Category Archives: Books

Books that Stayed with You – Second Verse, Close to the First

Posting “ten books that have stayed with you” started going around facebook again. I resisted for a bit, but decided to try again, knowing I might have a few of the same answers and a few different. Depending on the day and your mood and your memory, you can answer the same question a thousand different ways.

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones – I believe this was on my list before. Yes, it was a book first. A perfect humorous fairy tale with a Shakespearian Comedy-type ending. Also, read the Chrestomanci series. Also, anything else by her.

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein – Because I thought it was going to be as funny and lighthearted as his poetry, and it broke my heart.

Remember Me by Christopher Pike – A ghost has to track down her own killer. I loved the views of the afterlife in this one. The story was also relatively not-weird compared to his usual fare.

Peter Pan by JM Barrie – Didn’t read this until college, which made the reading experience excellent. You can read Peter Pan as someone not quite human, and the ending is that Peter comes back for a Darling child to spirit away every generation.

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maude Montgomery – I loved the idea that the family mistakenly adopted a girl when they wanted a boy to help them with hard farm labor. Also features hilarious underage drinking. It’s like a Canadian pre-teen “I Love Lucy.”

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis – This is obvious. I still wish I had my own writing pocket dimension where you can visit for years and no time passes in the “real world.”

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens – One of the only classics I read independently as a child. The reason it stayed with me was the image of an old woman in a bridal gown dancing by herself as her house burns down around her.

Hole in my Life by Jack Gantos — A recent read, but I’ve known the story for a while. A Boston children’s author’s memoir of his time in prison.

Cradle and All by James Patterson – When I was ten, my gram told me this book was too mature and I shouldn’t read it. So I waited until she returned it to the library and checked it out. Now I have a thing for religious horror thrillers.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett – I love Mary and Dickon, but Colin was the one I was most fascinated with. Colin’s father was so grief stricken by his wife’s death that he protected his son fiercely. So much so that Colin hardly ever saw the sun and couldn’t walk on his own, though there was nothing physically wrong with him.

Also, be proud KidLit writers: Almost all the books people said influenced them were written for children. Keep doing good work for young people. 

Ten Books that I Still Think About

Many of these I read as a child; a lot of our favorites from that time stay with us. But a few more contemporary works have snuck in there. I can’t resist a good fantasy.

In no particular order:
1. Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones

An orphan boy named Cat Chant finds out he is a powerful enchanter who has nine lives that were transformed into a book of matches. The betrayal of the sister he saw as a mother figure, a girl who used his lives in order to selfishly give herself more power really interested me.

2. Catherine Called Birdy by Karen Cushman

Funny historical fiction. A medieval lord’s daughter, who subverts the trope of beautiful Ladies who are quite well behaved, is really rude and plays pranks and plays with the pig boy. I was enchanted.  Continue reading

INDIES: How Independent Publishers & Bookstores are Surviving & Thriving in Today’s Market

This was a panel put on as part of Bookbuilders of Boston‘s Spring Workshops. It was hosted at Emerson College. Well worth attending; the cheese plate was delicious.

Our panelists were: 

The affable Ned Lomigora, a sales rep at Zeeen, an online promotional platform for authors that especially works with Indies. He specializes in analytics and digital media. He’s also a presenter and contributor for WordPress Boston.

The illustrious Dale Szceblowski, the General Manager at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, one of the hubs of the literary scene in the Boston area. He’s been in the book-buying and book-selling business for 30 years. Vice President of the New England Booksellers Association.

And the perspicacious Judith Rosen, a Senior Bookselling Editor and the New England correspondent at Publishers Weekly for 15 years. Previously she has worked in marketing and publicity for trade publishers, Wordsworth Books, and wrote a regular column for the Boston Herald. Continue reading

2013 is Going to be a Good Year

2012 was a mixed bag of some good and some devastating bad, but I believe the universe will do us a good turn and 2013 will be great. Here are some of my goals for the year of Lucky 13.

Personal:

Go to the gym more. This is the traditional resolution for a reason. IT IS NECESSARY AFTER THE HOLIDAYS. Especially when you work in an office and there are cookies EVERYWHERE.

Learn how to use new technology. I got a space device touchscreen e-reader for Christmas. I asked for it so that I could read manuscripts without killing trees for my internship, but right now there are babies better at touch screens than me.

Save Money. Stick to my budget. Increase  my biweekly deposit into my savings. Every time I resist the siren song of take out, “spend” the money it would have cost by putting it into savings.

Take risks. Yeah, I like having at least a day a week that I do nothing and talk to no one. I’m still happiest reading by myself, but its time to be bold. Go for every opportunity life presents. Drink, Celebrate life, Be merry.  Continue reading

Book Rec for Traditional Publishing

My friend, fellow YA writer and book blogger Ellie, won a giveaway on Marissa Meyer’s blog recently and shared the bounty with me.

I had heard of the Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market before, but assumed I didn’t want a copy before I was ready to sell. I was so so wrong as it is great inspiration fodder. I read through much of it at the gym that night and poured over the lists. I can already tell it’s an invaluable resource, so I ordered my own hard copy, despite my vow to wait. I have very little discipline.

The book includes inspirational interviews with NYT bestselling authors on their process, ways to keep your submissions organized, and a comprehensive list of literary agents, editors, and magazines that except and repped and unrepped submissions. Great for freelancers. Continue reading

Author Panel: Rees Brennan, Black, and Bray

“I hate it when you wake up after a party and everyone’s dead.”

–Sarah Rees Brennan

I went to Burlington with the Boston Science Fiction and Fantasy Meet-up Group for an author panel last Friday. Glad I decided to get in on that action.

The writers of the night were Libba Bray, Sarah Rees Brennan, and Holly Black.

Once the authors arrived there was a lot of excitement from the crowd and banter from the stars of the night. Sarah did an interpretive dance of the plot of Libba’s Diviners.

Libba: “I don’t remember writing any of this. Can’t wait to see how it ends.”

We started with each author reading a short excerpt from their books. Diviners is about a flapper girl from the 1920’s with the special ability to get vibrations from objects. The prose was very flavorful and I love the Prohibition-era historic setting.

Sarah read from her novel Unspoken, which all of my friends have now read, so I think that one is next on my reading list. “I have to be standing for this because of reasons,” she said, as she began her reading. Libba spit out her Fiji water when Sarah began stripping.

I am intrigued.

It happened to be Sarah’s birthday, which might explain the delightful energy she had going on.

Next up was Holly Black. Since the closing book of Black’s Curseworkers trilogy Black Heart, has been out for six months, she gave us the special treat of reading from her current work in progress.  Continue reading

Books Recs for Strong Girls

A school librarian I know has two 8th grade girls looking for female protagonists akin to the kick-assery of Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games.

I asked my friends for YA recs with strong heroines. This is what I have so far.

Contemporary
Shrinking Violet – Danielle Joseph
Tokyo Heist – Diana Renn
The Good Braider – Terry Farish
Nowhere Girl - AJ Paquette

Historical
Bloody Jack – LA Meyer
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle – Avi
Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
Scarlet – AC Gaughen
Climbing the Stairs - Padma Venkatraman
Catherine called Birdy – Karen Cushman
Love in the Haight - Susan Carlton

Fantasy
Song of the Lioness – Tamora Pierce
Graceling Realm – Kristin Cashore
The Chaos Walking Trilogy – Patrick Ness
Howl’s Moving Castle – Diana Wynne Jones

Continue reading