People Telling Us What A “Good Book” Is: The Percy Jackson Edition

Photograph by Ardo Omer. Books. Reading. Thursday Book Beat.

Goosebumps: Night of the Living Dummy. R. L. Stine. R.L. Stine Scares Us In 140 Characters… 

…okay. Maybe a little more than 140 characters. 15 tweets to be exact. It’s a really freaky story which Stine is a pro at, having penned the popular Goosebumps and Fearstreet series among others. Stine isn’t the first author to try this but if you want to check out the short story, Huffington Post has collected the tweets on their site. Don’t say I didn’t warn you! *cackles*

Andrew Wylie Hyperbolizes While Standing Firm Behind Hachette in Amazon Dispute

Wylie gave a keynote address at Toronto’s International Festival of Authors (IFOA) where Wylie asked publishers to “stand firm in their negotiations with the giant e-retailer.” I’m all for the indie bookstore movement and for supporting ,them but I was irked by Wylie comparing Amazon to ISIS which seems to be something many people have been doing lately.

“I believe with the restored health of the publishing industry and having some sense of where this sort of ISIS-like distribution channel, Amazon, is going to be buried and in which plot of sand they will be stuck, [publishers] will be able to raise the author’s digital royalty to 40% or 50%,” he said. “Writers will begin to make enough money to live.”

No. Do not make ridiculous comparisons that have no business being compared to one another. Using a hyperbole as a form of strengthening your argument can only work if it’s not taken too far. Wylie took it too far and it hurts his argument.

Let’s all promise to save our ISIS comparisons for when they’re actually appropriate.

Can Fanfiction Enter The Mainstream?

The Washington Post discusses publishers wanting to jump on the fanfiction bandwagon and getting it to the mainstream. Given traditional publishing’s need to evolve with the technological times, why not take something that’s thrived on the internet: Fanfiction. It’s definitely an interesting piece to check out and it’s a discussion that got started with E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey. Can the soul of fanfiction thrive in traditional publishing, or have we also written fanfiction by being inspired by those before us? A great topic to ignite or stir up a conversation!

People Telling Us What A “Good Book” Is: The Percy Jackson Edition

People tend to fall into two camps in the literary world: the “as long as they’re reading” and the “why are people reading this crap.” Apparently, Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series is getting the same crap that J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter has been getting for years, which is being seen as a lower form of literature. I find this ironic given that the people who criticize people for reading certain books would often be the same ones who would fight against censorship during Banned Books Week. Let’s get this straight: the books that are deemed classics are done so by a group of people who didn’t confer with the rest of society when the decision was made. I’m a strong believer that the more you read, the more likely you’ll step out of your comfort zone and also realize when a book is really well written. There are books that I read and love but I can also see how it wouldn’t be a great book just based on writing but that’s the thing, books are subjective. I’ll scream to the top of my lungs that Fifty Shades of Grey is the worst book I’ve ever read but there are people out there who enjoyed it and got into reading because of it.

No more book shaming, guys. Why are we still having this conversation?

Do We Need The Problem Novel?

Remember those novels that were specifically about bullying or drugs or another issue and read like an afterschool special? Well, we’ve been seeing less and less of them because these issues are being incorporated more naturally into stories and “problem books” limit how the complexity of an issue is explored. So Publisher’s Weekly talks about problem books and lists some books anti-bullying books that came out in 2014.

#WeNeedDiverseBooks Creates Even More Initiatives

I wrote about WNDB creating an award and grants to support diverse books but that doesn’t stop there! Founder and President, Ellen Oh, announced at BookCon that WNDB would be creating programs to bring diverse authors and their books to schools. Here’s the latest:

The initiative, called Diversity in the Classroom, Oh explained when announcing it on May 31, “will bring the opportunity to explore a diverse author’s book to a different classroom every month of the school year.” Diversity in the Classroom will debut in January 2015 in the Washington, D.C. area. More than a dozen children’s authors and illustrators known for incorporating diverse characters and themes into their work are lined up to date to visit 18 classrooms in the region during the 2014–2015 school year, including Kwame Alexander, Cece Bell, Susan Kuklin, Meg Medina, Aisha Saeed, Kelly Starling-Lyons, and Don Tate, with more authors and more classrooms to be added to the roster.

WNDB announced also announced new partnerships (An Open Book Children’s Literacy Foundation/School Library Journal) and a crowdsourcing fundraising campaign.

Congrats WNDB!

Ardo Omer

Ardo Omer

Former WWAC editor. Current curmudgeon and Batman's personal assistant. Icon art by Diana Sim.