Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
[Update--the link was to a German blog titled "Boston Globe Horn Book Awards" filled with English words and sentences strung together in a way that occasionally made sense but more often were simply madly stream-of-consciousness insanity. Apparently now it takes you to another site. This is the kind of spamming I don't understand. I mean, the gold-farm people want your money but this didn't have anything like that.]
Friday, September 26, 2008
But who can top her? Lisi Harrison (The Clique), that's who, caught by Chasing Ray in a delicious quote that, with any justice, will come back to haunt her:
"I don't mean to brag -- but I get literally thousands and thousands of letters, thousands and thousands of e-mails from these girls, and I do read them and not one of them has accused me of perpetuating poison into their world and their society," she said. "Every one of them says, 'I suddenly realize that it's not so important to be popular anymore. I used to be like this with our friends, but we've all changed. Truly. I really, really mean it.'"
Which would you rather read thousands and thousands of times? I suddenly realize that it's not so important to be popular anymore or Where do you get your ideas?
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Of all the devices that devalue the function of criticism, the bar of stars is among the most pernicious. It suggests that artistic creation can be ticked off like a school essay and subjected to a set of SATs, in which the individual, expert guidance of teachers and examiners is set aside for the one-rule-fits-all solution of 21st century politicians.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
In middle school I knew a girl who "objected" to Huckleberry Finn because of the racism and her mother said something and she read something else. In private she told me she tried to read it and it was so boring she just told her mother she had a problem with it so she could read something else. I was 12 and knew that was wrong (and slightly jealous because it was boring).
Lolly emailed me, "It made me wonder what other experiences like this people have had while still in the thrall of a children's book." It reminded me of when I saw Independence Day one summer day in New York, emerging afterwards into the full-on Manhattan Friday five o'clock rush hour just like the mad dash from the aliens the New Yorkers made in the movie. They ARE here. I also remember a train trip on a rainy day through a wooded portion of Connecticut while listening to an audiobook of The Fellowship of the Ring--full-on cognitive assonance!
Monday, September 22, 2008
From the NYT report on the Emmy Awards, interviewing David Shore, executive producer of House:
“There are awards for [popularity]; they’re called ratings,” Mr. Shore said. “There are really good shows on cable, and even if only 10 people are watching them, if they’re good they should be recognized.”
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
"Ki raro au!" hei tā ikā.
E kore pai ki āu!
Ki raro!" hei tā ikā
"E KORE au hia takā!"
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Coleen Salley died yesterday. Her professional life was spent mostly at the University of New Orleans, where she was a distinguished professor of children’s literature, and that’s the excuse most of us in children’s book publishing used for inviting her out for dinner whenever we were within hailing distance of a bayou. But the real reason was that she was the funniest person ever born. When Colleen began to wrap her smoky southern drawl around a story, we cradled our drinks and prayed that story would never end. In her 70s, she began writing down some of those tales she’d been telling. If you never met Coleen, search for one of the several audio books she recorded over the years, then imagine her sitting across your table. That might give you some sense of the terrible loss so many of her friends are feeling today.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
I had to explain this phenomenon to another editor today. (Don't ask why.) I call it That Marilyn McCoo Thing. Back when "One Less Bell to Answer" was the number one song in America, the Fifth Dimension made a guest appearance, as themselves, on It Takes a Thief. On the show, they were recording "One Less Bell to Answer," and lead singer Marilyn McCoo was insisting on finishing the song with an odd sequence of four dissonant chords. She would not be moved, even though everyone around her--Billy, Lamont, Ron, Florence and the recording engineers--said it was a bad idea. Well. It turned out that Marilyn's brother had been kidnapped by bad guys who threatened to kill him unless the song was recorded with this ending--because the sound waves of the chord sequence, when played over the radio, would cause a bomb, secreted in a ship-in-a-bottle that sat on the desk of someone the bad guys wanted dead, to go off.
So when you ask someone to murder their darlings, be careful.
Monday, September 15, 2008
And to paraphrase Florence King, when will liberals learn to think before they speak? To complain that Sarah Palin "has a small town mind" is not helpful.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Pullman then clutches his rhetorical pearls for this response:
The people who matter most?
Whoever wrote that – whoever read that and believed it – needs to be reminded that without us, without our work, our talent, our willingness to put up with almost anything in the way of reduced royalties, humiliating treatment over jacket design, endless travels to this bookshop, that school, that library, anything to help our books reach the readers – without us there would be no editors, no designers, no marketing teams, no publicity people, no secretaries, no helpful personal assistants, no senior executives, no expense account lunches, no pension schemes, no company cars, no sales conferences in attractive places, no publishing industry whatsoever. Any of the people who do those other things could be replaced with very little difference. Take us away, and you’ve lost everything. The people who matter most? Authors and illustrators are the people who matter most, and no publisher with any sense of what’s right and true would have allowed that sentence, and that attitude, to stand.
Monday, September 08, 2008
Saturday, September 06, 2008
Friday, September 05, 2008
The poem is a good one and can be found at the link.
Thursday, September 04, 2008
I wouldn't elect Sarah Palin to anything, but this old censorship charge is really reaching. As far as we know, as mayor of Wasilla she asked the public library director three times about the possibility of removing "objectionable" books from the collection. Three times the director said no. (Positively biblical!) Then Palin tried to fire the director but changed her mind. Unless that former director (who is not talking) tells us otherwise, we have no reason to believe that Palin's request went beyond the hypothetical.
This is actually pretty typical of people who get power--and three-year-olds, come to think of it. They want to see how far they can push it. Mayors, school superintendents and library trustees alike are often surprised to discover that they don't get to personally decide on library purchases or discards. It's the librarian's job to explain to them why this is a bad idea and arguably illegal.
I'm reminded of the time when Chicago aldermen removed--at gunpoint--a satiric portrait of the late Harold Washington from an exhibition at the School of the Art Institute. THAT was censorship. But just asking? Nope.