The Social Experiments of Dorie Dilts: The School for Cool: P. G. Kain
The Sword of the Spirits: John Christopher

Wednesday Afternoon Visits: February 6

I'm in Florida for business today, but the way the schedule ended up working out, I have a free day before a function this evening. I walked on the beach this morning for as long as my gimpy knee would allow. Now I'm sitting in my hotel room, looking out at the ocean as I type (it's too bright to read the computer screen while actually on the balcony, but I'm right in front of the sliding doors). Things could be worse (though I'm still a bit shell-shocked over the Patriots' loss). I've been saving up a few links for you during my travels of the past few days:

  • At Wildwood Cottage, Jenny has a list of snow-related picture books.
  • Kelly reports at Big A little a that Amazon is buying Audible. Like Kelly, I'm a bit concerned because, although I like Amazon quite a lot, I've been very happy with Audible as it is for the past five years or so. I fear change. I fear losing access to my library of hundreds of Audible-formatted files. But I think it's a smart move on Amazon's part... 
  • Susan writes in two posts at Wizards Wireless about trusting yourself and your own judgment regarding books, and that it's okay to not like a book that other people love. I have this experience regularly. I wouldn't say I hide it when I don't like a book, but I don't usually go out of my way to post "I disliked this book and here's why". I do agree with Becky (who commented at WW) about Octavian Nothing, though. And I have yet to grasp the charm of the Bartimaeus books. How about you all?
  • Did you ever notice that if you spell stressed backwards you get desserts? Kim did, and wrote about it at her Escape Adulthood blog. Very cool! Maybe that explains why eating chocolate can relieve stress...
  • And speaking of desserts, Kris discovered a tantalizing book at Paradise Found: Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer, filled with recipes from classic children's literature. Kris notes: "Author Jane Brocket is in the UK, and that’s where the book will be published. I suppose we can hope that it’s such a hit that North American audiences will have a shot at it, too." Doesn't that sound fun?
  • Confronted with feedback from a boy who liked Hattie Big Sky despite the female main character, author Kirby Larson asks: "What is the underlying message being sent when we are surprised that boys enjoy reading stories about strong, adventurous, wacky, gentle or even angry girl characters? I certainly hope we're not saying that such stories are inherently less interesting, less worthy of being read simply due to the sex of the protagonist." I hope not, too, though this does seem to be a common response.
  • At So Tomorrow, Anne writes about teen books that cross over with adult appeal. Meanwhile at Chasing Ray, Colleen writes about adult books with high teen appeal. Colleen in particular is looking for input, so that she can award the You Should Read This awards for 2008.
  • Cheryl Rainfield takes up the cause of using comic books to entice young readers. She says: "I think, if you overlook comics as a source of reading, and especially reading for pleasure, then you’re overlooking a potential treasure trove." And what do you think about this business of writing a prequel to Anne of Green Gables? Cheryl has the scoop. I don't think that I will read it, myself, but the author seems to be taking a thoughtful approach to the whole thing.
  • This is all over the place now, but I first learned about it at Bookshelves of Doom (Leila has links to a variety of responses). In the New York Times, David Itzkoff insults pretty much all writers of books for children, saying: "I sometimes wonder how any self-respecting author of speculative fiction can find fulfillment in writing novels for young readers. I suppose J. K. Rowling could give me 1.12 billion reasons in favor of it: get your formula just right and you can enjoy worldwide sales, film and television options, vibrating-toy-broom licensing fees, Chinese-language bootlegs of your work, a kind of limited immortality (L. Frank Baum who?) and — finally — genuine grown-up readers. But where’s the artistic satisfaction? Where’s the dignity?" You know what part gets me the most? "Limited immortality". Is L. M. Montgomery's immortality limited in some way? Frances Hodgson Burnett's? Dr. Seuss? I don't think so.
  • Gail Gauthier writes about the common perception that "children's literature should be instructive and improving." Fortunately for her readers, she does not believe in putting lessons in her books, saying: "Adult readers don't tolerate lessons in their fiction. (We have self-help books.) Why should kids?" I agree 100%. I won't even read books that have the whiff of "lesson" about them. I think they are insulting to readers.
  • MotherReader is blogging at ForeWord Magazine's Shelf Space this month. In her first post, she talks about picture books for black history month, specifically "picture books (that) keep the storyline tight and the art engaging."
  • HipWriterMama attended Mitali Perkins' book launch party for First Daughter: White House Rules. I would have so loved to attend, and meet both of them, and see Vivian's daughters star-struck by Mitali. Maybe for the next book...
  • The Cybils blog recaps Cybils finalist-related interviews past and future at Just One More Book! And speaking of interviews, both Sara Zarr and Robie Harris are doing blog tours this week. Check out Sara's schedule here and Robie's schedule here.
  • And finally, if you are looking for a good cause, check out Laurie Halse Anderson's plea for support in her and her husband's efforts to raise money for cancer research. She says "BH and I will be running the Lake Placid Half Marathon (yep, 13.1 glorious miles) on June 15, 2008. We are trying to raise $5000 in support of this run." Her post explains why.

And that's all for today. I'm going to spend some time outside now, before my meeting.