Tag Archives: blogging

Hopefully the only thing I will say related to this ruckus

Because my internet time has been limited recently, I’ve only been vaguely aware of the latest blogging ruckus. I consider myself so much on the fringes of book blogging that I felt like adding any words to the discussion was unnecessary. Plagiarism is bad – end of story.

But then on Twitter, Michelle at Galleysmith linked to this post at Book Reviews and English News which was the first time I felt compelled to say anything, and it is not even about the plagiarism controversy. I don’t care for the bloggers the author is referring to (and frankly agree with a lot of her thoughts in her other post), but I don’t think the bloggers have that much power. I also took issue with her reference to YA history. I know that it was far from the main point of her post, but I think it makes her argument weak. I posted a comment on the post, but also decided to post it on my own blog, too. Not because I think anyone cares what I have to say about it, just because I want to own my words here.

I think you attribute more power than these bloggers actually have. They are a small percentage of book buyers and I don’t think the publishers listen only to them. Publishers also listen to the teen readers and the adults in their lives. When I talk to publishers at conferences, they are much more interested in hearing what my students want to read than in how many hits my blog gets. YALSA sponsors teen book groups that get ARCs for the teens to read, the teens give feedback, and the publishers really listen to what they say. I think that small percentage of bloggers you refer to really just read each other. Publishers have started to be selective with their freebies and I have been told by people in the industry that it is partially in reaction to these greedy types.

I do think that when it comes to marketing and cover design, it’s easy for the publishers to fall back on the “pretty girl in a pretty dress” cop-out that certain bloggers fawn over. “Where She Went” is a book that I can get lots of guys interested in reading because it is from the guy POV, but once they see the cover they shut down. I wish publishers would save the girl covers for the books they are fit for like Anna Godberson’s books, and get creative for the rest. I think a lot of that, though, isn’t blogger influence; it’s laziness.

I think some of your argument also ignores history. As far as adult women going gaga for teen boys, I remember lots of older screaming women at my 1st New Kids on the Block concert in 1989. Not all of those boys were adults yet, but that didn’t stop the lust. These certain bloggers lusting after fictional boys are nothing new.

You also ignore a certain amount of publishing history when it comes to YA. I really think “Catcher in the Rye” is classic YA, and S.E. Hinton is still loved by teens. Walter Dean Myers continues to publish and be loved. In my teens, I never read RL Stein, but I loved Blume’s “Forever” and gobbled up every Norma Klein I could get my hands on. Klein’s YA was published in the 70s and 80s and addressed some racy topics for teen readers. Rowling didn’t invent YA, and I think the argument can be made that the first couple Harry Potters are NOT YA.

It’s possible that because you were “expected” to read the classics that you never discovered the YA that was out there. I know some of the English teachers I work with now also turn their noses up at YA today and are horrified that teens would rather read about Katniss than Catherine and Heathcliff.

I also don’t think it’s fair for you to claim that YA is lacking in variety. Yes, when you browse the book store shelves, it does seem like it’s all girly stuff. Yes, I always wish I could see more options (along with more people of color). But I keep a lot of my male readers happy with John Green, Paul Volponi, Cory Doctorow, Scott Westerfeld, Patrick Ness, Jack Heath, James Dashner, Michael Grant, Ned Vizzini – just to name a few. I cannot keep Alexander Smith Gordon’s Lockdown series on the shelves. The male/female Hungers Games readers in my library are equal.

Yes, I am a female blogger who tends to write about books, but I don’t identify with the bloggers you refer to. I have experienced a certain amount of schadenfreude watching this whole dust-up. (My theory is that some of the members of this “blogger clique” you refer to are the same people who attend conferences like ALA and behave like monkeys: grabbing multiple copies of ARCs, knocking over publisher displays and sometimes even the publishers themselves in their haste to be greedy.) I know the main point of your post is to wish for variety in YA publishing, but I think you use several weak arguments to make that point, so I couldn’t help but voice my opinion. 

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This Week on Dog-eared and Well-read: Dark and Twisty

I recently managed to read a string of books back-to-back that dealt with loss, abandonment, fear, death, etc. It was after that string of titles that I really needed something different, hence my cry for help. I’ve decided to knock them all out in one week on the blog as a themed week: Dark and Twisty. So stay tuned!

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We’re only 3 weeks into the school year?

True to my expectations, I’ve been absent from my blog, and I miss it dearly.  The new school year has been very busy.  Our library circulation statistics for the first two weeks of school was double what we had last year, we’ve had an increased number of teachers wanting to use the library, which has been overwhelming but so very awesome.  Even my student aides are great!

A lot of people have been on edge this year, though.  We have a new principal, new assistant principal, a new performance review process, budget cuts, lower than predicted enrollment, and we didn’t make AYP last year.  The new principal has been one of our assistant principals for a few years, so he’s not new to the school, but his philosophies are different enough from our former (and much-loved) principal that many people are anxious.  Some people have already judged the new AP in a poor manner.  People are anxious about their jobs and the money available to assist them in doing their jobs due to the budget cuts and potential for more cuts due to low enrollment.

