A quickly assembled home team in the Canadian book publishers industry has claimed victory over the so-called “Toronto multinational book factories” with a deal to bring out another 40,000 copies of The Sentimentalists, Johanna Skibsrud’s largely unavailable, Giller Prize-winning novel.
Under the terms negotiated between tiny Gaspereau Press of Nova Scotia and Vancouver-based publisher Douglas & McIntyre, the Friesens Corp. of Altona, Man., has agreed to print a new paperback edition by this Friday. “Because of the urgency of the situation, we will pull out all the stops,” Friesens sales manager Doug Symington said.
The deal brings “three proudly independent Canadian entities” together to solve the crisis that emerged when Skibsrud’s unheralded debut novel won Canada’s most prestigious literary award, according to publisher Scott McIntyre. “With our sales, marketing and distribution system onside, an exceptional novel will quickly reach the wide audience it deserves,” he added.
The books should be available for sale early next week, according to McIntyre. Printed in paperback with a pumped-up cover image and the signature red sticker of a Giller Prize winner (as well as the Douglas & MacIntyre Book Publisher imprint on the spine), they will sell for $19.95 compared with the original edition’s $27.95 cover price.
Booksellers snapped up the entire new edition within hours of its being announced, according to McIntyre, and Friesens is reserving paper stock to print another 20,000.
Gaspereau Press made headlines across the country last week when it turned away Toronto publishers eager to bring out more copies of the award-winning book, which it had hand-printed in an edition of 800 copies and was reproducing at a rate of 1,000 copies a week even after it won the award. But even as the company attempted to justify the go-slow approach, calling the Giller win “an interesting opportunity to slow the world down a hair and let people realize that good books don’t go stale,” Gaspereau co-publisher Andrew Steeves was negotiating a new deal with Douglas & McIntyre.
“D&M had always been my back-pocket doomsday scenario,” Steeves said yesterday, adding, “I was as surprised as anyone when we actually won.” He added that the company will continue producing its deluxe edition with a wrapper printed on a hand-cranked letterpress.
Both publishers emphasized the advantage of the new deal to Skibsrud, who had remained quiet last week while her publisher vowed not to compromise its principles by selling large quantities of her novel to an eager public.
It was patience well rewarded, the author wrote yesterday in an e-mail to The Globe and Mail from Istanbul, where she is vacationing. Admitting that she “doesn’t have much knowledge or interest in the business end of things,” Skibsrud said she was “so glad that a solution has been arrived at that allows the books to be distributed widely without sacrificing any of Gaspereau Press’s practices and ideals, which make them so unique and special to work with.”
Even Friesens, a $70-million, can-do book manufacturer, is sympathetic with the Nova Scotians. “I get where they’re coming from and I can also somewhat understand the Toronto-versus-the-rest-of-the-world mentality that they’re showing,” Symington said, adding that Friesens and Gaspereau are a good philosophical fit.
“We’ve been around for 103 years, we’re employee-owned, we’re a privately held company, so all the staff out here has a high concern and a high regard for books,” he said. “We’re big, but we’re not so big, so to speak.”
The book is such a “cause célèbre it will just shoot out of the gate,” McIntyre predicted, saying that opinion on the matter
A 76-year-old British writer has been jailed for six weeks in Singapore after the High Court found him guilty of contempt of court over a book that raised questions about the independence of the judicial system.
Alan Shadrake, who lives in Malaysia, had refused to apologise for the content of his book, Once a Jolly Hangman, which deals with the use of the death penalty in the island state.
Mr Shadrake had offered to apologise for offending the judiciary before being convicted two weeks ago, but Justice Quentin Loh ruled that his book had scandalised the court.
He said Mr Shadrake had shown “a reckless disregard for the truth” and “a complete lack of remorse”. The defendant had contended that the book amounted to “fair criticism on matters of compelling public interest”.
