Pub Writes

About the publishing Industry, editorials, and reviews

Archive for January, 2010

Library Loot (1)

Posted by Caitie F on January 29, 2010

Library Loot is hosted by Eva of A Striped Armchair and Marg of Reading Adventures that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library.

I feel like I am not reading enough. Somehow, I have decided that is because I am not actively trying to read books from my spreadsheets like I was last year. I decided to fix that today and went on a massive trip to the library.

I went armed with three Post-Its of books I wanted to look for/look at. The first was from my two spreadsheets – one that lists books I want to read and one that lists the books from 1001 Books You must Read Before You Die that I have not read yet. Now, I can’t just look at the list and pick something because it is too overwhelming. A couple months ago, I turned to and put in the range and it gave me the next 100 books I will read off both lists. Then I forgot about those lists for a couple months until today! The other Post-Its were books from a book that I cannot promote more to book bloggers – 1001 Children’s Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up. The book is split up into ages +, so I decided I would start at 8+ and go from the beginning and go get some books that they had that I had never read (or don’t remember reading) and that was a Post-It. The last Post-It was not for books that i would actually take out. They were all of the 0-3 books that the library had. I figured I could just read those while there (but will include them on my list, but not on my list of books read).

Well, here is my list with total pages of each section. From what I have out right now it is 4.656 pages. Luckily, a big chuck of that is in the larger print of books for young people!


The Runaway Bunny written by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd (the second I picked it up, I realized I had read it as a kid).
Bedtime for Frances written by Russell Hoban, illustrated by Garth Williams
Bathwater’s Hot written and illustrated by Shirley Hughes
Elmer Takes Off written and illustrated by David McKee
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt written by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury (another that I realized I had read)
Kipper written and illustrated by Mick Inkpen

8+ (2214 pages)

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin
The Adventures of Pinocchio by C. Collodi
Little Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald
Back Beauty by Anna Sewell
The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss
The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain

and a couple bonuses that I grabbed while looking for other things

Stuart Little by E.B. White
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

1001 Books (944)

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
Cider House Rules by John Irving

Other (1498 pages)

The March by E.L. Doctorow
The Love Song of J. Edgar Hoover by Kinky Friedman
I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb

On Hold

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
Size 12 is Not Fat by Meg Cabot
Project Princess by Meg Cabot
Surfacing by Margaret Atwood
Tales From Shakespeare by Charles Lamb
Water-Babies by Charles Kingsley

plus 6 picture books.

I am first on all of these (they are at other branches), so I should get them Monday or Tuesday.

Did I get any of your favorites? Any of your least favorites? Is there anyway I can read all of these plus the books on hold even in six weeks? Let me know in the comments

Posted in Blogging | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

Absolutely Maybe by Lisa Yee

Posted by Caitie F on January 28, 2010

Title: Absolutely Maybe

Author: Lisa Yee

Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books (Scholastic)

Hardcover: 274 pages

ISBN: 9780439838444

Rating: ++++

Summary (from

When living with her mother, an alcoholic ex-beauty queen, becomes unbearable, almost seventeen-year-old Maybelline “Maybe” Chestnut runs away to California, where she finds work on a taco truck and tries to track down her birth father.


My heart broke for Maybe. A mom who is an alcoholic and is constantly criticizing her. Being different from everyone else around her and feeling invisible. Having her mother’s latest fiancee try to rape her. Yeah, she is definitely a character that it is hard not to care about.When her mother got mad at HER about Jake, I wanted Maybe to do something drastic and was glad that she did.

An environment like that can’t be healthy for anyone and she found a way to get out, even if it was running away. I will agree with some other bloggers, sometimes Maybe gets overshadowed by some of the other characters, but I still really liked her. I also thought that it was good that she wasn’t always assertive to her friends. She has not had the easiest living situation with her mother and parade of stepfathers, so I could easily see someone in her situation be complacent with friends on things that don’t really matter in the long run.

I don’t want to give away too much of the book because it was so great to read it and not know any of what was happening, but I will say that it was a great read. ALL of the characters were great (well other than the ass Jake) and Lisa Yee has to voice of the teenager down perfectly. It felt realistic and authentic and I couldn’t put the book down.

Here is a warning though – while reading this book, you WILL crave tacos. Good tacos, Delicious tacos. Thinking about it makes me want some…too bad I don’t have anywhere to get them!