The new review process is centered around data and evidence.  I’m excited about the potential I see in it since my biggest frustration with education continues to be ineffective/lazy/burned out teachers.  But I already see/hear people trying to BS their way through it.  “Just tell me what to put down that will make them leave me alone,” said one poisonous teacher.  Another said at a meeting concerning the new process to focus on your best lessons and just don’t include other stuff.  This really irritated me because I think reflection is a big step missing in the process some teachers go through year after year.  I think the new review system is an excellent way to demonstrate reflection and adjustment based on student achievement, but many just seem to want to know what new song and dance routine to throw at the administration so they can keep doing the same old thing.

So, needless to say, it seems like, after the third week of school, many people are already tired, frustrated, and plumb wore out.  Whining seems to be constant; people are snappish and quick to take offense.

We are short one staff member in the library due to a family emergency, so the extra traffic has been juggled between just two of us.  I’ve come down with a cold this weekend and would love to take another day to rest up (I spent more of today asleep already) but I just don’t feel like now is a good time to be out.

Besides being sick and dealing with the work stress, things have been good.  I turned 35, we’re celebrating our 7 year wedding anniversary, and fall is coming.  I do miss my personal time.  I haven’t read a book since school started, even my magazine and internet reading has fallen terribly behind.  My DVR is filling up and I haven’t had time to catch up with many family and friends.  I feel very out of touch with the bigger world of libraries and YA lit and am really looking forward to the YALSA YA Literature Symposium for the chance to just immerse myself in it all.

I promise my  blog is not dead, just quiet.  I can’t wait to come back and share all the thoughts that keep tumbling through my head, needing an outlet.

P.S. Will I see any of you at the Symposium?

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Thursday Tidbits 8/19/2010

One bad thing about being back at work is meetings.  Some meetings are useless, some can be quite beneficial.  I attended a meeting today that was beneficial for a good portion of it, but way too much time was wasted by a few people.  I’ve decided that when you attend a meeting, you should be given a limited number of talking passes.  Every time you want to talk, you surrender a pass. Once you use up your passes – no more talking.  So much time is wasted by people who just want to hear themselves yammer.

Anyways, fun things on the internet this week!

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On hiatus

I’m officially going on hiatus for a while.  My husband has a severe enough case of the chicken pox that he is currently hospitalized, and will be there for at least a few days.  Between his pox, following up on tree damage, a toilet that make a weird noise and then quit working, summer school, and a big YALSA committee deadline, I have several other things to deal with.

I swear, this summer has just been too much.  I need a vacation from my summer vacation!

I’ll get back to blogging once this stuff calms down.  Thank you for your patience!

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Thursday Tidbits 7/1/2010

I’m back from ALA and I think I have recovered! It was a great conference and I will write about it in the coming week. For now, to ease back in to the blogging habit, I thought I would do my old Thursday Tidbits to share stuff I am loving right now.

  • Are you watching The Fabulous Beekman Boys on Discovery’s Planet Green?  I am loving this show so much.  Two NYC guys who have been together for 10 years buy a farm out in the country.  They grow vegetables and care for 80 goats, some pigs and chickens, and one awesome llama named Polka Spot, with lots of help from Farmer John.  They also make and sell soap from their goat milk.  One of the guys, Josh, still maintains a job in NYC so he commutes every week, leaving Brent to work full-time at the farm.  The editing, of course, really plays up the fights and drama, but you can tell Brent and John love each other and the life they have built.  My favorite thing is that they have a goat cam in their barn, so you can go online to watch the goats (and Polka Spot!) whenever you want.  I admit to pretty much having it open on a browser tab at all times.  Goats are awesome.
  • BP’s Coffee Spill – very funny!  Less funny: an oil-soaked wave.
  • If you didn’t follow Jamie’s Seventeen Magazine Project while she was doing it, it is worth going back and reading her blog about it, and what she has done since.  The next time someone complains that all teens are getting less intelligent, show them this.
  • Why LOST fans should start watching Fringe, if they are not already.
  • A blind fox becomes a foster dad – very moving.
  • I embrace this 100% – Why I’ll Never Be an Adult (strong language, FYI).

That’s it for today.  Coming soon: ALA-related posts and pictures, MANY book thoughts, and why you should get your library involved with Wrestlemania this year!

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Where Has Dog-eared Gone Wednesday?

Oh, beloved blog, how I have missed you!  I must apologize to my blog and to any readers I might have. (Anyone? Bueller?)  April, May, and June have been ridiculously busy: work, YALSA committee stuff, personal things, house projects, life in general.  Something had to fall by the wayside and it has been my blog.  (Better my blog than my husband, dog, or job, right?)  I also have barely read anything.  Some weeks I finish Sunday’s paper on the following Saturday.  My magazines are backing up.  I have given up on much of my TBR pile.

There are many beautiful things in the world.  One of the most amazing are fireflies.  I spent the past 10 minutes just sitting here on my deck, watching the fireflies rise from the lawn.  There are so many!  Late they will be up in the tears, looking like summer’s answer to Christmas lights.

Anyways, back to my blog!  School ends this week, and while I am working part of summer school, I will have no excuse to not get back to blogging!  So stay tuned for review catch-ups!  I’ll also share my ALA schedule in case any readers will also be at Annual! I can’t believe that is next week!

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