Lee Child letting go of his creation is a tale told by other bestsellers

From The Guardian: “Not much surprises me these days but this news did,” said Ian Rankin of Lee Child’s revelation this weekend that his brother, Andrew Grant, would be continuing the Jack Reacher series. Child said: “For years I thought about different ways of killing Reacher off. First of all, I thought he would go out in a blaze … Read more

Woke Roald Dahl Will Put Kids to Sleep

From The Wall Street Journal: My late father-in-law detested vague or imprecise language. “Don’t tell me you saw a person,” went his typical complaint. “What kind of person was it? A man or a woman? Tall or short? Old or young?” He, like his contemporary Roald Dahl, came from an era when people valued clarity … Read more

To delight a child

To delight a child, to add a new joy to the crowded miracles of childhood, is no less worth doing than to leave a Sistine Chapel to astound a somewhat bored procession of tourists; or to have written a classic that sells by the thousands and is possessed unread by all save an infinitesimal percentage … Read more

Who are Political Children’s Books For?

From The Drift: “Harriet Tubman was born a slave, and her story could have ended there. Instead, she persisted, escaping from slavery and becoming the most famous ‘conductor’ on the Underground Railroad,” begins the first section of Chelsea Clinton’s baffling 2017 children’s book, She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World, illustrated by Alexandra … Read more

Offbeat European Children’s Books For Adults

From Electric Lit: I have a confession to make: with nearly half a century behind me, I still read children’s books. The best are truly ageless—think Alice in Wonderland, The Little Prince, Winnie-the-Pooh. No other genre, to my mind, is as consistently capable of reawakening our sense of wonder and joy, of brushing the dust off our … Read more

Survival Strategies for Unsupervised Children

From Electric Lit: We’re called the Crazy 9, but there are not always nine of us. We were nine before la policía took Tuki. We called him Tuki because he loved to dance all weird. Every time he heard the tuki-tuki of electronic music, he flailed his arms and raised his knees like some sort … Read more

Children’s Chorus

From Voices from Chernobyl: Alyosha Belskiy, 9; Anya Bogush, 10; Natasha Dvoretskaya, 16; Lena Zhudro, 15; Yura Zhuk, 15; Olya Zvonak, 10; Snezhana Zinevich, 16; Ira Kudryacheva, 14; Ylya Kasko, 11; Vanya Kovarov, 12; Vadim Karsnosolnyshko, 9; Vasya Mikulich, 15; Anton Nashivankin, 14; Marat Tatartsev, 16; Yulia Taraskina, 15; Katya Shevchuk, 15; Boris Shkirmankov, 16. … Read more

Grisham, Child, Amazon, PRH Headline Lawsuit of KISS Library for Piracy

From Publishers Weekly: Twelve of the Authors Guild’s biggest names are serving as marquee plaintiffs on a new court action filed Tuesday (July 7) along with Amazon Publishing and Penguin Random House in Seattle at the US District Court for the Western District of Washington. The complaint names Kiss Library as a “book piracy entity” … Read more

Why We Can’t Sleep – Uncertain at a Certain Age

From The Wall Street Journal: The midlife crisis has long belonged to men. The revelation that life is finite is apparently so startling to 40- and 50-something males that many behave badly, often by trading in their wives and cars for flashier models with more curb appeal. But as Ada Calhoun writes in “Why We … Read more

Can diversity in children’s books tackle prejudice?

From CNN: Marley Dias says she was tired of reading books about “white boys and their dogs” in school. So at the age of 11, she launched the campaign #1000BlackGirlBooks to identify books featuring people of color as protagonists. Over the past three years, Dias has collected more than 11,000 books. She is in the process of donating all … Read more

The Practical Magic of Joan Aiken, the Greatest Children’s Writer You’ve Likely Never Read

From The New Yorker: In the early nineteen-fifties, before she published any of the novels that established her as one of the twentieth century’s great children’s-book writers, Joan Aiken lived on a bus. Aiken and her husband, the journalist Ronald Brown, had acquired a piece of land on which they meant to build a house. … Read more

