This week! Books!
You know it, I know it. Social media just isn’t what it used to be. Approximately 15 years into the social media era, and 8 years after GameGate marked the beginning of the end, we’re at a messy nadir, where the giants (Facebook/Instagram, Twitter, Snap) are earnestly committing suicide, the insurgent (TikTok) faces an uncertain future, and the phoenixes attempting to rise from the ashes (Mastodon, Post, Hive, insert new startup here) are pitiful cartoon versions of the giants that mostly just remind us of what we’ve already lost. Ideas for what can or should fill the smoldering crater feel in scarce supply.
A few articles try to capture what we stand to lose. Sophie Vershbow talks about what we’d miss if Book Twitter went by the wayside, which could potentially hit new authors hard (though in my opinion social media has always been vastly overrated as a selling tool), and Chuck Wendig has an entertaining look at the current dismal state of things.
But who needs social media, we’ve got books! Congrats to the ALA award winners and nominees! A few of the selections:
- Newbery: Freewater by Amina Luqman-Dawson
- Caldecott: Hot Dog by Doug Salati
- Coretta Scott King Award: Freewater by Amina Luqman-Dawson
- Printz: All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir
- Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement: Jason Reynolds
Meanwhile, in news that reads like a dispatch from some dystopian novel, two Florida school districts have advised teachers to hide their books lest they be charged with felonies thanks to a vague new Florida law prohibiting teachers from possessing certain kinds of books. Florida, seriously… haven’t we all suffered enough?
The leadership shakeup at Penguin Random House continues in the wake of their failed acquisition of Simon & Schuster with news that Madeline McIntosh will step down as CEO of Penguin Random House US.
In writing advice news, two great posts from Lincoln Michel, first an interview with Martin Riker, author of The Guest Lecture, one of those books that doesn’t seem like it could possibly work only it does. The entire novel is essentially a character alone in a hotel room thinking about a lecture she has to give in the morning. I really loved the interview because it shows the incredible amount of thought and care that goes into a seemingly static plot. (Spoiler: it’s not static and is in fact finely plotted).
Also from Lincoln, a look at the craft of fairy tales, which violate every supposed writing rule in the book. And agent/author Donald Maass takes a look at different ways of writing a hero, particularly ones that depart from movie superheroes, where it seems there always has to be a fight.
Patrick Sauer caught up with S.E. Hinton and wrote about the enduring appeal of The Outsiders, even though she would rather talk about pretty much anything else at this point. (Here’s my own interview with Hinton from way back).
And speaking of classics, Peter C. Baker takes a look at Judith Viorst’s children’s book classic Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, which, like many classics, both defies easy conclusions and rewards deeper dives.
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:
- It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
- It Starts With Us by Colleen Hoover
- Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
- Verity by Colleen Hoover
- The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Adult print and e-book nonfiction:
- Spare by Prince Harry
- I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy
- The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk
- Never Give An Inch by Mike Pompeo
- The Light We Carry by Michelle Obama
Young adult hardcover:
- The Stolen Heir by Holly Black
- Nick and Charlie by Alice Oseman
- Five Survive by Holly Jackson
- The First to Die at the End by Adam Silvera
- One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
Middle grade hardcover:
- Wonder by R.J. Palacio
- Odder by Katherine Applegate
- Refugee by Alan Gratz
- Little Leaders by Vashti Harrison
- The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs by America’s Test Kitchen Kids
This week on the blog
In case you missed them, here are this week’s posts:
- (No posts this week)
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, longtime readers know I’m a long suffering Sacramento Kings fan, and this year they might finally be good enough to… no I can’t finish the sentence or else I’m going to jinx it. This is officially the Year of the Beam, and Hunter Patterson takes an entertaining look at the origin of Light the Beam.
And finally finally, thanks to everyone who reached out with kind words after my post about the aftermath of the shooting in Monterey Park. I’m hoping to return to a regular blogging schedule next week.
Have a great weekend!
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Photo: The Huntington Library, San Marino, CA