This week! Books! Get vaccinated if you can!
The world of books lost one of the greats this week as legendary children’s book author Beverly Cleary passed away at the incredible age of 104. Tributes poured forth from across the book world, and I think it’s safe to say that many of today’s prominent authors wouldn’t be authors if they hadn’t gotten hooked on Cleary’s books at a young age. I particularly enjoyed author Renée Watson’s essay about how Ramona Quimby gave her a friend like her when she was young, and a roadmap for writing for children as an adult.
This is also a good time to re-share one of my favorite essays about writing for children by Annie Barrows, which discusses how Ramona Quimby’s point of view demonstrates the importance of truly writing from a child’s mind.
Publishing industry consolidation is continuing apace, and NewsCorp’s HarperCollins looks set to buy not-a-Big-5-but-still-big-publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in a deal worth $349 million. HarperCollins CEO Brian Murray was pretty upfront about the importance of HMH’s backlist, calling it a “crown jewel.” It would bring titles such as Curious George, The Polar Express, and The Lord of the Rings under the HarperCollins umbrella during a time when backlist sales are possibly more important to publishers than ever.
It’s very disturbing what’s happening in Burma (also known as Myanmar) in the aftermath of a military coup, and James Byrne writes about what’s happening to Burmese writers and poets, who are being killed, locked up, or are in hiding from the army, the Tatmadew. The United States ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, called upon U.S. allies to stand together. Please call or email your representatives to encourage them to support efforts on behalf of the Burmese people bravely resisting the coup.
We’ve all had a year, to say the least, and when the pandemic started we had grand ambitions for how we would utilize our free time. Yeah. The great Brandy Jensen spent her time reading Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels and wrote a fantastic essay about it, which, frankly, feels more impressive than anything I got done in my spare time during the past year.
This week in bestsellers
Here are the top five NY Times bestsellers in a few key categories. (All links are affiliate links):
Adult print and e-book fiction:
- The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
- Win by Harlan Coben
- The Consequences of Fear by Jacqueline Winspear
- Double Jeopardy by Stuart Woods
- The Bounty by Janet Evanovich and Steve Hamilton
Adult print and e-book nonfiction:
- The Code Breaker by Walter Isaacson
- Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey
- The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk
- Caste by Isabel Wilkerson
- Becoming by Michelle Obama
Young adult hardcover:
- Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley
- Chain of Iron by Cassandra Clare
- One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
- Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas
- Lore by Alexandra Bracken
Middle grade hardcover:
- Wow in the World by Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz
- The Ickabog by J.K. Rowling
- Becoming: Adapted for Young Readers by Michelle Obama
- The One and Only Bob by Katherine Applegate
- Wonder by R.J. Palacio
This week on the blog
In case you missed them, here are this week’s posts:
Don’t forget that you can nominate your first page and query for a free critique on the blog:
And keep up with the discussion in all the places!
And finally, I really enjoyed this article by Rachel Aviv in The New Yorker about one of the most influential researchers on memory, and how even she can’t escape the the slipperiness of how we remember (or think we remember) the past.
Have a great weekend!
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Art: Spring daffodils in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. Follow me on Instagram!