Have you read any other books that have made you want food lately?
Here is what some other people had to say – if you did a review, let me know in the comments and I will link to it!

Presenting Lenore was not a big fan and wrote a good review about why.

Katie’s Bookshelf thought it was ok.

This counts for both the
2010 YA Challenge
2010 TBR Challenge

Posted in Review | Tagged: , , | 9 Comments »

The Sunday Salon

Posted by Caitie F on January 24, 2010

This week felt so long, even though the work week was only four days. Those weeks are always the longest. I had an okay reading week. I want to read a lot more, but things seem to get in the way. Mostly TV and movies, my husband and I try to really get our money’s worth for Netflix, so we watch it often…usually during times I may have read. I also love a lot of the current TV shows – Modern Family, Biggest Loser, Make it or Break it (I know it is bad…but I like it!), Better Off Ted, American Idol, Community, 30 Rock, Lost and so many more. All that and we still have a season of Mad Men and most of Dollhouse on the DVR too. I really don’t read as much as I want to.Or do my cross stitching.

In other news, we had a bunch of friends over to play board games last night and had so much fun. It is an interesting group of people and we laugh a lot. That also meant I went to bed really really late and woke up at 11 this morning. Oops!

Tomorrow, I have an interview to be an intern at a major agency. I am very nervous, but i need to remember that getting this far is a big deal and I just need to show them why they need me. This internship would change my life in many ways and I have been working hard to prepare myself. If I get it, I will have a bus ride three days a week to read!

Posted this week

I blogged about some of my favorite book blogs.

I reviewed Love, Stargirl.

I also joined the 2010 Blog Improvement Challenge and I might be getting a Mentor to teach me some more about blogging!

Read but not reviewed (mini reviews coming soon!)

Grim Tuesday by Garth Nix

Avalon High by Meg Cabot

Reading the OED by Ammon Shea

Currently Reading

The Guinea Pig Diaries by A. J. Jacobs

Absolutely Maybe by Lisa Yee

Current Contests

My book survey contest is still going on. Right now, one person will win a book, but there is still time for more books to go out. The list on the post is just a sampling of what you may win, I will add some more once the contest is over!

I hope everyone had a great week last week and everyone is ready to have another great week.

Posted in Blogging | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Posted by Caitie F on January 21, 2010

Title: Love, Stargirl

Author: Jerry Spinelli

Publisher: Knopf

Hardcover: 274

ISBN: 9780375813757

Rating: +++++

Summary: Love, Stargirl is a sequel to Stargirl. While the first book looked at Stargirl from Leo’s perspective, this book is from Stargirl. It is one long letter to Leo, that is essentially a diary. Stargirl has moved from Arizona to Pennsylvania and she is suffering from heartbreak. Leo has dumped her and she cannot deal with it. Her parents have decided that homeschooling is probably best, so Stargirl gets to interact with a wide variety of people. There is Dootsie, a five-year-old who wants to be Stargirl; Betty Lou, who is suffering from agoraphobia; Alvina, the tough girl that beats up boys and doesn’t fit in; Charlie, who sits by his wife tombstone all day; and several other characters. Through these people, Stargirl begins to hope again.


This book has gotten many mixed reviews. Some people say that Stargirl shouldn’t care about what a boy thinks of her and it shows that she is just a typical girl. I disagree. Stargirl loves people and animals and the world around her more than any of us could.Since she has so much love, wouldn’t the removal of returned love hurt her more than any usual person? I would think so! Love is hard! Losing love is even harder, even Stargirl will have a hard time with that.

She hasn’t lost herself completely. She takes the man by the tombstone donuts and a birthday present. She befriends the people that most people ignore. She does nice things for people around her all the time. She is still a one-of-a-kind Stargirl. I love that we got to see her parents in this book. They obviously love their daughter and help her whenever they can. They accept her for who she is and encourage her in whatever she is trying to do. It is a great example of parenting.

I wish I could have been more like Stargirl. She didn’t care if people thought she was strange, she did nice things for them and asked for nothing in return. In the first book, she found out who had a birthday and sang to them. She continued this every day. You know some of these people were sad because they friends or parents did not really acknowledge it and Stargirl made them smile.

I don’t want to give away the ending, but it was a perfect ending to the book. People came together, they tried something new, and she help change her community for the better.

