).
- A piece from the PEW Research Center that explores the question “What should I read next?”
- I’m rounding out this round up with a piece that I have read over and over and thought about and really like. In light of the Steubenville case, in light of all of the other stories of rape culture, in light of the stories about women’s rights, period, that have been a part of our world is this: I am not your wife, sister, or daughter. I am a person. I think it’s important to think about the way women are framed — rather than being a possession of someone else, they are themselves their own being. They can have roles as wife, as sister, as daughter, but they are now owned in those contexts.
Kelly Jensen is a former librarian turned editor for Book Riot. She's the author of IT HAPPENS: A Guide to Contemporary Realistic Fiction for the YA Reader and the forthcoming Feminism For The Real World (Algonquin Young Readers, Spring 2017).