Dog-Eared and Dispatched: December 14, 2014
We’re keeping an eye on the kids in this week’s “Dog-eared and dispatched,” both what they want to read and how those books are made. We also have gathered together a few of the “best of” lists that are doing the rounds. After that, this column will be taking a break until the new year: check in on January 4, 2015, for the next installment. Now – on with this week’s news.
Scholastic is publishing its regular report on kids’ reading, and the results of their survey suggest that most young readers would like to read things that will make them laugh. Slightly more interesting is the finding that 73% of kids aged 6–17 would read more if they could find books that they would like. This is probably just common sense and it would be easy to put all this at the parents’ door and say (with NY Mag): “It’s easy to imagine tired, overworked, but otherwise good parents falling victim to the busyness of daily life and failing to take an active approach to helping their kids find good books. For a lot of folks, it’s probably an uphill battle just to carve out a couple of hours to make a family trip to the library, let alone to take the time to join their kids in exploring the stacks. But if this survey’s any indication, doing so will probably pay off.” Providing young readers with books is not solely a parent’s responsibility, though: publishers need to step up, too – perhaps by producing books that acknowledge diversity. Just a thought. [Publishers Weekly, Mobylives!, NY Mag]
So last week the book Girl Online by Zoe Sugg (aka YouTuber Zoella) broke British sales records – selling 78,000 copies in its first week (although slightly less popular in the US, it was nonetheless ahead of volume three of Knausgaard’s memoirs, which I suppose says something). This week, though, it turns out that Zoella’s book was ghostwritten – although Sugg came up with the characters and plot – she had “help from Penguin’s editorial team in telling my story.” The matter has received the expected amount (and kind) of attention on social media, with the writer Siobhan Curham ultimately sharing her thoughts on the process of producing a celebrity book. If digital books and corporate publishing bring into question what a book really is, the contrast between celebrity publishing deals and self-published books also raises the question of what it means to be an author – maybe it will turn out to have something to do with writing books. Maybe. [LA Times, Galleycat, The Guardian]
Also known as a list of lists of the best books of the year:
- Electric Literature’s 25 best novels of 2014.
- The New York Times’ notable books of 2014 and the best book covers.
- NPR rocks the recommendation engine.
- Penguin Random House has its own meta list of lists on Tumblr.