I love the idea of Stargirl. The closest I saw to a Stargirl was my fourth grade teacher. She made sure every student got acknowledgment on their birthday (or half-birthday if they were born in the summer) and also just made sure that every student felt like they were special. She would figure out what everyone was talented in and she let them shine. She would also go above and beyond to help students with whatever it was that they struggled with. Other teachers might have thought she was strange and some of her practices were unique, but I still can remember how she made us feel. My best friend invited her to the Academic M dinner they had for senior who had over a 3.5 and everyone who was in that room that had her made sure they went over to give her a hug.

Have you know any Stargirls (or Starboys)?

Posted in Review | Tagged: , , | 7 Comments »

Some of my favorite blogs

Posted by Caitie F on January 19, 2010

I have seen several posts about book blogs lately and have been introduced to a lot of new ones lately, so I thought I would highlight some of my personal favorites. I haven’t highlighted all of my favorites, just a few. I may do this every couple weeks.

The Zen Leaf

This blog is done by Amanda and the first thing I will say is that we don’t often agree on reviews (ex. The Book Thief, Maus, American Gods). That said, her reviews are what got me reading her blog in the first place. She has a great writing style and puts her opinions out there, even if others have disagreed with her!

She is running the 2010 GLBT Reading Challeng. I didn’t join officially, but I am going to be looking at everyone’s list and reading some more GLBT books. She also does Death book hour with Death and Baby Death – something that I won’t explain too much, you just need to see it! All around, a great blog!

Reading With Tequila

Jennifer runs this blog and the first thing I loved about it was the design. I also love the challenge tracker on the sidebar, I think it is so well-done and check it out a few times a month! She does great, to the point reviews and I love her rating system! We don’t have the same taste in books, so I have found some new things to read on here.

She also does a great weekly post that you will start seeing here soon (I hope!) “What Should I Read This Week” where she puts four possible books and has others vote on what she should read…and tell her why. I love the idea! All around, this is a great blog!

Chasing Ray

This is done by Colleen Mondor who is reviewer for Booklist, Bookslut, Eclectica Magazine and the Voices of New Orleans. She is opinionated and outspoken -a great combination. She is one to talk openly about issues in books and publishing. She has made me think about these issues and what I think needs to happen to improve the industry. If you do not read this blog already go read and comment – there are always great discussions in the comments!

Steph Su Reads

This blog won the Book Blogger Appreciation Week’s Best Writing Award for a reason. Her reviews are fantastic and I love reading everything she writes! I have also picked up books based on her reviews. It is a fun one to read!

Reading in Color

Reading in Color is a book blog that reviews YA books about people of color. I do not usually pay attention to race when I reading books, but this blog makes me think about it a little more. The reviews are good and it is a great place to go to in order to read more diverse books. I thoroughly enjoy reading everything she has to say, even if I do not agree 100%. I am so happy that I found this blog.

Sophisticated Dorkiness

The title of this blog is enough for it to be on my favorites list! There is more going for Kim’s blog other than just the name! She does the Blog Improvement Challenge, which is a challenge to improve your blogging (which I am doing this year!). She has good reviews and a great site!

As Usual, I Need More Bookshelves

Elizabeth runs this great blog. Yes, like the others she has great reviews. I also love her set up. She also does 451 Fridays. To borrow her words,

“451 Fridays is based on an idea from Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. In his novel, a group of people (Bradbury calls them Book People) are trying to keep the ideas found in books alive. Instead of actually saving the books, the Book People each “become” a book – memorizing it, word for word, and passing it down to the next generation. 451 Fridays asks what books you feel passionate about. What book do you think is so important that you would be willing to take on the challenge of “becoming”?”

I enjoy reading it every week!

You’ve GOTTA Read This!

I love Sandy’s writing style. I also love reading what she has to say every Monday about movies. She has a very wide variety of tastes in books and movies, which makes her blog accessible to many. To keep it simple, Sandy’s blog makes me smile…(almost) every time I read it.

Bermudaonion’s Weblog

Kathy’s blog is another fun one to read (ok, they all are or I wouldn’t love them, but still). She holds great contests and makes it easy to find them with a sticky post. She reviews a VERY wide variety of books and I have picked up several based on her reviews. She does posts called ‘Our Life in France” which is a great way to get a little glimpse of another country.

