Pub Writes

About the publishing Industry, editorials, and reviews

  • Subscribe

  • Blog Stats

    • 54,658 hits
  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 102 other followers

  • Top Posts

Archive for July, 2010

Happy Birthday Harry!

Posted by Caitie F on July 31, 2010

Today, Harry Potter (the character) turned 30 (and J K Rowling just turned 45)! To celebrate, I am going to do some Potter posts for the week.

I have one favor to ask you. All week I will be sharing how Harry Potter has impacted me, and Friday I want to share the impact it has had on others. If you want to participate, email me at pubwrites@gmail.com and tell me how the book has impacted you! Thanks!

Today: Intro

Tomorrow:  Fun quiz

Monday: Top Moments

Tuesday: Wizard Rock

Wednesday:  Conference

Thursday: Books vs Movies

Friday: Impacts

This is all very last minute, but I thought it would be fun to think about the series!  So onto today’s post.

I am one of those annoying people who takes some satisfaction in the fact that I read the first two books before Harry Potter became a phenomenon in the United States. My mom and I were both known by all of the librarians since she was a teacher and I got out at least twelve books every time I was there. They had gotten a lot of buzz about the first two books in a series about “an orphan who finds out he is a very famous wizard”. They told us about it and I got them both out that day. A few days later I was back, asking when the next one would come out. My mom also read them and loved them right away. Luckily, we didn’t have to wait long for Prisoner of Azkaban, and read it right away.

I was in love with the series right away. I was twelve when I was reading it, so I really felt like I could understand the characters and some things they were going through, other than the magic! We bought the first three books because I kept rereading them and speculating about what would happen next.

I still remember the day Goblet of Fire came out. Amazon had set up that if you pre-ordered the book, you would get it the day it was released. I spent all day waiting for the mail truck to come. At age 13, I had never been so excited for any release. The mail truck finally got to our house while my mom was in the backyard so I ran out and got the package. My mom heard the truck also and had come out to the front. I tried to to rush past her, but we ended up playfully wrestled for the book. Since I read so fast, my mom ended up letting me read it first. I only stopped reading to eat dinner. I stayed up until after midnight to finish it (and for me then, it was really late!).

By the time Order of the Phoenix came out, I had just started looking into the online fandom. I read theories and started chatting with some people online about the books. A lot of my friends also read and loved the books, so we would spend time talking about them. My mom and I continued to bond over our loved for Harry, Ron, and Hermione.

I graduated from high school in 2005, and was rewarded about a month later with Half Blood Prince. By this time, I was going to Mugglenet and The Leaky Cauldron daily and trying to find everything I could and talk to as many people as I could about the books. I spent the next two years immersing myself into the community, making friends, and trying to figure out what would happen in the final book. I also started listening to wizard rock (music about Harry Potter, more later this week) and making friends online based just on Harry Potter. It was just amazing.

I didn’t get to go to a midnight release party because I was finishing up a summer job in Washington DC (literally, it was our last night with students). When all the kids were gone, I headed to the airport and bought my copy. I was at the airport really really early because I was forced to take the last shuttle provided by work, but it ended up being a blessing. I finished reading the book ten minutes into the drive home from the airport. I cried so many times during that book. It was so interesting being at an airport that day. I would said 1 in 3 people either had or were reading the book. When I was sitting for a couple hours by my gate, there we four of us in a row reading it. I saw one start tearing up and tried to see if they were further than I was. It felt like all these strangers were a part of a community sharing our final hours with this great series.

Since then, I have become even more involved in the community. I have gotten into wizard rock more (and gone to several concerts). I went to a conference. I am planning on going to another conference. I met people from around the world who I talk to and are some of the most amazing people I have ever met. I have seen creativity that i could not imagine and have discussed issues with rooms full of strangers. I have broken down at the end of an event and made a room full of people cry (sorry guys).

I look forward to talking to you all more about Harry Potter and everything!