At a sentencing hearing on Tuesday, Mr Shadrake was also fined S$20,000 (US$15,400) and ordered to pay costs of S$55,000. The prison sentence was lighter than the 12-week term sought by the prosecution.
M. Ravi, Mr Shadrake’s lawyer, had urged the court to censure the author rather than imprison him. “This is by far the most serious sentence [for contempt]. It is the harshest punishment so far [for this offence in Singapore],” Mr Ravi said.
Mr Shadrake was arrested in his hotel room after travelling to Singapore to publicise the book in July. The Singapore authorities have said that charges of criminal defamation are also being considered.
Overseas human rights campaigners condemned the proceedings. Phil Robertson, deputy director of New York-based Human Rights Watch, said Singapore was “damaging its poor reputation on free expression by shooting the messenger bearing bad news”.
The Singapore authorities have robustly dismissed claims that the courts discriminate against individuals on grounds of nationality, background or status.
Ministers are unapologetic about restrictions on free speech, however, which they say are essential to prevent conflicts between the prosperous island’s mainly Chinese, Indian and Malay population groups.
K. Shanmugam, the law minister, said in a speech in New York two weeks ago that Singapore’s “small society” could not withstand the impact of US-style media freedoms.
“For example, the faultlines in our society, along racial and religious lines, can easily be exploited,” he told an audience at Columbia University.
Singapore’s controls on expression include a state-supervised and mainly state-owned media, tough libel laws and restrictions on street gatherings of more than four people.
Mr Shanmugam questioned the objectivity of organisations such as Reporters Without Borders, the Paris-based press freedom organisation, and Freedom House, a US group that campaigns for civil liberties.
RWB ranks Singapore 136th in the world for press freedom, below Iraq and Zimbabwe, while Freedom House has angered Singapore by ranking it below Guinea, where more than 150 anti-government protesters were last year killed during a rally.
“I suspect that our rankings are at least partly due to the fact that we take an uncompromising attitude on libel – and the fact that we have taken on almost every major newspaper company [in the world],” Mr Shanmugam said.
Singapore, with a population of 5m, also imposes heavy penalties on criminal offenders, including caning for violence and vandalism, and the death penalty for murder and drug trafficking. It has one of the lowest crime rates in the world.
By: Celia Rees
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Lucy Coats has already blogged (Wednesday, 9th Feb) about the remarks that Martin Amis made when he was interviewed by Sebastian Faulks for the BBC 2 programme, Faulks on Fiction. Her blog has attracted 60 comments and the outrage felt has resonated as far as the national press and the Huffington Post. Martin Amis, as the Guardian on Saturday pointed out, is no stranger to controversy.
I, too, saw the programme and after the first dropping of the jaw, I thought that he actually had a point. Just in case anybody doesn't know, or does not want to scroll down the page and see his words in purple 18 point type, he said:
'People ask me if I ever thought of writing a children's book. I say: "If I had a serious brain injury I might well write a children's book."'
So far, so insulting. He then went on to say:
'The idea of being conscious of who you are directing the story to is anathema to me because, in my view, fiction is freedom and any restraints on that are intolerable. I would never write about someone that forced me to write at a lower register than what I can write.'
Once I heard that, I could see where he was coming from. I did not think he was saying 'all children's writers have half a brain', that would be false logic. He was just explaining his own writing stance and he is entitled to do that. He writes literary fiction for adults, as such he sees it as his task to write to the top of his register and would not, could not accept any restraints on that.
The disregard for the reader that Amis expresses is just not possible when one is writing for children. Children's writers, and I include writers of Young Adult fiction, are ALWAYS aware of what their readers will and will not tolerate, or will or will not understand. Anyone who denies this is being disingenuous. Quite apart from the target readers themselves, there are other agencies involved. We have to worry about things that would not trouble writers of adult fiction in the least - see Leslie Wilson's blog below. How many writers for adults would feel the need to explain and justify their use of swear words or the incidence of sex in a novel? How much we take these factors into consideration, how much we allow them to limit our fiction, is up to us, but those limitations are there. We do not use our full palate, as Patrick Ness would say. How can we? We have to write at a lower register because we are adults and our readers are children.