S Krishna’s Books

Another blog that reviews a very wide variety of books. She opens my eyes to a lot of books that I haven’t read, or sometimes even heard of, before. She is very honest in her reviews, which I appreciate. The only problem is that she reads so much and she reads it so fast that I will never catch up with all of the books she has recommended. It is a great blog. She won the BBAW award for Cultural Blog, so if you like reading about other cultures, she has a lot of great books for you!

Do you read any of these? Did you just check them out for the first time? Do YOU have favorites that I might not know about? Let me know if you do! I would love to hear from you.

Posted in Blogging | Tagged: | 8 Comments »

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Posted by Caitie F on January 13, 2010

Title: The Hunger Games

Author: Suzanne Collins

Hardcover: 374 pages

Publisher: Scholastic Press

ISBN: 0439023483

Rating: +++++

Summary (from flap):

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 an 18 to participate in the annual Hungar Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

16-year old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before–and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she become a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to stat making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.


I knew The Hunger Games would be great. I knew it would make me think. I did not know that I would cry by page 24. This girl has given up herself for her sister, an ultimate sacrifice. In return, she gets the ultimate sign of respect from the people of District 12. A gesture that means thanks, admiration and goodbye to someone you love. A gesture that she deserves, She says that, for most, family devotion only goes so far on reaping day. But she is not most. With this, Suzanne Collins brings us a character to root for, hope for, and one that will captivate us through the entire series.

The Hunger Games is a prime example of what young adult books can and should be. It makes the reader think, it is well-written, and it brings characters and places to life. It tackles issues like loyalty, courage, and hope. It even contains a love story that is tragic and true.

I hope there is never a nation so powerful that they can pick 24 children and give them a death sentence. And they continue that every year and force all of their citizens to watch it. And no one speaks up because they are too scare. Especially when the poor people are more likely to be forced into this situation – children paying because their parents couldn’t make a better life. I would hope that in our world other nations would come to the aid of the people or that a rebellion could take this system down.

The choices that Katniss must make are too difficult to imagine. First, she chooses to save her sister. That is one I could see – she has protected her younger sister for so long and knows that she couldn’t last past the first day. Then she has to choose whether or not she should trust Peeta, the boy who saved her long ago and loves her now. She has to choose whether or not she will kill others to save herself, if she even can. Her tough and high pressure choices continue throughout the book and she keeps making the tough and right decisions that she must make to save herself and her allies.

One death in particular really got to me and those who read the book will know what I am talking about. The compassion and love that Katniss showed toward her fellow tribune member showed the humanity that the Capitol was so against. It was a beautiful scene and I think it showed us so much into her character.

I had originally planned to try to read this book slowly and take notes..but I couldn’t. I devoured it in a few hours today. It was one of those books I couldn’t put down. I cannot wait to read the next two books. I don’t know why I waited this long to read this book!

Just some of the other links to review – again, if I missed your please let me know!

Mrs. Magoo Reads
Pop Culture Junkie
The Zen Leaf
Medieval Bookworm

This counts towards the
2010 Young Adult Reading Challenge
2010 TBR Challenge

Posted in Review | Tagged: , | 8 Comments »

Seeing Redd by Frank Beddor – a Mini Review

Posted by Caitie F on January 13, 2010

Title: Seeing Redd

Author: Frank Beddor

Hardcover: 371 pages

Publisher: Dial Books (Penguin)

ISBN: 0803731554

Rating: +++


This was the second book in the Looking Glass Wars series. I loved the first book, but this one was a little of a letdown, a problem that can often happen in the second book of a trilogy. It felt like a transition book. The first book stood on its own, this one did not. The ending did not feel like an ending, it felt like one giant cliffhanger. I found that I was still sitting and waiting for the climax, which will happen in the next book. I don’t like it when authors do that. It is one reason I like the Harry Potter series so much. Each book is a complete story and stands on its own. Yes, there are things you want to know that you won’t find out until the enxt book, but the stories do wrap up well at the end of the books.

That said, I still think that this book was at least okay. The advances in the plot were surprising and interesting. It was still a fun book to read. I love the Wonderland that Beddor has created. Redd is an excellent main villain. Arch…not so much, but he is just a side character so I can forgive it to some extent.Since he seems like he will be a central character in the next book, I hope there is more depth added.

I look forward to reading ArchEnemy and hope that I enjoy it more than I enjoyed this book.

Did you like this book more than I did? Tell me why!

