Thursday, December 23, 2010

Ethics Police: Pedophile Author Arrested for Obscenity

Some of you might recall back in November when a self-published book on pedophilia popped up on Amazon. The book, which was a how-to guide for pedophiles by a Colorado man, was pulled off the site as soon as it was acknowledged.

Now, the author--Phillip R. Greave--has been arrested on charges of obscenity, opening a huge Bill-of-Rights can of worms, no matter how morally justified it may be.

The Associated Press reports:
A Colorado man who wrote a how-to guide for pedophiles was arrested Monday and will be extradited to Florida to face obscenity charges, after deputies there ordered a copy of the book that has generated online outrage.

Officers arrested Phillip R. Greaves at his home in Pueblo on Monday on a warrant that charges him with violating Florida's obscenity law. During a brief court appearance, Greaves waived his right to fight extradition to Polk County, Fla., where Sheriff Grady Judd claimed jurisdiction because the author sold and mailed his book directly to undercover deputies. Judd said Greaves even signed the book.

"I was outraged by the content," Judd told The Associated Press. "It was clearly a manifesto on how to sexually batter children ... You just can't believe how absolutely disgusting it was."

The book — "The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure: a Child-lover's Code of Conduct" — caused a flap when it showed up on Amazon in November. The book was later removed from the site.

Greaves, who has no criminal record, writes in the book that pedophiles are misunderstood, as the word literally means to love a child. He adds that it is only a crime to act on sexual impulses toward children, and offers advice that purportedly allows pedophiles to abide by the law.

Judd said he was incensed when he heard about the book and that no one had arrested Greaves for selling it. The book, Judd said, included first-person descriptions of sexual encounters, purportedly written from a child's point of view.

"What's wrong with a society that has gotten to the point that we can't arrest child pornographers and child molesters who write a book about how to rape a child?" said Judd, who keeps a Bible on his desk and is known throughout Florida as a crusader against child predators.

Florida' obscenity law — a third-degree felony — prohibits the "distribution of obscene material depicting minors engaged in conduct harmful to minors." Pueblo County sheriff's spokeswoman Laurie Kilpatrick said Greaves would leave for Polk County later in the day.

Legal experts questioned whether Greaves' right to free speech would come into play if there's a trial. If prosecutors can charge Greaves for shipping his book, they ask, what would prevent booksellers from facing prosecution for selling Vladimir Nabokov's "Lolita," a novel about a pedophile?

"As bad as this book may be, the charge opens a very big Pandora's box," said Dennis J. Kenney, a former police officer in Polk County and a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. "The charge sounds to me like a significant overreach."

Greaves was among a group of prisoners who made brief appearances before District Court Judge David Crockenberg in Pueblo on Monday, all of them represented by the same public defender. He was the only one not wearing a striped prison uniform although his wrists were handcuffed in front of him.

Dressed in a cream colored T-shirt and khaki pants, Greaves said he understood the extradition process. When Crockenberg asked him if he understood he would be taken to Florida, Greaves responded, "That is correct, your honor."

Judd said his undercover detectives got Greaves to mail the book to them for $50; he told officers it was his last copy.

"If we can get jurisdiction ... we're coming after you," Judd said. "There's nothing in the world more important than our children."

Read the article on Yahoo! News HERE
It's unbelievably disturbing to me what people are capable of. And as Judd points out, we have a responsibility to protect our families and society's youths, and I agree that we should do whatever we can--within reason--to do so.

But I'll admit it is a blurry line to toe given our country's "freedoms." The question is: what is "within reason"? The conditions set out by our founding fathers seem more detrimental than anything else in cases like this, but what can we legally and morally do about it?

As our country is wont to do, I'm sure they'll find other, more "just" and "appropriate" charges on which to take action against Greaves, but they may be sticking their hands into a giant honey pot in doing so.

