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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: new york times, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 26 - 50 of 151
26. Whether You Need It Now or Not

 

Many years ago, while at university, one of my professors required that his students write their own obituary. He told us that by writing our obits, we would begin to truly appreciate ourselves and others as individual human beings with innate worth and lasting value. He also said that until we stood back and looked at ourselves as a stranger would see us, we could never really know who we are.

Like most college students, we went along with the program as outlined and did as we’d been instructed. The lesson had interesting consequences for me along the way. I doubt any of us ever forgot what we learned from it.

Trying to look at your image in the mirror, as a stranger would, isn’t an easy task. Self-perception is always influenced by experience and what others have told you of their observations and expectations for you. The physical aspects that have always seemed flawed, or perfect, or questionable are your first impressions.

When you go past the physical to past experience, deeds, and failures with their requisite successes, you dwell on those bits that were less than perfect, less than desirable. Accepting the flawed episodes from a past that can’t be changed is a timely process. Without that acceptance, the successes ring as hollow and lifeless. Small indiscretions overpower small kindnesses. Praise is mitigated by remembered slights. And the cycle continues.

The act of writing one’s personal obituary allows for reflection on the overall picture of a person’s life—yours. The fact is that an obituary is merely a personal profile. It places the person within the framework of their own history.

Family and friends come to the foreground, along with major accomplishments within the person’s life. It’s not concerned with failures, but with successes, relationships, and contributions. It concentrates on those areas of one’s life that reflect the spirit and philosophy of the person.

The amount of detail held within the paragraphs that encompass a person’s life story depends on the purpose of the writer. Make no mistake; the obituary is a telling of a person’s profile or life story in miniature. It can celebrate that life, magnify it, examine it, whatever the writer wishes to convey. It can also bring to light the otherwise unknown deeds of a person, secrets held by those who knew her best.

By the time I finished my assignment, I’d reaffirmed several key points about myself. I’d come away with an acknowledgement of those relationships which mattered the most to me and knew why they did so. My failures up to that point had been assessed and laid to rest. I’d owned all of them, some for the first time, and they could no longer haunt me.

Successes, some of them never properly acknowledged, came to the foreground. I’d never before thought of those times I’d been in a rescue situation as successes. My actions had been necessary to keep another from greater harm. I’d not categorized them as anything other than being in the right place at the right time.

The exercise became a kind of “It’s a Wonderful Life” scenario. When approached that way, failures meant nothing, had no value. Only successes counted, and few, if any, of those for me had anything to do with money or personal gain.<

9 Comments on Whether You Need It Now or Not, last added: 3/13/2012
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27. Whether You Need It Now or Not

 

Many years ago, while at university, one of my professors required that his students write their own obituary. He told us that by writing our obits, we would begin to truly appreciate ourselves and others as individual human beings with innate worth and lasting value. He also said that until we stood back and looked at ourselves as a stranger would see us, we could never really know who we are.

Like most college students, we went along with the program as outlined and did as we’d been instructed. The lesson had interesting consequences for me along the way. I doubt any of us ever forgot what we learned from it.

Trying to look at your image in the mirror, as a stranger would, isn’t an easy task. Self-perception is always influenced by experience and what others have told you of their observations and expectations for you. The physical aspects that have always seemed flawed, or perfect, or questionable are your first impressions.

When you go past the physical to past experience, deeds, and failures with their requisite successes, you dwell on those bits that were less than perfect, less than desirable. Accepting the flawed episodes from a past that can’t be changed is a timely process. Without that acceptance, the successes ring as hollow and lifeless. Small indiscretions overpower small kindnesses. Praise is mitigated by remembered slights. And the cycle continues.

The act of writing one’s personal obituary allows for reflection on the overall picture of a person’s life—yours. The fact is that an obituary is merely a personal profile. It places the person within the framework of their own history.

Family and friends come to the foreground, along with major accomplishments within the person’s life. It’s not concerned with failures, but with successes, relationships, and contributions. It concentrates on those areas of one’s life that reflect the spirit and philosophy of the person.

The amount of detail held within the paragraphs that encompass a person’s life story depends on the purpose of the writer. Make no mistake; the obituary is a telling of a person’s profile or life story in miniature. It can celebrate that life, magnify it, examine it, whatever the writer wishes to convey. It can also bring to light the otherwise unknown deeds of a person, secrets held by those who knew her best.

