While the Significant Other is narrowing down his PhD project topics, he's started talking with people in the Humanities Advanced Technology And Information Institute at the University, and is leaning heavily toward a project dealing with the ethical philosophy of data management and archiving. Archiving means libraries, and so he may actually take a few library science courses in the course of his studies. Since I always wanted to be a librarian (okay, BIG nerd alert) this is kind of cool to me - Mac is one step closer to being an even bigger booknerd than me!
Libraries on the brain today -- did you know that in the UK, authors can make (a little) money from their books in the library? Public Lending Right, or PLR as its called, is "the right for authors to receive payment under PLR legislation for the loans of their books by public libraries. To qualify for payment, applicants must apply to register their books with us. Payments are made annually on the basis of loans data collected from a sample of public libraries in the UK." Isn't this interesting? I wonder if there's any American library equivalent. This certainly encourages a relationship between authors and libraries.
I'm obsessed with book covers. Some of them -- like Laura Ruby's Chaos King are so well done - suffused with color and movement -- and others... like Northlander or Nightwalker leave a bit to be desired in the imaginative design realm, which is unfortunate, because they're both such great books. That's why I like
JacketWhys -- the site combines commentary on covers with mini book reports.
"I’d like to be able to see the past - the bulk of the children and teen book jackets from ten years ago. How often were these techniques used then? What will be the future? The big trend ten years from now?"
It's good to know someone else wonders what's up with some of the strange crop jobs and repeat themes that are dominating cover art. Year before last it was headless females, last year it was head bits and feet. Who knows what this year will bring? Arms? Knees?
The other day, I read that there was to be a musical of The Diary of Anne Frank. I chose not to believe it. However, I read it in the paper, and so I must.
Never mind. There are no words.
A recent conversation with my editor came to mind when I read the Guardian Blog's mini-rant against tidying up children's book reprints. One of the characters in my latest YA-work-in-revision smokes, and while I definitely do not advocate it for young adults - old adults -- monkeys or marsupials, and have never done it, will never do it, and think it's a bad idea all-round -- the character who smokes is seventy-eight or so, and has been in the military. It's something the character DOES - it goes with the time period when they were born, when people still thought that tarring your lungs was a way to lose weight and look cool. Despite the fact that it's a grandparent smoking, my editor gently insists that I change a scene where it's hinted at that the character smokes in a car with teens.
I have no problem with that, but it strikes me as really interesting. This is a trend that started with this publishing company awhile back when they voted to digitally change the picture of the author of Good Night, Moon to erase his cigarette. While I have no problem whatsoever with making this infinitesimal change, I am bothered by the idea that everything I write is meant to stand as an Example to Young People somehow. That's almost a churchy thought; I grew up with the idea that I'm meant to be an Example to the World. It made me paranoid and uncomfortable then, ditto this is publishing terms now. Do the rest of you feel like you're meant, in all ways, to write as an example?
I think of a writer like John Green (whose Nerdfighter "Happy Dance" made me tear up for some weird reason) who was training to be a minister of some sort at one point, and people like Maureen Johnson and Sara Zarr and the myriad others whose work has been sharply criticized for language or content and banned. I wonder if anyone ever really feels just a little like they deserve the slap on the wrist for their book content... I mean, it follows if we believe that we really are Examples to the Young...
I don't know. I am so anti-smoking, it's not even funny. But I also don't really expect teens to pick up on a habit someone from who is a.) old, b.) scary c.)and in a book, for goodness sakes.
What struck me even harder is that an underage character in the novel has a drink ... and my editor didn't say a word. Not one.
What strange mortals we be. What strange morals have we.
Don't mind me, though, I'm still having a lot of "hmm" moments from my last editorial letter. My editor's mind works so differently than mine, and that's why I love her. She's given me lots and lots to think about.
Oh, now this is painful... Knight Rider... lives. What is it with resurrecting every single bad sci-fi show from my childhood? Somewhere, someone is reshooting Automan. *Shudder.*