Starting today, I'm reviving my In the News This Week feature--so on Fridays on the SCBWI blog, I'll share snippets of and links to some of the publishing/media-related news I've read during the last week that I found interesting, helpful, and/or fun. Click titles to get to the full articles.
This week's tidbits include the controversial Wall Street Journal piece on YA fiction and some reactions to it. Plus iPad algebra (which sounds so much better than Miss Dugle's class), more Borders closing news, advice for Twitter addicts, a Glee star-truned-YA-novelist, some Kindle news, and a fond farewell to the creator of Mad Libs.
Darkness Too Visible (WSJ)
Amy Freeman, a 46-year-old mother of three, stood recently in the young-adult section of her local Barnes & Noble, in Bethesda, Md., feeling thwarted and disheartened. She had popped into the bookstore to pick up a welcome-home gift for her 13-year-old, who had been away. Hundreds of lurid and dramatic covers stood on the racks before her, and there was, she felt, "nothing, not a thing, that I could imagine giving my daughter. It was all vampires and suicide and self-mutilation, this dark, dark stuff." She left the store empty-handed.
Young Adult Fiction Is Not All Doom and Gloom (ShelfTalker)
This weekend the Internet, specifically Twitter and Facebook, have been seriously abuzz about an article in the Wall Street Journal Saturday written by Meghan Cox Gurdon. In the article "Darkness Too Visible," the writer has focused on a few admittedly dark novels and classified the whole genre as bleak and fairly unredemptive. As a bookseller, I was struck immediately by the first two paragraphs:
Are Teen Novels Dark and Depraved—or Saving Lives? (PW)
It’s been an interesting week in the teen-lit world. On Saturday, the Wall Street Journal published a story that said modern YA novels were "rife with depravity" and "so dark that kidnapping and pederasty and incest and brutal beatings are now just part of the run of things." The piece immediately set off an Internet frenzy. That night, 13 Little Blue Envelopes author Maureen Johnson started the #YAsaves hashtag with this tweet: "Did YA help you? Let the world know how! Tell your story with a #YAsaves tag. And copy the @wsj for good measure." Within hours, #YAsaves got 15,000 responses from regular readers and from such big-name writers as Judy Blume and Neil Gaiman. Bloggers—but also writers at major news outlets such as National Public Radio and New York magazine—weighed in.
Leonard B. Stern, Creator of Mad Libs, Dies at 88 (NYT)
Leonard B. Stern, an Emmy-winning writer, producer and director for television whose frantic search for an adjective one day led him and a colleague to create Mad Libs, the game that asks players to fill in blanks with designated parts of speech to yield comically ________[adj.] stories, died on Tuesday at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif. He was 88.
Suzanne Collins Becomes First Children’s Author To Sell 1 Million Kindle eBooks (GalleyCat)
Novelists Lee Child and Suzanne Collins joined the "Kindle Million Club" today, the fifth and sixth authors to sell more than one million eBooks through Amazon.
Citi Analyst: Kindle Will Be 10 Percent Of Amazon Sales In 2012 (TechCrunch)
As books goes digital, Amazon is managing the transition nicely with the Kindle. Amazon now sells more Kindle books than print books, and offers nearly a million ebook titles. In a research note that just went out this morning, citi analyst Mark Mahaney estimates that sales of Kindle devices and digital books will account for 10 percent of Amazon’s revenues in 2012.
New Jersey district plans iPad-only algebra course (eSchoolNews)
New Jersey’s Edison Township School District will be the first in the state to implement an entirely iPad-based Algebra 1 curriculum. The program will pilot the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) Fuse: Algebra 1 application with 60 students this fall, said Richard O’Malley, Edison Township School District’s superintendent.
Borders May Close Up to 51 More Stores to Avoid Defaulting On Latest Loans (Lunch)
As potential bidders emerge for more than 200 of Borders' superstores in a deal the company hopes will close in the next two to four weeks, the retailer may need to close an additional 51 stores and liquidate assets to avoid defaulting on their debtor-in-possession loan in the meantime. According to a motion filed in court Thursday morning, the move may result in worse terms for creditors, since the closed stores would not be available for sale to a bidder--and at least some of them are stores that "buyers have indicated that they also wish to purchase." Though Borders hasn't underscored the human cost of their business failure in the past, now that it serves their ends they also declare the additional closings would result in "a significant loss of jobs."
Are You Addicted To Twitter? Here’s How To Fight It (AllTwitter)
Shea wrote a fantastic piece about the five stages of "getting" Twitter last week, which included denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally, acceptance. But for some of us, there's another stage that hits us after we've accepted and finally "got" Twitter–obsession.
Chris Colfer of 'Glee' gets a book deal. Fans get your jazz hands ready. (Shelf Life)
Gleeks, rejoice! Glee star Chris Colfer has just signed a two-book deal with Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. The first will be an adventure novel that draws elements from the very, very in-vogue world of classic fairy tales.