Posted in Editorial | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Inkheart and InkSpell by Cornelia Funke

Posted by Caitie F on July 23, 2010

Titles: Inkheart and Inkspell

Author: Cornelia Funke

Publisher: Scholastic

Mass Market Paperback: 576 pages and 656 pages

ISBNs: 9780545046268 and 9780439554015

Ratings: +++++ and +++

Summaries (from PW):

Inkheart is about Meggie, 12, who has had her father to herself since her mother went away when she was young. Mo taught her to read when she was five, and the two share a mutual love of books. Things change after a visit from a scarred man who calls himself Dustfinger and who refers to Mo as Silvertongue. Meggie learns that her father has been keeping secrets. He can “read” characters out of books. When she was three, he read aloud from a book called Inkheart and released Dustfinger and other characters into the real world. At the same time, Meggie’s mother disappeared into the story. Mo also released Capricorn, a sadistic villain who takes great pleasure in murdering people. He has sent his black-coated henchmen to track down Mo and intends to force him to read an immortal monster out of the story to get rid of his enemies. Meggie, Mo, Dustfinger, and Meggie’s great-aunt Elinor are pursued, repeatedly captured, but manage to escape from Capricorn’s henchmen as they attempt to find the author of Inkheart in the hope that he can write a new ending to the story.

In Inkspell, Fourteen-year-old Meggie is back at home after the intrigue and adventure she encountered in Inkheart (Chicken House, 2003), the first volume in this projected trilogy. In this second episode, the calm of her life is shattered when Farid, protégé of the fire-eater, Dustfinger, begs her to use her magical ability and read him into Dustfingers story. Meggie longs to see the enchanted world she has only encountered through the pages of a book and travels with Farid into the story. Events quickly spin out of control. Evil characters from Inkheart re-emerge to extract revenge. Battle lines are drawn between two kingdoms. Several individuals are intent on re-writing the story to ensure their own happy ending.

Review:

I loved the first book in the series. I thought it was a fun, fantastical book and I could not put it down. The characters seemed to jump off the page, the story look at books in a completely new way, and I got to dream about my favorite books coming into my reality. There were times I was excited, times I was scared, and times I just wanted everyone to get out to safety.

The only disappointment is that I figured out who was living in the bad guys village much earlier than when it was revealed.

One of the greatest things about both of these books is the side characters – Elinor, Dustfinger, and the evil Basta. They made the book so much more enjoyable and interesting.

Since the side characters are a main part of the Inkspell, you would have thought I would love the second book, but I just didn’t. I sped through the first book, I dragged through the second. The problem was, it felt like the second book in a trilogy. It just set up everything for the final book, which I hate.  I don’t want to complain about it too much, so I will just say it had the typical “second book” issue.

That said, I am excited to read the last book because I have heard great things about it!

Are there other trilogies/series that have the same issue? Let me know in the comments!

Posted in Review | Tagged: , | 7 Comments »

Boot Camp by Todd Strasser

Posted by Caitie F on July 20, 2010

Title: Boot Camp

Author: Todd Strasser

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Hardcover: 238 pages

ISBN: 1416959424

Rating: ++

Summary (from author’s website)

n 2005 more than 10,000 teens were incarcerated in boot camps, most of them against their will.

In the middle of the night, 15-year-old Garrett is “kidnapped” and transported to a boot camp where he is subjected to physical and psychological abuse. The aim? To get him to conform to the camp’s standards. But how can he change if he shouldn’t have been sent there in the first place?

Review:

I thought this book had an excellent concept – a smart kid who feels that he has done nothing wrong thrown into an awful place and trying to get out. The camp is horrendous and the things that are done to these teens who are there against their will.

I really felt for the main character and completely understood why he felt that he didn’t deserve to be there. He was smarter and more mature than all of his peers and really did not feel like anyone understands him. He is also a good guy. He sticks up for others, even if it means that he will be punished even harder – and these punishments include getting beaten while laying on a concrete floor for days. It is truly horrifying.

What is more horrifying is that these camps actually exist. Parents (if they can pay enough) send their children there to “Straighten them out”…but sometimes send their kid there because they are just not what their parents expected them to be. They aren’t strong, they don’t follow every rule, or they just don’t fit into their parent’s society. That any parent would do that to their child disgusts me.

I cannot really recommend this book to others. I enjoyed a large part of it, but absolutely hated the ending. I was actually disgusted with it and wished I had not wasted my time with the book. I don’t want to spoil the end, but I will say that someone gets punished for completely doing the right thing and it changes them.