There are other pressures on us, too. Pressures that have nothing to do with our writing but everything to do with the market place. In a squeezed market, there is more and more demand from publishers for novels that will sell. Books that fit into an obvious, popular genre - action, dark romance, whatever. A book that is perceived as 'too literary' is seen as problematic. The equivalent of the literary novel is a rare beast, and becoming more endangered by the minute. If one or two do sneak through, they usually turn out to have been written for adults in the first place and tweaked a bit in a bid to capture that holy grail, the crossover market.
In an interview in the Observer Review (13th February, 2011)) Nicole Krauss attests that the comment she heard most frequently on a U.S. book tour for her novel, The History of Love, was: 'this book is difficult'. Krauss worries that 'we are moving towards the end of effort'. Readers don't want to have to think too hard, it appears, whatever their age. That is the spectre that frightens me. In the hope of keeping that at bay, I actually want Martin Amis to write to the limit
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Hopefully all of you heard the buzz yesterday about the title and cover reveal at The Huffington Post for the new collection of poems and drawings by Shel Silverstein, EVERY THING ON IT. Here’s the fabulous cover:
It is on-sale September 20, 2011.
To celebrate the reveal and next month’s celebration of poetry, it makes sense to share a Shel poem today. This is a poem that I actually recited in a poetry competition in fifth grade so it has a special place in my heart – it’s a personal favorite:
by Shel Silverstein
“I cannot go to school today,”
Said little Peggy Ann McKay.
“I have the measles and the mumps,
A gash, a rash and purple bumps.
My mouth is wet, my throat is dry,
I’m going blind in my right eye.
My tonsils are as big as rocks,
I’ve counted sixteen chicken pox
And there’s one more – that’s seventeen,
And don’t you think my face looks green?
My leg is cut, my eyes are blue –
It might be instamatic flu.
I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke,
I’m sure that my left leg is broke –
My hip hurts when I move my chin,
My belly button’s caving in,
My back is wrenched, my ankle’s sprained,
My ‘pendix pains each time it rains.
My nose is cold, my toes are numb,
I have a sliver in my thumb.
My neck is stiff, my voice is weak,
I hardly whisper when I speak.
My tongue is filling up my mouth,
I think my hair is falling out.
My elbow’s bent, my spine ain’t straight,
My temperature is one-o-eight.
My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear,
There is a hole inside my ear.
I have a hangnail, and my heart is — what?
What’s that? What’s that you say?
You say today is…Saturday?
G’bye, I’m going out to play!”
I found that hilarious in fifth grade…but, even as adults, don’t we all want to claim all these illnesses to get a day off work! Still hilarious.
Have a great weekend, everyone!
“Sick” from WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS, 30th ANNIVERSARY EDITION
by Shel Silverstein
Blog: Schiel & Denver Book Publishers Blog
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The U.K.-based Man Booker International Prize released its longlist to book publishers of 13 finalists for the 2011 award yesterday, but only 12 care to be considered; John Le Carré rejected the nod, offering up an explanation that amounts to little more than “I prefer not to.” Included on the list are three American authors–Anne Tyler, Philip Roth, and Marilynne Robinson–and for the first time, two Chinese writers, Wang Anyi and Su Tong. The award, worth $94,000, is given every other year based on an author’s entire body of work. With christian book publishers informed, the winner will be awarded at the Sydney Writers’ Festival on May 18 and will be feted on June 28 in London.
The assembly of Gujarat, a western Indian state, voted unanimously to ban Pulitzer Prize-winning author Joseph Lelyveld’s new book Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle with India. The controversy began over early reviews out of the U.S. and U.K. highlighting passages insinuating that Gandhi had a possible intimate relationship with a German man named Hermann Kallenbach. More bans are pending in India, where homosexuality was illegal until 2009.
