Etc.

A 2024 announcement

Hello dear readers! I’m writing today to say that I won’t be doing the Book a Week blog in 2024. I have a few reasons why, if you’ll indulge me.

1. I enjoyed sharing my reading adventures with you, but I realized that it was affecting my book selections — and not just because I matched my nail polish to the covers! I would think “how will this work on the site” when picking my next book, which sucks some of the joy out of reading. There are also books I want to read but not talk about in depth.

2. I revived the blog to spur my creative writing again, and it’s worked. Hooray! But it’s also taking up time that I want to spend on [deep breath in] the novel I’m working on [deep breath out]. That’s not to say I’ll finish it, or that it will sell if I do, but I’ve been noodling with this idea since 2021, and decided it’s time to run with it.

That doesn’t mean book reviews will go away entirely. I’ll be including short reviews on my Notes from a Hired Pen newsletter. I recently move that over to WordPress and am going […]

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Friday Folio: November 10, 2023

Steve Martin reacted to one of his books being banned in a school district in Florida in a very Steve Martin way.

Not only are books being pulled from libraries, but libraries are being de-funded. As much as I’d like to see this bullshit stop because the book banning crowd got trounced in elections this week…I’m not holding my breath. This all sucks.

Also sucks: sexism in birding books!

But in better news! There’s a new romance bookstore coming to the Twin Cities hooray! h/t to Smart Bitches Trashy Romances for that one.

November is Indigenous People’s month, so here’s Book Riot’s list of 12 memoirs by Indigenous people.

I don’t think I have it in me to listen to Barbra Streisand’s memoir, which is 48 hours long (!!!!), but here’s The Washington Post Review.

And on that note, I’m headed across the Atlantic for some literary-themed R&R (I planned part of this trip before my dog died, then extended it after. Because why not). I will be reading of course, and plan to pick up whatever I’m reading next in the UK. I may post while I’m gone. I may not. But as always, you can keep […]

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Friday Folio: November 3, 2023

Before I get to the book news: this fine looking pup is my first foster dog Walle. He’s a one year old chi mix (though I suspect some terrier too) who is staying with me until next Friday, to give him a shelter break while he undergoes heart worm treatment. If you’re interested in Walle, he’ll be up for adoption via the Animal Welfare Association in Voorhees, N.J. either in late November or December, depending on how his treatments go (he’s LOVELY but I know he’s not my dog, which is probably good for my first foster).

Anyway! The New York Times is reporting that three people helped Britney Spears with her memoir. I have no problem with anyone using a ghost writer. It’s more work for us! But that sounds complicated. It clearly worked though: the book sold 1.1 million copies in one week, via BookRiot.

Want a peek at Stephen King’s library? The Washington Post has you covered.

Book challenges are still surging, as outlined in this Publisher’s Weekly report. Related: some asshole school candidate pretended to be a fake medical society to get books banned, via The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Here’s a very cool interactive […]

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Friday Folio: October 27, 2023

Well let’s see if we can pick this back up again.

The New York Times looked at how Britney Spears is promoting her memoir – not the usual ways, but through Instagram. I noticed that she did an “interview” with People magazine where she emailed comments. As a journalist, I get why that’s frustrating. But she’s Britney. She can do what she wants!

The Washington Post looked at both the book and TV adaptation of Lessons in Chemistry. I bought the book so I can read it before I watch. So stay tuned for my thoughts!

Smart Bitches Trashy Books has launched a new podcast that looks back old issues of Romantic Times. VERY fun.

Less fun but important: Book Riot has a round up of book censorship news.

YouGov did a survey on how many books Americans own, and how we organize them.

And because I have obviously been Going Through It, here’s a round up of five books about managing stress and anxiety.

 

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Friday Folio: August 25, 2023

Stephen King has some things to say about his books being used to train AI, via The Atlantic.

Here are the 13 most banned books in the country, per the American Library Association.

Speaking of, hundreds of complaints about books in Florida are coming mostly from two people, the Tampa Bay Times found.

Fuck em. them has a round up of LGBTQ+ books to read this fall. Let’s read them all! (or at least read what Zach Wilcha tell us to in his newsletter).

Pop Culture Happy Hour did another episode on books they love.

Happen to have $25 million lying around? You could buy some rare books, if you’d like. I may be more inclined to use that money towards feeding people, and filling abortion fund coffers, but I’d leave enough to go to buying and moving this Princeton mid-century modern home.