Posted in Review | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Posted by Caitie F on January 12, 2010

Title: The Help

Author: Kathryn Stockett

Hardcover: 444 pages

Publisher: Penguin Group

ISBN: 0399155341

Rating: +++++

Summary (from book browse): Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

Why I read this:

My book club read this five months ago, but I couldn’t get it from the library, so I didn’t go. I had heard it was really good, so I kept it on the list I finally got it.

Short review:

Wow! I have read so many great things about this book, so I thought that I might not like it and that it would just be an incredibly overrated book. I was so happy to be wrong! This book is fantastically written and an amazing story. I think everyone should read it to see how things were in the south during the Civil Rights movement.

Longer review:

Like I said, I was really worried that I wouldn’t like this book. I have been reading rave reviews for MONTHS and thought there was no possible way it could live up to all of this hype. I have to say, I am very happy that I was wrong.

What grabbed me right away were the voices of the characters. They were three strong women, all who had distinct voices, which is something that many authors try to do and fail. I didn’t even have to look at the top of the chapter opening when the narrator switched, within one of two sentences, I already knew who it was. What also struck me was how genuine the voices felt. I thought Aibileen was writing her story. It wasn’t a stereotypical or cliche voice of an African-American housekeeper, it was a new voice that felt very real. Minny showed another side of the housekeeper which was also very distinct and very believable. She was opinionated and tough, but she was also broken by her husband and scared of what might happen. She was strong enough to do what was right also.

Then there was Miss Skeeter. I loved reading about Miss Skeeter, not only her narrations, but what Aibileen and Minny had to say about her. She was an ambitious young woman who wanted to do something that women didn’t do at the time. She also saw something wrong with society and wanted to find a way to do her part to show the world what was wrong. I liked that she didn’t do it for her ambition, even though it certainly helped her. She genuinely wanted the story of the help to get out in the world. She was willing to go against what her friends and family thought and she never looked back. I also loved her so much because that kind of character is what I see missing in most books today. She is the character that is between young adult and what is marketed towards my mom. She is the kind of character for my generation, even if she is set a couple generations back.

It was still hard for me to read this story. My parents were not prejudiced at all, I was always taught that we were all created equal. That people think, or have ever thought, differently still astounds me. This book showed that there were people like Hilly who believed that you could get a disease by sitting on the same toilet as a black person. Really? She was raised by a housekeeper like all of her friends, how did she turn on them? How did all of these women turn on them? This is why I loved the lessons Aibileen was teaching Mae Mobley, the lessons of equality and the lesson that she is special. Too many children were ignored or criticized constantly by their parents. At least one had an adult telling her that she was special.

I thought this book was one of the best books I have read recently. I really hope Kathryn Stocket continues to write – she has a talent and I would read her next book. This one book talked about race, self-confidence, abuse, parenting, and love in such a beautiful and touching way.

If you have been thinking about reading it, go get on the list at your library. It is a great read. But don’t just trust what I have to say, check out these other reviews (I listed the ones I could find in a quick search, if you have one, please leave me a message and I will add you!).

Devourer Of Books
You’ve GOTTA Read This!
One Person’s Journey Through a World of Books
The Friendly Book Nook
S. Krishna’s Books
Maw Books Blog
Presenting Lenore
A Novel Menagerie

Posted in Review | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

Reading Survey Experiment (plus a contest!)

Posted by Caitie F on January 4, 2010

I recently wrote about 10 New Year Resolutions for the publishing industry. While I was writing, I was thinking about how easy it is to state the problems, yet how hard it is to actually fix them. I decided I would challenge myself and start a research project on what I think may be the biggest issue facing the industry as a whole, finding the markets that are ignored now.

There are many markets that feel ignored, but I thought of one that could have a very large impact on the industry – people in their twenties to early thirties. It is a generation of ignored readers, and it is my generation. There are YA books and there are books for our parents, but there isn’t anything for us. There is a reason so many bloggers, especially bloggers in their twenties, read so many YA books.

I have thought about some of my ideas of how to get books for this age group and how to market them, but for now I will keep that to myself…because I want to find out what the readers think! It is something that publishers do not do, but every other industry does extensively. Publishers need to follow suit, find out what their readers want and find a way to give it to them. Now, I don’t think readers should pick out the plot or the author, but they should get a chance to voice their opinions on marketing, genres, eBooks, and many other aspects of publishing.