Simon & Schuster announced it would publish a book of James Garner’s memoir The Garner Files on Nov. 8, 2011. In a press release, Garner saiid, “I’ve avoided writing a book until now because I feel like I’m really pretty average and I didn’t think anyone would care about my life.”
The most difficult readers to reach are, without question, teenage boys–especially teenage boys from poor, urban neighborhoods. But Paul Langan, a 39-year-old white man from the suburbs of New Jersey, has found a way to tap into the market of “black and Latino urban middle and high school students who are struggling readers.” The Bluford series covers topics like fighting, bullies, and drug dealing, which for many of the young readers constitutes “everyday-life situations.”
Gun- and baby-toting woman of action Angelina Jolie will be getting the comic book treatment. It sounds like it’ll be a realistic, biographical take on her life, but Jolie as a full-fledged action hero sounds so much more interesting. Radioactive lips? Brood of toddler sidekicks? Yes, please.
How do writers deal with bad reviews? Not always well, especially when blogging is involved.
What would you give for this stunning reader’s retreat, a library in the woods? It makes me feel cozy and contemplative just looking at it. Not to mention really, really rich.
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With villain names like Professor Von Evil and the Flaming Eyeball, how can you not be dying to read Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon’s debut picture book THE ASTONISHING SECRET OF AWESOME MAN, illustrated by Jake Parker? With short text and plenty of derring-do action (take a peek inside), this picture book will be a favorite of kids who love comics, as well as kids in your storytime programs.
In its starred review, School Library Journal said “the depiction of a showdown between Awesome Man and his nemesis-the Flaming Eyeball-is priceless. Readers may notice that there’s a moral peeking out from Awesome Man’s cape, but they’ll still grab this story in their ‘ginormous Awesome Power Grip’ and not let go.”
Monica Edinger (of Educating Alice and Huffington Post fame) recently had the chance to interview Michael Chabon himself! Here’s how the conversation went:
Photo by Jennifer Chaney
From reading your Pulitzer Prize-winning adult novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, fans probably know you have a long-term relationship with superhero comics. Can you give us a taste of your own childhood introduction to them and how that might have inspired this story of Awesome Man?
Well, of course I remember seeing Batman and the first animated Spider-Man show on television when I was very small… but my first true plunge into the world of superheroes came through the comic books that my father began to bring home for me, as soon as I could read. He had grown up reading them himself, and felt they were an important part of a kid’s education.
You clearly revel in language and names — Professor Von Evil, Moskowitz the Awesome Dog, positrons, and…pooped (and what kid doesn’t like saying “pooped!”). As an adult author known for reveling in words and language, how did you manage to balance that with the need to keep things relatively simple for a picture book audience?
I was really thinking about the parents here–how much it meant to me, when I was reading a book aloud to my children for the 33832nd time, if there was a little verve or snap to the language. Probably the all time champ, in that regard–to me, at least–is William Steig. Nobody used English, in kids’ books, the way he did.
You have children of your own — were they helpful in the creation of this book?
I wrote this book for my younger son (I have two, and two daughters), Abe. He was the direct inspiration, in every way, for the main character of AWESOME MAN.
Are you a reader of children’s books yourself and if so, what are some of your favorites?
One of the greatest, and most lasting, pleasures of having children, for me, has been the excuse and the opportunity that bedtime reading has given me to revisit, and re-relish (usually), so many of the books I loved a
In honor of Valentine’s day, The Huffington Post has compiled a list of the 10 best kisses in literature. From the romantic (Gone with the Wind) to the creepy (Lolita and Humbert) to the the innocent (Callie’s first kiss with her friend Clementine in Middlesex,) this list has a little of bit of everything for everyone.
So Happy Valentine’s Day to all the book lovers out there!