Can you help a bitch out — in trying to name this romance novel? My favorite recurring feature on Smart Bitches Trashy Books.

Reminder that as we turn into fall (oy!) that it’s almost library book sale season. Haddonfield, N.J.’s is September 8 and 9 this year.

And this isn’t exactly book related, […]

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Friday Folio: August 18, 2023

Book banning is bad enough, but using ChatGPT to do it? Double appalling, Iowa.

Tor has an interesting piece on books you’ll never read again — and not because you hated them.

I missed that The Salt Path by Raynor Winn, which is so good it makes me want to quit writing, is being turned into a movie. Don’t mess it up!

Via Publisher’s Weekly: “Marjane Starapi is Done With Comics, but Never Art or Revolution.”

Them has a run down of all the queer books Isaac reads in the series Heartstopper.

The Washington Post looked into the threat AI poses to audiobook narrators.

I’m not going to get into all the Blind Side news, but since this came up in the comments on my last post, I am going to link to Michael Lewis’ statement on it, which is not great. What an absolute mess.

Photo taken by me on August 17, 2023 in Haddon Heights, N.J.

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Friday Folio: August 11, 2023

I’m back — well I’ve been back, but but I’m back to book news. Let’s get on with it.

The Washington Post did an explainer about hockey romance, and what’s going on with it right now. It’s not my preferred kind of romance, so I can’t comment, but it’s nice that they put resources to treating romance seriously.

Bookriot on why we should read old school romance.

Scammers were using AI to create books, put them under an established author’s name, and sell them on Amazon. After people screamed about how wrong it is, Amazon finally took them down.

Are books a way to stop being distracted by devices? I use them that way. Via the Wall Street Journal.

Speaking of AI, I knew a few writers whose books were fed into AI without their permission/knowledge/etc. to create the site Prosecraft, which claimed to give metrics to author’s works. Of COURSE everyone screamed about this too, and he took it down, but so far I haven’t seen anything about him undoing the part where he fed them into AI. I’m sure we’re going to find out because one of the authors he stole from is Nora Roberts. She does […]

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Friday Folio: July 7, 2023

Great piece in High Country News: “Let’s talk about Indian romance novels.”

Two authors have filed a lawsuit against OpenAI for training ChatGPT with their work. Good!

NASCAR shut down Chicago for a race which was…bizarre. It also hurt local businesses, including a bookstore. Their customers came to the rescue.

Are you looking to buy library bookshelves? Then this is for you! My mom grabbed a card catalog cabinet from my grade school when it closed. She made a small donation to the church for it. She could sell it for…a lot right now.

The Washington Post made predictions about Obama’s summer book list.

And with that…I’m out! Time to drive across the desert! There most likely won’t be a Friday Folio next week as I will be busy with a certain giant mouse (or duck – he’s my fav).

Photo taken by me at Petrified Forest National Park on July 5, 2023.

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Friday Folio: June 30, 2023

News? News!

The New York Times on review bombing (I don’t read reviews of my books on Amazon or Goodreads. So if you left a bad one — oh well!)

Remember that woman who was charged with the murder of her husband and wrote a book about grief? She’s being sued too.

The Washington Post takes a look at the racist literary origins of Indiana Jones.

Not surprising but still terrible: books bans are driving kids away from libraries and reading, via Book Riot.

And I’ll send on some good news before I head out to my next stop: The USA Today best seller list is back.

Photo by me, taken on June 29, 2023, at the Goshen Road Rest Area in Opdyke, Illinois, which had a little surprise trail.

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Friday Folio: June 23, 2023

What do you do if your house is overflowing with books? via Lit Hub (a thing I think about OFTEN)

Fabio has thoughts about modern day romance novels, apparently.

Bookforum is returning.

I don’t put too much stock in celebrity book club picks (though please, pick mine!!!) — but here’s a round up, if you’re so inclined (this is from Penguin Randomhouse, full disclosure).

Book Riot has an overview of the life of Nora Roberts, in case you didn’t know!

And a note from me: I’m about to head off on a cross country (and back!) road trip. I have a biography to review here shortly, and then…I’m not sure how often I’ll be posting. Most of the books I’m packing are short, mass market paperbacks (easier to carry that way) so I’ll review them when I can, even if I write them a bit after I read the book. If you’d like to keep up with my trip, I suggest following me on Instagram.

Photo taken by me on June 22, 2023, at Little Free Library #79577.

 

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