By the time I finished my assignment, I’d reaffirmed several key points about myself. I’d come away with an acknowledgement of those relationships which mattered the most to me and knew why they did so. My failures up to that point had been assessed and laid to rest. I’d owned all of them, some for the first time, and they could no longer haunt me.

Successes, some of them never properly acknowledged, came to the foreground. I’d never before thought of those times I’d been in a rescue situation as successes. My actions had been necessary to keep another from greater harm. I’d not categorized them as anything other than being in the right place at the right time.

The exercise became a kind of “It’s a Wonderful Life” scenario. When approached that way, failures meant nothing, had no value. Only successes counted, and few, if any, of those for me had anything to do with money or personal gain.<

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28. Getaway Car: A Practical Memoir About Writing and Life/Ann Patchett: Thoughts on a Helpful Kindle Single

Sleep did not befriend me last night (come on, I thought, what did I do to you?), but I made good use of time of the dark and restless time.  First, I prepared a series of reading/writing exercises for my visit to Villa Maria Academy today in honor of World Read Aloud Day.  We'll read Helme Heine's magical THE MARVELOUS JOURNEY THROUGH THE NIGHT as adults, for example, and then define our idea of paradise.  We'll dwell with the simple words of William Carlos Williams.  We'll write from different points of view and ask ourselves what makes for a first-chapter cliffhanger.

It will be fun, I think.  I'm just hoping that I can locate my speaking voice between now and 9:15 AM.

When I was all finished that, I decided to download one of the Kindle Singles I had read about yesterday in Dwight Garner's New York Times story.  My choice, but of course, was Ann Patchett's Getaway Car: A Practical Memoir About Writing and Life, though in about five minutes I'll also be downloading Jane Hirshfield's Heart of Haiku.

In any case, there I was, four A.M., as wide-eyed as my puffy eyes would allow, reading Patchett's primer on writing.  My verdict:  Spend the $2.99.  Please.  It's memoir, it's advice, it's fantastic stuff on Grace Paley and Elizabeth McCracken.  Patchett is realistic.  She's not ashamed of the facts.  Writing is hard work, she reminds us.  And it doesn't get done until you show up to do it.

A sliver:
If you want to write, practice writing.  Practice it for hours a day, not to come up with a story you can publish but because there is something that you alone can say.  Write the story, learn from it, pull away, write another story. Think of a sink pipe filled with sticky sentiment:  The only way to get clean water is to force a small ocean through the tap.  Most of us are full up with bad stories, boring stories, self-indulgent stories, searing works of unendurable melodrama.  We must get all of them out of our system in order to find the good stories that may or may not exist in the fresh water underneath.
 Boy, I needed that.

And on another, final note:  That is not my dining-room table (though it is a restaurant where I tend to take my clients).  But if I did own that table and if I did have that much light, I'd work right there, writing the bad stories down so that I could finally (it's taking long enough) get to the good ones (they must be somewhere).

5 Comments on Getaway Car: A Practical Memoir About Writing and Life/Ann Patchett: Thoughts on a Helpful Kindle Single, last added: 3/7/2012
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29. Reading to Distraction

Conversations about teens, technology and distraction are nothing new. When mobile phones first started to move from the domain of Important Business People at airports and into the hands of the general public, we worried that their presence in schools would be too distracting for students. (And we still have to tell the cinema-going public–including an awful lot of people over the age of 18–not to text or talk during movies.) Now that more and more schools allow students to bring their own laptops or tablets to classes, we worry about filtering and blocking sites like Facebook or YouTube during school hours.

And now there’s the question of reading on digital devices, and the threat of distraction by the device itself–or, at least, that’s what New York Times business writers Julie Bosman and Matt Richtel would have us ponder. Is tablet reading “more like a 21st-century cacophony than a traditional solitary activity”?

I don’t know about you, but I’m a multi-platform reader. I have a (print) book in my car in case I find myself early for an appointment. I have OverDrive on my Android phone and my iPod Touch, so that I can easily check a book out from my local public library if I’m on the go. I have a Nook Color, which I mostly use when traveling (and that my partner has all but co-opted after giving it to me for my birthday). And I’m constantly picking up (print) books at work to read at the desk, many sucking me in enough to get tossed in my bag to read at home.

And here’s my secret: I’m always a distracted reader.
 
