Sunday, February 27, 2011
Last week, I went to my local Borders, which sadly is on the list for closure. I'm so used to going there and browsing the shelves. For me, it was a treat to do that. I can get books from Walmart or Target, and there is a smaller Borders nearby, but I'm going to miss the feel of going through a big bookstore. I did find a local indie that I can go to, but I'm on a little book buying ban (I need to save some money).
On to the business at hand...
Delirium (signed) by Lauren Oliver
Veganist by Kathy Freston
Annabel by Kathleen Winter
A blue so dark by Holly Schindler
A drink before war by Dennis Lehane
Where the truth lies by Jessica Warman
For review from Little Bird Publicity:
My One and Only by Kristan Higgans
For review from Planned Television Arts:
The Bonus by Georgia Lowe
For review from Algonquin:
When Tito Loved Clara by Jon Michaud
Something for Nothing by David Anthony
What you see in the Dark by Manuel Munoz
West of Here by Jonathan Evison
Note: I'm looking for takers for next month's edition of What's Up Tweeps?! Here is the question: With so many blogs out there, do you feel pressure to pick a genre/niche? Ever wonder how you can stand out among the masses? E-mail entries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Entries are open until March 18. Happy reading everyone!
Monday, February 21, 2011
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Welcome to What's Up Tweeps?! This month's question is all about James Frey. Mr. Frey is fleecing budding writers. Frey has created a publishing company, where students co-write novels with him for as little as $500, $250 or in some cases nothing. The bulk of the work is done by the students. Frey has "some" input. This is done on the premise that book will eventually become a bestseller, and then they reap the benefits. They've already achieved that with one book, "I am Number Four." Is Frey merely trying to help or is he robbing impressionable college students blind?
Imagine it, you're a budding college student with dreams of being a writer/novelist. It truly is a dream to have a successful writing career. So few make it. You struggle for years and years. Some might even be desperate enough to take the first opportunity that comes along. Enter James Frey and his Full Fathom Five company. Basically an assembly line publishing company with rates on par with a sweat shop. He's already succeeded with one project. Take a look at this trailer....
I am curious does anyone know what that movie is about? That was my first thought when I saw that trailer.
I say Mr. Frey is robbing students blind. The contract allows Frey to remove the co-author at any time and does not require him to give the co-author credit. With a lot of help from Jobie Hughes, I am Number Four was created. But surprise, surprise Hughes and Frey had a falling out. Now, Frey can get all the credit and money on future books and movies. Why should he stop when there is always cheap labor out there?
Next month's question: With so many blogs out there, do you feel pressure to pick a genre/niche? Ever wonder how you can stand out among the masses? E-mail entries to email@example.com. Entries are open until March 18. Happy reading!!
Thursday, February 17, 2011
(Forgive me if I'm rambling!)
Upon hearing about Borders filing for bankruptcy, some numbers stuck out to me:
200 -- The approximate numbers of stores to be closed. There's a rumor that all of the superstores in Milwaukee will be closing. All stores in Austin, Texas will close. Several of the stores set for closure are in New York, including one that I frequent. Noooooooooooooo!!! This particular store I loved to visit often. Sometimes I didn't even buy anything. Like most book lovers, I can easily lose a few hours browsing the shelves. I plan to go there soon before it closes.
6,000 -- The approximate number of people who will lose their jobs because of this. It's already hard out there to find a job, and Borders isn't helping. Plus, with all of those stores closing, that's a lot of empty retail space. That's going to impact the owners of those spaces. What if they can't find another tenant? What about the adjacent stores next to these Borders? They will also lose customers. Borders filing for bankruptcy doesn't just impact the company and its employees. A lot more people could lose their livelihood.
$182 million -- The combined amount Borders owes to publishers, including $41. 1 million alone owed to Penguin. Borders stopped paying publishers in late 2010. It makes me wonder how this company will survive if they damage relationships with publishers?
I know some people don't care because they have e-readers, or they shop online or at indie stores. But I care. There aren't a lot of book stores in my neighborhood. Not a single one is in walking distance. In addition to my review books, Borders has been my source for books. I know some people don't have a lot of sympathy for big chain stores like Borders because they put so many mom and pop stores out of business. However, I think Borders filing for bankruptcy is sad. Not enough people are reading as it.