The Ethics Police are baffled...and sitting here with the creeps, to say the least.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Story of Obama

Today marks a significant day in GLBT rights in the U.S. as President Obama signed a repeal for the unjust "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. (Yay!)

But that's not the only thing I found about him in the news for when surfing the net on my lunch break. It seems he's also "lost his narrative," according to the Daily Beast, and needs some pointers from the pros:

Obama has a "narrative" problem. Or at least that's the media's storyline.

"Presidential politics is about storytelling," Politico's John F. Harris said last year. "No one understands this better than Barack Obama and his team, who won the 2008 election in part because they were better storytellers than the opposition."

But, as the saying goes, you campaign in poetry and govern in prose, and before long, everyone wants to edit.

Obama has a "narrative" problem. Or at least that's the media's storyline.

"Presidential politics is about storytelling," Politico's John F. Harris said last year. "No one understands this better than Barack Obama and his team, who won the 2008 election in part because they were better storytellers than the opposition."

Take the moment this summer during the Gulf oil spill when Obama seemed upended by calamity. "He'd better seize control of the story line of his White House years," opined Maureen Dowd. "Woe-is-me is not an attractive narrative."

Click on cable television or flip to the opinion pages, and you'll discover that whenever things aren't going the president's way, it's because he has lost control of the narrative. In other words, the Obama camp is desperately in need of a re-write.

But rather than listen to the political journalists, who rate the president like National Book Award judges, we decided to ask some veteran novelists for a few hints of how to improve his plot in 2011.

Sam Lipsyte, author of The Ask, said it's time for Obama to look at his earliest chapters.

"When I am writing and floundering, with no sense of where to go, I look back to the beginning of what I am working on, and ask: Where did I start? What set this all into motion? Obama could do the same with his novel, of which we are all characters," he wrote in an email.

"The answer would be, 'Oh, yeah, I promised change, I promised to fight some very righteous fights, I gave my supporters [the reason] to believe that I would be tough enough, or at least magical enough, to rout the armies of the evil Republican wizards, even though I would try to be nice first.' Then I think he would 'find' his 'narrative,' and perhaps find the will to finally go berserk on these thugs, these goons of the oligarchy, and save the kingdom of the middle class. And people far and wide would say, 'Have you read Obama's latest? It's a great read!' He might even get on Oprah. In short, when you lose something, it's usually where you've been, not where you think you're going."

Canadian poet and author Margaret Atwood at first demurred, claiming her nationality disqualified her from meddling in her neighbor's affairs. But when pressed, she offered that a more interplanetary story line might serve the president well.

"Ask the Sci-fi writers to do some plots whereby the President has been taken over by the Pod People," she told The Daily Beast by email.

Spy novelist Alex Berenson, who published The Midnight House this year, said the way forward might be the creation of an enemy.

"The number one way you change the narrative is give him a villain," Berenson said, pointing out the way in which the country came together behind George W. Bush after the 9/11 attacks.

"I'd give him something to push against. Give him an enemy who is not John Boehner. Maybe he needs an alien invasion. We can all be against invasions."

For Berenson, the story line from the White House remains fuzzy.

"If you came in with that book, your editor would tell you, you needed to focus," he said. "You need to know who your hero was."

Read the rest of the article HERE

I'm not sure why but when I first started reading this article, I couldn't stop laughing. I found it incredibly amusing to compare a presidential term in office to a narrative in a book. But as I read, I realized it made more and more sense. Everything has a story arc to it, a character arc, a conflict, and a lesson. Each and every day can be compared to a narrative, really. And maybe it should be. Maybe it'd help us all be a little more objective, productive, and meaningful...

Monday, December 20, 2010

You're a Mean One, Mister Grinch

Everyone and their mother is coming out with a "Best Books" list of 2010--Entertainment Weekly, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Telegraph, etc. etc. But amidst all the favorite titles being called out and recommended, among all the "yay for books" end-of-year buzz, there's at least one agent whose holiday cheer is less than cheerful.