You may recognize Renee Olstead from her current role as Madison on ABC Family's The Secret Life of the American Teenager, or you might have seen her as Lauren on the TV series Still Standing. Maybe you saw her in the movie 13 Going on 30. But did you know that Renee is not only an accomplished singer and actress, but also a student? She's currently attending college classes and working on two productions, a new season of Secret Life and the movie The Midnight Game.
Renee recently posted an article at The Huffington Post in which she thanks her English professor, Joan Eyles Johnson, for inspiring her to be "a better writer, citizen, and human being." She goes on to say:
"I want to speak up and tell you that mascara and clothes don't make you cool, neither do name-brand handbags, but being a leader can. Every day we can choose to challenge what we 'know' and go on our own quest for answers. As teens, you have the ability to channel your thoughts and inspirations through the power of social media, to connect with one another and start social movements for change! Find something you care about -- social injustice, animal rights, international war crimes, human trafficking, or women's rights -- and make a statement. Connect with one another, take a stand, and spread the word."
Click here to read Renee's article.
Follow Renee on Twitter @renee_olstead - and tell her @readergirlz sent you!
Check out this article by Anya Strzemien at The Huffington Post, which is collecting comments for a good cause. Simply give yourself a compliment! For every comment up to 5,000, the Huffington Post Media Group will donate $1 to Girls Inc. I pointed readergirlz diva Melissa Walker to the article and she immediately posted about it at I Heart Daily. As Melissa said, "How cool is that?"
I told my friend Amber Benson about it as well, and she tweeted: "Say something positive about yourself and help raise some money for Girls Inc - JUST DO IT!"
Go to the Huffington Post website and leave your comments by April 10th! Then post, tweet, et cetera, and encourage others to do the same.
For Storytelling Thursday, I'm sharing a post from Huffington Post's Anya Strzemien. Anya is tired of hearing her friends - her women friends - talk badly about their looks. In her article, she talks specifically about looks but we women also talk badly about our cooking, "I can never make this casserole taste as good as my sister can", our talents, "I can't draw - or sew - or write - or sing as well as (insert name here)." our housework - you name it. It gets wearing to have to reassure us. It really does.
Maybe we do it to be complimentary to the other person. And, maybe, we're all lying and we actually believe that we're awesome. Well, Anya wants you to tell her why you think you're awesome and for every comment, she'll give $1 to Girls, Inc.
So, visit Anya's article and tell her why you like the way you look. Tell a different story about yourself and change the world's perception of YOU. I did.
Over the weekend, I was catching up on my Facebook posts and resting. I had to cancel Jacquie Harvey’s interview for another day because I was truly exhausted. Anyway, while trolling, I saw a post from YA author Matt de la Peña
In a stunning rejection of celebrated author Ana Castillo’s offer to read and speak with Tucson high school students next week, Tucson Unified School District administrators added a new chapter to the nation’s most troubling censorship crackdown.
What is going on in Tucson? What message is this sending to their young people? What can we do to help???
Thanks to the Huffington Post for sharing this quite, um, laudatory video of Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman performing, as you will, an Ode to Libraries.
I couldn't figure out how to embed the video so follow this link. It's lovely. And it features my FAVORITE instrument. Guess which one.
Though the toy Indians seen in Indian in the Cupboard are not available in the numbers they once were, they still appear in interesting places...
This morning, I was reading Huff Post's "Uncommon Items to Put in the Dishwasher" and item #2 is a plastic toy Indian. Here's a screenshot:
Where, I wonder, did they get it? How and why did they choose it over something else?!
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Halloween’s just around the corner which means All Hallows Read is too. When Neil Gaiman first proposed this idea of giving books for Halloween I offered some suggestions, among them Adam Gidwitz’s fairy tale debut, A Tale Dark and Grimm. Now Adam is back with In a Glass Grimmly, as macabre and entertaining as his first book, and I thought it would be fun to see what he had to say about fairy tales, their reputation, and other related topics.