Things I have done while reading a book:

Looked up a word I did’t know (sometimes on a built-in dictionary, sometimes online, sometimes in an actual print dictionary)
Looked up an event or a person on Wikipedia when I didn’t get a reference
Responded to a text
Put on music
(Half) listened to NPR
Eaten Chex mix
Attempted to keep my cats from eating Chex mix
Cooked a meal
Flown cross country

Things I have occasionally failed to do while reading a book:

Get off at the right subway stop
Leave for an appointment on time
Check something in the oven before it starts burning
Prep for a class coming in last period
Finish a level in Lego Harry Potter
Feed the cats dinner on time

None of the things I listed apply only to e-reading, by the way. Most of them have happened in the last month with print books, actually. And here’s the thing: once I was done with all those things (or done failing at those things), more often than not I went back to reading my book.

But what say you, reader? Does your Kindle or Nook or iPad make reading a “21st century cacophony”? Do you long for a 20th (or 19th, or 18th) century “solitary activity”? Can your teens relate to those who say the lure of apps and email is just too great when reading on a tablet?

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30. masquerades and pseudonyms: The Dressmaker story

Julie Bosman's New York Times feature on author Patricia O'Brien intrigues us.  O'Brien had sold five novels, the story goes, but could not sell a sixth, entitled The Dressmaker, thanks to the sales of her previous titles.  O'Brien's agent suggested a pseudonym.  O'Brien agreed.  Within just three days The Dressmaker had sold for a very nice sum under a new author name, Kate Alcott.

There was some lingering subterfuge to attend to, of course.  Some funny back and forth—a new email address, scanty personal details—with an editor who believed she had bought the work of a first-time author.  But it wasn't until it was author photo time and the first blurred photo that the author sent was deemed no good that the gig was finally up, the truth spoken.

As one who teaches memoir and advocates for the truth in the form, it's hard to know how to feel about this.  I mean, we're talking about fiction, after all.  And the pseudonym business surely isn't new.  And I'm certainly one of many writers who wishes deeply that the sale of her future books were not so tied to the sale of books she already wrote.  We aren't always responsible for what happens to our books out there—can't insist on publicity, can't do much about where our books sit within our publishing house's priorities, can't dictate whether or not ads will be taken, whether or not a tour will be financed, whether or not the book resonates at this particular time, whether or not a lot of things.

But when I try to imagine keeping the charade going post sale—interacting with an editor under false pretenses, say—I wonder if I would have had the gumption to keep going, editorial letter after editorial letter, conversation after conversation.  I suspect I'd be one of those who would have early on had to blow her cover.  Working with an editor is personal, in the end.  And novel writing can be akin to confession.




5 Comments on masquerades and pseudonyms: The Dressmaker story, last added: 2/24/2012
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31. Giving Where It Works

At First Book, we work hard to make an impact: we put over 8 million new books into the hands of kids in need across the country this year. And we’re mindful of how many amazing organizations there are out there, both nationally and locally, that could use your support.

So we were pleased to see the New York Times Opinionator blog list First Book today as a nonprofit that is making a major difference while staying on the difficult path towards self-sufficiency, describing our work as a “particularly good use of charitable dollars” (we agree) and “proven to work” (also true).

Commenting on the way First Book’s model marries “altruism and profit”, Tina Rosenberg writes:

If you give books to children who don’t have them, good things happen — they become interested in reading, and they read more. Having lots of books in the home is as good a predictor of children’s future educational achievement as their parents’ educational levels.

But good things also happen to the publishing industry: First Book has harnessed its large network of education programs to create a guaranteed market and persuade publishers to make low-cost versions of some 2,000 titles — allowing publishers to reach the 42 percent of American children who were not in their market before. Fifty dollars buys 20 books for a child who has none.

We hope you’ll support First Book this holiday season. Every $2.50 you give provides one new book for a child in need. It’s a great way for you to make sure your hard-earned and well-considered donation goes to support something that works.

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32. New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books 2011

It's not like you haven't seen the list of the New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books already, since I'm late on the uptake. But for my own records and general comfort level that I'm paying attention to such things, here they are with my little thoughts.

Along a Long Road
Along a Long Road
written and illustrated by Frank Viva
(Little, Brown)
Yeah, I can see why this was chosen. Interesting art, though not one of my favorite books this year.

A Ball for Daisy
written and illustrated by Chris Raschka
(Schwartz & Wade)
Generally I don't love Raschka's art, but I liked it here. The loose style of his work matches the playfulness of a puppy very nicely.

Brother Sun, Sister Moon: Saint Francis of Assisi’s Canticle of the CreaturesBrother Sun, Sister Moon: Saint Francis of Assisi’s Canticle of the Creatures
written by Katherine Paterson, illustrated by Pamela Dalton
(Chronicle)
Simply gorgeous!

Grandpa Green
written and illustrated by Lane Smith
(Roaring Brook)
Clever, touching, and brilliant in concept and illustration.

Ice
written and illustrated by Arthur Geisert
(Enchanted Lion)
Really? The book with the pigs? Okay, I guess.

I Want My Hat Back
written and illustrated by Jon Klassen
(Candlewick)
Still trying to get onboard with the hype on this title. Also, while I like the illustrations I don't think it falls into the best illustrations of the year.

Me...JaneMe … Jane
written and illustrated by Patrick McDonnell
(Little, Brow

5 Comments on New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books 2011, last added: 11/9/2011
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33. EVERY THING ON IT

The day has come!  Shel Silverstein’s newest poetry collection, EVERY THING ON IT, is on sale today!

You can get a peek at the book by using our Browse Inside feature, and check out the downloadable activities.  The New York Times also wrote a lovely piece about Shel Silverstein as an unexpected “authority on education.”  And don’t forget to check out Shel’s poems on NPR’s Morning Edition (seriously, you haven’t lived until you hear Shel’s editor Toni Markiet read “Italian Food” out loud!).

The reviews are coming in and they positively glow about EVERY THING ON IT:

“This posthumous collection of Silverstein’s poems and illustrations is not only familiar in design, but chockfull of the whimsical humor, eccentric characters, childhood fantasies, and iconoclastic glee that his many fans adore.” ~ Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Like the boy holding the delightfully absurd hot dog with everything piled upon it, this collection offers a Silverstein smorgasbord that won’t linger on the library shelves.” ~ School Library Journal (starred review)

“Adults who grew up with Uncle Shelby will find themselves wiping their eyes by the time they get to the end of this collection; children new to the master will find themselves hooked.” ~ Kirkus Reviews

It’s a historic day, and we’re so excited to share it with you, readers.  And if you’d like to share memories and/or favorite poems by Shel Silverstein in the comments, please feel free – we’d love to hear it!

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34. Write Long, Write Short? Write More or Less?

The ever-provocative Dwight Garner opines about the productivity of Important Novelists in today's New York Times, expressing a desire for work that yields "heat as well as light"and a frustration with "the long gestation period [that] is pretty typical for America's corps of young, elite celebrity novelists."  Says Garner (who cites Eugenides, Franzen, Tartt, Chabon, and David Foster Wallace among the slower working novelists):
Obviously, some of this is about personal style. There have always been prolific writers as well as slow-moving, blocked, gin-addled or silent ones. It’s worth suggesting, though, that something more meaningful may be going on here; these long spans between books may indicate a desalinating tidal change in the place novelists occupy in our culture. Suddenly our important writers seem less like color commentators, sifting through the emotional, sexual and intellectual detritus of how we live today, and more like a mountaintop Moses, handing down the granite tablets every decade or so to a bemused and stooped populace.
The economics of novel writing (how many must teach, for example, to survive) and the tugs on a novelist's time (book tours, interviews) clearly, Garner notes, run interference in a writer's life.  It's likely that other things are also to blame—life itself, for example, by which I mean the need for a writer to live deeply so that he or she might know even more deeply.  Then there are the demands of research—how long, one wonders, did David Foster Wallace have to steep himself in the arcania of tax code before he could even begin to find the story inside The Pale King?

As I read Garner's piece, I reflected—as I often do—on my own "productivity."  I published my first book in 1998; by the end of next summer, with the publication of Small Damages with the rocking house Philomel, fourteen of my books will sit across the room from me on the shelf.

Some would categorize that effort as prolific.  In fact, I feel anything but.  I may have published my first book in 1998, but I was writing long before that, and many of my books—Small Damages being a prime example—went through ten years of work, more than eighty drafts, and two genres before it became the story it was always meant to be.  Still Love in Strange Places (W.W. Norton), published as a memoir, was for a decade a novel about El Salvador before I spent three years turning the fiction into fact.  You Are My Only, which will launch in a month, was three very different books (written for adults) before I wrote it as a young adult novel.  And I am, at this very moment, utterly overhauling a novel for adults that I was so sure was cooked to order six months ago.  I am, in some ways, starting from scratch.

