Viewing entries tagged
book reviews

Book Talk: The Book Itch by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie

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Book Talk: The Book Itch by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie

I also had a chance to give a book talk on a special book that I recently read--The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth, and Harlem's Greatest Bookstore. It's book that represents my desire to see publishers publish more diverse books to more fully represent kid readers of various backgrounds. It is also a book that touches on my favorite period of American history--the Harlem Renaissance. And it represents one of my favorite places to hang: the local indie bookstore.

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2016: Reading in Review

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2016: Reading in Review

My personal reading this year has been specifically targeted toward reading more ethnically diverse books. I am on a mission to figure out who I am going to be as a book publishing professional in light of what I see in our American culture. (You can read more about my mission here.) With all the gathering of stories, characters, platforms, ideologies, and perspectives, I don’t have words yet for how I feel like I have been shaped, emboldened, or propelled by what I’ve read.

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Women's History Month Profile: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie—Writing to Power

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Women's History Month Profile: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie—Writing to Power

Adichie tells the story of a Nigerian family under the oppression of a fanatically religious father. The story is told through the sensitive eyes of fifteen-year-old Kambili. The wealthy and privileged family consists of father, Eugene; mother, Beatrice; elder son, Jaja; and younger daughter Kambili. They are members of the Igbo tribe and live in Enugu. Despite his tyrannical rule over his family, Eugene is known an upstanding businessman and kind-hearted, generous philanthropist who gives to widows, pays tuition for over one hundred poor children, and funds the efforts of his local Catholic church.

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30+ Ways to Show Your Favorite Author Some Love

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30+ Ways to Show Your Favorite Author Some Love

So do you really love the writing in that book you're reading? Are you so engrossed in the story that you forget you are actually reading? Has this book challenged you to live a better life? Give more? Work harder? Go the distance when you first thought you should quit? Take that leap of faith? Yes? Well, you need to get off your duff and show some love!

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Are Book Bloggers Becoming Like the Radio DJs of the 50s and 60s?

Once again I pose a question that links my two worlds: music and books.

I was reading in The Indie Band Survival Guide (yes, I am eating this book for breakfast) that radio DJs used to be paid by recording companies to place new music from their recording artists into their daily rotation (or playlist). Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about. You’ve heard of payola. Artists became overnight sensations and their songs instant hits just because their record company had the clout and money to pay enough major-media-market DJs to play their singles. This scenario was portrayed in the Tom Hanks' movie That Thing You Do. Supposedly there were laws passed once the practice got way out of hand, and paying DJs to play certain music was outlawed. According to the book, paying DJs still goes on but through third party promoters, advertisements, and gifting stations with things like vans and concert tickets. Rules are made to be…bent, I guess.

Of course I would never accuse my industry of doing any sort of behavior that would bring its integrity into question. I am only acknowledging the growing influence of book bloggers. I am beginning to see sprinkles of comments on Twitter about publishers needing to send chocolate with their ARCs to “encourage” bloggers to do reviews—and even to do them on a timely basis that coincides with the book’s release. I don't know that they ever get chocolate, but how is that much different than editors being sent sweet treats and being taken out for lunch or dinner? However, I am sure that most publishers are like mine in that they have strict policies about receiving or accepting gifts from clients. I wonder if those kinds of boundaries will need to be in place for book reviewers.

With the Net taking over every form of communication, book bloggers wield some hard-to-match marketing power—for little or nothing. Their opinions and recommendations are revered for their straightforwardness and honesty, and readers buy based on their recs. Many of them have their reviews set up to be automatically posted to Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon.com. So if they say a book is good, then a book is good. If not, well… Hundreds and thousands of potential readers are all at once able to be influenced by what they have to say.

Publishers and authors are becoming more aware of what book review bloggers can do for the sales of their books. My own publishing house has started a book blogger clubThomas Nelson has BookSneeze, and I’m sure other publishers have them as well.

I wonder if any of them have gone beyond offering free books to get book bloggers to feature their books on their sites. On a side note: I wonder if publishers ever use comments from the more popular book bloggers on back cover copy.

What do you think? What have you heard?

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