We want to know what you are reading this afternoon.
SILVER: Return to Treasure Island by Andrew Motion
I’m not convinced Motion (who is a great poet) understands why TREASURE ISLAND is an enduring classic. (In fact, I’m not convinced he understands the adventure genre in any way, shape, or form.) It’s not terrible - the language is rather lovely - but it suffersin comparison to one of my favorite childhood books. (I’d have thrown it across the room by this point if it were a sequel to KIDNAPPED, which is Robert Louis Stevenson’s true masterpiece.)
It seems like every once in awhile you stumble upon two books that have the same title, or nearly the same title. Usually they’re easy to tell apart because they’re different genres, or aimed at different age groups, or something. But I’ve noticed a lot of similar YA titles recently.
My chat friends and I had the “book cover discussion” again. (In quotes, because we never stop complaining about terrible, horrible, no good, very bad covers.)
Tonight I took up the cause of photographic covers and won. My evidence? See above.
The Next Time Someone Says the Internet Killed Reading Books, Show Them This Chart
“Remember the good old days when everyone read really good books, like, maybe in the post-war years when everyone appreciated a good use of the semi-colon? Everyone’s favorite book was by Faulkner or Woolf or Roth. We were a civilized civilization. This was before the Internet and cable television, and so people had these, like, wholly different desires and attention spans. They just craved, craved, craved the erudition and cultivation of our literary kings and queens.
Well, that time never existed. Check out these stats from Gallup surveys. In 1957, not even a quarter of Americans were reading a book or novel. By 2005, that number had shot up to 47 percent. I couldn’t find a more recent number, but I think it’s fair to say that reading probably hasn’t declined to the horrific levels of the 1950s.”
Full Story: The Atlantic
My top five from Day Two:
1. OUT OF MY MIND by Sharon M. Draper
Two-time Coretta Scott King Award-winner Sharon M. Draper’s OUT OF MY MIND has received awesome reviews. Plus, the summary makes it sound like a more optimistic STUCK IN NEUTRAL (Terry Trueman), and I love that book.
Fun fact: the line for this book made the George R. Brown Convention Center threaten to shut TLA down.
2. NOTHING SPECIAL by Geoff Herbach
STUPID FAST, Herbach’s debut novel, won the 2011 Cybil for Young Adult Fiction. I enjoyed it too, which is what really counts. Sourcebooks seems pretty excited about his sophomore novel.
3. ONE AMAZING THING by Chitra Divakaruni
I happened to be walking by the HarperCollins booth at the right time and thus got to ask Divakaruni what the book was about while they were setting the signing up. The gist? People trying to get visas to travel to India are trapped in the embassy by a natural disaster and tell each other their stories. I’m always up for a novel using the Decameron structure.
4. THE LETTER Q: Queer Writers’ Notes to Their Younger Selves edited by Sarah Moon
Scholastic was doing a big giveaway of this one and I couldn’t resist. I also got to have a conversation about the acronym QUILTBAG! (We all agreed we like it since it actually forms a word, albeit a strange word.)
5. JAKE AND LILY by Jerry Spinelli
Dude, I’m in my twenties and I still reread MANIAC MAGEE, STARGIRL, and THE LIBRARY CARD. It’s Jerry Spinelli. ‘Nuff said.
My top five from Day One:
1. 52 REASONS TO HATE MY FATHER by Jessica Brody
A woman working the Macmillan booth helped me pick out a couple of YA contemporaries. (I’ve been feeling a bit of fatigue lately.) She sold me this one as a cute, breezy story about an heiress forced to work a different job every week in order to learn what it’s like.
2. THIS IS NOT A TEST by Courtney Summers
Major, major props to the St. Martins people. I ended up talking to them a lot throughout the conference. Anyway, one of the women gave me several great-looking books the first day. This is my top pick because a) zombies and b) Courtney Summers. I’m hoping for memorable characters, violence, indelible emotion, and violence.
3. FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS by Diana Peterfreund
PERSUASION … IN SPACE! Angieville made me long to read this one so I’m super psyched I got an ARC.
4. SKINNY by Donna Cooner
I have no idea what this one is about. But when I asked the woman at Scholastic what YA she was excited about she said, “Let me get you a copy of SKINNY.” That’s good enough for me.
5. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO BEFORE YOU DIE? by The Buried Life
Talking to people at these events is a great deal of fun. I mean, Workman Books might not sound like a great fit for my interests. But they were able to find several things that intrigued me. This book, by a group of Canadian TV-people, caught my attention since it was described as “Tumblr in book form.” If you can’t tell, I like Tumblr.
My most popular review, in four years of blogging, is for TALES OF THE MADMAN UNDERGROUND by John Barnes. I can’t help but feel that is fitting since it’s possibly the best book I’ve reviewed on IBWB.
Today I came home from North Dakota to find LOSERS IN SPACE, John Barnes’ new novel, waiting for me.
If I wasn’t bone tired I’d be doing a ridiculous dance.
(And I’ll share the back blurb tomorrow. It’s terrific.)
- H.M.S. Surprise, by Patrick O’Brian
how…. sweet, stephen.
I read this book for a lit class and wrote an essay titled “The Folly of Love.” I did not use this quote, sadly.