Archive for the 'Books & Literature' Category

Another First: Blogging about Books, Publishing, Writing, Etc.

Just put up my first post at my new Cynthia Hughes Literary Consulting blog. Check it out!

Hint: I’m heading to Houston on March 3 for another publishing workshop!

Literary Amuse-Bouche, May 12 Edition

This one speaks for itself, my literary lambs. And I would have MUCH preferred to post a link to the Dallas Morning News, but that story is snagged in subscription-only land. Thus, I revert to The Oregonian:

Faye Kesey, the widow of Oregon author Ken Kesey, married another well-known writer, Larry McMurtry, in McMurtry’s hometown of Archer City, Texas, on April 29, the day of the royal wedding. Faye Kesey is 76. McMurtry, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Lonesome Dove” and many other novels, is 74.

Read the full story here.

Literary Amuse-Bouche

My favorite literary tidbits of the day:

  • Virginia Woolf spent seven years on her first novel, The Voyage Out: “By 1912, she had written five drafts of the novel, including two different versions that she worked on simultaneously. Between December 1912 and March 1913, she rewrote the entire novel one more time, almost from scratch, typing 600 pages in two months.” Courtesy of Garrison Keillor’s wonderful Writer’s Almanac.
  • Agatha Christie helped her husband excavate the Nimrud ivories in Iraq — and even cleaned them with her face cream!
  • And finally, let’s finish it off with this masterpiece from The Onion:

Children’s Book Awards Get Snookied

The children’s book world is abuzz for good reason. In what should have been a banner week — the American Librarian Association announced the winners of the Caldecott and Newbery medals, the kidlit equivalent of the Oscars — Snooki from Jersey Shore bumped the winners off their traditional Today show appearance.

The Snooks pretends to have written a book (come on, who would she be foolin’), so she poofed into that book slot for the week, I guess. And the producer tried to claim that the show was booked in advance (but I guarantee everyone who can Google “American Library Association” would be able to find the date of the NEXT awards announcement pretty darn soon).

I was delighted that a fellow Kansan, Clare Vanderpool (below right) of Wichita, won the Newbery for Moon Over Manifest (Delacorte). And Erin Stead of Ann Arbor won the Caldecott Medal honoring outstanding illustration for A Sick Day for Amos McGee (Roaring Brook), which was written by her husband, Philip Stead.

I just don’t understand the Today show. First off, Snooki does NOT need any publicity — I mean, isn’t her 15 minutes LOOOONG over?! Second, isn’t Today the No. 1 morning show? Why on earth would they be worried about viewers switching to GMA or whatever that CBS show is these days.

Author Eric A. Kimmel had a thoughtful post about the brouhaha, pointing out that even within the publishing industry itself, the awards don’t necessarily ensure long-term success or even a next book contract.(Thanks to Roxie Munro for linking to that one on Facebook!).

This is just one more sign of the cult of celebrity driving the book world these days. Why should two really good books that can reach probably the most critical audience — our children — be booted in favor of Snooki?!

Author Jodi Picoult summed it up best on Twitter: “Valid questions: Who rushes out to buy the Snooki book? Why does Snooki think she can write a book? You don’t see me acting on Jersey Shore.”

Exactly.

 

My Favorite Books of 2010

Oh, yeah! It’s that time of year again. Here are my picks from 2010:

Fiction: The Passage, by Justin Cronin.

Nonfiction: On the Outskirts of Normal: Forging a Family Against the Grain, by Debra Monroe

Young Adult: I Will Save You, by Matt de la Peña.

Of course, there are a whole lot of books I haven’t gotten around to reading, not to mention the three I’d love to find under my Christmas tree!

Read the whole post at the Writers’ League of Texas Scribe blog.

Writers = the Lovelorn

I stumbled upon this inspirational piece for writers via the New York Times‘s “Paper Cuts” blog:
“Advice for the lovelorn…I mean writers,” by Marisa Silver. She starts out with a list of 10 tips for the lovelorn then translates those for writers. Among the highlights:

1. Your work will bother you. It will follow you around like an annoying little brother, pinching you every so often, even when you want to be doing other things with other people.

6. The only way to write fiction that will take someone else by surprise is to let your work take you by surprise too. Get lost. Be scared. Have no idea where you’re headed.

9. Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite.

10. Your work will often look horrible and embarrassing.

Read the whole piece here.

I’m going to print these out and post  them over my desk at home!

And interesting side discovery: The Elegant Variation” blog itself. Worth checking out!

This item is also posted on the Writers’ League of Texas “A Brief Word” blog.

La Liz

I can’t quite wrap my mind around the fact that Liz Carpenter has gone on to that great big press room in the sky. She was such a generous soul, who genuinely cared about all kinds of people all over the world. And let’s talk about the best sense of humor of all time.

Her support of Texas writers — no matter whether they were beginners or established — has left a huge legacy. I’m sure I’ll have more on this later, but for now, I’m wondering this: When Liz met St. Peter at the Pearly Gates, I can just hear her lecturing him, “Start with a laugh, Petey!”

Thank you, Liz, for being YOU!



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