For those readers unfamiliar with your two books, how about a twitteresque description. Not too much more than 140 characters that is!
Two children travel through the funniest, weirdest, darkest Grimm tales, facing horrible parents, cruel peers, and other monsters. And—most painfully of all—themselves. (147! I’m a champion!)
Since you are a sort of fairy tale nerd (as am I) what is your take on my impression that for the general public fairies and fairy tales continue to have an image problem. Seems to me that for all the urban fantasy out there (in books, movies, and television shows), many still associate fairy tales with sparkly teeny tiny women flitting about with wings, pink, and Disney. Would you agree? Disagree?
I agree. And most of these adaptations don’t really help the cause at all. Most of the current adaptations of Grimm fairy tales take details from the original tales and use them as a jumping off point to tell their own story and to do their own thing. They toss the form and the style of the fairy tale out the window. I think this is a great waste. Fairy tales have endured not only because of the stories they tell but also because of how they tell them. Fairy tales are told simply, matter-of-factly; they are brief; they deal with the deepest of emotions–pain, humiliation, betrayal, lostness (if you will)–without any hyperbole or drama. The Grimm fairy tales in crystalize our most essential emotions. These modern adaptations, for the most part, have nothing to do with our deepest human emotions. They miss the point of fairy tales altogether.
Another criticism fairy tales get is that they are violent yet you seem to have embraced that idea and run with it. Why?
The real fairy tales are indeed quite violent. But the violence is not gratuitous. On the contrary, it is essential to fairy tales’ task. One of fairy tales’ methods of speaking to the readers’ deepest emotions is a technique I like to call “tears into blood.” There is a wonderful Grimm tale called “The Seven Ravens,” in which a father loves his one little daughter so much more than his seven boys that he wishes they would turn into birds and fly away–which they promptly do. When the little girl discovers that her brothers’ disappearance is due to her father loving her more than he loved the boys, she runs away from home to find them. She is given a chicken bone by the stars (yep, you read that right), and told that it will open the Crystal Mountain where the boys are trapped. The little girl journeys to the mountain but, upon arriving, realizes that she has lost the chicken bone. At this moment, any real child’s feelings of guilt would be extraordinary. Not only was it indirectly her fault that her brothers were turned into birds, but in losing the chicken bone she has lost the ability to save them.
Now, do a little thought-experiment with me. Imagine that “The Seven Ravens,” at this critical juncture, abruptly changed genres and became adult realistic fiction. What would the little girl do? She would live out her days trying to come to terms with her guilt, failing in the majority of her relationships and wondering what could have been. Right? Very depressing. Now, let’s imagine that “The Seven Ravens”, at the moment when the girl discovers the loss of the bone, switches from fairy tale to middle grade adventure novel. In this scenario, the girl would remember a little piece of wire that she received in the first chapter, and she would pick the lock on the door to the mountain and free her brothers. Either that or the bad guy would show up and she’d have to fight him.
But “The Seven Ravens” is a fairy tale. So what happens? The little girl cuts off her finger. And then she slides it into the lock on the door to the Crystal Mountain, and, without any further explanation, the door opens, and she sets her brothers free. This solution raises a series of questions (why the heck does her finger open the door? for example). But what this solution does for the reader is that it takes all the guilt the girl was feeling–about the transformation of her brothers, about the lost chicken bone–into blood. It turns emotional pain into physical pain. It turns tears into blood.
But why is this good? Because every child has cut himself. Every child has been bruised or bled. And so every child knows that the blood stops eventually, the wound scabs over, the bruise yellows and fades. Fairy tale violence teaches the child that emotional wounds heal. That salty tears dry. That no matter the pain, victory is possible.
In your first book you stuck pretty closely to several Grimm fairy tales. This time you branch out a bit. How did you end up with the tales you did retell and what made you move farther into your own original ones?
