Friday, April 1, 2011

Free for All Friday, April 1

It's been a minute since I've done a Free for All Friday so I thought I'd take a break from book reviews and throw a few things out there.  If you're like me, you start thinking about Friday as soon as Sunday rolls around, so you'll forgive me for my friend to the left doing the "Thank God It's Friday" dance on my behalf.  Let's start with the most "are you freaking kidding me" thing I've seen this week.

What happens when an author reads a review of his or her book and doesn't like it?  From what I know of the authors I talk to, they may take it personally, but rarely do they ever attack the reviewer.  In other words, "everythang ain't for everybody." So if a reviewer likes your book, fine.  If not, someone else does so whatevs, right?  Well self-published author Jacqueline Howett read a blogger's review over at Big Al's Books and Pals and didn't care for his review.  In all fairness, the blogger did say he liked the story line, his issue was with the number of typos and grammatical errors, which made it difficult to read.

What started with the author pointing out all of the good reviews of her books quickly evolved into her dropping several F bombs.  At some point either common sense (or her publicist) reeled her in and the madness ended.  Well, it really didn't.  When I first read the post, there were maybe 27 comments.  As of Wednesday, it was up to 307.  It was also revealed that several publishing houses troll book blogs looking for self-published works that might be worth signing.  So now the author has not only lost credibility in the blogging community, but in the publishing community as well.  The link to the blog has been retweeted, linked on Facebook and on Amazon.  Several commenters noted that while they might have purchased the book, even with the review given, there was no way they would do so now.  And the blog that had 15 followers on Monday now has 771.  You tell me who's having the best week ever.

In other "what in the entire hell" news, @sarahsosincere sent me the link to a story about a middle-aged, suburban, white father of three that writes street lit for black and Latino youth.  Paul Langan defends his writing by saying that as someone that has spent time with disadvantaged youth (yes, a summer in 1997 was all it took), he thought he'd write lit that they could relate to to help them improve their reading skills.  Okay, fine, you want to dumb down books for kids that are reading below their grade level, I'm good with that.  What I'm NOT good with is you writing lit about gang bangers, teen pregnancy, etc. as if those are the only  topics to which this kids could relate. What say you? Should we feed kids garbage and just be happy that they're eating?

The books would feature black and Latino characters, and the characters’ conflicts and choices would ultimately model positive decision-making. The books would be written at a level that struggling middle and high schoolers could read (fifth grade), about topics they would want to read about (guns, theft, pregnancy), for a price they would pay ($1). source

In happier book news, a group of your favorite authors (and mine) have gotten together and created A Chapter A Month.  What's that?

No more waiting for a year to hear from your favorite author. Now you have us inside this amazing new experience where reading meets the brave new digital world. As a reader, you will enjoy fresh, exciting chapters every month as we reveal our stories to you one chapter at a time. You will travel with us on our writing journeys and watch our novels come to life on paper...and beyond. Each month the authors will offer you something behind the pages - whether it's a live interview with your favorite character or an ask-the-author-anything session, on this website it's more than just the story.

You will be able to download the stories to your e-readers, iPads, iPods, Smart Phones and personal computers.

If you're excited like I am, you'll like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter and check out their website for the April 4 debut.

Reading challenge updates
Of the 144 books I've committed myself to reading this year, I'm up to 33.  My goal is to read at least 12 each month, so I'm close, but just a little behind. 

For the Colorful Chick Lit Challenge, my goal is 12 or more books featuring women of color.  So far I'm up to nine.  It's been fun reading about women from different cultures and I'll be at my goal before June, but  I'm always looking for suggestions.

So thoughts, comments, feedback? Is it okay for authors to attack reviewers or should they have thicker skin? Is street lit acceptable for your kid or others? Whose down for a chapter a month? And how are your reading challenges going?

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