10 Little-Known Children’s Books by Famous Writers

From The Literary Hub: This week, Duke University Press is reissuing James Baldwin’s children’s book, Little Man, Little Man. If you had no idea that James Baldwin ever wrote a children’s book, you’re not alone. In fact, quite a number of established literary writers have dabbled in kids lit. Most people know about the children’s books of … Read more

The Dummy That Ruined Your Childhood Is Back

To doublecheck the beginning of the following trailer, PG tried to locate a definitive number for how many RL Stine titles have been published but was unable to do so. A great many is his conclusion. From i09: Even though Jack Black’s R.L. Stine was made out to be the star of 2015’s Goosebumps film, the character … Read more

The Kid’s Book That Connects Me to My Lost Soviet Childhood

From Electric Lit: I twirl a package in my hands, a crumpled plastic sleeve with line after line of stamps and my mother’s neat handwriting. She memorized the list of items approved for mailing to the States by heart. Russian chocolate, gingerbread cookies, newspaper clippings, socks — all okay. No luck on tea bags, CDs, religious paraphernalia. … Read more

How celebrity deals are shutting children’s authors out of their own trade

From The Guardian: Another day, another celebrity announces they are to “pen” a children’s book. Already this week, Jamie Lee Curtis has announced a “selfie-themed” tome, Chelsea Clinton a picture book about inspirational women and the Black Eyed Peas a graphic novel featuring zombies. They join a slew of celebs cashing in on a burgeoning … Read more

James Patterson shares his formula for success. It’s pretty simple.

From The Washington Post: Halfway into his memoir, “James Patterson by James Patterson,” James Patterson takes a moment to discuss his writing process. It’s nothing fancy, he explains, and it starts with a folder stuffed with unused story ideas. “When the time comes for me to consider a new novel,” he writes, “I’ll take down … Read more

Why men need to read more novels

From GQ: It’s bedtime, and me and my boyfriend are comparing notes on what we’re reading. I flick through the tomes on his e-reader; it’s science fiction, politics, or politics in space. He’s halfway through Kim Stanley Robinson, following hot on the heels of China Mieville, Vincent Bevins, and Ursula K. Le Guin. He peers … Read more

Why do so few men read books by women?

From The Guardian: The byline at the top of this piece reads MA Sieghart, not Mary Ann. Why? Because I really want men to read it too. Female authors through the centuries, from the Brontë sisters to George Eliot to JK Rowling, have felt obliged to disguise their gender to persuade boys and men to … Read more

What Does Book Publishing Stand For?

From The New Republic: Seven years ago, when Amazon was in the midst of a contentious pricing battle with one of the country’s largest publishers, a group of famous authors banded together to make the case that publishing was a crucial industry for the nation’s cultural and intellectual life. “Publishers provide venture capital for ideas,” … Read more

Naming Fictional Characters: 10 Tips to Avoid Pitfalls

From Anne R. Allen’s Blog… with Ruth Harris: The old-school advice for naming fictional characters was to comb the obituaries. But not a lot of people get newspapers these days, so we need other sources of inspiration. For me, spam is turning out to be one of the best places to find unique names. Every … Read more

Self-Cancel Culture

PG doesn’t usually include two items from the same source on the same day, but he’ll make an exception for this one. From The Wall Street Journal: Every day brings news of another “cancellation”—a celebrity’s tweet incites an online mob, an article written in 1987 gets a corporate executive fired. The latest trend is self-cancellation, … Read more

How to Rescue an Endangered Book and Find your Author Mojo

From Anne R. Allen’s Blog… with Ruth Harris You’ve kinda/sorta finished your book/first draft/whachamacallit. In drastic cases, it could even be an outline that’s gone off the rails and landed in a ditch. But. Your original brilliant idea is drowning in a sea of ugly clutter. There are dust bunnies in the corners. An overflowing … Read more

Ken Follett Opens Brexit-Inspired Friendship Tour This Weekend

From Publishing Perspectives: Even as the impeachment inquiry in Washington revs to fever pitch with its battery of public hearings riling Capitol Hill and many of your American colleagues, the Brexit crisis in the UK has gone into a comparatively quiet phase ahead of the December 12 general election. Perhaps that’s the perfect moment for … Read more

Sally Rooney’s Normal People Takes Book of the Year at British Book Awards

From The Bookseller: [At the] British Book Awards 2019 on Monday evening . . . Sally Rooney’s Normal People [won] the coveted Book of the Year award. . . . . Irish writer Rooney triumphed in winning the top gong over Michelle Obama’s Becoming (Viking), which secured two wins on the night: Non-Fiction Narrative Book of the … Read more

The Competitive Book Sorters Who Spread Knowledge Around New York

From Atlas Obscura: The Lyngsoe Systems Compact Cross Belt Sorter hogs most of a drab, boxy basement under an unremarkable office building in Queens—238 feet of fast-flying conveyor belt, like a cross between a baggage carousel and a racetrack. The machine scans the barcodes on thousands of library books an hour, and shoves them quickly, efficiently … Read more

Jack Reacher Still Won’t Quit, 23 Books Later

From The Atlantic: You’re on a plane. You’re on a train. You’re wheeling through American space, and you’re feeling it: the hum of the void, the up-for-grabs-ness of it all. Out here there’s no protection. Good customer service, if you’re lucky, but no protection. Out here there is only the crackling feral mind: dominance, appetite, predation, pitiless … Read more

Pearson encouraged by ‘good first half’ but reports sales fall for PRH

From The Bookseller: Pearson has reinforced guidance that it expects to return to underlying profit growth in 2018 after posting underlying revenue growth of 2% and adjusted operating profit up 46% year-on-year for the first half of 2018. However it reported Penguin Random House – in which Pearson still has a 25% stake – saw sales fall in the first half owing to “softer … Read more

The evolution of watches reflects changing relations with time

From The Economist: Under fire over his pension reforms, in March President Emmanuel Macron incurred more French ire by surreptitiously slipping off a luxury watch midway through a television interview. More than two centuries ago, another watch embodied France’s power struggles. An anonymous admirer of Marie Antoinette commissioned Breguet, the royal watchmaker, to make her a timepiece on … Read more

Reddit, Tell Me Where I Went Wrong

From Electric Lit: My neighbor (32F) is not speaking to me (44M) because I made some repairs to her home while she was out of town. These were mostly exterior and relatively minor (clearing debris, replacing deck boards, adding a utility sink, installing a rain cap), but I did climb onto her roof. She says … Read more

The virtue of discretion – When the rules break down, you must judge what to do on your own. Discretion is necessary for navigating the muddle of life

From Aeon: It is midday, the sixth hour, sometime between Easter and Pentecost, at a Benedictine monastery, and the monks are gathered for the main meal of the day. It could be any century between the 6th and the 21st, and anywhere from southern Italy to South Korea. Although each monastery is autonomous, governed by … Read more

An Editor Confronts Her Writer’s Block

From Publisher’s Weekly: I’m an editor by trade, and that’s where my talents lie. My superpower is my ability to polish any piece of writing until it shines, and I’ve been making a living off that gift for years now. But any editor will tell you that they’re also a writer at heart—and I’m no … Read more

Finding Yourself in Prince Harry’s Memoir

From Publisher’s Weekly: Though I’ve been called a Jewish princess by disgruntled ex-boyfriends, on the surface I have nothing in common with the British Christian prince now residing in California. Yet as a Manhattan memoirist who writes provocative books my parents detest, I’m completely overidentifying with Harry. Except for his $20 million advance; interviews with … Read more

The Half-Madness of Prince Harry

From The Wall Street Journal: Prince Harry’s book is odd. There’s even something half-mad about it. He opens with a dramatic meeting at Frogmore, his former mansion on the grounds of Windsor. It is just after the death of Prince Philip, Harry’s paternal grandfather. For months Harry has been estranged from his father, Charles, and his … Read more

The Good Life

From The Wall Street Journal: What constitutes a life well-lived? What are the ingredients for lasting happiness? In their captivating book “The Good Life: Lessons From the World’s Longest Scientific Study of Happiness,” the psychiatrist Robert Waldinger and the clinical psychologist Marc Schulz convey key lessons that arise from studying the lifetimes of hundreds of … Read more

OverDrive Releases 2022 Digital Book Circulation Data and Highlights

From Yahoo Finance: In 2022, digital book lending grew significantly due to innovations that high-performing public libraries, schools and other institutions used to serve their readers. These efforts resulted in record circulation of digital books, with ebooks, audiobooks, magazines and comic books each greatly contributing to year-over-year growth, according to industry leader OverDrive. During the … Read more

How Ukraine’s artists are taking on Putin’s Russia

From The Guardian: When I meet him, artist Oleksiy Sai, along with his wife and son, have slept the night in their studio, a warren of rooms tucked behind an unassuming courtyard in central Kyiv. It’s on the ground floor, and with good walls, so they reckon it’s reasonably safe from Russian rockets. Safer, that … Read more

Canada’s CBC Books Names Five Finalists for Its 2022 Poetry Prize

From Publishing Perspectives: Like its annual show and competition Canada Reads, the CBC’s (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) Poetry Prize program is another enviable example of the public services performed by CBC Books. That program’s literary prizes include not only this poetry competition, but also one in nonfiction and one in short stories. In the case of … Read more

15 Cozy Books To Get Wrapped up in This Fall

From TheEveryGirl: In my humble opinion, as soon as the clock strikes midnight on September 1, it’s officially fall. Is it still blazing hot out? Yes. Does fall not technically start until September 22? Yes. But, as someone who waits all year long for fall to roll back around, I could never let mere technicalities … Read more

At what age do they take people to Ukraine?

From The Economist: In late September, soon after Vladimir Putin announced that there would be nationwide conscription in Russia, I overheard my 14-year-old student ask his father about it. “At what age do they take people to Ukraine?” the boy said, anxiously. His father wrapped him in a hug, reassuring him that he was too … Read more

From Book Browser to Published Writer

From Publisher’s Weekly: For 16 years [my mother] recommended the perfect books to people and shared her love of reading with others, spreading that joy the same way she blessed me with it. Whenever my mother and I drove through our little downtown in Madison, Ct., we always stopped at our local bookstore, RJ Julia. … Read more

What You Should Know About Writing a Co-Authored Book

From Jane Friedman: When people hear about my feminist, humor book, Jokes to Offend Men, first they ask: Do you actually hate men? (The answer of course is no, only on Thursdays). And then they say: Wait there’s four authors? How does that work? A four-person book is an outlier, but what’s even stranger to me is that I am … Read more

Where Is All the Book Data?

From Public Books: Culture industries increasingly use our data to sell us their products. It’s time to use their data to study them. To that end, we created the Post45 Data Collective, an open access site that peer reviews and publishes literary and cultural data. This a partnership between the Data Collective and Public Books, a series … Read more

The Enduring Allure of Choose Your Own Adventure Books

From The New Yorker: You were a girl who wanted to choose your own adventures. Which is to say, you were a girl who never had adventures. You always followed the rules. But, when you ate an entire sleeve of graham crackers and sank into the couch with a Choose Your Own Adventure book, you … Read more

Strangers to Ourselves

From The Wall Street Journal: When Rachel Aviv was 6, she stopped eating. Psychiatrists diagnosed her with anorexia nervosa, a disorder typically brought on by reading magazines that present thinness as the ideal of femininity. But young Rachel was only just learning to read; she didn’t yet have a concept of ideal femininity. Her case … Read more

The Power of Generational Storytelling

From Writer Unboxed: As I hurtle toward the publication of my debut, it struck me the other day that I’ve spent over a decade crafting an elaborate 1,500+ page setup. It’s true. In 2011, after two years of collecting rejections for my first epic fantasy story, I convinced myself that the only thing keeping me … Read more