Thematic considerations and practical ones. First, the thematic: The emotional journey of A TALE DARK AND GRIMM is the children’s evolving relationship towards parents. The journey of IN A GLASS GRIMMLY is about peers. There were certain tales–”The Emperor’s New Clothes,” for example, and Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market”–that dealt with issues of peers and peer-pressure beautifully, that I really wanted to include. The practical consideration was that I had settled on calling the children Jack and Jill, mostly because that was another folkloric pairing (like Hansel and Gretel) that kids would recognize. (I briefly considered the Grimm Jorinda and Joringel, but I just didn’t think those characters have the same instant name recognition, you know?). So, once I settled on Jack and Jill, that suggested the famous Jack stories, such as the gruesome “Jack the Giant Killer” and the popular “Jack and the Beanstalk.”
I’m curious about your research. In addition to presumably reading a ton of fairy tales, what other research have you done?
I spent most of 2012 living in Europe–mostly in France. My wife was doing her dissertation research in medieval history. I, on the other hand, was eating a ridiculous amount of bread, writing in the mornings, and traveling on the weekends. I explored the Black Forest. I found the Crystal Mountain (well, I think I did). I walked under white cliffs along an endless beach (see the chapter “The Giant Killer” in IN A GLASS GRIMMLY). So I certainly did some geographical and scenic research. I also play with language in my books, particularly regarding characters’ names. So I had some German friends I consulted with on the name of the giant salamander that appears near the end of IN A GLASS GRIMMLY, and I spent a lot of time buried in the Gaelic dictionary developing the names of the giants. Finally, I read a fair amount of secondary material on the fairy tales, to ensure that I was honoring their traditions as well as their content.
Your books are being rightly recommended as fun Halloween-related horror. Do you have any others that you might want to recommend to go with them?
I love Laura Amy Schlitz’s SPLENDORS AND GLOOMS –very creepy, very Victorian, and very dark. It’s got a witch, a magic amulet, a murderous puppeteer, and a little girl who has to visit a graveyard every year on her birthday. What’s not to love?
The other day one of my students who loves your books was railing about the oddity of fairy tales. Why, she ranted, does Gretel have to use a bone for a key in the first book? Why can’t she just just a carefully constructed object that doesn’t involve..let’s see how to phrase this so as not to spoil things….nasty personal stuff? How would you respond to her and others like her?
Fairy tales don’t make any sense. That’s the wonderful thing about them. Their strangeness is their beauty. Also, it’s hilarious.
One more Grimm book. This one is about a boy named Coal and a girl named Ash. Coal is based on the simpleton character that recurs throughout Grimm’s fairy tales–the boy who everyone thinks is stupid, but turns out to possess a special wisdom. Ash is short for Ashputtle. Also known as Cinderella. If you know the Grimm version of Cinderella, you know this book will be just as strange and dark as the two that preceded it.
And to end, for fun, a few questions that Proust also had to answer (and Vanity Fair has taken-off from for years).
What is your idea of happiness?
Writing in my pajamas in the morning; a huge, rare cheeseburger for lunch; an afternoon with my wife and friends; and an evening with just my wife.
What is your idea of misery?
A world with no introspection. For this reason, I fear for our society. Who needs Big Brother and thoughtcrime, when self-awareness is obliterated by a constant stream of chattering screens?
If not yourself, who would you like to be?
Where would you like to live?
Most of the year in Brooklyn, and then the month of June in Paris. Or the White House. They have a bowling alley, a basketball court, and a private chef. As long as I didn’t have to do any of that annoying work that the dude who lives there has to do.
What is your favorite food and drink?
My favorite food is a huge, rare cheeseburger. My favorite drink is not for kids, so I’ll leave it out.
What is your present state of mind?
What did Proust say? Bored because of these questions? No. Hungry, because I keep talking about cheeseburgers.
Also at Huffington Post.