This week! Books!
First up, the amazing organization We Need Diverse Books is hosting a holiday auction full of really great books and writing-related items to support Books Saves Lives, their initiative to fight book banning. I’m offering a query critique, which you can bid on here!
The fallout from Penguin Random House’s failed acquisition of Simon & Schuster continues to roil the industry, and this morning news broke that PRH CEO Marcus Dohle is resigning after 15 years in the role, where he led then-Random House’s successful acquisition of Penguin Group. COO Nihar Malaviya will serve as interim CEO.
The tech world is abuzz about ChatGPT, a new AI writing bot developed by OpenAI. While techie types seemed particularly agog at its abilities and it led to yet another premature death declaration for college essays (lol), my own impression is that ChatGPT “writes” like an extremely earnest 8th grader.
Here’s a collection showing the pretty good (a sorcerer’s chant to summon the NY Times election needle):
The bad (unable to consistently understand counterintuitive word problems despite “knowing” math)
To the ugly (sense of humor and imagination? not so much)
Everyone who has written a book has experienced a sparsely attended reading or signing, and I mean everyone. When author Chelsea Banning lamented that only two people showed up for one of her book events, bestsellers such as Neil Gaiman, Jodi Picoult, Stephen King, Min Jin Lee, and Margaret Atwood chimed in with their own tales of sitting alone at the book table.
And in writing advice news, I like this framing by Anne R. Allen about fiction: believability is more important than realism.
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:
- A World of Curiosities by Louise Penny
- It Starts With Us by Colleen Hoover
- It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
- Verity by Colleen Hoover
- The Boys from Biloxi by John Grisham
Adult print and e-book nonfiction:
- The Light We Carry by Michelle Obama
- Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing by Matthew Perry
- I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy
- The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk
- Surrender by Bono
Young adult hardcover:
- Five Survive by Holly Jackson
- A Thousand Heartbeats by Kiera Cass
- The First to Die at the End by Adam Silvera
- Long Live the Pumpkin King by Shea Ernshaw
- Lightlark by Alex Aster
Middle grade hardcover:
- The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs by America’s Test Kitchen Kids
- The Complete Baking Book for Young Chefs by America’s Test Kitchen Kids
- The Christmas Pig by J.K. Rowling
- Odder by Katherine Patterson
- 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, technology is a rather amazing thing, and I really enjoyed Derek Thompson’s roundup of the top ten breakthroughs of the year.
Have a great weekend!
Need help with your book? I’m available for manuscript edits, query critiques, and coaching!
For my best advice, check out my online classes, my guide to writing a novel and my guide to publishing a book.
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Photo: The Huntington Library, San Marino, CA
Neil Larkins says
“…like an extremely earnest eighth grader.” I love it!