With their downfall it makes me wonder about the future of reading? Is reading dying down or is the culture of reading change? It's more that the culture is changing and Borders wasn't fully prepared. I know they tried to adapt by selling music and DVDS, and including cafes in their stores. But apparently that wasn't enough. With the ability to have thousands of books at the touch of your fingertips on your smartphone, Kindle, iPod, Kobo, or Nook, is it really necessary to have bookstores? To that I say yes!! There is something that an electronic device can't replace, the feel, touch and relaxing feeling that comes with browsing a bookstore.
Monday, February 14, 2011
Sunday, February 6, 2011
Harry Potter hardcover boxed set by J.K. Rowling --- I've been wanting this set for a long time. It was on sale at Barnes and Noble.com and I had a coupon. It was just in the cards for me this week.
For review from Algonquin books:
Wicked Bugs by Amy Stewart --- I was browsing through the Algonquin catalog and this one grabbed me. It seemed like a fun way to learn about bugs.
Something for Nothing by David Anthony -- A suburban dad resorts to crime to preserve his family.
Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones --- Young girls from two families learn their father is a bigamist.
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Sci-fi/fantasy novels aren't usually my cup of tea. I used to think the plot would get bogged down with mythology and a whole bunch of things I don't understand. I'm glad to be wrong after reading Blue by Lou Aronica, a fantasy YA novel. If not for the e-mail pitch, it probably wasn't something I would have picked up on my own. The book is a heartwarming, emotional roller coaster.
Fourteen-year-old Becky shuffles back and forth between her divorced parents, Chris and Polly. Becky has strong emotional ties with her mother, but the relationship with her father is severely strained. Becky is in remission from leukemia, an illness that strained her parents relationship and ultimately led to their divorce. While in the throes of her disease, Becky and her father created a fantasy world, Tamarisk, as a distraction. It's a place with rich colors, specifically Blue, rich with animals and ruled by the beautiful queen Miea. It's a place where Chris and Becky can let their imaginations run wild. A world where Becky isn't sick.
Once Becky is in remission, what do they have left? Was Tamarisk their only connection? Can they coexist in reality? They drift apart and Becky's visits to Chris' apartment are always filled with silence. Fantasy worlds aside, those moments feel very real to me. A strained relationship with your parent is something everyone can relate to. Chris and Becky internalize their feelings rather than saying what is really wrong. It's like having a giant elephant in the room.
"Now, on the fourth anniversary of that terrible day, her father was still acting like everything was okay -- even though it was so obvious that he wasn't okay, that he hadn't really been okay since he left."
Tamarisk is what brings them back together. Becky believes it's real after meeting Miea. How is this even possible? Is it just imagination? Creating a fantasy world as a distraction from cancer sounds great to me, but when the person starts to believe it's real is a stretch of the imagination for me. Becky belief is so strong, she ignores the signs that her cancer is out of remission. She even gets her dad to believe in this place. They travel to Tamarisk together. But they created this world together, so of course they are willing to believe in it. Telling Polly doesn't help as she believes they are both delusional, and that Chris is using the delusion to get back in Becky's good graces.
Aronica weaves a fine tapestry between the two worlds. Becky's world is in turmoil as is Tamarisk. Miea is trying to save Tamarisk from destruction, while Becky is trying to save her own life.
The pace of book is a little slow, but it picks up in the last 120 pages. The fantasy elements are there, but this is more of a story about what it means to be a family and how to create lasting relationships. Polly like a lot of divorced parents has trouble letting go of Becky. Chris has trouble figuring out to repair his relationship with Becky. As a reader, I had trouble distinguishing reality from fantasy. Becky's belief in this world is so strong. The colors, surrounding and textures come through vividly. The ending is sad and happy at the same time. It can be interpreted many ways, so you will have to pick up a copy and decide for yourself.
Rating: Give it a try
Notes: I received a copy of the book from Pump Up Your Book (http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/) in exchange for an honest review. For more information on Lou Aronica, visit http://www.fictionstudio.com/Fiction_Studio_site/Home.html