Have you read any books that you liked a lot until the ending? Let me know in the comments! I know this and My Sister’s Keeper were the worst for me!

Posted in Review | Tagged: , | 6 Comments »

No Way to Treat A First Lady by Christopher Buckley

Posted by Caitie F on July 20, 2010

Title: No Way to Treat a First Lady

Author: Christopher Buckley

Publisher: Random House

Hardcover: 304 pages

ISBN: 9780375507342

Rating: ++++

Summary:

When First Lady Beth ManMann is charged with killing her philandering husband, the President of the United States, during a bedroom argument, she turns for help to notorious defense attorney Boyce “Shameless” Baylor, her former flame.

Review:

Another good book by Buckley. This one was not quite as funny as Boomsday or Supreme Courtship. It did not make me think about pressing issues as much as his other books. That said, it did entertain me. It had really funny parts, some great characters, and some crazy DC scheming and dealing.

The first lady is a bitch and awesome at the same time. She gets things done which makes those in Washington hate her. It makes the media and those in Washington more than happy to pin the blame on her. They embarrass her, bring up things from her past, and find a way to hurt her reputation even more.

Luckily, she has the most shameless, who happens to be her ex-fiancee, there to help her and win the case of the century. He truly is shameless, willing to do whatever possible, even it is it illegal or unethical to do so. It is a crazy case, with crazy characters.

I would definitely recommend reading the book, but not if it is your first Buckley book, since his other books are stronger.

Have you read any of his books? What is your favorite if you have?

Posted in Review | 5 Comments »

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Posted by Caitie F on July 18, 2010

Title: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Author: Stieg Larsson

Publisher: Knopf

Hardcover: 480 pages

ISBN: 978-0307269751

Rating: ++++

Summary (from Amazon):

Cases rarely come much colder than the decades-old disappearance of teen heiress Harriet Vanger from her family’s remote island retreat north of Stockholm. At once a vivisection of Sweden’s dirty not-so-little secrets (as suggested by its original title, Men Who Hate Women), this first of a trilogy introduces a provocatively odd couple: disgraced financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist, freshly sentenced to jail for libeling a shady businessman, and the multipierced and tattooed Lisbeth Salander, a feral but vulnerable superhacker. Hired by octogenarian industrialist Henrik Vanger, who wants to find out what happened to his beloved great-niece before he dies, the duo gradually uncover a festering morass of familial corruption—at the same time, Larsson bares some of the similar horrors that have left Salander such a marked woman.

Review:

This is another one of those books that took me forever to finally read. I heard the hype, but was never really interested in it, but since it has so much hyper, I figured that I would give it a try.

I was pleasantly surprised with the book. The mystery of Harriet was intriguing, strange, and in the end, terrifying. I could not stand Salander at first – she goes against what she is supposed to do and the rules of society whenever she can, she is pompous and will not get close to anyone, and she seems to think that she is never wrong. However, the more I read of her character the more I started to like these things about her…and the more I realized there are some deep problems that she has dealt with in her life that have led to her actions.

The book was good, but it was nowhere near perfect. It was very slow at the beginning, if people had not told me so many times that it got better, I would have put it down right then. I have heard that is the same case with the other books in the trilogy. Yes, there needs to be some explanation in books, and yes, it is sometimes boring, but when it is over 100 pages it is a little much. Maybe it was because the author was dead, but it should have been cut or reworked by editors before being published.

I am planning on watching the movie, but I am a little nervous to because I was very disturbed just reading about the awful things done to women, I don’t need to see it. If it is too graphic, then I think I will have to pass.

I look forward to the next book, but I am know I will have to push through parts of it, and that does not make me happy.

Posted in Review | Tagged: | 6 Comments »

Goals!

Posted by Caitie F on July 18, 2010

Since I have been very busy and neglecting my blog, I thought I would make some goals for the blog in the next couple weeks.

I noticed I have over a dozen books that I want to review but haven’t yet. So, this week, I am going to post one review everyday. I don’t remember them all very well (some are from 5 months ago), but I am going to do mini reviews in one week.

The second goal is to write a editorial piece every week. Sometimes it will be about publishing. Sometimes it will be about the impact of books and reading on me and society as a whole. They could be about anything!