Betsy Lerner of Dunow, Carlson, and Lerner Literary Agency seems to be taking a lesson or two from the Grinch this December in a shocking rant about what she feels about being an agent:
Sold my last book of 2011 today. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa. I know many of you hate agents out there and I get it. I hated most agents when I was an editor. Taking them to lunch so they could shit on your face, if you feel me. I once took an agent out to lunch who looked at the menu and said, “If I have one more cobb salad, I’m going to kill myself.” Another pulled a bill away as I was figuring out the tip and said, “Gimme that, I know 15% of anything.”

But you didn’t ask me about agent lunches. You didn’t ask about anything. I’m not proud of it, but I am an agent. I’m proud of the job I do for my clients, but being a professional sleaze bag is a drag. You know the one about the guy who comes home to discover that his wife and children have been raped and murdered, and his house has been burned down. The cop explains that his agent had come to his house. The guy gets all excited, really, he says, my agent came to my house.

Just for fun tonight, just because I think a little pre-holiday raging is called for, I wonder if you would share your worst agent story and no need to mention names (especially if it’s me).

See the original post HERE

I had heard rumors of this post last week--authors, editors, and fellow agents alike all had something to say about Lerner's extreme candor. And now that I too have read it, my mind is quite frankly boggled.

Though her agency represents titles like The Lovely Bones, I'm Down, and Belong to Me, Lerner shows a lack of professionalism and lucidity--how she manages to actually maintain a career, I haven't a clue--that I've known many an agent to possess. And I know a lot of agents. I like a lot of agents. A lot of said agents love being agents. There are, of course, agents here and there that I'd much rather never deal with again, but all-in-all I've had pretty good experiences with the people on other side of the biz. As a result, Lerner's claims ring less than true in my ears.

Whether her rant was due to a forgotten pill or an honest hatred for her job, no one can really say. But one thing is for sure: if you don't like you're job, don't do it. The publishing industry is not typically a lucrative one--it's not a biz people get into to make money. There's no incentive to staying in if you don't love it. As cliched as it is, there really are a thousand plus people who want to fill those shoes.

Friday, December 17, 2010

E-Readers: The New Big Brother

I'd never even heard of the EFF before yesterday. But on the morning edition of "All Things Considered," NPR's Martin Kaste opened my eyes to a recent report from the Electronic Frontier Foundation and an e-reader ability I had not yet heard: the devices can--and do--track user reading habits:

E-books are quickly going mainstream: They represent nearly one out of 10 trade books sold.

It's easy to imagine a near future in which paper books are the exception, not the norm. But are book lovers ready to have their reading tracked?

Most e-readers, like Amazon's Kindle, have an antenna that lets users instantly download new books. But the technology also makes it possible for the device to transmit information back to the manufacturer.

"They know how fast you read because you have to click to turn the page," says Cindy Cohn, legal director at the nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation. "It knows if you skip to the end to read how it turns out."

Checking Someone's Alibi, Tracking A Device

Cohn says this kind of page-view tracking may seem innocuous, but if the company keeps the data long-term, the information could be subpoenaed to check someone's alibi, or as evidence in a lawsuit.

And it's not just what pages you read; it may also monitor where you read them. Kindles, iPads and other e-readers have geo-location abilities; using GPS or data from Wi-Fi and cell phone towers, it wouldn't be difficult for the devices to track their own locations in the physical world.

But it's hard to find out what kind of data the e-readers are sending. Most e-book companies refer all questions about this to their posted privacy policies. The policies can be hard to interpret, so Cohn and the EFF created a side-by-side comparison. It's just been updated to include Apple's iPad.

See the entire piece or listen to it HERE

I already knew, of course, that Google, Amazon, and pretty much every online search engine or online retailer tracks our activity in order to give us the most relevant information for each individual. But I had no idea that some e-readers were able to gather so much additional information on users. Something about that fact feels very, very wrong to me. Intriguing, I'll admit, but wrong.

