Miscellaneous Memoranda

Or, A Collection of Book-Related Links That Caught My Attention But That I Never Got Around To Writing Blog Posts About.

– And yes, I know I ended that sentence with a preposition and started this sentence with a conjunction. At least I have a better understanding of punctuation than these cake decorators. Not all Cakes are Wrecks, though – look at these amazing book-related cakes.

– Here’s a fascinating (if you’re a traditionally-published author) post by Sherwood Smith and Rachel Manija Brown about why they decided to self-publish the second book in their Change series, after Viking published the first book. It says so much about how the publishing industry works these days. (Incidentally, the manuscript of the first book in the series started off that GayYA thing.)

– And here’s an article by Sally Nicholls about why it isn’t always necessary to kill off the characters’ parents in children’s books. (It does make plotting exciting adventures much easier, though.)

– I have no interest in reading Go Set a Watchman, partly because I don’t feel the need to read the unedited first draft of a novel that I’ve already read and enjoyed, but also because I have doubts about whether Harper Lee has given her consent for it to be published. Has anyone else read it? What did you think?

– Speaking of which, what is going on with the book bestseller lists at the moment? Last week, the Sydney Morning Herald’s top ten bestseller list consisted of the previously-mentioned unedited first draft of To Kill A Mockingbird, four of the Treehouse books by Andy Griffiths and FIVE colouring-in books! Now, I have nothing against Andy Griffiths – his books may not be my cup of tea, but he’s brought a lot of laughter and excitement to a lot of child readers. But colouring books? Why are they being counted?

– However, I do approve of this – a lot of people tweeting about what Young Adult books would look like if the books were Very Realistic.

– I also liked (possibly not the right word) this article by Annabel Crabb about a man who wrote her a detailed letter criticising her latest book, even though he hadn’t actually bothered to read the book. It reminded me of the time I was doing a book signing at an English teachers’ conference and two separate men came up to berate me for having the nerve to publish my book as a ‘Vintage Classic’, when my book was clearly not Classic Literature. Not that they’d read the book. (Not that I’d had any say in that book being republished under the Vintage Classics imprint, anyway.)

– Although if they had read my books, they probably would have objected to them anyway, because the books are full of princesses. Princesses doing girly, princessy things like buying ball gowns and learning how to curtsey and looking for a suitable husband, and also fighting Nazis, giving speeches at the League of Nations and writing newspaper articles about the plight of child refugees. There’s a good post about Princess Shaming over at Tea Cozy (the comments are interesting, too).

– And those men probably would have scoffed at the notion of a tiny island kingdom, as well. I guess they’re not aware of the “republican monarchy” of Atlantium here in Australia (“At 0.76 square kilometres we are counted among the world’s smallest states, which brings into play certain practical realities; we choose to deal with these in a pragmatic manner.”)

– I mean, those men probably don’t even believe in sea monsters!

'Colossal Octopus' by Pierre Denys de Montford, 1810
‘Colossal Octopus’ by Pierre Denys de Montford, 1810

4 thoughts on “Miscellaneous Memoranda”

  1. I’m also feeling a bit wary about the Harper Lee. The colouring book craze is all too much with us here in the UK – I see there is a mindfulness colouring book out there, neatly straddling two markets!

    1. I don’t have any objection to adults doing colouring-in activities – it’s probably very calming! I just wonder why those books are being counted in the book bestseller lists, when knitting patterns and netball rulebooks and car manuals aren’t.

  2. As a bookshop worker, the struggle is in trying to find shelf space for all the colouring books! As for the bestseller list, I was just pleased when “Grey” got knocked off the list (thanks to all those colouring books and the Treehouse books, in part).

    On the subject of princess books, there is a really excellent picture book that came out recently called “The Princess and the Pony”, by Kate Beaton. Princess Pinecone dreams of being a fearsome warrior and wants a noble horse to help her achieve her goal, but ends up with a very small, rotund pony instead. Meanwhile, the other warriors are looking for a way to get in touch with their softer sides… Princess Pinecone reminds me a bit of Henry, actually, for her fighting spirit and daring. I like the book because it shows that everyone needs a balance of fierceness and softness in their lives, and because the illustrations are hilarious.

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