Writing has never been, for me, a straightforward process.  Publishing has been anything but.  I am trying to suggest that as writers we work and work (when time allows, when the day job on occasion eases up), but we rarely control the outcome itself.  The story comes on us, at us.  It dawns, it reveals, it retracts.  It's there for a moment, and then it scuttles away, and as much as we would like to put ourselves on a publishing schedule, our imaginations are countries unto themselves.

Today I wake, for example, to a scene that has eluded me for weeks.  The same darned scene.  The same patch in the same

2 Comments on Write Long, Write Short? Write More or Less?, last added: 9/19/2011
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35. Holiday Weekend Links

I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday weekend!  It seems that Mother Nature decided this weekend really did herald in the autumn, as it’s drizzly and chilly in NYC today.  It turns out it’s the best weather to hunker down and catch up on blog reading.  Here are some interesting links we’ve been reading lately:

  • The Book Blogger Appreciation Week 2011 shortlist just came out and CONGRATULATIONS to author Veronica Roth (DIVERGENT) for her nomination in the “Published Author Blog” category.  Thanks to Lee Wind at I’m Here, I’m Queer, What the Hell Do I Read? for the link (and congrats to his nomination as well)!
  • There’s still time to have the teens in your library or classroom vote for YALSA’S Teens’ Top 10 – they have until September 16th.
  • Family of robots? Bookshelves of Doom does it again: makes me laugh hysterically first thing in the morning before I’ve even had coffee.
  • The time has come: awards buzz is in full effect.  Heavy Medal has started their coverage of all things Newbery.  There doesn’t appear to be a link yet, but keep an eye out for Horn Book‘s own blog, Calling Caldecott.
  • Liz Burns over at A Chair, A Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy had quite the ordeal, courtesy of Hurricane Irene.  Read her story and check out her links of other bloggers with Irene stories.
  • Snape voted the favorite Harry Potter character?  Really???  It’s a total upset.  Me, I’m a Hermione fan through and through.  And you?
  • Sam over at Parenthetical has a fascinating blog post, “To RSS or not to RSS?”  Really?  Only 6% of North American, Internet-using consumers use an RSS feed once a week or more?  That floors me, as I couldn’t live without Google Reader to help me keep it all organized (and I couldn’t live without my Bloglines before that, nor could Liz).  What do you think?  When everyone and their brother has a blog out there, how do you keep it all organized?
  • Once again, Seattle Public Library closes for a week due to budget cuts.  I think the quote at the end really gets to the crux of the problem: “You kind of take it for granted – and then suddenly you miss it when it’s gone.”
  • Doing last-minute book buying for school?  Here’s a list of some back-to-school titles from the New York Times.

Have a great (short!) week, everyone, and enjoy the cooler weather!

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36. Boys and Books

Boys and Reading: Is There Any Hope? :: The New York Times
The Problem is Not the Books :: Saundra Mitchell
And This is Why the Problem is Not the Books :: Saundra Mitchell
Writing Toward Teen Boys -- The Conversation Continues :: Beth Kephart
Too Much Teen Paranormal Romance :: YouTube

3 Comments on Boys and Books, last added: 8/23/2011
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37. Bring it on: musings of a slow adopter

I am what the savvy might term a slow adopter. I tend to like things as they are.  My movies on the big screen.  My books between their covers.  My conversations in person, face to face.

That is not this world.

And if I am less than knowledgeable about Facebook (I am, perhaps, one of its least organized and aware members), have failed to take on Twitter, am not inclined toward Google +, only just yesterday did justice to my LinkedIn profile (how shabby my former presence was), and make more mistakes in typing Blackberry texts than any living writer, I am coming around to the way the world works.

I have an iPad 2 and I use it to read the New York Times (except the Times magazine, which I still prefer to hold), to catch up with the Inquirer, to read the occasional Kindle or iBook.  (The New Yorker and Food and Wine and Vanity Fair still come, old style, to my house.)  My email friends are legion.  I'm an old-time blogger (holding my ground here, refusing to vanish).  And lately I've been thinking about (not dreading, but embracing) the new ways in which the publishing industry works.  Why not an Amazon single, for example, if the audience is already primed for it?  And why not a book with multi-media illustrations—something web friendly, something e-alive?

It's the middle of August.  The days have been long.  I prefer autumn to summer.  I look toward the new season with hope for my October 25 release, You Are My Only, with eagerness to connect with some of you at a variety of talks, and with the high suspicion that I'm about to change the way I go about making of (some) books.  

2 Comments on Bring it on: musings of a slow adopter, last added: 8/16/2011
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38. NYT article: Publishing Gives Hints of Revival, Data Show

By JULIE BOSMAN Published in The New York Times: August 9, 2011 “The publishing industry has expanded in the past three years as Americans increasingly turned to e-books and juvenile and adult fiction, according to a new survey of thousands of publishers, retailers and distributors that challenges the doom and gloom that tends to dominate [...]

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39. Read it for yourself: "The printed word is alive and well."

Julie Bosman of the New York Times brings us this good news today—the publishing industry has grown over the past three years, according to a recent BookStats survey.  From her news story:
“We’re seeing a resurgence, and we’re seeing it across all markets — trade, academic, professional,” said Tina Jordan, the vice president of the Association of American Publishers. “In each category we’re seeing growth. The printed word is alive and well whether it takes a paper delivery or digital delivery.” 
Let us take a moment, then, in these darkened times, to celebrate the good news and to congratulate so many of us for never giving up hope in the first place.  The important thing, I think (and this indeed fueled my recent post about historical fiction), is never to panic when it comes to purported book trends.  We are human beings.  Stories feed us.

5 Comments on Read it for yourself: "The printed word is alive and well.", last added: 8/9/2011
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40.



Pirate Picture Books Ahoy!

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41. Over 2,000 Titles on the First Book Marketplace

We’re excited to announce that we now have over 2,000 titles available on the First Book Marketplace! Our award-winning online store carries books for children of all ages, from board books to college prep guides, from The Very Hungry Caterpillar to To Kill A Mockingbird.

Over 2,000 titles on the First Book MarketplaceThe First Book Marketplace is available to teachers and program leaders who serve children from low-income families, and we work hard to make sure that we’re able to offer high-quality titles that those teachers and program leaders tell us their kids want to read.

We’re proud of the Marketplace, and the diversity of quality books we’re able to offer our programs. David Bornstein wrote about the Marketplace recently in The New York Times:

The First Book Marketplace is trying to do for publishing what micro-finance did for banking: crack open a vast potential market that is underserved at significant social cost. The organization’s goal is to democratize book access, but along the way, it may end up reinvigorating the book business.

(If you’re curious about how the Marketplace works, why it’s so important, or why a nonprofit organization has an online bookstore, we recommend reading Bornstein’s piece, as well as his follow-up piece that addresses some specific questions about First Book’s model.)

We’ll be announcing some exciting new changes later this year that will make it even easier for the programs we work with to get books for the kids that need them, so keep in touch, and let us know what books the kids in your life are most excited about reading.

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42. Only Once In An Agent’s Lifetime?

STATUS: Even though I look absolutely ridiculous doing a happy dance, I’m doing it anyway! White woman overbite. Here I come.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? THE LOAD OUT by Jackson Browne

This is just getting impossible. If I keep hitting crazy milestones, what will I have to look forward to? Last year, I had 3 authors on the New York Times bestseller list at the same time.

Then it happened twice in one year. Fabulous. Where to go next?

How about 4 authors on the NYT list at the same time? And 3 of them on the top 150 USA Today Bestseller list at the same time as well.

Yep! That’s the news that hit my inbox about an hour ago. And here they are.

At #19 on the Trade Paperback list and #146 on USA Today

At #9 on the Children's list

At #11 on the Mass Market paperback list and #109 on USA Today


At #13 on the eBook listand #59 on USA Today

Whe

31 Comments on Only Once In An Agent’s Lifetime?, last added: 7/9/2011
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43. Forbidden images



By Justyna Zajac and Michelle Rafferty

“Growth of Overt homosexuality in City Provokes Wide Concern”

-New York Times (headline in 1963)


The world recoiled when the gay community started receiving credit for its influence in fashion and culture, but at least, according to Christopher Reed, they were being acknowledged. In his new book Art and Homosexuality: A History of Ideas, Reed argues that for some time the professional art world plain ignored the gay presence.

We had the chance to speak with Reed recently at his Williams Club talk, where he laid out the tumultuous relationship between art and activism. Below we present a few of the controversial things we learned.

1.) Art that didn’t get a chance…

During the most formative years of the gay rights movement in the 70s and on through the late 80s, arts publications and professionals, and even museums like the Museum of Modern Art, ignored imagery associated with gay and lesbian identity. Imagery like the graffiti pictured below which emerged in urban areas during the 70s:

Grafitti on “The Rocks,” Lincoln Park, Chicago, mid-1990s.

According to Reed, “These sites of visual history were destroyed with no organized documentation when rising property values prompted local governments to reclaim these areas.”

2.) Censorship…

Is right for people to ban art today? Even if it’s in the imaginary town of Pawnee, Indiana? Reed surprised us with his answer, making us consider that there’s actually a worse kind of censorship. Listen below to hear what he said.

Transcript:

Censorship is an interesting question because there are overt examples of censorship like what just happened with the Hide/Seek show and the David Wojnarowicz piece, where particular politicians make a statement to their constituency by removing something that’s on exhibition. And then the kind of thing that you’re talking about where institutions simply don’t show things or don’t buy things – in the case of libraries – or don’t do things or don’t let particular people in, which often doesn’t read as censorship because people never realize what they could be seeing or could be reading, or could be going on, because the institution has already created a kind of logic in which that kind of thing doesn’t exist.

And so in a lot of ways I actually think that’s the most dangerous kind of censorship because people aren’t aware of it and they can’t make a

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44. The Oxford Comment: Episode 4 – RELIGION! (Part 1)



In this two-part series, Michelle and Lauren explore some of the most hot-button issues in religion this past year.

Subscribe and review this podcast on iTunes!

Featured in Part 1:

Christopher Hitchens and Tariq Ramadan Debate: Is Islam a Religion a Peace?

Highlights and exclusive interviews with Hitchens, Ramadan, & New York Times National Religion Correspondent  Laurie Goodstein

Read more and watch a video courtesy of the 92nd St Y HERE.

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Nick Mafi, Oxford University Press employee extraordinaire

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David Sehat, author of The Myth of American Religious Freedom

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The Ben Daniels Band

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45. Ypulse Youth Media Movers & Shakers

Today we bring you another installment of Youth Media Movers and Shakers. We've culled through industry publications looking for the recent executive placements we think you should know about. If you have executive news that you want us to highlight... Read the rest of this post

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46. Did you miss Peter Mayer on Leonard Lopate (WNYC)?

In case you were stuck working at 1:30 this afternoon and missed the great discussion between Lynn Nesbit, Carlo Rotella and Overlook publisher Peter Mayer about TRUE GRIT and Charles Portis, WNYC has helpfully put the interview online!

Listen below or go here to listen to the talk and read a bit of background.

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47. NYT: Shorter E-Books for Smaller Devices

Have you been wondering how anyone could possibly read an entire book on an IPhone? On such a lilliputian screen, that’s like reading, say, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” while looking at it through a keyhole. Wouldn’t it make sense to provide narratives chosen with the scale of the device in mind? After all, [...]

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48. Smoking Typewriters and the New Left rebellion



Following the lead of papers like the Los Angeles Free Press, the East Village Other, and the Berkeley Barb, young Americans in the 1960s launched hundreds of mimeographed pamphlets and flyers, small press magazines, and underground newspapers. New, cheaper printing technologies democratized the publishing process and by the decade’s end the combined circulation of underground papers stretched into the millions. Though not technically illegal, these papers were often genuinely subversive, and many of those who produced and sold them-on street-corners, at poetry readings, gallery openings, and coffeehouses-became targets of harassment from local and federal authorities. With writers who actively participated in the events they described, underground newspapers captured the zeitgeist of the ’60s, speaking directly to their readers, and reflecting and magnifying the spirit of cultural and political protest.

In the deeply researched and eloquently written volume Smoking Typewriters: The Sixties Underground Press and the Rise of Alternative Media in America, author John McMillian captures all the youthful idealism and vibrant tumult of the 1960s as it delivers a brilliant reappraisal of the origins and development of the New Left rebellion. McMillian pays special attention to the ways underground newspapers fostered a sense of community and played a vital role in shaping the New Left’s highly democratic “movement culture.” Below, we present a conversation with McMillian, who is also Assistant Professor of History at Georgia State University and the co-editor of The Radical Reader: A Documentary History of an American Radical Tradition, The New Left Revisited, Protest Nation: The Radical Roots of Modern America, The Sixties: A Journal of History, Politics and Culture

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How did you get interested in the 60s, and what made you want to write about that period?

I’ve had a longstanding layperson’s interest in the 1960s, going all the way back to high school, when I became a huge Beatles fan.  I read about them obsessively, and then a little later on started getting interested in other iconic groups and personalities from the era: Abbie Hoffman, the Black Panthers, even Charles Manson (as weird as that sounds).  But it wasn’t until a bit later – after I started my Ph.D. at Columbia in the mid-to-late 1990s – that it even occurred to me that this was a topic I could study professionally.

Up until that point, most of the writing on the 60s had been accomplished by people who had lived through the decade, and who (at least by some accounts) seemed a little protective of the field.  But soon I discovered that a newer generation of scholars – made up of people who are just a little bit older than myself – were beginning to do some really fascinating work on the period. Meanwhile, I’d encountered essays by Maurice Isserman and Rick Perlstein, both of which were persuasive and encouraging about the idea that the scholarship on the 60s scholarship could use an infusion of fresh voices and new approaches.  And then once I started doing just a little bit of work on the New Left, I realized there were so many amazing troves of untapped primary sources relating to the 60s (the underground newspapers are foremost among then). Most of the time, I really enjoy doing archival w

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49. Ypulse Essentials: Children’s Choice Book Awards, MySpace Declines Even Further, QR Codes On Campus

The Children’s Choice Book Awards (voting is open, with nominees from Suzanne Collins [Mockingjay] and Stephanie Meyer [The Second Short Life of Bree Tanner]. Elsewhere in YA news, Amanda Hocking, the self-publishing standout, lands a book... Read the rest of this post

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50. Washington City: paradise of paradoxes

By John Lockwood and Charles Lockwood


The Washington of April 1861—also commonly known as “Washington City”—was a compact town. Due to the cost of draining marshy land and the lack of reliable omnibus service, development was focused around Pennsylvania Avenue between the Capitol and White House. When the equestrian statue of George Washington was dedicated at Washington Circle in 1860, its location—three-quarters of a mile west of the White House, where Twenty-Third Street intersects Pennsylvania Avenue—was described as out of town. Several blocks north of the White House, at L Street, the land was countryside. “Go there, and you will find yourself not only out of town, away among the fields,” wrote English novelist Anthony Trollope in his travel account, North America, after his 1861 visit, “but you will find yourself beyond the fields, in an uncultivated, undrained wilderness.” A writer for the Atlantic Monthly, writing in January 1861, deemed Washington a “paradise of paradoxes,” foremost because it was both “populous” and “uninhabited” at once. Noting another paradox, he observed that the capital was ‘[d]efenceless, as regards walls, redoubts, moats, or other fortifications”—though the only party to “lay siege” to the city of late were the unyielding onslaught of politicians and office seekers, not soldiers.

Travelers arriving from northern cities caught a glimpse of the city’s grandeur and squalor as their train pulled into the B & O Station at the foot of Capitol Hill. “I looked out and saw a vast mass of white marble towering above us on the left . . . surmounted by an unfinished cupola, from which scaffold and cranes raised their black arms. This was the Capitol,” wrote Times of London correspondent William Russell, who arrived in Washington at the end of March 1861. “To the right was a cleared space of mud, sand, and fields, studded with wooden sheds and huts, beyond which, again, could be seen rudimentary streets of small red brick houses, and some church-spires above them.”

From the B & O Station, most carriages and hacks headed westward down Pennsylvania Avenue, the city’s main artery. The Avenue was the traditional route for grand parades between the Capitol and the White House, and by the mid-nineteenth-century, its north side was the location for the city’s finest hotels and shops. Yet many visitors, particularly those from leading cities like New York or London, were unimpressed by its pretensions to grandeur, and found the cityscape a formless jumble. Pennsylvania Avenue, observed Russell, was “a street of much breadth and length, lined with ailanthus trees . . . and by the most irregularly-built houses [and commercial buildings] in all kinds of materials, from deal plank to marble—of all heights.”

At the corner of Fourteenth Street, one block before Pennsylvania Avenue made its northward turn at the Treasury before continuing west past the White House, stood Willard’s Hotel. The hotel, favored by Republican Party leaders, was the center of Washington’s social and business life under the new administration. Willard’s contained “more scheming, plotting, planning heads, m

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