So that is what I am doing. I am asking all 20-32 year olds to go take the survey! It only takes about 10-15 minutes and it will be a huge help for me, the industry, and eventually you!

I am going to throw in a contest too. Currently, I have only sent it to people I know in real life and have 25 responses. So the contest will be for milestones in responses. The books will be determined later (look at the bottom of this post to see some of the books that might be given away), but they will be some of my favorites! This contest ends February 15th. We are up to 100 so it is guaranteed that someone will win!

100 responses – 1 book, 1 winner

200 resposnes – 2 books, 2 winners (1 book each)

300 responses – 3 books, 3 winners (1 book each)

400 responses – 4 books, 4 winners (1 book each)

500 responses – 5 books, 5 winners (1 book each)

1000 responses – 10 books + $25 Borders gift card,  5 winners (4 win 2 books, one wins 2 books and gift card)

If there are more than that…I will think of something else!

Now how do you enter this contest? Well…you have to work a little for it. For these steps, the survey URL is

You can list everything you do in one comment (unless you do them at separate times, then you can just add comments)

+1 entry for leaving a comment telling me that you either a. took the survey or b. are not in the age group

+1 for tweeting about the survey (NOT the contest) and encouraging friends to go take it. (give me the URL)

+1 for tweeting about the contest. (give me the URL)

+1 for following the blog

+1 for referrals. There is a question in the survey asking who referred you to the survey. Everyone who writes your name = an extra entry

+3  for blogging about this survey. Send me your link.

The more people who take this, the better the prizes and the better your chances.

Here are some of the books that are up for grabs (more will be added)!

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

Born mute, speaking only in sign, Edgar Sawtelle leads an idyllic life with his parents on their farm in remote northern Wisconsin. For generations, the Sawtelles have raised and trained a fictional breed of dog whose thoughtful companionship is epitomized by Almondine, Edgar’s lifelong friend and ally. But with the unexpected return of Claude, Edgar’s paternal uncle, turmoil consumes the Sawtelles’ once peaceful home. When Edgar’s father dies suddenly, Claude insinuates himself into the life of the farm—and into Edgar’s mother’s affections.

Grief-stricken and bewildered, Edgar tries to prove Claude played a role in his father’s death, but his plan backfires—spectacularly. Forced to flee into the vast wilderness lying beyond the farm, Edgar comes of age in the wild, fighting for his survival and that of the three yearling dogs who follow him. But his need to face his father’s murderer and his devotion to the Sawtelle dogs turn Edgar ever homeward.

My Name is Will A Novel of Sex, Drugs, and Shakespeare by Jess Winfield

Willie Shakespeare Greenberg is not living up to his name. It’s 1986, and instead of finishing his thesis on the Bard, this grad student is saying “yes” to drugs, bedding coeds, and delivering a giant psychedelic mushroom to a mysterious collector.

Meanwhile (or rather, back in 1582), would-be playwright William Shakespeare is an 18-year-old Latin teacher whose world is turned upside down when a stranger entrusts him with a sacred relic from Rome, drawing him into an underground network of Catholic dissidents.

When the lives of Willie and William begin to eerily intertwine, their wild misadventures will shape not only the “Shakespeare” each is destined to become…but the very course of history itself.

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

The Time Traveler’s Wife, is the story of Clare, a beautiful art student, and Henry, an adventuresome librarian, who have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-three and Henry thirty-one. Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: periodically his genetic clock resets and he finds himself misplaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity in his life, past and future. His disappearances are spontaneous, his experiences unpredictable, alternately harrowing and amusing

I Love You, Beth Cooper by Larry Doyle
Denis Cooverman may have brains to spare; it’s guts that he lacks — or at least, he did until today. Stepping up to the podium to deliver an inspirational speech to his graduating class, Denis decides that the time has finally come to call out his classmates on their peccadilloes and declare his love for the prettiest girl in school — Beth Cooper. Much to Denis’ surprise, Beth responds by accepting an invitation to a party at his house later that day. But Beth’s meathead boyfriend, Kevin, is none-too-pleased that his high school prize is mingling with the biggest dweeb in school, and when Kevin shows up at his house and tears the place apart in a fit of rage, Denis, his best friend Rich, Beth, and her friends Cammy and Treece all pile into Beth’s car and flee for their lives. For four long years Denis sat silently behind Beth in class, pining for a way to make his love known. Now, over the course of one long night, Denis will finally get to know the girl of his dreams better than he ever thought possible. If he manages to survive until morning, it’s sure to be the story of a lifetime.
Boys and Girls Together by William Goldman (one of my favorite books ever!)
Aaron, Walt, Jenny, Branch, and Rudy. They are children of America’s postwar generation, as different from one another as anyone can be. Yet they are bounded together by the traumas of their pasts, the desperate desire to capture their dreams and satisfy their passions, the stirring pleasures of sexual awakening — and the twists of fate that will inextricably link their lives in the turbulent world of 1960s New York City.

