Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Cute shoes are the secret to world domination.

I debated about posting this. Do I want other people to be able to cash in on my secret theory? But I like to share. I guess as an oldest child, I had it drilled into me for too long to stop now.

Here's the thing about cute shoes: they are ice-breakers. I'm an essentially shy person, but doing things like presenting at writers' conferences or attending various meetings, or events, or cocktail parties means that shyness has to be left behind. And seeing as children's publishing is fairly woman-centric, chances are, if you wear cute shoes, someone will notice. Voila! Conversation begun! I always make it a point to wear cute shoes when I'm going to be meeting new people or speaking at an SCBWI conference, so this method is tried and true.

It is also a good excuse to buy cute shoes. Like, maybe, these...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

For Provoking the Thoughts

I'm off to North Carolina to speak at an SCBWI conference, but here are two articles that have had my gears turning this week.

A sort of alarmist and gloom-and-doomy article about The End of publishing from New York Magazine.

And another look toward the future of media, but this time in roundtable fashion.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Obama is like a YA novel.

During dinner with friends last night, I wondered in passing if I like Obama for the same reasons I like YA fiction better than adult fiction. Sure, I was being a bit flippant. But then I thought more about it, and...well...

1. Better edited. (Oh, snap!)

2. Change: YA books are full of change, because teens are full of change.

3. YA books are about taking on the world. Fix it? Change it? At least our part of it? Yes we can!

4. Hope. I’ve always said this is one of the key differentials between adult and YA. YA books need hope at the end, we need a sense that everything the character has been through has lead him or her somewhere better. That we are better for having spent time with him or her.

5. Gets you where you live. YA books are unafraid of using new formats, different structures, and incorporating cell phones, blogging, text messages, email, and tons more ways that young people actually communicate.

6. Not issue driven. Issues are important. You’ve got to know how to handle them. But then you’ve got to be about more.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Election Season Reading!

I spent the last week of August moving and setting up my new apartment, to the company of WNYC’s coverage of the Democratic National Convention. I’m now totally addicted to NPR. It was an excellent week to have time for all this radio listening, and I was completely re-invigorated about the election and the democratic process in general.

The weekend downtime between the two conventions made me think about where else I can get my political fix once the conventions are over.

First and foremost, of course, is DECLARE YOURSELF. A collection of powerful essays about the importance of raising your voice and using your vote!

The President’s Daughter quartet by Ellen Emerson White
The President’s Daughter
White House Autumn
Long Live the Queen
Long May She Reign
Ellen Emerson White is a brilliant writer, and these four books center around Meg, whose mother runs for President and wins. Smart, funny, dry, and completely absorbing. I read Long Live the Queen back in junior high and it’s a book that has stuck vividly with me ever since.

The Attolia books by Megan Whalen Turner
The Thief
The Queen of Attolia
The King of Attolia
Okay, these are fantasy, but they are are utterly astounding with the twists, turns, and political intrigue. They are must-reads for absolutely everyone. Eugenides is one of the Best. Characters. Ever.

The Future Dictionary of America
Funny mock-dictionary that came out a few years ago.
The Partly Cloudy Patriot by Sarah Vowell
She writes about history and politics often, and has some great essays about the 2000 election.

For levity:
America (the book) by the Daily Show
I Am America (And So Can You) by Stephen Colbert

For watching:
The West Wing
I am a HUGE West Wing fan. Huge. Every season is fantastic. (Except for season 5, which is dead to me. Don’t even bother with it, you don’t need it.) Best for election/campaign-related viewing? The first two episodes of the second season, season 4, the end of season 6, and season 7. I love seeing behind-the-scenes of any process, and it’s a witty, superbly well-written and well-acted show that gives you hope in politics.