Posts Tagged ‘Reviews’

Last year, my friend Kyle and I gave each other lists of 10 books to read over the summer. Here was his list for me:

1. Cry, the Beloved country-Alan Paton
2. Battle Royale-Koshuea Takami
3. Starship troopers-Robert A. Heinlein.
4. Kafka on the shore-Haruki Murakami
5. The city of dreaming books-Walter Moers
6. The painted Veil-W. Somerset Maugham
7. The Forsyte Saga-John Galsworthy (Just the first one. totally stand alone.)
8. I capture the castle-Dodie Smith
9. Open Secrets-Alice Munro
10. Portnoy’s Complaint-Philip Roth
11. Underworld-Don Delillo
12. To say nothing of the dog-Connie Willis

And here was mine for him:

1) Notes from Underground by Dostoevsky (Fic)/
2) A History of Love by Krauss (Fic)
3) A Wizard of Earthsea by Le Guin (Sci-fi) (first in a series, but a great stand alone)
4) Paradise Lost by Milton (Epic Poem)
5) Tell Me by Addonizio (Poetry)
6) Whale Talk by Crutcher (YA)
7) Lolita by Nabokov (Fic)
8 ) She Who Is by Johnson (Non-fic)
9) Tangerine by Bloor (YA)
10) The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley (Sci-Fi)

I think reading lists are great – you can learn a lot about someone and their literary taste from the reading list they might provide. Plus, then you don’t have to worry about what you’re going to talk about when you next see your friend, because you can talk about the books! Go forth and make your own lists!


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While I’m still skeptical about Twitter’s ability to sell any books for publishers, I can’t really deny that Twitter is supporting the “cult of personality” type following that authors now enjoy. It seems like an author’s book doesn’t matter as much as their online presence and persona. If publishers could make money every time someone read the Twitter or Facebook posts of their authors, perhaps they wouldn’t be so worried about financial problems.

But, since everyone’s following the authors anyway, here’s a list of the most popular:

50 Best Book People to Follow on Twitter

There are some great authors on this list, including Neil Gaiman, Eoin Colfer, and J.K Rowling, as well as some publishers, book reviewers, and publishing news sites.

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I’ve already shown that I’m a fan of traditional publishing, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think that authors have a responsibility to market their own books. Books are increasingly associated with their authors – to the point that people buy books based on their author’s presence online or in the media. And while publishers are creating press kits and setting up interviews and events, there are other avenues that only the author can explore.

So, for all authors, here’s a list of things you can do to increase your visibility to readers:

1) Create a website/blog/Facebook account/Twitter  account (or all of the above)
2) Enter contests of all types
3) Publish articles in print and online about anything in your book. For example, if your mystery novel takes place in Eastern Oregon, write a fun travel article about the locations you used, send it to a travel site, and add just a little hook at the end about your book.
4) Give dynamic “readings,” interviews, and presentations. Reading from your book isn’t enough – you need to give an audience a good show. (See this article)
5) Send book to reviewers (ones that your publisher might not be considering)
6) Try to get a book club to read your work. Even if you have to create such a group, word of mouth is an amazing marketing tool.
7) If it’s applicable (which it often is for fiction books), create a book trailer and post it online.

These are all just ideas – but they can all work to your advantage. So go forth and market!

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I love science-fiction and fantasy, so I was really excited to hear that the Hugo Award nominees have been announced.

I was disappointed, however, to see that I have read almost none of the nominated titles! SO, I have decided to give my own award for best novel, best graphic novel, best movie, and best TV show.

The best novel for 2010: Graceling by Kristin Cashore (technically a YA novel, but awesome!!)

Best graphic novel: Here I agree with one of the nominations, and I think Fables Vol. 12: The Dark Ages should win. Fables and Y the Last Man are probably my favorite graphic novel series.

Best movie: Again, I agree with one nominee and think that Star Trek should win. I also really enjoyed Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, but I guess if you grow up with a series like that there’s always going to be a little bias in your heart.

Best TV show: I really like Doctor Who but I think I actually want to award Supernatural. I think this show is so fun! X-Files is still probably my favorite sci-fi show, but Supernatural has partly filled the gap.

So there you go. Debate as you will.

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First of all, let me say that I know some people don’t know what the definition of chick lit is. I think this is the simplest explanation I’ve found (thanks, Wikipedia!): “Chick lit is genre fiction within women’s fiction which addresses issues of modern women often humorously and lightheartedly.”

I really like chick lit, and like the definition states – it is women’s lit. A lot of women seem to see chick lit as the middle ground between romance and literary fiction, and this makes sense to me. But just because it’s not the most literary genre ever doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy it!

This article talks about how chick lit has fallen out of disfavor, partly because it is too “fluffy.” Who cares if it’s fluffy? I like genre fiction, INCLUDING romance books, and I think if we relate to the female characters in chick lit we should just accept that it’s lack of literary depth might, in fact, be the reason it’s the best thing to read when we’re tired and stressed. After a long day, you won’t see me reading James Joyce.

So, the spirit of embracing chick lit as women’s lit, here’s a couple book recommendations:

1. Bookends by Jane Green
2. Little Earthquakes by Jennifer Weiner
3. Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster
4. Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin
5. Just Friends by Robyn Sisman

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I just read on Publishing Perspectives that Dystopian and Undead stories are very popular at the Bologna Book Fair this year.

Well, that doesn’t really surprise me – it seems like half the books on the shelf are about these two subjects lately, though I do prefer zombies to vampires (vampires are too creepy).  Just for fun, though, here’s some of MY favorites:

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by
Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

Robin Hood & Friar Tuck: Zombie Killers by Paul A. Freeman

World War Z by Max Brooks

And the dystopian one I WANT to read:
The Dream of Perpetual Motion by
Dexter Clarence Palmer

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I was working at Borders when the fourth book of the Twilight saga was released. Only a couple people in the store had read the books, and we were expected to host a release party with trivia and contests, so it seemed a good idea to read them. Even the fourth one, since I’d read the rest.

Twilight Spoof image, with Obama and Palin 🙂

Well, loonngg review short, I didn’t like them. To be fair to Stephenie Meyer, I don’t really like Vampire books in general. But I really thought her writing was trite, her main character was whiny, and her love triangle was predictable (except for the creepy baby, didn’t see that coming).

So every time I talk to someone my age who read the books (if you’re in middle school, it’s more acceptable) and loved them, I’m honestly surprised.

I just read yesterday that Meyer is releasing another short book, titled The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner. I guess I’m not surprised, everyone’s capitalizing on the series trend (something I’ll probably rant about in another post) but I honestly can’t understand the obsession. And they must be expecting quite a sales rush, with a first printing of 1.5 million copies.

Again, though, I have to give Meyer some credit: $1 dollar from the sale of each book, which is being released for free online, will be donated to the Red Cross for Haiti Relief. I guess there’s something to be said for using one’s power for good. 😛 But I hope she stops writing soon – the faster everyone gets over this vampire craze, the better – and then we can get back to the business of reading good fantasy books.

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