ReadWriteWeb tells us more:

Since WikiLeaks released 250,000 secret U.S. government cables a little over a week ago, the world is suddenly terribly concerned about what we may or may not be reading. Some countries - and some U.S. government agencies - are blocking their people from accessing the Wikileaks site, for fear of reading.

So the EFF's E-Book Buyer's Guide to E-Book Privacy comes at a good time - not just for holiday shopping, but for those of us that want to read that other famous trove of classified materials, The Pentagon Papers (or, okay, perhaps read other things too) with some assurance of privacy.

EFF's guide provides a review of the privacy policies of various e-book providers - both hardware and software makers - from the Amazon Kindle, to Google Books, to the Internet Archive. The report is based on what the policies say themselves, not on how they're enforced in practice.


The data that many of these e-readers gather does help them deliver a better experience in a lot of ways. iBooks needs to track the last page you've read, for example, if you expect it to be able to sync across devices. Amazon tracks what you search and purchase in order to make suggestions for items you might like.

But one's reading habits, perhaps because reading has been such a private endeavor, have typically been closely guarded. We may want to disguise the fact we never finished Ulysses (I confess). We may want to disguise having read all the Twilight novels - twice - (I haven't, I swear) or having a penchant for really low brow science fiction (no comment). And of course, we may want to read books that are politically unpopular.

Read the entire article HERE

Not only do these revelations surprise me (they probably shouldn't at this point, but they do!), but the timing is quite ironic as well. I've actually been thinking lately about trying out my e-reader for some actual book-reading, instead of just word document viewing--editing and reading friends' manuscripts for feedback. But this privacy breach is making me think twice. So much of what we do is already being watching and recorded by "Big Brother" types that extending their reach into reading--something I consider a very personal and private endeavor--disturbs me to my core.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Celebs, Celebs, Everywhere

This week, Boldtype and Flavorwire just had too many hilarious and/or interesting articles to choose from! But after much deliberation, I've decided to share with you a little something called "The Year in Disturbing Celebrity Book Deals."

As the year winds down, I can think of several celeb memoirs or novels that lack literary merit, if you will. I can also think of another dozen-plus number of celeb proposals that were nixed by the editorial board at my last job. Weekly meetings at publishing houses all throughout New York get the frequent proposal claiming to be the next celeb bestseller.

Some of these ideas percolate in-house where an editor then reaches out to a manager or an agent, and some come from the celeb directly. Some are hits, some are massive bombs. And some, you just can't believe ever made it through the grueling acquisitions process.

Boldtype/Flavorwire present what they deem the worst celeb books of 2010:

Celebrity book deals practically exist to piss us off. While there are certainly exceptions to the rule (such as the recent, glowingly reviewed tomes by Jay-Z and Steve Martin, as well as Patti Smith’s National Book Award-winning memoir), most stars just aren’t writers. And few things are more annoying — especially for those of us who write for a living, or have aspirations of doing so — than the news that a functionally illiterate reality TV star is preparing to “write” a memoir, children’s book, or novel. After the jump, we take a look at the year’s most irritating examples, from the Salahis to Snooki.

Susan Boyle

Curious about what Boyle, who rose to fame as the frumpy 47-year-old virgin with a beautiful voice, has been doing all her life? We aren’t, but that didn’t stop British publisher Transworld from handing the singer a deal to write the memoir The Woman I Was Born to Be about the making of an unlikely diva. As she said in a statement, “When I strutted on to the stage for that audition, I was a scared wee lassie, still grieving for my mother, not caring how I looked. I think I’ve grown up a lot in the last year, become more of a lady, and I’m not so frightened anymore.” Okay, we stopped reading after “wee lassie,” but — “wee lassie”! There is someone in the world who actually talks like this! Sold.

Tyra Banks

Because she thinks she’s Oprah, Tyra Banks is trying to conquer all spheres of media as quickly as possible. So, back in May, she signed a deal with Random House to write a trilogy of YA books, beginning with Modelland, about “a fantastical place you’ve never seen, or heard about, or read about before … Where dreams come true and life can change in the blink of a smoky eye.” This sounds like it’s going to be really great for teen girls’ self esteem!

Michaele and Tareq Salahi

Apparently, being stupid enough to crash a state dinner at the White House will now win you a book deal. In June, we learned that the pair would be writing a memoir about the stunt — because that will surely provide hundreds of pages worth of material — with the help of investigative reporter Diane Diamond. The resulting book, Cirque du Salahi, came out in September and was credited solely to Dimond. It currently has a whopping 1.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

The Situation

You might ask, “How is it possible to write a book when you’ve never read a book?” It’s a good question, and one that Sitch’s “co-author” Chris Millis might be in the best position to answer. Back in July, welearned about the book deal, and less than four months later, publisher Gotham crapped out Here’s the Situation: A Guide to Creeping on Chicks, Avoiding Grenades, and Getting in Your GTL on the Jersey Shore. If nothing else, it would make a good Christmas present for someone you secretly hate.

Paul the Octopus

Yes, the octopus who accurately predicted the outcome of every single German World Cup game landed a book deal for his trouble. Unfortunately, the two-and-a-half-year-old sea creature died back in October. Perhaps he’ll be releasing material posthumously, like Biggie and Tupac?


Not only is TV’s favorite pickle-loving Oompah-Loompah the second Jersey Shore cast member to break into publishing, but she’s writing what she might call “a friggin’ novel.” Titled A Shore Thing, the book, which was announced in September, is supposedly coming out in January and “will revolve around a girl looking for love on the boardwalk (one full of big hair, dark tans, and fights galore).” Hey, write what you know, right?

Christine O’Donnell

The year’s final insult is one of its worst: instead of disappearing forever after losing the election, the tea party Senate candidate from Delaware is going to write a book. According to Politico, the book will recount her experience in the 2010 election — because, you know, we didn’t hear enough about it while it was happening. “I plan on making my book one of the revolution’s catalysts,” O’Donnell said. So… goody. Look for it in August of next year. Or, you know, don’t.

See the original piece HERE

I'm pleased to see the two, why-the-heck-are-they-famous-they're-so-freakin-annoying "Jersey Shore" disasters on there, I must admit. Those were the first two I thought of when I saw the headline for the piece.

What do YOU think are the biggest celeb book mistakes of the year?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Between the Sheets: Romance Heats Up E-book Sales

I've always known that the romance books were not only something I enjoy but also that the genre was one of the best-selling segments of the book biz. It also was kind of a given that romance readers would be some of the top buyers of e-books, given the unfortunately stigmatized nature of the genre and the flashy, less-than-subtle covers.

But I'll admit that I never expected the front page of the New York Times to tout the trend. I gotta say it made me grin like whoa when I heard about this morning's article (I also adore Sarah Wendell of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, so that didn't hurt either!):

Sarah Wendell, blogger and co-author of “Beyond Heaving Bosoms,” is passionate about romance novels.

Except for the covers, with their images of sinewy limbs, flowing, Fabio-esque locks or, as she put it, “the mullets and the man chests.”

“They are not always something that you are comfortable holding in your hand in public,” Ms. Wendell said.

So she began reading e-books, escaping the glances and the imagined snickers from strangers on the subway, and joining the many readers who have traded the racy covers of romance novels for the discretion of digital books.

If the e-reader is the digital equivalent of the brown-paper wrapper, the romance reader is a little like the Asian carp: insatiable and unstoppable. Together, it turns out, they are a perfect couple. Romance is now the fastest-growing segment of the e-reading market, ahead of general fiction, mystery and science fiction, according to data from Bowker, a research organization for the publishing industry.

Publishers and retailers, spying an opportunity, have begun pursuing in earnest those enthusiastic romance readers who have abandoned print for digital.

“Romance,” said Matthew Shear, the executive vice president and publisher of St. Martin’s Press, which releases 40 to 50 romance novels each year, is “becoming as popular in e-books as it is in the print editions.”

When “Maybe This Time,” a lighthearted ghost romance by the best-selling author Jennifer Crusie, went on sale in August, it sold as many e-books as hardcover books in its first week, Mr. Shear said, a phenomenon that he began noticing this summer with other romance titles.

At All Romance, an online retailer that sells only e-books, sales have more than doubled this year, and the most sought-after titles are usually the raciest.

“It’s easier to check out some naughty little title online than in a brick-and-mortar store where your pastor could step up in line behind you,” said Barb Perfetti, the chief financial officer of All Romance. “We’ve had lots of customers write to us and say, ‘Now I don’t always have to show my husband what I’m reading.’ ”

Barnes & Noble, the nation’s largest bookstore chain, is courting romance readers more aggressively than ever. William Lynch, the chief executive, said in an interview that until recently Barnes & Noble was a nonplayer in the huge romance category, but that it now has captured more than 25 percent of the market in romance e-books. Sometime next year, he said, he expects the company’s e-book sales in romance to surpass its print sales.

“This is a new business for us,” Mr. Lynch said. “Romance buyers are buying, on average, three books a month. That buyer is really, really valuable.”

Dominique Raccah, the publisher and chief executive of Sourcebooks, an independent publisher in Naperville, Ill., said her romance e-book sales had grown exponentially this year, outpacing any other category. In the first quarter 8 percent of total romance sales at Sourcebooks were from e-book sales. By the third quarter that number had gone up to 27 percent. (Major trade publishers say e-books now make up about 9 to 10 percent of overall sales.) “You’re seeing the real development of a market,” Ms. Raccah said.

Romance is a natural leader here. The genre took off in the 1980s, when it expanded from the typical dreamy or bodice-ripping historical novels to include contemporary, plot-driven stories with characters drawn from real life. (Happy endings, though, are still required.) In 2009, when more than 9,000 titles were published, romance fiction generated $1.36 billion in sales, giving it the largest share of the overall trade-book market, according to the Romance Writers of America, which compiles statistics on romance books.

Nearly 75 million people read at least one romance novel in 2008, the group said. (Ms. Wendell and her co-author, Candy Tan, wrote in “Beyond Heaving Bosoms” that romance novels are “easily the most-hidden literary habit in America.”)

Romance readers tend to be women ages 31 to 49 who are — contrary to the popular image of Miss Lonelyhearts living vicariously through fictional tales of seduction — in a romantic relationship, according to the writers group. They frequently fly through a book or more a week, and from the beginning they have jumped at the chance to store hundreds of titles on a single device — where the next happy ending is a download away.

Read the rest of the article HERE

I applaud you, New York Times, for bringing the genre to the forefront--literally--and setting the record straight to a certain extent. It's about time.

For you readers out there who haven't delved into the romance genre just yet, don't be shy--take a peek and enjoy!

Need recommendations? Check out my list of all-time faves HERE. Or just leave a COMMENT on this post! Us romance fans will happily oblige with some great recs for your tastes!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Steal from Your Child's Bookshelf? Why you should DO IT

When my friends Lisa and Fia came over for girls' night yesterday, the last thing I thought we'd do is discuss fantasy and dystopian YA. But it turns out that my friends had just experienced their first real crossover-YA novels with the Hunger Games series and were lamenting finishing up the trilogy and having no other series to read.

"What?!" I said in dismay. "Come to my bookshelf. I will show you the way."

So, after I thrust book after book in their faces, talking to them about plot synopsis, tones, and which ones are must-reads, they were both optimistic about diving further into the crossover-YA pool. With my lesson successfully taught, I was ready to get back to our girls' night plan (vino, beef bourguignon, the movie "Julie & Julia," and chocolate chip cookies), but then Fia announced that she had gotten the Hunger Games suggestion from Oprah's list of books to steal from your teenager. The tables had turned--I had never heard of this list!

This morning, of course, I scoured the internet for said list. I was saddened to find it only has four books on it--and to find it's not really "Oprah's" picks but those of a guest writer for O Magazine, YA author Lizzie Skurnick:
The Lost Conspiracy
By Frances Hardinge

J.R.R. Tolkien has nothing on fantasist Hardinge, who creates a complex universe of tribes and lands and codes of conduct, into which he then drops two very different sisters out to save their world.

The Hunger Games
By Suzanne Collins

Reading Collins's massively popular thriller/survival narrative/romance is like enjoying a blockbuster movie you didn't think you wanted to see. This one stars surly loner Katniss Everdeen, a courageous, cranky, and accomplished heroine who also happens to look great in a dress.

I, Robot
By Isaac Asimov

Don't laugh! If you think Asimov is meant only for 13-year-old boys obsessed with computer games, it's time to look at this classic collection of brilliantly plotted gems t
hat anticipate not only our completely gadget-dependent world but also the philosophical implications of turning our lives over to smartphones.

The Witch of Blackbird Pond
By Elizabeth George Speare
Laurel Leaf

When her grandfather dies, proud but penniless Kit Tyler must abandon her Caribbean plantation to bunk with cousins in a drab Connecticut colony where her brilliant silks and haughty manner go over like a bowl of corn gruel. Living in 1687, amid Royalist clashes and timeless romances, a persecuted Kit eventually finds the sweet spot between strength and will.

See the article HERE

All good reads, Skurnick's list is solid. But there are some I personally would've added to this baby:

The Uglies by Scott Westerfeld (Simon Pulse) - An amazing futuristic trilogy jam-packed with adventure, emotion, and thought-provoking ideals. I couldn't put it down and have shoved it at the majority of my friends...and my book club.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (Speak) - Powerful and heart-wrenching, this dark contemporary novel is told from the perspective of a mute teen who suffered some serious trauma. One of my all-time favorite crossover-YA's. The film adaptation actually is pretty good too!

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman (Knopf Books for Young Readers) - A clever and creative trilogy that "attacks" the Catholic church and serves as a spiritual allegory, all while providing readers with an exciting and fantastical
story. Definitely a must-read for anyone new to the genre.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (Knopf Books for Young Readers) - Taking you back to the dark days of the Holocaust, Zusak's incredible tale of a young girl with a penchant for stealing books. It made me laugh and cry and just run the gamut of emotions as I savored each page.

I could probably continue this list for hours, but seeing as I have a bunch of stuff to do before I head off to a hockey game (Go Sens Go!), I should probably cut myself off.

What are YOUR must-read crossover-YA novel recommendations?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Hilarious and Oh-So-True Satire Hits YouTube

In my past four years in publishing, I've worked with a variety of different authors--some are kind, funny, stubborn, open, angry, paranoid, confident, self-absorbed, humble...I could list the possible characteristics all night if I wanted to (I do not). I've heard numerous stories about diva authors complaining because their hotel room on a book tour stop was on an odd numbered floor or their stylist was using the wrong brand of hairdryer. I've seen letters from authors after they've been rejected, kicking and screaming and throwing a tantrum because their book is "guaranteed to be a bestseller" and we "are morons to reject it." It's unbelievable how some people behave in this industry--in any industry in the public eye really.

And all of these experiences and stories came rushing back to me just now, when I saw a link on HuffPo about a new You Tube satirical sensation about the book biz. When I first read the article, I was ready to be offended. Instead, I fell off my chair (in laughter, not shock or just plain stupidity ).

With that lovely image in mind, enjoy this short video from aspiring author David Kazzie. Just don't drink anything while you watch--trust me. The animated bear-pig-dogs and their monotone computerized voices will likely make whatever liquid shoot out your nose.