I look forward to working more on the blog.

Posted in Blogging | 3 Comments »

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz

Posted by Caitie F on July 15, 2010

Title: Odd Thomas

Author: Dean Koontz

Publisher: Bantam (Random House)

Paperback: 400 pages

ISBN: 978-0553384284

Rating: +++++

Summary (from Bookrag.com):

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz is the story of a young man, who, through circumstances out of his control, finds himself in a position to save the lives of hundreds of his friends and neighbors. Odd Thomas is a fry cook who can see dead people and shadow-like forms he calls bodachs. When Odd sees these bodachs around a stranger, he knows that trouble is coming to his hometown of Pico Mundo, California. Odd feels a sense of responsibility to stop whatever tragic events are about to unfold, so he puts aside personal concerns in order to uncover the coming darkness and stop it. Odd puts himself in danger to save the innocent. Odd never wanted to be a hero, especially not at the high price he is forced to pay

Review:

I am a big fan of Dean Koontz. I have read five or six of his books and want to read even more. I had a friend tell me that the Odd books are her favorite, so I had to make sure I checked the first one out!

I have to say, I really liked it and it may be my favorite Koontz book. I got really attached to the characters right away, especially Odd and Stormy. I liked the eclectic small town and all of its characters. I also loved how Odd had to struggle with the fact that he can’t save everyone with his gift…but he still tries to save as many people as he possibly can.

The book had a good mix of fantasy, suspense, and mystery. If you like any of those elements, you should give the book a chance.

It is hard to talk about much in the plot without giving away anything, so I will just say that the ending completely shocked me…and I am really impressed Koontz went that direction, especially since it is a series. I really look forward to reading the next book.

Have you read Odd Thomas (and any of the other Odd books?) If so, let me know what you thought about them in the comments!

Posted in Review | Tagged: , | 5 Comments »

50th Anniversary of To Kill a Mockingbird

Posted by Caitie F on July 11, 2010

50 years ago today, Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, was published. This anniversary has caused a lot of discussion around the blogs, including an article on Entertainment Weekly that asks if it would be published as YA today. I also know there was an article where someone said it was not the great book everyone claims (I cannot find the link, if you know where it is, let me know in the comments!). I cannot agree with that analysis at all, but I have seen other blogs about that, so i Thought I would share my experiences with the classic.

I read To Kill A Mockingbird for the first time when I was only nine years old. I know that is really early to read the book, but I was already reading at a ninth or tenth grade level, and I asked my mom for something good to read that was different. She loved the book when she was younger an thought that I would be able to relate to Scout in some ways, and also thought it would be a great way to make me think about/ learn about some issues. I remember talking to her about a lot of different things in the book, including some that I did not understand. I also remember that I absolutely loved the book.

I reread it in fifth grade and seventh grade, and each time I got a little more out of the book. I understood more of the issues and situations. The book really impacted my beliefs and Atticus was a role model of what it meant to do what was right.

I also had to read it as my summer reading for 10th grade advanced English. I was very happy to see the book on the list, not only because it would be easy for me since I had read it multiple times already, but also because I was really looking forward to analyzing it in a class. This was also the first class I had with my favorite teacher of all time, Ms. Bibbee. I loved her and her class so much that I was her aide for three years during my study hall, and when I got put in the other AP English class, I became her aide for her period of it and basically had AP English two periods in a row. My first paper for her was on Miss Maudie and it is one of the best papers I ever wrote. In her thirty years of teaching, I was the only advanced/AP student who got an A on the first write of the first paper. It was such a big deal she bragged about it to my brother’s AP class.

I would like to say that it was because I was such an amazing writer and I would have done it with any book, but I know it is because I loved and treasured To Kill A Mockingbird so much. I wanted to give the character the analysis that she deserved. I wanted to figure out what she taught me, and how the book impacted my life.

The only work of literature that has impacted me more than this is the Harry Potter series (hmmm I feel another blog post coming on…).

Did To Kill A Mockingbird have an impact on you? Did you hate it (I won’t judge you too much!)? Did you love it? Was there a book that had that kind of impact on you?Let me know in the comments!

Posted in Editorial | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »