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26. My Bus by Byron Barton

My BusOne of my toddler’s favorite books right now is My Bus by Byron Barton. My son has taken quite a liking to Joe, the bus driver, and his dogs. In this story, the reader meets Joe and learns about his job picking up dogs and cats and driving them to their destinations. Joe has a busy day making lots of stops and dropping animals off at the boat, train, and plane. Besides for the bus, little vehicle lovers can see the animals sail, ride and fly away. The simple illustrations and minimal text appeal to the youngest readers. For slightly older readers, it is a nice introduction to addition and subtraction.

Posted by: Liz


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27. J.K. Rowling Pens 500-Word Piece on Minor ‘Harry Potter’ Character Celestina Warbeck

J.K. Rowling has written a 500-word piece about Celestina Warbeck, a character nicknamed the “singing sorceress” in the Harry Potter books. Rowling has called Celestina “one of my favorite ‘off-stage’ characters in the whole series.”

Fans will find this new content on pottermore.com. In addition to the essay, Pottermore visitors will also have access to one of Celestina’s tracks, “You Stole My Cauldron But You Can’t Have My Heart.” This project marks the first time a song has been posted on the website.

Here’s more from the press release: “Celestina is referenced in three of the Harry Potter books.  The first mention is in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Book 2) when Harry hears her name on the Wizarding Wireless Network (wizard radio) while visiting the Weasley home.  She’s referenced again in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6) when she appears on a wizarding radio Christmas broadcast and once more in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7).”

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28. Interiority in Third Person Narrative

It’s perfectly possible, essential in fact, to engage in some interiority even when you’re working in third person narration. Most writers these days are getting around the whole issue by writing in first person. For years, this has been the vogue for MG and YA (a bit more for the latter). There is the perception that first person is more “immediate,” meaning, most likely, that there’s more that readers see from the protagonist’s POV, which means access to their thoughts, feelings, and reactions in real-time (which I have always called “interiority” for short, though Word still refuses to accept it as a word).

Interiority is important. The character acts as the reader’s closest connection to the story. They also guide reader emotions. If something happens in the plot and we don’t know how to feel about it (I’d recommend that this doesn’t happen that often, because ideally you should be layering in context and anticipation for big events long before they happen), we look to the protagonist and see how they’re reacting. If they are wigging out, we know the event is bad, etc.

Without a lot of cues in the moment, or with reactions that come long after the fact, the reader is often a little stranded. A disconnect opens up between reader and character, and if you don’t nurture that relationship, or too many disconnects happen, then it’s unlikely to result in the type of connection that you’re looking to foster. So I teach that interiority is important. I’d rather know a little bit more about what’s going on in a character than a little bit less in any given moment, especially if you’re a writer who’s on the fence abut this whole interiority thing and you suspect that you don’t have a lot.

This brings me to third person. It’s first person’s more “distant” sister. And because first person POV already has the perceived advantage of being more “accessible,” third person writers (those brave souls!) need to fight a little bit harder–or at least be more deliberate–about making sure that the reader can still access interiority.

Most third person is “close,” meaning you technically can access one brain, usually the protagonist’s. Writing without this modification is really difficult. Writing “omniscient” is also difficult, as it involves “head-hopping” into many characters’ psyches, which (if you’re going to master the technique) involves pretty advanced characterization and voice development for each new personality.

So in close, you have some options. You can use the “thought” tag to voice a thought verbatim (put it in italics), then add “she thought.” Or just leave it in italics and leave the tag off. Readers will catch on to what you’re doing.

Why did I ever think calculus was a good idea? What an idiot.

Another idea is to narrate interiority just as you would in third person, only using the different POV.

“She looked at the exam in disgust before handing it over and skulking away, certain she’d failed.”

Lots of emotion in that example. For those writers who have trouble addressing interiority directly and want training wheels, dialogue is going to be your best friend. That and action.

“Thanks for nothing,” she said, shuffling out of the exam room and slamming the door behind her.

Subtle, these examples are not. But they all convey emotion, which is the point of interiority. No matter how directly you want to address the issue, whether you want to break third person for a peek into direct thoughts, or stick to third person that gets into the character’s head a little, or stay away from thoughts completely and deal with dialogue and actions, you should be thinking of ways to inject more emotion so that your characters’ inner lives rise a bit more to the surface. You’ll never regret fostering that connection to the reader and putting a little more heart on your character’s sleeve.

 

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29. Kiera Cass Announces Three New ‘Selection’ Projects

When we last chatted with Kiera Cass, she did not breathe one word on the details of her future projects. Cass (pictured, via) recently announced that she has an additional novella and two full-length fiction books, all of which are set in The Selection universe, in-the-works. Follow this link to hear Cass’ video announcement.

Both of Cass’ forthcoming novellas, The Queen and The Favorite, will initially be published as eBooks. HarperTeen will then release a paperback print book in early 2015 with both of these stories and extra content. According to Cass’ blog post, book one, entitled The Heir, will come out in summer 2015. A new character will serve as the narrator for this novel as well as the follow-up.

(more…)

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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30. Introducing the new OUPblog

Loyal readers will have noticed a few changes to the OUPblog over the past week. Every few years, we redesign the OUPblog as technology changes and the needs of our editors and readers evolve. We have retired the design we have been using since 2010 and updated the OUPblog to a fresh look and feel.

oupbloghomepage1

Our top priority has been making the OUPblog easier to navigate. We have streamlined many of the links and widgets that you see — and the processes that you don’t see — so that it is more straightforward to scroll through and click. We have shifted to a responsive design, so that the OUPblog is effortless to view on desktop, tablet, or mobile phone. Our blog is now more closely aligned with other Oxford University Press websites so you will have a consistent experience moving from one site to the next. We have tested to ensure the website appears properly on different browsers and devices. (If you are having problems, please update to the latest version of your browser.)

oupbloghomepage-new1

We are still working out a few kinks from this initial launch, and we will continue to update the blog, our RSS feeds, and e-newletters over the coming months and years as technology and readership evolves.

What hasn’t changed? We will continue to publish the same quality scholarship from authors, editors, and academics around the globe.

Thank you to our designers and developers at Electric Studio, and the invaluable input from staff at Oxford University Press. We welcome feedback from our readers on the design and hope to integrate your suggestions in future. Please leave a comment below.

Thank you!

The post Introducing the new OUPblog appeared first on OUPblog.

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31. Todd Davis: Poet Interview

Please welcome Todd Davis to the Poetic Asides blog. He’s authored and edited 13 books, including the poetry collection In the Kingdom of the Ditch.

Todd Davis

Todd Davis

Davis teaches creative writing, American literature, and environmental studies at Penn State University’s Altoona College. His other three full-length poetry collections are The Least of These, Some Heaven, and Ripe. His poetry has been featured on the radio by Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac and by Ted Kooser in his syndicated newspaper column American Life in Poetry.

Learn more at todddavispoet.com.

The entire collection is a great read, but here’s one poem that I especially enjoyed from In the Kingdom of the Ditch:

Missing Boy, by Todd Davis

I do not
want my son
to enter
the den
of sorrow.

At sixteen
he already
knows
too much
of the world.

Like a pine
snake,
he slides
toward his
burrow,
leaves behind
the skin
of his former
self.

It sloughs
and curls,
scales
of what
he’s learned
but now believes
he does not
need.

*****

What are you currently up to?

The last month or so I’ve been working on revising my fifth full-length poetry collection. At the moment it’s called Winterkill. The poems have been written over the past three years, finding homes in journals and magazines along the way, and in May I began to put the poems together to see how they talk to one another.

After two revisions of the manuscript—rearranging the placement of individual poems, tinkering with lines in individual poems, and even dropping or adding certain poems to the collection—I’ve sent it to four of my poetry friends who are reading it and offering commentary.

Once they’ve finished, I’ll do some more revision based upon their observations and critiques and hopefully send it to my publisher, Michigan State University Press, in the spring. After that, I’ll keep my fingers crossed that my editor likes what she sees and the press will move the book into production.

In the Kingdom of the Ditch is your fourth full-length collection of poems (with a limited edition chapbook thrown in for good measure). Do you have a process for assembling poems for a collection of poetry?

I’m very much a daily writer and thinker. My mind tends to gravitate toward certain subjects based upon my experiences—in the woods, on the rivers, with the books I’m reading.

For example, yesterday I was deep in on a small stream in the 41,000 acres of game lands above the village where I live. My son and I were taking a long hike and fishing for native brook trout. I came across an amazing caterpillar on the walk—it was lime green with what looked like small spines or quills covering its body. At the end of these spines where bright, vivid colors—red and yellow and blue. I hadn’t seen this caterpillar before, and when I returned home, with the help of the photos I took, I was able to spend time looking through my field guides, discovering that this was the caterpillar that would later turn into a cecropia moth (Hyalophora cecropia), the largest native moth in North America.

Several years ago at the top of the mountain above our village, I was hiking on an extremely foggy morning. Mornings like this many flying creatures settle to earth because nature’s “ground traffic control” has cancelled their flights. I’ve come across a kettle of kestrel and other beautiful raptors on mornings like this. That particular morning, however, it wasn’t raptors that I found but a cecropia moth clinging to a long blade of grass in a meadow. I spent more than 30 minutes photographing it, studying it, trying to express how enamored I was by its beauty. (Yes, I tend to talk to the natural world!)

I tell you this story because, like William Stafford whose example means a great deal to me, I go daily into the world simply to be with the miraculous range of human and nonhuman creatures, to observe what is unfolding, to attend to what is too often ignored. Out of this act of paying attention, I write my poems, trying to spend a few hours at my desk each day.

After a few years I begin to see the patterns of what the act of paying attention has afforded me. Once I feel the body of a book beginning to take shape, I place poems on the floor of my office and start to see what happens when a poem makes neighbors with another poem. It’s a bit like chemical reactions. Just as individual images or sounds in a poem, when juxtaposed with other images or sounds in the same poem, cause a reaction between them, so do individual poems in a collection. It’s fun to see how a poem will be transformed when it finds a particular place in a collection.

2015 Poet's Market

2015 Poet’s Market

*****

Publish your poetry!

Reserve your copy of the latest (and greatest) copy of Poet’s Market today! This poetic resource includes hundreds of poetry publishing opportunities, including listings for book and chapbook publishers, literary journals, magazines, contests and awards, grants, conferences, and more! Plus, there are articles on the business of poetry, promotion of poetry, craft of poetry, poet interviews, and contemporary poems. Reserve your 2015 Poet’s Market today!

Click to continue.

*****

Many of the individual poems in the collection were previously published in a variety of literary publications. How do you handle submitting your poems?

I try to keep the act of writing and all such a process entails separate from the idea of publication. I write my poems for myself—a form of meditation or prayer, a way of thinking—and I also write them with my closest friends and family in mind. After that, I’m thrilled if a poem makes its way into the world to be published and read by strangers. But I don’t want the idea of publication to control or change the way a poem is created.

Having said that, I use the other half of my brain to be fairly orderly and efficient in sending the work out. I try to send to magazines and journals whose work I’ve read. A good way to find magazines or journals that might be amenable to your work is to read the acknowledgments page in books of poetry you’ve connected with. After you have a list of places to send, get the poems in the mail and get back to writing.

This same half of my brain also deals with the rejection. I remind myself when I receive the endless rejections that come every writer’s way that the statistical probability of getting a poem accepted is incredibly low. Thus, when I get a rejection, I read the poems again and if I think they are still working, I get them quickly back into the mail to another journal. A poem can’t be published unless it’s in the hands of editors for it to be considered.

In the Kingdom of the Ditch, by Todd Davis

In the Kingdom of the Ditch, by Todd Davis

You teach creative writing, in addition to American literature and environmental studies. Could you share one or two common areas in which most students need improvement?

I truly enjoy teaching. I’ve been very fortunate to work with some amazing students. In fact, just this past two years, four of my former students have published first books of poems with very fine presses.

What I’ve noticed in my 27 years of teaching—I taught junior high and high school English before receiving my Ph.D. 19 years ago—is a decline in reading. No mystery there, given the radical technological shifts. But if someone wishes to be a writer, there’s no substitute for reading the best from the past and the best from the present.

I’ve also noticed a shift away from delayed gratification. In a consumeristic culture, we’re used to desiring something and then purchasing it. No delay to our gratification at all. However, writing demands patience. Writing rewards self-discipline, delayed gratification, the ability to toil for days, for months, even years, to finally make that poem or story “work.”

I suppose this is similar to training for an athletic event. If someone was hoping to run a 10k race, for example, they would need to put in time running on a daily basis. Many days the runs will not be great, but they’re still necessary. You never know the day you will show up and things will click and your body feels unbelievably good and suddenly you are running effortlessly, turning in your best time.

Like an athlete, I think you have to show up to your desk, knowing that many days will be a slog, nothing seeming to work. But one of those days you’ll show up and the fantastical will happen at the desk. It’s kept me coming back to my desk for many years now.

I like to share poetic forms on the Poetic Asides blog. Do you have a favorite form?

I don’t think I can pick one favorite form, but I can name two that I enjoy reading. (I don’t claim to be a good practitioner of either!) The ghazal as practiced or recreated by such contemporary poets as Robert Bly, Galway Kinnell and Jim Harrison, and the sonnet, especially as Gerard Manley Hopkins practiced it.

It was hard picking a favorite poem from In the Kingdom of the Ditch, and I was impressed by the variation of structure. Could you describe your writing process?

I think I’ve described quite a bit of this above, but I might add that reading other people’s poetry is instrumental to my writing process, as is looking at visual art. I see art as a way of not only expressing something interior in oneself, but also as a way of having a conversation with other artists (living or dead) and their art work. Many poems I’ve written have begun because of a line or image in a poem, some music I’m hearing in a line, that reminds me of, or calls forth, a narrative or a phrase or an image from my own experience.

You mention structure in your question. I’m a free verse poet, but I love all kinds of sound play. Sound is one structuring device in my poems that shapes what the poem will become. I also enjoy experimenting with different forms that grow organically out of the content and sound play. Thus, my work does take on different shapes on the page, addressing the issue of white space and order/disorder.

One poet no one knows but should—who is it?

I’m going to cheat again. I can’t name just one. Sadly, there are so many poets we don’t know about because it’s difficult to find a bookstore where you can go browse 100 books of poetry that were published in a given year.

So here’s a list of poets whose work I truly respect and that many people may not have heard of: David Shumate, Natalie Diaz, Ross Gay, Chris Dombrowski, K.A. Hays, Austin Smith, Nathaniel Perry, Rose McLarney, Jack Ridl, Mary Rose O’Reilley, Dan Gerber, Amy Fleury, and Harry Humes. And that list only scratches the surface of writers I wish I could tell everyone about.

Who (or what) are you currently reading?

Here’s a list of the books that I’ve either read or am currently reading this summer: In Poetry, The Whole Field Still Moving Inside It, by Molly Bahsaw; The Glad Hand of God Still Points Backward, by Rachel Mennies; Revising the Storm, by Geffrey Davis; It’s Day Being Gone, by Rose McLarney; Hum, by Jamaal May; in fiction, Brown Dog and The Road Home, by Jim Harrison; Blasphemy, by Sherman Alexie; Swamplandiaia!, by Karen Russell; Eight Mile High, by Jim Daniels; Light Action in the Caribbean, by Barry Lopez; The Plover, by Brian Doyle; in nonfiction, Distant Neighbors: The Selected Letters of Wendell Berry and Gary Snyder; A North Country Life by Sydney Lea; A Fly Fisherman’s Blue Ridge, by Christopher Camuto; Life Everlasting: The Animal Way of Death, by Bernd Heinrich.

And, of course, I’m always taking off the shelf books of poems to read a poem or two in the morning by writers I return to again and again. They’re my sustenance.

If you could only share one piece of advice with fellow poets, what would it be?

I see many people get caught up in trends, writing work they think will be considered hip, publishable. I have no trouble with experimentation, with the creation of new schools of poetry, poems that push our understanding of what poetry might be. But, again, I’m referring to our hyper-consumeristic culture and the ways that mindset bleeds into the world of poetry in negative ways.

We all become dust and our books will become dust, too. (Or digital files to be lost in the grand cosmos of the digital multiverse!) I don’t say this to depress my fellow poets. I say it to remind myself (and others) that no one can predict who will be read 50 years from now, 100 years from now. So the question then becomes: what art truly moves me, and what art do I wish to spend my time creating, sending into the world, hoping it reaches some other person and impacts them in a way that changes them, moves them?

I’ve had many poems change the way I live. I suppose that’s the kind of poem I’m interested in writing. Whether that poem ultimately becomes dust and is forgotten doesn’t matter. It’s life in the here-and-now that matters. I suppose such comments are born out of my conviction that poetry is an integral part of the pattern of human community. So what kind of poem do you wish to send to that human community?

*****

Robert Lee Brewer is an editor with the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems. Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.

******

Explore previous poetic posts here:

 

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32. Kyle Bean

Posted by Jessica Holden

Kyle Bean

Kyle Bean

Kyle Bean

Kyle Bean

Kyle Bean

Kyle Bean graduated from the University of Brighton in 2009, he was spotted and commissioned by Liberty to create a window display.  He has a passion for crafts and conceptual thinking, using a variety of materials to solve the brief in clever and exciting ways. His clients include; Wallpaper, Selfridges, Google and Vogue to name a few.

To see more look at his website or follow him on twitter.

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33. Dramatic Action Inciting Incident and Character Emotional Development Dark Night

At last weekend's Writer's Digest Novel Writing Conference, an exhilarating success, I presented Deep Scenes: Choosing Just the Right Scene to Plot Your Novel with my co-author of Deep Scenes (Fall 2015) and co-founder of WriterPath Retreats, the fabulous Jordan Rosenfeld.

A writer asks: isn't the inciting incident of the example I used -- the Pulitizer Prize winning The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt -- when he steals the painting?

Yes, the dramatic action inciting incident is when he steals The Goldfinch in the museum. His action energizes the external action, changing the ordinary to the dramatic -- thus inciting the dramatic action plot.

I was describing just prior to her question the scene that occupies the all important 1st Energetic Marker: the End of the Beginning. Rather than the scene where he steals the painting earning the marker moment, the scene that steals the coveted spot is when his father arrives. His father's arrival is a pivotal no-turning-back moment that earns this honor because at its heart, this story is primarily character-driven. Long before his mother dies in the explosion, his father inflicted the protagonist's backstory wound when he walked out on them.

Yes, the dramatic action makes this a page-turning novel -- will he or won't he succeed? The answer we come to care about more deeply is will he or won't he find peace?

After that presentation and especially so after presenting solo Plot and Character Transformation in Novels: Character Goals versus Character Traits, I find I don't even try to resist throwing in what negative reviewers seem to hate in The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master -- the Universal Story, especially how it applies beyond stories to us in the human realm. I come home energized about my up-coming: Transform Your Creative Life through the Universal Story: Seize the Life of Your Dreams online personal transformation workshop. Join me and move from where you currently are in the Universal Story to your heart's desire.

Today I write!
~~~~~~~~
For more: Read my Plot Whisperer and Blockbuster Plots books for writers.
~~~~
Need more help with your story? 
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34. Giveaway of SEA OF SHADOWS by Kelley Armstrong plus New YALit Releases 8/18-8/24

Hi everyone! It's Monday again and time for another roundup of YA books coming out this week! It's a quiet week for YA releases, but we have a giveaway of a signed copy of SEA OF SHADOWS by the wonderful Kelley Armstrong!

Enjoy and have a great week!

Martina, Alyssa, Katharyn, Erin, Jan, Lisa and Clara


YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS THIS WEEK


* * * *


Sea of Shadows
by Kelley Armstrong
Signed Hardcover Giveaway
HarperCollins
Released 4/8/2014

Kelley Armstrong, #1 New York Times bestselling author, takes an exciting new direction with this big, breathtaking blend of fantasy, romance, horror, and pulse-pounding action, perfect for fans of Graceling and Game of Thrones.

Twin sisters Moria and Ashyn were marked at birth to become the Keeper and the Seeker of Edgewood, beginning with their sixteenth birthday. Trained in fighting and in the secret rites of the spirits, they lead an annual trip into the Forest of the Dead. There, the veil between the living world and the beyond is thinnest, and the girls pay respect to the spirits who have passed.

But this year, their trip goes dreadfully wrong.

With all the heart-stopping romance and action that have made her a #1 New York Times bestselling author, and set in an unforgettably rich and dangerous world, this first epic book in the Age of Legends trilogy will appeal to Kelley Armstrong's legions of fans around the world and win her many new ones.

Purchase Sea of Shadows at Amazon
Purchase Sea of Shadows at IndieBound
View Sea of Shadows on Goodreads


YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS LAST WEEK: WINNERS


* * * *


A Blind Spot for Boys
by Justina Chen
Hardcover
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Released 8/12/2014

Winner - Jill Lurie

Shana has always had a blind spot for boys. Can she trust the one who's right in front of her?

Sixteen-year-old Shana Wilde is officially on a Boy Moratorium. After a devastating breakup, she decides it's time to end the plague of Mr. Wrong, Wrong, and More Wrong.

Enter Quattro, the undeniably cute lacrosse player who slams into Shana one morning in Seattle. Sparks don't just fly; they ignite. And so does Shana's interest. Right as she's about to rethink her ban on boys, she receives crushing news: Her dad is going blind. Quattro is quickly forgotten, and Shana and her parents vow to make the most of the time her father has left to see. So they travel to Machu Picchu, and as they begin their trek, they run into none other than Quattro himself. But even as the trip unites them, Quattro pulls away mysteriously... Love and loss, humor and heartbreak collide in this new novel from acclaimed author Justina Chen.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about A Blind Spot for Boys?

Imagine a young woman who’s a complete man magnet. Imagine that she’s been heartbroken by someone she thought was her Mr. Right. Imagine that she’s been in denial over the truth about their relationship: who he truly is, who she pretended to be. Imagine learning to see herself and her past clearly. “It was shocking to consider that even though Dom went to the right school, knew the right people, drove the right car, aspired to the right career, he may never have been my Mr. Right.” That’s what I love about Shana’s journey in A BLIND SPOT FOR BOYS. She’s able to look unflinching at the truth by the end of the book. Love. That.

Purchase A Blind Spot for Boys at Amazon
Purchase A Blind Spot for Boys at IndieBound
View A Blind Spot for Boys on Goodreads

* * * *


Random
by Tom Leveen
Hardcover Giveaway
Simon Pulse
Released 8/12/2014

Winner - Vivien Probst

Who's the real victim here? This tense and gripping exploration of cyberbullying and teen suicide is perfect for fans of Before I Fall and Thirteen Reasons Why.

Late at night Tori receives a random phone call. It's a wrong number. But the caller seems to want to talk, so she stays on the line.

He asks for a single thing—one reason not to kill himself.

The request plunges her into confusion. Because if this random caller actually does what he plans, he'll be the second person connected to Tori to take his own life. And the first just might land her in jail. After her Facebook page became Exhibit A in a tragic national news story about cyberbullying, Tori can't help but suspect the caller is a fraud. But what if he’s not? Her words alone may hold the power of life or death.

With the clock ticking, Tori has little time to save a stranger—and maybe redeem herself—leading to a startling conclusion that changes everything…

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Random?

My favorite thing about RANDOM was the opportunity to get inside the head of a character that may very well be not well liked by readers. And with good reason. The thing about this protagonist, Tori, is that she’s not exactly the hero of the piece; and as her creator, I had to spend time in emotional-memory places I usually don’t have to inhabit for very long. It was a challenging book to write. I worry that some readers won’t understand the point of the novel as a result.

Purchase Random at Amazon
Purchase Random at IndieBound
View Random on Goodreads


MORE YOUNG ADULT NOVELS NEW IN STORES NEXT WEEK


* * * *


False Future
by Dan Krokos
Hardcover
Disney-Hyperion
Released 8/19/2014

True Earth has returned during a massive snowstorm in Manhattan-and this time they have an army. Rhys, Noble, Sophia, and Peter know they don't stand a chance against the enemy without Miranda. And once they revive her, she's horrified to find her world in flames.

The enemy occupation is brutal, but the director promises to release her hold on the city if Mr. East is turned in, and Miranda and her team are determined to find him. With her grief over the losses she has suffered fueling her spirit, Miranda knows that this time the sacrifices have to be worth it.

Packed with suspense and deception, Dan Krokos brings Miranda's journey to a mind-bending conclusion as she risks losing everything in the fight for her future.

Purchase False Future at Amazon
Purchase False Future at IndieBound
View False Future on Goodreads

* * * *


Starlight's Edge
by Susan Waggoner
Hardcover
Henry Holt and Co.
Released 8/19/2014

Zee has given up her entire world to be with David on far-future Earth, confident that their love will overcome all obstacles. But beneath its lustrous surface and dazzling technology, New Earth is full of challenges, including the animosity of David’s wealthy and powerful family.

As Zee struggles to find her place, David travels back to past Earth. Then, on a mission to Pompeii on the eve of the Vesuvius eruption, he vanishes. Zee knows he is in mortal danger, but will she be able to rescue him in time?

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35. Daniel Hannan Has Won the Paolucci Book Award

British politician and journalist Daniel Hannan has won the  2014 Henry and Anne Paolucci Book Award for his book Inventing Freedom: How the English-Speaking Peoples Made the Modern World. The award honors “the best work of conservative scholarship published in the previous year.”

Hannan was selected from a shortlist of five writers who were also nominated for the award including: Mary Eberstadt (How the West Really Lost God: A New Theory of Secularization); Samuel GreggBecoming Europe: Economic Decline, Culture, and How America Can Avoid a European FutureArthur Herman (The Cave and the Light: Plato versus Aristotle) and Yuval Levin (The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Right and Left).

Hannan will receive a $5,000 cash prize. He will also deliver a public lecture on the book and do a book signing on Wednesday, October 8, at 5:30 p.m. at The University and Whist Club in Wilmington, DE.

 

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36. Kindness for the Solo Librarian

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d8/Seeking_human_kindness.JPG/256px-Seeking_human_kindness.JPG

Goal setting in a school library run by a single librarian can at times seem pointless.  Some days my to-do list gets longer rather than shorter.  Goals languish on the back burner while the fire in the middle of the library is tended to daily.  It is tempting to just let the months unfold reacting to the greatest need.  Being the only person responsible for multiple requests from teens, faculty and administration can mean our days are fractured and attempts to attend to long-range goals are frustrating and futile.  In order to avoid this frustration I have developed the KIND method of goal setting and follow though.  In short, this KIND acronym represents the following attributes, adapted to goal setting and getting things done; kindness, importance, noticeable and developing.  (Photo by Enver Rahmanov (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

RULE ONE.  Kindness. The first rule of goal setting for the solo librarian is to be kind.  Be kind to yourself if you get off track from your goals.  I put my new year’s goal on a list every year.  When I make the annual list I look at past year’s list.  There is one goal that is on the list year after year.  Instead of beating myself up over the fact that it hasn’t been accomplished I put it on this year’s list and celebrate that I am determined and persistent in pursuing this important goal.  By the way,  the goal that keeps coming up on my list it is to establish a teen advisory group.

I put it on the list this year, again, because not only do I know it is important I know that one day I will get that TAG established.  And without shame, I will say it is likely to be this year!

RULE TWO. Importance. Pick the goals that are important to you personally.  Validate yourself as a professional.  You care about your library and the students you serve.  Don’t pick goals that you do not believe in fully.  There are too many distractions in the year and if you do not pick goals that  resonate with meaning for you you aren’t going to carve out the time to work on them.   Goals that important to you and are also what teens want are goals that will keep you motivated throughout the year. An easy way to get input from students is to encourage them write a sentence or two on an index card describing their ideal library.   Make a list of all the things you would like to accomplish in your library.
Include everything you thing would be happening in an ideal library.
Circle the top ten things you would like to work on.
Rank the top ten in order you would like to work on them.
When ranking consider how likely you might be able to work on this goal, or achieve the desired outcome.  Put at least one goal that you know you can/will accomplish this year.

RULE THREE.  Noticeable. Make sure the goals you choose to work on are noticed.  For yourself, post your top goals where you can see them daily.  For others, choose goals to work on that your teens and your administrators can see and relate to the value of the library you manage.  You want to stay visible and let people see the value that the library, and you as the librarian add to the achievement of students.

RULE FOUR. Developing.  Some of the goals you choose you just won’t get to, will fail, or will not work out the way you had planned.  Make sure at least one of you goals is something that you can and will accomplish.  Perhaps it is a program that you have already piloted successfully and your goal is to expand it.  Nothing breeds success like success and it is important to see that you are setting and reaching goals.  Be flexible when it comes to developing your goals over the year.  I’m going to create a makerspace this year with the 3D printer as the focal point.  As I develop this goal I see how it may be very possible that the students that I am working with in support of this goal may end up being the same students that head up the teen advisory group.  I am planning to develop this goal from the ground up and I see that the need to be flexible when I empower others will be key to the success of these goals.  I can embrace these goals as developing.

KIND goals.  Those are my kind of goals.  Flexible, accessible, accepting and empowering of our school’s teens.  It is the same kind of library I like to foster.  The only way to create a kind school library where young people feel accepted and appreciated is to start with the way we treat ourselves.  If we are realistic about the competing demands for our time as a solo librarian we can begin to set realistic goals that we can  and will achieve.  Good luck as you plan your successes this academic year.

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37. Amazon’s Russ Grandinetti Says Only Writers & Readers Are Necessary

Russ Grandinetti, senior vice president at Amazon & head of Kindle, thinks that the publishing industry is experiencing a major shift.

In an interview with The Guardian published over the weekend, the Amazon exec said: ”The only really necessary people in the publishing process now are the writer and reader. Everyone who stands between those two has both risk and opportunity.”

This interview was published a week after more than 900 authors ran a letter to Amazon chief Jeff Bezos as a full page ad in The New York Times yesterday. The letter, which included signatures from bestselling authors Stephen KingMalcolm Gladwell and Suzanne Collins, asked Bezos to end the company’s dispute with Hachette. Amazon responded with an email to readers, calling readers to email the president of Hachette and demand lower eBook prices.

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38. The First World War and the development of international law

On 28 June 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, were assassinated in Sarajevo, setting off a six week diplomatic battle that resulted in the start of the First World War. The horrors of that war, from chemical weapons to civilian casualties, led to the first forays into modern international law. The League of Nations was established to prevent future international crises and a Permanent Court of International Justice created to settle disputes between nations. While these measures did not prevent the Second World War, this vision of a common law for all humanity was essential for international law today. To mark the centenary of the start of the Great War, and to better understand how international law arose from it, we’ve compiled a brief reading list.

The Oxford Handbook of the History of International Law, Edited by Bardo Fassbender, Anne Peters, and Simone Peter

How did international law develop from the 15th century until the end of World War II? This 2014 ASIL Certificate of Merit winnor looks at the history of international law in relation to themes such as peace and war, the sovereignty of states, hegemony, and the protection of the individual person. It includes Milos Vec’s ‘From the Congress of Vienna to the Paris Peace Treaties of 1919′ and Peter Krüger’s ‘From the Paris Peace Treaties to the End of the Second World War’.

Formalizing Displacement: International Law and Population Transfers by Umut Özsu

A detailed study into the 1922-34 exchange of minorities between Greece and Turkey, supported by the League of Nations, in which two million people were forcibly relocated. Check out the specific chapters on: Wilson and international law; US jurisprudence and international law in the wake of WWI; and the failed marriage of the US and the League of Nations and America’s reaction of isolationism through WWII.

The Birth of the New Justice: The Internationalization of Crime and Punishment, 1919-1950 by Mark Lewis

How could the world repress aggressive war, war crimes, terrorism, and genocide in the wake of the First World War? Mark Lewis examines attempts to create specific criminal justice courts to address these crimes, and the competing ideologies behind them.

A History of Public Law in Germany 1914-1945 by Michael Stolleis, Translated by Thomas Dunlap

How did the upheaval of the first half of the 20th century impact the creation of public law within and across states? Germany offers an interesting case given its central role in many of the events.

“Neutrality and Multilateralism after the First World War” by Aoife O’ Donoghue in the Journal of Conflict and Security Law

What exactly did ‘neutrality’ mean before, during, and after the First World War? The newly independent Ireland exemplified many of the debates surrounding neutrality and multilateralism.

The Signing of Peace in the Hall of Mirrors, Versailles, 28th June 1919 by William Orpen. Imperial War Museum. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
The Signing of Peace in the Hall of Mirrors, Versailles, 28th June 1919 by William Orpen. Imperial War Museum. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

“What is Aggression? : Comparing the Jus ad Bellum and the ICC Statute” by Mary Ellen O’Connell and Mirakmal Niyazmatov in the Journal of International Criminal Justice

The Treaty of Versailles marked the first significant attempt to hold an individual — Kaiser Wilhelm — accountable for unlawful resort to major military force. Mary Ellen O’Connell and Mirakmal Niyazmatov discuss the prohibition on aggression, the Jus ad Bellum, the ICC Statute, successful prosecution, Kampala compromise, and protecting the right to life of millions of people.

“Delegitimizing Aggression: First Steps and False Starts after the First World War” by Kirsten Sellars in the Journal of International Criminal Justice

Following the First World war, there was a general movement in international law towards the prohibition of aggressive war. So why is there an absence of legal milestones marking the advance towards the criminalization of aggression?

“The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia: The Third Wang Tieya Lecture” by Mohamed Shahabuddeen in the Chinese Journal of International Law

What is the bridge between the International Military Tribunal, formed following the Treaty of Versailles, and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia? Mohamed Shahabuddeen examines the first traces of the development of international criminal justice before the First World War and today’s ideas of the responsibility of the State and the criminal liability of the individual.

“Collective Security, Demilitarization and ‘Pariah’ States” by David J. Bederman in the European Journal of International Law

When are sanctions doomed to failure? David J. Bederman analyzes the historical context of the demilitarization sanctions imposed against Iraq in the aftermath of the Gulf War of 1991 from the 1919 Treaty of Versailles through to the present day.

“Peace Treaties after World War I” by Randall Lesaffer, Mieke van der Linde in the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law

How did legal terminology and provisions concerning hostilities, prisoners of war, and other wartime-related concerns change following the introduction of modern warfare during the First World War?

“League of Nations” by Christian J Tams in the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law

What lessons does the first body of international law hold for the United Nations and individual nations today?

“Alliances” by Louise Fawcett in the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law

Peace was once ensured through a complex web of diplomatic alliances. However, those same alliances proved fatal as they ensured that various European nations and their empires were dragged into war. How did the nature of alliances between nations change following the Great War?

“International Congress of Women (1915)” by Freya Baetens in the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law

In the midst of tremendous suffering and loss, suffragists continued to march and protest for the rights of women. How did the First World War hinder the women’s suffrage movement, and how did it change many of the demands and priorities of the suffragists?

“History of International Law, World War I to World War II” by Martti Koskenniemi in the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law

A brief overview of the development of international law during the interwar period: where there was promise, and where there was failure.
 
Headline image credit: Stanley Bruce chairing the League of Nations Council in 1936. Joachim von Ribbentrop is addressing the council. Bruce Collection, National Archives of Australia. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

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39. German Authors Unite Against Amazon

German-language writers have joined their English-language counterparts and organized a protest against Amazon.

More than 1,000 authors from Germany, Austria and Switzerland have come together to challenge Amazon for hurting authors in its negotiations with the Bonnier Group. In a letter addressed to readers and Amazon chief Jeff Bezos, writers have accused Amazon of not carrying popular books as a result of dispute. In addition, they claim that Amazon has manipulated recommendation lists at the expense of their books.

“We authors are of the opinion that no book seller hinder or even customers should discourage the purchase of books selling books,” reads the letter (translated in Google). “Amazon has no right,  to take ‘into jail,’ a group of authors, which is not involved in the conflict. On top of that a book seller should not inform its own clients incorrectly or hinder their purchases by artificially extended delivery times.” (Via The New York Times).

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40. Can changing how prosecutors do their work improve public safety?

In the 1990s, policing in major US cities was transformed. Some cities embraced the strategy of “community policing” under which officers developed working relationships with members of their local communities on the belief that doing so would change the neighborhood conditions that give rise to crime. Other cities pursued a strategy of “order maintenance” in which officers strictly enforced minor offenses on the theory that restoring public order would avert more serious crimes. Numerous scholars have examined and debated the efficacy of these approaches.

A companion concept, called “community prosecution,” seeks to transform the work of local district attorneys in ways analogous to how community policing changed the work of big-city cops. Prosecutors in numerous jurisdictions have embraced the strategy. Indeed, Attorney General Eric Holder was an early adopter of the strategy when he was US Attorney for the District of Columbia in the mid-1990s. Yet, community prosecution has not received the level of public attention or academic scrutiny that community policing has.

A possible reason for community prosecution’s lower profile is the difficulty of defining it. Community prosecution contrasts with the traditional model of a local prosecutor, which is sometimes called the “case processor” approach. In the traditional model, police provide a continuous flow of cases to the prosecutor, and she prioritizes some cases for prosecution and declines others. The prosecutor secures guilty pleas in most of the pursued cases, often through plea bargains, and trials are rare. The signature feature of the traditional prosecutor’s work is quickly resolving or processing a large volume of cases.

Community prosecution breaks with the traditional paradigm and changes the work of prosecutors in several ways. It removes prosecutors from the central courthouse and relocates them to a small office in a neighborhood, often in a retail storefront. This permits the prosecutor to develop relationships with community groups and individual residents, even allowing residents to walk into the prosecutor’s office and express concerns. It frees the prosecutors from responsibility for managing the flow of cases supplied by police and allows them to undertake two main tasks. The first is that prosecutors partner with community members to identify the sources of crime within the neighborhood and formulate solutions that will prevent crime before it occurs. The second is that when community prosecutors seek to impose criminal punishments, they develop their own cases rather than rely on those presented by police, and they typically focus on the cases they anticipate will have the greatest positive impact on the local community.

In the past fifteen years, Chicago, Illinois, has had a unique experience with community prosecution that allowed the first examination of its impact on crime rates. The State’s Attorney in Cook County (in which Chicago is located), opened four community prosecution offices between 1998 and 2000. Each of these offices had responsibility for applying the community prosecution approach to a target neighborhood in Chicago, and collectively, about 38% of Chicago’s population resided in a target neighborhood. Other parts of the city received no community prosecution intervention. The efforts continued until early 2007, when a budget crisis compelled the closure of these offices and the cessation of the county’s community prosecution program. For more than two years, Chicago had no community prosecution program. In 2009, a new State’s Attorney re-launched the program, and during the next three years, the four community prosecution offices were re-opened.

Window of an apartment block at night. © bartosz_zakrzewski  via iStockphoto.
Window of an apartment block at night. © bartosz_zakrzewski via iStockphoto.

This sequence of events provided an opportunity to evaluate the impact of community prosecution on crime. The first adoption of community prosecution in the late 1990s lent itself to differences-in-differences estimation. The application of community prosecution to four sets of neighborhoods, each beginning at four different dates, enabled comparisons of crime rates before and after the program’s implementation within those neighborhoods. The fact that other neighborhoods received no intervention permitted these comparisons to drawn relative to the crime rates in a control group. Furthermore, Chicago’s singular experience with community prosecution – its launch, cancellation, and re-launch – furnished a sequence of three policy transitions (off to on, on to off again, and off again to on again). By contrast, the typical policy analysis observes only one policy transition (commonly from off to on). These multiple rounds of program application enhanced the opportunity to detect whether community prosecution affected public safety.

The estimates from this differences-in-differences approach showed that community prosecution reduced crime in Chicago. The declines in violent crime were large and statistically significant. For example, the estimates imply that aggravated assaults fell by 7% following the activation of community prosecution in a neighborhood. The estimates for property crime also showed declines, but they were too imprecisely estimated to permit firm statistical inferences. These results are the first evidence that community prosecution can produce reductions in crime and that the reductions are sizable.

Moreover, there was no indication that community prosecution simply displaced crime, moving it from one neighborhood to another. Neighborhoods just over the border of each community prosecution target area experienced no change in their average rates of crime. The declines thus appeared to reflect a true reduction instead of a reallocation of crime. In addition, the drops in offending were immediate and sustained. One might expect responses in crime rates would arrive slowly and gain momentum over time as prosecutors’ relationships with the community grew. But the estimates instead suggest that community prosecutors were able to identify and exploit immediately opportunities to improve public safety.

This evaluation of the community prosecution in Chicago offers broad lessons about the role of prosecutors. As with any empirical study, some caveats apply. The highly decentralized and flexible nature of community prosecution forbids reducing the program to a fixed set of principles and steps that can be readily implemented elsewhere. To the degree that its success depends on bonds of trust between prosecutor and community, its success may hinge on the personality and talents of specific prosecutors. (Indeed, the article’s estimates show variation in the estimated impacts across offices within Chicago.) At minimum, the results demonstrate that, under circumstances that require more study, community prosecution can reduce crime.

More broadly, the estimates suggest that the role of prosecutors is more far-reaching than typically thought. Crime control is conventionally understood to be primarily the responsibility of police. It was for this very reason that in the 1990s so much attention was devoted to the cities’ choice of policing style – community policing or order maintenance. Restructuring the work of police was thought to be a key mechanism through which crime could be reduced. By contrast, a conventional view of prosecutors is that their responsibilities pertain to the selection of cases, adjudication in the courtroom, and striking plea bargains. This article’s estimates show that this view is unduly narrow. Just as altering the structure and tasks of police may affect crime, so too can changing how prosecutors perform their work.

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41. Test an EPUB File With FlightDeck

Formatting a Word file into an EPUB file that works well across the different eBook stores can be a challenge. Firebrand Technologies has a new tool designed to help authors and publishers overcome any formatting issues. The service is called FlightDeck and it allows users to run quality checks in EPUB 2 and EPUB 3 files.

The tool allows you to see whether or not your EPUB files will be accepted by eBook retailers and distributors including: Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Google, Kobo and NetGalley. The tool was built with insights from these partners and includes some of the same validation checks that their own in-house systems use when determining whether or not to accept a file.

FlightDeck has been in open beta for the past couple of months but is now widely available. The service offers one-off pricing and bulk pricing. You can test one book for $35.00 and 500 books for $5000, with varying price points in between.

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42. Tools of the Trade


Fortunately, when it comes to the act of physically writing, I have MANY tools at my disposal.

For example, and gratefully, my iPhone.

Should my laptop refuse to reboot due to a software problem and require a 4-day repair visit to my local Best Buy's Geek Squad the Sunday before my Monday TeachingAuthors post is due, no problemo!

I simply create an email addressing the topic, request my TA administrator Carmela post it for me, along with an evidentiary photo, and remain grateful for the many and varied Tools of my Trade...as well as for Carmela. ☺️

Esther's laptop on Geek Squad counter
So, here are a few of the salient points I fully intended to post in the traditional manner via my laptop had it successfully rebooted this morning:

(1) To date my writing tools have included #2 pencils, pens of all sorts, manual and electric typewriters, a word processor, stack and laptop computers and one trusty iPhone.

(2) Thinking on this topic, examining my modus operandi when writing creatively, I surprisingly realized my multi-sensory learning style that enables me to READ must also be executed when I WRITE!

Note: Picture here the Five Senses Chart I'd planned to share.

Using my penmanship that combines both printing and cursive, because my 6th grade teacher Miss Peterson allowed us to choose and I couldn't decide, I write by hand in notebooks, on legal pads, on sticky notes, on napkins, on match books and menus and torn newspaper items when I am rolling out and exploring a story idea.

When I'm ready to roll everything up, though, and begin an actual story draft?
I'm seated at my laptop, ready to keyboard.

(3) In my Google search to learn more about multi-sensory learners, one link led to another and there I was learning all about BIC Fight for Your Write -www.bicfightforyourwrite.com.
BIC is on a mission to save handwriting.
Clicking on the Facts page at this website, I read that handwriting engages 14 different abilities, one if which is Inner Expressive Language.
No surprise there, at least for me.
Long live the Writer's Notebook!
Visit the website to learn more and maybe even sign the petition.

Hopefully my laptop and I will be back in business by Friday.
(Siddharta  promised.)
Meanwhile, I have my iPhone ....and should that require service, my Seven-year Pen.



Happy Writing, no matter your chosen tool!

Esther Hershenhorn
P.S.
Don't forget to enter our Book Giveaway!

P.S.S. from Carmela: I couldn't resist leaving in Esther's signature line from her email, just as she sent it:

iPhone compozed - sry 4 eny typoze=

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43. Monday Poetry Stretch - Joy

This weekend I watched my niece get married. I'm a bit shocked that time has passed so quickly and that we've all aged (some more gracefully than others). There were lots of smiles this weekend, a great deal of happiness, and a whole lot of joy.

What makes you happy or joyful? Let's write about that this week. I hope you will join me. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.

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44. 10 questions for Garnette Cadogan

Each summer, Oxford University Press USA and Bryant Park in New York City partner for their summer reading series Word for Word Book Club. The Bryant Park Reading Room offers free copies of book club selections while supply lasts, compliments of Oxford University Press, and guest speakers lead the group in discussion. On Tuesday 19 August 2014, Garnette Cadogan, freelance writer and co-editor of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of the Harlem Renaissance, leads a discussion on Frederick Douglass’s Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave.

Cadogen_author photo_credit to Bart Babinski

What was your inspiration for working on the Oxford Handbook of the Harlem Renaissance?

I kept encountering the influence of the Harlem Renaissance — on art, music, literature, dance, and politics, among other spheres – and longed for a fresh, interesting discussion of the Renaissance in its splendid variety. My close friend and colleague Shirley Thompson, who teaches at UT-Austin, often discussed with me the enormous accomplishments and rich legacies of that movement. So, when she invited me to help her bring together myriad voices to talk about central cultural, intellectual, and political figures and ideas of the Harlem Renaissance, I, of course, gleefully joined her to arrange The Oxford Handbook of the Harlem Renaissance.

Where do you do your best writing?

On the kitchen counter. The comfort of the kitchen is like nowhere else, nothing else. (Look where everyone gathers at your next house party). To boot, nothing gets my mind revving like cooking. I’ll often run from skillet to keyboard shouting “Yes!”

Did you have an “a-ha!” moment that made you want to be a writer?

No one moment — it was a multitude of taps, then a grab — but having one of my professors in college call me to ask that I read my final paper to him over the phone was a big motivator. I took it as encouragement to be a writer, though, in retrospect, I recognize that it was my strange accent and not my prose style that was the appeal.

Which author do you wish had been your 7th grade English teacher?

Someone who could handle the distractible, chatterbox me, the troublemaker who had absolutely no interest in books or learning. Someone with a love for books who led a fascinating life and could tell a good story. Why, yes, George Orwell — What a remarkable life! What remarkable work! — would hold my attention and interest.

What is your secret talent?

Remarkably creative procrastination, coupled with the ability to trick myself that I’m not procrastinating. (Sadly, no one else but me is fooled.)

What is your favorite book?

Wait, what day is it? It all depends on the day you ask me. Sometimes, even the time of day you ask. Right now, it’s The Poems of Emily Dickinson (the handsome, authoritative edition edited by R.W. Franklin). I stand by this decision for another forty-eight hours.

Who reads your first draft?

Two friends who possess the right balance of grace and brutal honesty, the journalists Eve Fairbanks and Ilan Greenberg. They know just how to knock down and lift up, especially Eve, who has almost supernatural discernment and knows exactly what to say — and, more important in the early stages, what not to say. But who really gets the first draft are my friends John Wilson, the affable sage who edits Books and Culture, and John Freeman, whose eagle eye used to edit Granta; I verbally unload on them my fugitive ideas trying to assemble into a story (poor fellas), and then wait for red, yellow, green, or detour. Without this quartet, everything I write reads like the journal entries of Cookie Monster.

Do you read your books after they’ve been published?

My books haven’t been published yet, but I imagine that I’ll treat them like the rest of my writing: mental detritus I avoid looking at. I’m cursed with a near-pathological ability to only see what’s wrong with my writing.

Do you prefer writing on a computer or longhand?

Painful as it is to transcribe my hieroglyphics from writing pads (or concert programs and restaurant napkins), I prefer writing longhand. My second-guessing, severe, demanding, judgmental inner-editor makes it so. On a laptop, it’s cut this, change that, insert who-knows-what, and at day’s end I’m behind where I began. And yet, I never learn. I still do most of my writing on a computer.

What book are you currently reading? (And is it in print or on an e-Reader?)

I own two e-readers but never use them; I get too much enjoyment from the tactile pleasures of bound paper. I’m now reading a riveting, touching account of the thirty-three miners trapped underground in Chile four years ago, Hector Tobar’s Deep Down Dark, which is much more than the story of their survival. It’s also a story about faith and family and perseverance. Emily St. John’s novel Station Eleven is another book that intriguingly explores survival and belief and belonging. And art and culture, too. It’s partially set in a post-apocalyptic era, but without the clichés and cloying, overplayed scenarios that come with that setting. And I’ve been regularly dipping into Michael Robbins’ new book of poems, The Second Sex — smart, smart-alecky, “sonicky,” vibrantly awake to sound and meaning — not because he’s a friend, but because he’s oh-so-good. I’ll be pressing all three books on everyone I know that can read.

What word or punctuation mark are you most guilty of overusing?

The em-dash — since it allows my sentences to breathe much easier once it’s around. It’s so forgiving, too — I get to clear my throat and then be garrulous, and readers will put up with me trying have it both ways. The em-dash is both chaperone and wingman; which other punctuation mark can make that boast? Plus, it’s a looker — bold and purposeful and lean.

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?

Something that takes me outdoors — and in the streets — as much as possible. Anything that doesn’t require sitting at a desk with my own boring thoughts for hours. And where I get to meet lots of new people. Bike messenger, perhaps.

Image credits: (1) Bryant Park, New York. Photo by cerfon. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 via cerfon Flickr. (2) Garnette Cadogan. Photo by Bart Babinski. Courtesy of Garnette Cadogan.

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45. Sample the Best Science Fiction of 2014

The 2014 Hugo Award winners have been revealed. Below, we’ve linked to free samples of the winning books for your reading pleasure.

The winners were introduced at Loncon 3, the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention.

A total of 3,587 ballots were cast this year. (more…)

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46. Challenges facing UK law students

Making the leap between school and university can be a stretch at the best of times, but for UK law students it can be a real struggle. As there is no requirement to study law at school before beginning an undergraduate programme, many new law students have a very limited knowledge of how the law works and what they can expect from their studies.

We asked a group of 77 law students from around the UK about how they prepared for their courses. It turns out, only a third of them did any reading before starting, but a vast majority would have done, if only their university had given them a bit of advice.

infographic_web

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47. Starting to blog about children's books I read, #BookADay, and why I DON'T do formal book reviews

As some of you already know, I've been participating in Donalyn Miller's Summer Book-A-Day Challenge and having great fun with it; you can see my posts so far here and all my #BookADay collages on Flickr.

I've decided to keep posting about the children's and YA books I read (and re-read) this way, even if I'm unable to do it every day. But now I'm torn; I'm not really adhering to the rules of the official #BookADay challenge...although I AM reading/rereading an average of a picture book a day, I don't always post about it. I mentioned on FB that I'm pulling back a wee bit from online distractions so I can get more writing done.

I enjoy the process of putting together these mini book-collages, however, especially for favourites I'm re-reading, because it gives me an excuse to delve more into the background of the book as well as finding out more about the author and illustrator. I'm also finding that it gets more people interested in these books.

Because I'm not strictly following the #BookADay rules, however, I'm going to change the footer of these images from now on...else I'll feel like a #BookADay cheater!

Please note that these are not meant to be formal book reviews. I AM NOT A BOOK REVIEWER. I just like reading books written for young people, and sometimes I am going to blog about them. I want to make this clear because I strongly prefer NOT being contacted about reviewing books. Reading a book for review or critique vastly changes the reading experience for me, and I am already finding it a challenge to carve out time for pleasure reading.

And thanks again to Donalyn Miller, whose Book-A-Day Challenge inspired me to start doing these book mini-collages!

 

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48. And the Golden Marmot goes to: Tim Federle @timfederle

 

This week's incredibly prestigious Golden Marmot award goes to illustrator Tim Federle for his brilliant Twitter status update above. You can find out more about Tim at Timfederle.com and on Twitter at @TimFederle.

 

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49. A Fields Medal reading list

One of the highest points of the International Congress of Mathematicians, currently underway in Seoul, Korea, is the announcement of the Fields Medal prize winners. The prize is awarded every four years to up to four mathematicians under the age of 40, and is viewed as one of the highest honours a mathematician can receive.

This year sees the first ever female recipient of the Fields Medal, Maryam Mirzakhani, recognised for her highly original contributions to geometry and dynamical systems. Her work bridges several mathematic disciplines – hyperbolic geometry, complex analysis, topology, and dynamics – and influences them in return.

We’re absolutely delighted for Professor Mirzakhani, who serves on the editorial board for International Mathematics Research Notices. To celebrate the achievements of all of the winners, we’ve put together a reading list of free materials relating to their work and to fellow speakers at the International Congress of Mathematicians.

Ergodic Theory of the Earthquake Flow” by Maryam Mirzakhani, published in International Mathematics Research Notices

Noted by the International Mathematical Union as work contributing to Mirzakhani’s achievement, this paper investigates the dynamics of the earthquake flow defined by Thurston on the bundle PMg of geodesic measured laminations.

Ergodic Theory of the Space of Measured Laminations” by Elon Lindenstrauss and Maryam Mirzakhani, published in International Mathematics Research Notices

A classification of locally finite invariant measures and orbit closure for the action of the mapping class group on the space of measured laminations on a surface.

Mass Forumlae for Extensions of Local Fields, and Conjectures on the Density of Number Field Discriminants” by Majul Bhargava, published in International Mathematics Research Notices

Manjul Bhargava joins Maryam Mirzakhani amongst this year’s winners of the Fields Medal. Here he uses Serre’s mass formula for totally ramified extensions to derive a mass formula that counts all étale algebra extentions of a local field F having a given degree n.

Model theory of operator algebras” by Ilijas Farah, Bradd Hart, and David Sherman, published in International Mathematics Research Notices

Several authors, some of whom speaking at the International Congress of Mathematicians, have considered whether the ultrapower and the relative commutant of a C*-algebra or II1 factor depend on the choice of the ultrafilter.

Small gaps between products of two primes” by D. A. Goldston, S. W. Graham, J. Pintz, and C. Y. Yildrim, published in Proceedings of the London Mathematical Society

Speaking on the subject at the International Congress, Dan Goldston and colleagues prove several results relating to the representation of numbers with exactly two prime factors by linear forms.

On Waring’s problem: some consequences of Golubeva’s method” by Trevor D. Wooley, published in the Journal of the London Mathematical Society

Wooley’s paper, as well as his talk at the congress, investigates sums of mixed powers involving two squares, two cubes, and various higher powers concentrating on situations inaccessible to the Hardy-Littlewood method.

 

Image credit: (1) Inner life of human mind and maths, © agsandrew, via iStock Photo. (2) Maryam Mirzakhani 2014. Photo by International Mathematical Union. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

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50. Cleary Wolters Inks Memoir Deal with HarperOne

Cleary Wolters has landed a deal with HarperOne for her memoir, entitled Out of Orange. Wolters inspired the character Alex Vause on the Netflix original TV series, Orange is the New Black.

According to The Associated Press, “Wolters’ book would tell of her time in prison and her ‘complicated’ relationship with Piper Kerman, Wolters’ former friend and lover.” The publisher has scheduled a release date for May 2015.

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