Posted in Contest, Publishing | Tagged: , | 6 Comments »

New Year Resolutions for the Publishing Industry

Posted by Caitie F on January 4, 2010

The publishing industry is a tricky industry. There are a lot of great things going on right now, but there are also a lot more changes that need to be made. Here are a few resolutions that I think the industry should make.

1. Prove that you are needed.

In a world of self-publishing, eBooks, and the internet where anyone can publish, there are a lot of people who think that publishers are not going to be around for much longer. I know these people are wrong, but the industry needs to prove it. I read a few books this year (and heard about even more) that were poorly edited. There were grammar mistakes, spelling mistakes, and even cases where the descriptions of characters were not consistent. Yes, editors are human and make mistakes, but it just adds fuel to the “we don’t need publishers” debate. So, no matter how big the author is, take a little more time to get the most perfect book.

2. Stop being pushed around by major book sellers.

I don’t just mean Amazon. The price wars were a major news item earlier in the year, mostly surrounding secondary book sellers like Target and Wal-Mart. Delaying EBooks was one major push back…but it could go further. If they want to sell or buy books (electronic or otherwise) for less than the publisher or authors think is acceptable…don’t sell them the books. It is as simple as that. Amazon wants to sell all EBooks for $9.99 or less? Fine – they can do that without any new titles that should cost more than that price. There may be some upset customers, but you can take care of that.

3. Show EBook readers that you value their purchases.

Sell EBooks directly on the publisher site. Publishers have all of the different formats of the books, so sell them directly to the customers. Price them how you want to price them and get rid of the middleman. Not only would it be good for business, it would also encourage different and better EReaders. Customers would also see that the publishers value this new group of readers.

4. Throw a bone to the independent bookstores.

There are not many of these stores left, but they have loyal clientele who buy a lot of books. They are more personal and a great asset to the publishing community. Find a way to reward or encourage these stores, whether it is a special discount or an extra event. Find something so they don’t disappear completely.

5. Stop with the vampires.

The trend in vampires is in a downward spiral. There are still two more Twilight movies and True Blood is still strong, but the market is saturated, which is why most publishers are not taking any more vampire books. Hold on to the good ones and wait a few years – vampires will be back.

6. Don’t count on angels.

The next big trend is supposed to be angels. Some publishers and agents already stopped taking books on angels, but they should not count on the subject making them successful. There was only one Twilight, and only one Harry Potter. If any angel books get huge, it will most likely only be one. Search for something well-done and different.

7. Try to find markets that are ignored now.

I know there are some markets that are not being reached by mainstream publishers right now and that is a problem. This is a diverse country with many age groups, races, and beliefs and publishers need to realize it. That doesn’t mean they should make imprints that are focused on that group, it means they should realize the diversity and publish books for all. Look at males and young people – many of them feel like there is nothing for them.

8. Examine the returns policy.

I get that it cannot be changed: if there are no returns, then stores won’t order as many books. It is, unfortunately, a necessary issue in the industry. But maybe there is a way to tweak or change it that will make it better.

9. Take a chance on something new.

In an economic downturn, it is easy to rely on what works to sell. It is scary to take chances on new authors and new ideas, but the industry needs to look ahead to what is coming. People need to trust their instincts and take some risks so that once people have more money in their pockets they can find new and great books to spend the money on.

10. Hire people who work hard, think big, and look toward the future.

I have found out that there are not many jobs available and there are a lot of people who want to work in publishing, even if the pay isn’t great. Find those people who work the hardest, they may not have had three internships, but if they work harder they will get more done and be even more of an asset. In interviews, don’t ask “What have you done?”, ask  “What do you think about…?” and  “How should we fix..?”. The people who have thought about the issues facing the industry before they even are working in it are the ones who will be doing the fixing in the years to come and it would be a shame if they are working for someone else.

Posted in Editorial, Publishing | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »