Ever wonder “How to get my book reviewed”?

reading books
Book Reading/Image Source: Pixabay

So you’ve published your book. Its been edited and published, and now you’re trying to figure out how to get to your potential readers. While starting your marketing campaign usually happens well before your book is finished, getting your first reviews can’t begin until your book is done or in a final draft status.

Many stores won’t carry a small press or self-published book that doesn’t have reviews from a recognizable publication. So how do you get someone to pay attention to your book among all of the hundreds, if not thousands, of books they see every month?

City Book Review, publishers of the San Francisco Book Review, Manhattan Book Review and Kids’ BookBuzz all have programs to help you. Kids BookBuzz is only for kids, tweens and young adult books, but the other two will take almost any book you have (including children’s stories).

So how do you get your book reviewed by the San Francisco Book Review?

If your book is within 90 days of the publications date, you can submit it for general review (at no cost). The closer you are to the 90 days, the less of a chance it will have to be reviewed, but you can still begin there. The SFBR gets more than 1000 books a month, and only reviews 300 or less, so your chances of getting your book reviewed in this way is less than 33%. But you can give it a try and see if it gets reviewed.

General Submission Guidelineshttp://www.sanfranciscobookreview.com/submission-guidelines/general-submission/

If your book is more than 90 days past its publication date, or you really want to have it reviewed and don’t want to just hope it’ll get picked up through the general review, you can go through the Sponsored Review program. While there is some controversy about paying for a review, SFBR is a respected publication like Kirkus or Foreward Reviews and doesn’t provide vanity reviews for payment. You can expect the same level of professionalism from their standard reviews. And they don’t mark sponsored reviews any different than the other reviews.

Get My Book Reviewed from the San Francisco Book Reviewhttp://sanfranciscobookreview.com/submission-guidelines/sponsored-review/

Get My Book Reviewed from the San Francisco Book Review

There are a lot of different options for getting your book reviewed, mostly around how long it takes to get your review back, and if you want more than one or an interview as well.

  • Standard Reviews Take 8-10 weeks for turnaround from the time they receive your book Start at
  • Expedited Reviews Take 3-5 weeks for turnaround from the time they receive your book Start at
  • Get more than one review for the same book you’ll get a discount on the normal cost of 2 or 3 reviews. Reviews range in price from $150 to $299.
  • Getting a podcast interview for Audible Authors to promote yourself and your book, and you can add an interview to a review package at a discount.

And if you really like your review, you can have it posted on the other publication’s website for $99, or get a new review from a different reviewer. Both can help with your marketing and search engine optimization.

So how do you get your book reviewed by the Manhattan Book Review?

The Manhattan Book Review uses the same format for the San Francisco Book Review. Different audience, so if you’re an East Coast author, you might be more interested in having the credit from MBR over SFBR. Personal taste is the only difference between the two for reviews. If you are a local SF or Manhattan author, they will also flag that in your review.

General Review Submission Guidelines for the Manhattan Book Reviewhttp://manhattanbookreview.com/get-my-book-reviewed/general-submission/

Sponsored Review Submission Guidelines for the Manhattan Book Reviewhttp://manhattanbookreview.com/get-my-book-reviewed/sponsored-reviews/

So how do you get your book reviewed by Kids’ BookBuzz?

First thing, all of the reviews for Kids’ BookBuzz are done by kids. They are select age appropriate books, but the kids read them and write the reviews themselves. The younger kids have some help from their parents, but the words are all theirs. Don’t expect any easy reviews either. These kids see a lot of books, so they know good books when they read them.

General Submission Guidelines for Kids’ BookBuzzhttp://kidsbookbuzz.com/get-my-book-reviewed-by-a-kid/general-submission/

Sponsored Review Submission Guidelines for Kids’ BookBuzzhttp://kidsbookbuzz.com/get-my-book-reviewed-by-a-kid/sponsored-reviews/

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Natalie Babbitt dies; was author of ‘Tuck Everlasting’

(CNN)Natalie Babbitt, the children’s author and illustrator who explored immortality in her acclaimed book “Tuck Everlasting,” has died in her Connecticut home. She was 84.

 
 

 

Natalie

Babbitt’s husband, Samuel Babbitt, confirmed she died on Monday in Hamden, Connecticut. She had been diagnosed with lung cancer and was under hospice care at home when she died.
 
Babbitt wrote or illustrated more than 20 books, but she is perhaps best known for tackling the complex subject of death in her novel “Tuck Everlasting.”
The book follows 15-year-old Winnie Foster and the Tuck family, who has to come to terms with living forever after drinking from a spring that grants eternal life. The novel was made into a film in 1981 and inspired a Disney motion picture in 2002. It was also adapted into a stage musical.
 
Fans and the literary world remembered Babbitt’s work on Twitter.
Born and raised in Ohio, Babbitt grew up wanting to be an illustrator and went on to study art at Smith College.
In 1966, she collaborated with her husband on a children’s book called “The Forty-ninth Magician,” her first published work. While her husband, a university administrator, became too busy to continue writing, the book was only the beginning in Babbitt’s nearly 50-year career. Her last published work was “The Moon Over High Street” in 2012.
Babbitt received the Newbery Honor Medal, the American Library Association’s Notable Book designations, and The New York Times’ Best Book designations, among other awards for her work.

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/01/us/natalie-babbitt-dies-tuck-everlasting/index.html

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Get Your Reprint of Depero Futurista, One of the Worlds Most Iconic Design Books

In 1927, Fortunato Depero published a collection of his work that would become one of the most revered booksin the canon of design. The Italian artist and designer, who is also famed for his Campari bottle design, called his monographDepero Futurista—but most people know it as theBolted Book, on account of the two large aluminum bolts with which Depero bound its contents: 240 self-promotional pages oftypography, architecture, and product designs.

Some90 years later, the rare monograph is legendary in design circles. If you say Depero, the only thing I picture is that Bolted Book, which Ive never seen in real life, says Michael Bierut, a partner at Pentagram. Its this totemic thing that every graphic designer, even if they didnt study it directly or if theyve never seen it, is aware existed at one time. What copies do exist, when you can find them for sale,run thousands of dollars—but thanks to a new Kickstarter project from theCenter for Italian Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto, and the publishing house Designers &Books, Deperos famed book is getting a reprint, bolts and all.

Those bolts are important. Depero wanted his monograph to be interactive; the metal pins let readers dismantle the book and explore its contents piecemeal. In this way, the volume was more than a catalogue of Deperos work. He was creating a book as machine, says design critic Steven Heller, who served as a consultant on the project.

The books physicality reflected Deperos world view as an artist, as well. He belonged to the Futurists, an avant-garde artistic and social movement born out of early 20th century Italy that latched onto technology, machines, speed, war, and eventually fascism. The group was known for its wild manifestos, which addressed nearly every aspect of life. They wrote manifestos about everything,” says Raffaele Bedarida, an art historian at the Center for Italian Modern Art. Sex, love, money, war, advertising, and even food. They once wrote, We want to abolish spaghetti, Bedarida recalls. The goal was to shock.

The Futurists were also known for their creative breadth. Depero, for his part, was a classic multi-hyphenatea painter, sculptor, graphic designer, writer, composer, product designer, architect, and, above all else, a relentless advocate of his own work. In the Bolted Book he wrote: Self-promotion is not a vain, futile, or exaggerated expression of megalomania. It is instead the irrepressible need to let the public know, and fast, of ones creations and ideas.

Had hebeen born a century later, Depero almost certainly would have been on Instagram. He was constantly documenting his work, Bedarida says. His Campari bottle, for example, existed not just as a physical object, but in photographs, paintings, and advertisements. Its only fitting that the Bolted Book, a rare catalogue of his work, should find new life in a perfect facsimile, nearly a century after its original publication.

Read more: https://www.wired.com/2016/10/get-reprint-depero-futurista-one-worlds-iconic-design-books/

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LSE foreign academics told they will not be asked to advise on Brexit

Experts question legality under anti-discrimination laws as senior politicians criticise move as baffling

Leading foreign academics from the LSE acting as expert advisers to the UK government were told they would not be asked to contribute to government work and analysis on Brexit because they are not British nationals.

The news was met with outrage by many academics, while legal experts questioned whether it could be legal under anti-discrimination laws and senior politicians criticised it as bewildering.

It is utterly baffling that the government is turning down expert, independent advice on Brexit simply because someone is from another country, said Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrats EU spokesman.

This is yet more evidence of the Conservatives alarming embrace of petty chauvinism over rational policymaking.

The Foreign Office denied non-British nationals had been barred from the work, saying it had been misunderstood. The FCO regularly works with academic institutions to assist in its policy research and nothing has changed as a result of the referendum, a spokesman said.

It has always been the case that anyone working in the FCO may require security clearance depending on the nature and duration of their work. Britain is an outward-looking nation and we will continue to take advice from the best and brightest minds, regardless of nationality.

Sara Hagemann, an assistant professor at the London School of Economics who specialises in EU policymaking processes, EU treaty matters, the role of national parliaments and the consequences of EU enlargements, said she had been told her services would not be required. Hagemann tweeted on Thursday:

Sara Hagemann (@sarahagemann)

UK govt previously sought work& advice from best experts. Just told I & many colleagues no longer qualify as not UKcitizens #Brexit @LSEnews

October 6, 2016

Asked to clarify whether she was responding to speeches at the Conservative party conference pledging tough new immigration controls, Hagemann, who is Danish, said she had been informed specifically that she would not be contributing to any further government Brexit work.

It is understood up to nine LSE academics specialising in EU affairs have been briefing the Foreign Office on Brexit issues, but the school was informed by a senior FCO official that submissions from non-UK citizens would no longer be accepted. The staff group concerned were then made aware of the instruction.

One of the group is understood to be a dual national, with citizenship of both the UK and another EU member state.

The Foreign Office was said to be concerned about the risk of sensitive material being exposed as article 50 negotiations over Britains exit from the EU and subsequent talks on its future trade and other relations with the bloc start to get under way.

But Steve Peers, a professor of EU law at the University of Essex who has advised the government, said it should be perfectly possible to get useful input from some of the best-qualified people in the country without anything sensitive being revealed.

I dont really get the security or sensitivity argument, he said. Whatever the reasons, this will come across as hostile, narrow and xenophobic. He tweeted:

Steve Peers (@StevePeers)

One of the best EU political scientists in the country
What kind of know-nothing nativist govt rejects the expertise of all non-citizens? https://t.co/Dm6N0x51Lp

October 6, 2016

Legal experts questioned whether the FCO could be in breach of UK public procurement law by requiring the work be carried out by British nationals. Albert Sanchez Graells, a senior law lecturer at Bristol university, said it definitely would be if the work was in the context of a services contract.

AlbertSnchezGraells (@asanchezgraells)

@DavidAllenGreen if this was in context of a services contract, most definitely. I am happy to provide free legal opinion on this @LSEnews

October 7, 2016

Simon Cox, a migration lawyer at the Open Society Justice Initiative, said it might be possible for the government to legally restrict high-level advisers to British citizens, but added that the way the situation had been handled was beyond disrespectful, and in a worryingly xenophobic context.

The LSE said in statement that the government regularly called on its academics for advice, adding: We believe our academics, including non-UK nationals, have hugely valuable expertise which will be vital in this time of uncertainty around the UKs relationship with Europe and the rest of the world. Any changes to security measures are a matter for the UK government.

LSE interim director Prof Julia Black said in an internal school update memo on the matter that the world-renowned university stood by its academic principles of independence. You may have seen reports in the media that the Foreign Office have advised us that they will be issuing tenders to contract for advisory work, but that only UK nationals will be eligible to apply, she said in the memo, which was posted on Twitter.

Whilst the Foreign Office has long had a rule restricting the nationality of employees or secondees, the extension of the bar to advisory work seems to be new. However, it is for the Foreign Office to determine what its national security arrangements are, and their legality, not for us.

We are standing firm to our principles of academic independence and valuing our truly international community of scholars. We will continue to stand by our colleagues and we strongly value the work that you all do.

UK in a Changing Europe, a thinktank on UK-EU relations of which Hagemann is a senior fellow, said it believed there was a more pressing need than ever before for academic expertise to inform the multitude of difficult decisions to be taken in connection with Brexit and that it would continue to publish research whatever the nationality of the author.

Separately, the Guardian has learned that another EU national a migration specialist who asked not to be identified was approached by a private recruitment firm for a Foreign Office post for which she was well qualified, but informed after several conversations that only British citizens would be eligible.

European academics, who make up about 15% of research and teaching staff at British universities, responded with dismay. Jan Eichhorn, a fellow in social policy at Edinburgh university, tweeted: For the first time this makes me question whether it makes sense to continue working at a UK university as an EU policy-focussed academic.

The government has come under sustained fire over immigration since the Conservative conference when the home secretary, Amber Rudd, said it was considering requiring companies to declare the proportion of international staff in their workforce.

Ministers were said to want to see lists of companies published and those employers with the highest proportions of foreign staff named and shamed for not employing British people when they could.

Rudd, who was forced to defend herself on radio against allegations of xenophobia, also announced a crackdown on overseas students and work visas, and pledged to prevent migrants taking jobs British people could do.

Theresa May was also accused after her conference speech of stoking anti-immigrant sentiment in the country by playing to fears about the impact of foreign workers on jobs and wages.

The prime minister said the EU referendum result legitimised a tougher line on immigration and some people did not like to admit that British workers could find themselves out of work or on lower wages because of low-skilled immigration.

  • Producing in-depth, thoughtful, well-reported journalism is difficult and expensive – but supporting us isnt. If you value the the Guardians coverage of Brexit, please help to fund our journalism by becoming a supporter.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/oct/07/lse-brexit-non-uk-experts-foreign-academics

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A major newspaper ran an ad by genocide deniers. Kim Kardashian isnt having it.

Kim Kardashian is in the news again but wait!

It’s not something about the latest Kimoji cry faces or a celebrity feud. I promise, even if you don’t keep up with the Kardashians, you’ll want to read this.

In April 2016, The Wall Street Journal ran an ad by a group that denies the Armenian genocide ever happened.

This is a problem because the genocide, well … definitely happened. This is a fact.

Much like there are Holocaust deniers and 9/11 conspiracists, the Armenian genocide has been questioned and dismissed by people who, for whatever reason, prefer to believe fiction.

The group responsible for the Wall Street Journal ad fuels the fires of these outrageous, harmful lies.

Kardashian, who is of Armenian descent, responded with a full-page ad in The New York Times, penning a blistering attack of The Wall Street Journal’s decision to run the ad.

The letter which Kardashian originally shared on her website in April was published over the weekend, courtesy of the Armenian Educational Foundation.

“Its one thing when a crappy tabloid profits from a made-up scandal,” Kardashian wrote. “But for a trusted publication like WSJ to profit from genocide its shameful and unacceptable.”

For what it’s worth, The Wall Street Journal defended itself when criticism began pouring in, explaining that it accepts “a wide range of advertisements, including those with provocative viewpoints.”

As you can imagine, this explanation didn’t extinguish the fire when The Wall Street Journal first issued it months ago, and it likely won’t please too many people now that Kardashian’s rehashing the controversy.

This wasn’t a one-off move by Kardashian. She’s used her platform to speak out on the issue before.

Kardashian, whose ancestors escaped to America just before the genocide began, most notably used her fame to shine a light on the overlooked atrocity when “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” filmed an episode at the genocide memorial in Yerevan, Armenia, last year.

Because many parts of the world have forgotten about the horrors of the Armenian genocide, here are some important facts about the tragedy to remember:

1. The Armenian genocide lasted from 1915 to 1918 and killed about three-fourths of the Ottoman Empire’s Armenian population.

That’s about 1.5 million people who died at the hands of a state trying to exterminate an entire people within its borders, according to the Armenian National Institute.

How could something like this even happen?

2. The empire’s crumbling government became suspicious of Armenians leading up to and during World War I. It made them the perfect scapegoats.

As History.com notes, the relatively wealthy and educated Christian Armenians, a minority in the empire, stood out amongst their Muslim Turkish neighbors. This led to widespread resentment. And that resentment eventually led to state-sanctioned suspicion.

As the Ottoman Empire destabilized during the first world war, the ruling political party, which was fighting alongside Germany,believed Armenians would sympathize with the enemy. So officials began arresting and executing Armenians, many of whom were sent on “death marches” through the desert, where they’d eventually die from exposure and dehydration, The New York Times reported.

3. The genocide was part of a broader plan by officials in power to “Turkify” the region back to the way it was the good ole days, so to speak.

At the turn of the century, a new ruling government, the “Young Turks,” came to power with very strong nationalistic views. People who weren’t Turkish and especially those who were Christian were seen as a threat to these new “Turkification” efforts.

In other words, their plan was to Make the Ottoman Empire Great Again.

These new ideas of strength and nationalism left Armenians particularly vulnerable and helped justify the eventual extermination of 1.5 million people.

4. Sadly, some countries still do not officially recognize the mass killings as a genocide, including the U.S.

Although several individual U.S. states do, the federal government is hesitant to deem the Armenian genocide an actual genocide, the Los Angeles Times reported, worried that doing so would complicate our relationship with Turkey, an important NATO ally.

Turkey, of course, doesn’t want to confirm the horrors it unleashed back in 1915. So it has spent millions of dollars lobbying U.S. officials to keep up the status quo of denial.

Which makes Kardashian’s emphasis on simply telling the truth so much more compelling.

“Its totally morally irresponsible, and, most of all, its dangerous,” Kardashian wrote of The Wall Street Journal’s decision to publish the ad. “If this had been an ad denying the Holocaust, or pushing some 9/11 conspiracy theory, would it have made it to print?”

Isn’t it time we make this issue about the facts and not about politics?

“We have to be responsible for the message we pass on to our children,” Kardashian wrote. “We have to honor the truth in our history so that we protect their future. We have to do better than this.”

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/a-major-newspaper-ran-an-ad-by-genocide-deniers-kim-kardashian-isnt-having-it?c=tpstream

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This Secluded Library In The Woods Is Every Book Lovers Dream

Some people like to read books in cafes, or on the tube while commuting to work. Others like to read them in the quietest place they can find, somewhere that allows them to fully immerse themselves in the words without having the magic diluted by noise.


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If you’re one of those people then you’re going to love this secluded library retreat in the woods of New York State. It’s designed by US firm Studio Padron and it’s called the Hemmelig Rom (that’s Norwegian for “secret room” by the way). The 200 square meter black cabin is made from oak, and inside there’s a bed, an armchair, a desk, and even a wood-burning stove to keep you cozy while you curl up with a novel plucked from the book-lined shelves that surround you.

Hemmelig Rom or “secret room” is a secluded private library in upstate New York

 

It’s made from oak trees and surrounded by oak trees

 

The gaps between the oak logs inside form the bookshelves

 

A wood-burning stove keeps you cozy while you curl up with a novel

 

Wouldn’t you love to spend a night there?

 

Read more: http://www.boredpanda.com/secret-library-hemmelig-rom-jason-koxvold-studio-padron/

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Twins conjoined at birth prepare to start school – BBC News

Image copyright PA
Image caption Rosie (left) and Ruby Formosa needed an emergency operation to separate them in 2012

Twins who were born conjoined and given just a 20% chance of survival are preparing to start school.

Rosie and Ruby Formosa were joined at the abdomen and shared part of their intestine before they had an emergency operation to separate them in 2012.

Their mother, Angela Formosa, said the four-year-olds, from Bexleyheath in south-east London, were “very excited” to be starting school.

“Four years ago it wasn’t in my mind that this would ever happen,” she said.

“When I was pregnant I didn’t think I’d ever see their first day at school so it is really amazing and all thanks to Gosh [Great Ormond Street Hospital] really.”

 

‘Headstrong and determined’

Mrs Formosa said it was “heartbreaking” for her and their father Daniel Formosa when they discovered the girls had the rare medical condition, which occurs in one in every 200,000 live births.

The girls were born at University College Hospital in London by caesarean section in 2012 when Mrs Formosa was 34 weeks pregnant.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The girls were born joined at the abdomen and shared part of the intestine

Within a couple of hours of being born, they were taken to London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital for emergency surgery because of an intestinal blockage.

Mrs Formosa, 35, said it felt like “a million years” ago since she was waiting for the girls to come out of their surgery.

“The time has just flown by, I can’t believe how fast it has gone,” she said.

“They are very excited [about starting school]; their big sister is in school so they can’t wait. They’ve met their teacher a few times and they love their teacher. They’re looking forward to painting, anything messy, they love reading.

“They are very similar, they are very bubbly little girls, they are very headstrong and very determined, which I knew they were from when they were in my belly because of the way they kept growing and surviving.”

Image copyright PA
Image caption The twins celebrating their first birthday
Image copyright PA
Image caption The four-year-olds start school in September

Professor Paolo De Coppi, consultant paediatric surgeon at Gosh, said: “We’re thrilled that Rosie and Ruby are starting school this September.

“It’s always a joy to witness patients’ progress and to hear that they are reaching new milestones – this makes the job we do all the more rewarding.”

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-37217196

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Dont Worry, This Authors Got Our Dystopia All Figured Out

About a decade ago, the author Alexander Weinstein suffered an unexpectedly affecting loss: His computer died, taking with it years of his creative work. “I was deeply upset,” says the 39-year-old writer and instructor. “Around the same time, a lot of my students were getting iPhones, and talking about how much they loved themsaying that, if they lost anything, please dont let it be their iPhones. I got the sense that we were all starting to forge this very deep emotional connection with technology.”

Weinstein’s response came in the form of a short story, “Saying Goodbye to Yang,” which is now the first entry in his future-shocked, surprisingly moving, thoroughly excellent new speculative-fiction collection, Children of the New World. “Yang”which, like many of the pieces in the book, takes place between 2o to 30 years in the futurefollows a young middle-class couple whose aloof robot-son has suddenly gone on the fritz (they know something’s wrong when, one morning over breakfast, Yang repeatedly bangs his head into his Cheerios). Their relationship with the mechanical kid had always been a bit clinical, almost perfunctory: “He came to us fully programmed,” notes the narrator-dad, “[and] there wasn’t a baseball game, pizza slice, bicycle ride, or movie I couldn’t introduce to him.” But when faced with the option of tossing him into the scrap heap, the loss is almost too much to bear; for a robot, Yang had become awfully life-like. Eventually, they bury him in the backyard, but stick his voicebox in the living room, just to hear him talk.

Children of the New World is full of tales like thisdeeply empathetic, sneakily funny, and clearly concerned about the ever-fuzzing line between our minds, our hearts, and our gadgets; it’s a little bit Kafka, and a little bit Kaufman. And even though the future Children imagines is occasionally pushed to the brink of bleaknessWeinstein wrote it over the last decade, a period that saw such disasters as the BP oil spill and the Flint water crisisthe book is hardly a collection of tsk-tsking, glum parables. Instead, it roots for its characters, and its readers, by presenting a dystopia that’s perhaps inevitable, yet also conquerable.

 


Jessica Spilos

“These are warning stories that say, ‘Please, lets not head into this future’even though, in many ways, we seem to be going there already,” says Weinstein, who lives in Michigan, and who serves as director of the Marthas Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing. “That said, my hope is that they carry the hopefulness of humanity. A lot of my characters are good people trying to discover what it means to be human.”

The Future of Monkind

One of the reasons Children of the New World is so unsettling is because the yet-to-be society it envisions feels dangerously close to our ownespecially when it comes the book’s made-up technology. Like the all-too-human A.I. in Spike Jonze’s 2013 drama Her, or the subconscious-spelunking devices in Kathryn Bigelow’s 1995 sci-fi thrillerStrange Days, the gizmos in Children, and their various applications, feel just a few generations or iterations away from what we already have. In “Fall Line,” a former skiing champ, felled by a brutal injury, recounts the years he spent broadcasting first-person footage of nearly every moment of his day, from the slopes to the bedroom, via a contact-lens camera. “Children of the New World,” meanwhile, deals with parents who immerse themselves in a virtual-reality world where their children exist solely as digital creationsand who must decide whether or not to “delete” the kids after a virus tears through their cyber-constructed world. And “Moshka” follows a likably naive world-traveler who seeks out a synthetic form of enlightenment; he finds it in a run-down back-room joint in Nepal, where he’s seated in an old beauty salon chair, and hooked up to a consciousness-altering device powered by “gutted laptops, stray mice, and a cluster of computer towers interconnected by cables.”

It’s already an extension of where we’re headed, since the rewards system that Pokmon Go works on tells us that we should always be on: ‘Even if you go for a walk in the woods, make sure you have your phone, because there might be a Pokmon out there.’ That replacement of the natural world with the wireless online, streamlined world is what I’m talking about in these stories.Alexander Weinstein

That mix of high- and low-tech gives Children an extra layer of plausibility; even when the stories tilt toward absurdity, they feel grounded in some sort of reality, no matter how far-off. But while Weinstein notes that he’s on his iPhone just as frequently as the rest of us, he’s not a hardware-savvy futurist. “I dont do a lot of research,” he says. “Really, the research comes from my own failings at using technology. Ill notice the awkward mistakes Im making on my phone, and that will lead to me thinking, ‘Ah, maybe some kind of implant would make this easier.’ And my friends know that I write these stories, so they send me horrifying news links about new skin-grafts, or putting eye-screens in contact lenses, and those will often give me new ideas.”

And, for a book about the ease with which we give ourselves over to such technologies, the release of Children is especially well-timed: Earlier this summer, Weinstein watched as millions of people around immersed themselves in the world in Pokmon Go, with some players getting so wrapped up in the game, they wound up falling down ditches or crashing their car into a tree.

“It was wild,” says Weinstein. “All of a sudden, you had these metaphors for zombiehood, with whole streets full of people wandering around, looking at their phone. It’s already an extension of where we’re headed, since the rewards system that Pokmon works on tells us that we should always be on: ‘Even if you go for a walk in the woods, make sure you have your phone, because there might be a Pokmon out there.’ That replacement of the natural world with the wireless online, streamlined world is what I’m talking about in these stories.”

A New Hope

One of the closing entries of Children of the New World is the jarring “Rocket Night,” a four-and-a-half-page, almost giddily dark account of an annual elementary-school event in which students, parents, and teachers place the least-popular kid in a rocket, and then blast him or her into space. The story’s notable not only for its casual, almost comically banal portrayal of group-think gone awryits length and leeriness make it a clear descendent of Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”but also because it’s one of the few stories in Children in which people turn against each other, and in which mood and setting shift from dystopic to nearly post-apocyalptic. For the most part,Weinstein’s characters are either trying to redefine, or even reclaim, their humanity, despite having nearly surrendered to technology. The skier in “Fall Line” eventually takes to the mountains again; the grieving couple in “Children of the New World” join a support group for other parents who’ve suffered loss in the virtual world. The men and women of Children may remain beholden to their contraptions, but they’re increasingly dependent on each other, as well.

“They all want to create community or family connections again,” Weinstein says. “In that way, I don’t think the book is dystopian as much as it is hopeful. Kindness, love, and compassion are still very necessary components in what it means to be human.” And, in a book like this, they’re also reminders that, no matter how crazy or terrifying the future might be, at least we’ll stare it down together.

Read more: https://www.wired.com/2016/09/dont-worry-authors-got-dystopia-figured/

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How ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ betrays Hermione’s legacy

Emma Watson in character as Hermione Granger

Image: warner brothers

Whether you loved Harry Potter and the Cursed Child or wanted to stab it with a basilisk fang, it’s obvious right off the bat the tale is not really J.K. Rowling’s. It says so right on the cover. Playwright Jack Thorne was the man primarily entrusted with showing us a glimpse into Harry Potters future. Instead, by deflating and devaluing every female character, he blasted Harry 70 years into the past.

Reading Cursed Child casts the complexity and diversity of Rowlings original characters into high relief. Jo gave us brainy women, sporty women, delusional women, motherly women, women who only talked about Nargles, women who were also ghosts the list goes on. They all seemed real, not because Rowling was trying to jam a message down our throats, but because she gave us a full world and women, you know, happen to be an equal part of it. As the pages of Cursed Child flip by, however, these full, complete women we know so well start to fade. They become two-dimensional shadows of their former selves who only store feelings or opinions that help to facilitate our male heroes (Harry Potter and his second son Albus) emotional journey. Their strong voices become whispers. Hermione Granger would never stand for this shit.

Perhaps thats why Thorne cast Reducto on her character. Right away, we learn that our frizzy-haired, buck-toothed, original DGAF boss bitch grows up to be the Minister of Magic. Thorne then shows her spending the majority of her time having to remind people that shes the Minister of Friggin Magic. Her male peers ignore her voice and disregard her authority in every interaction. We meet the modern Hermione while she is nudging Harry to do the bare minimum of his work responsibilities (shes been carrying his ass since Year 1 at Hogwarts), and it is not until she reminds him that shes his boss and the longstandingMinister of Magic that he begrudgingly agrees to do his job.

Later, Harry and Draco Malfoy usurp a meeting Hermione calls, interrupting and speaking over the Minister of Magic in her office. Again, we have to watch Our Lady Granger remind the men in her life, Hey, hi, Im the LEADER OF YOUR PEOPLE. She holds the highest ranking government office and still she has to ask for respect. The issue is not whether or not this would happen in the real world (ask Hillary in November), its that weve never seen casual sexism like this before in the Harry Potter world. Thorne certainly wasnt stepping on Hermiones words purposely; he was probably just focusing on moving along Harrys plotline. But the carelessness with which he treated the depiction of a woman in power makes clear the biggest problem with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: we can tell its written by a man when we shouldnt feel the writers presence at all. The magical world we adore has suddenly been filtered through a particularly narrow male perspective and unfortunately hes just getting started.

The result of all this is Harry Potter and the Male Gaze: A parade of irresponsible depictions of flat women who had their souls Dementors Kissed right out of them.

Nothing feels more offensive to Hermiones legacy than an alternate reality (Cursed Child is all about time travel gone wrong) in which Hermione does not become Minister of Magic, but instead a malicious, shrew-like, even frizzier-haired Defense Against the Darks Arts teacher at Hogwarts. And it’s all because she didnt marry Ron. While partners are wonderful support unicorns who can challenge you to follow your dreams and be a better person, the implication that a woman owes her success to her husband is a tired and insulting trope that deserves to die in a fiery blaze of Avada Kedavra.

Hermione was so ambitious at 13 that she and Dumbledore broke wizarding laws so she could take more classes. No amount of pining could stop this hard-working witch from achieving her dreams. If only Thorne had stopped to think about his female characters for a second, he would have realized how deeply offensive this scenario is. It is demeaning to imply that Hermione needs Ron to be likable (see also: every rom-com about a neurotic professional woman) or more attractive (see also: every rom-com ever). It’s damaging and disappointing to undermine her earned professional accomplishments when she is a role model to so many.

Unfortunately, Thorne didn’t just ruin Hermione. Ginny, the bold and independent Quidditch lover has, as Harrys wife, been reduced to a human shruggie. Oh, Harrys making profoundly damaging parenting decisions without even thinking to consult me? \_()_/ Minerva McGonagall, the woman who held Hogwarts to the last, is suddenly cowed and intimidated by Harry Potters mid-temper tantrum threats. The Hogwarts Express Witch is comically inept and Hermiones daughter Rose is a boring stereotype of a popular teenage girl.

The sole new female character, Delphi, is a twenty-something who spends her time flirting with the moody 14-year-old Albus. Even when you get to the end of the script and understand her motives, the flirting feels more like Thorne bringing his inner emotional teens sexy dream to life than making a necessary plot choice. The result of all this is Harry Potter and the Male Gaze: A parade of irresponsible depictions of flat women who had their souls Dementors Kissed right out of them.

These are not the characters Rowling gave us. Jo gave us women who mattered, who had voices even when they disagreed with men. Thorne gave us women with meek words whose personalities changed and disappeared and betrayed past growth to facilitate Harrys plotline at key moments, women who had been whittled down from their complexities to their conveniences. Thats more than just lazy writing; its disrespectful to the franchise and complicit in the real life, centuries-old epidemic of damaging underrepresentation. Cursed Child isnt worthy of the Harry Potter name. The women characters we’ve known for nearly 20 years would have some choice words for Thornes negligently sexist fanfiction words like Incendio. Expulso. And Shut. It. Down.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2016/08/17/harry-potter-cursed-child-female-characters/

‘People are hungry for real bookstores’: Judy Blume on why US indie booksellers are growing

At 78, the multimillion-selling author has begun a new career, opening her own bookshop and joining a business sector thats flourishing again in the US

She might be a beloved and bestselling author of classic childrens books from Forever to Blubber, but Judy Blume says she wakes up every day and I look to the sky, and I say, whoevers up there, I thank you for not having to write today.

Blume doesnt have to write because, at 78, she has embarked on a new career: shes an independent bookseller. Together with her husband, George Cooper, she has opened a small, nonprofit bookshop in Key West, Florida, where shes working almost every day. And shes loving it. She had planned to take a gap year after she finished writing and promoting her last novel, In the Unlikely Event. I was going to relax and read and have this whole time with no pressure. And then bingo the chance comes along to open a bookshop, and there you go. I guess I like that in my life To learn something new like this, at 78, makes it all the more exciting.

Blume and Cooper had been urging Mitchell Kaplan, founder of independent book chain Books & Books, to open a bookshop in Key West for years. He told them that if they could find a space, he would partner with them. They found a corner store, part of a large deco building , and with help from Kaplan and his team, Books & Books @ the Studios of Key West opened in February.

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A very satisfying experience … Judy Blume behind the tills at Books & Books @ Key West. Photograph: Penguin Random House

Weve done better than anyone, including Mitch, thought we could do, says Blume, down the line from Florida. It has been a very satisfying experience Writing In the Unlikely Event took five years it was very long and difficult and complicated. This is just a great change for me, and I am enjoying it so much.

Customers, she says, sometimes recognise her an author who has sold more than 80m books around the world and theyre completely taken aback, especially if Im sitting there dusting the shelves. Im pretty good at recommendations Im good in the kids department for sure. I read all the picture books when they come in. And I can lead people to what they want, although Ive not read as many of our books as some of our volunteers [the store has two paid employees, as well as Cooper, Blume and a series of volunteers]. Im trying really hard to keep up. Its like Christmas every day, working here.

Business for independent bookstores in America in general, is going well, Blume believes. I just think people are so hungry for a real bookstore again. So many people live in places where there isnt one Its not just us doing well. A lot of independent booksellers are.

The figures back her up. At BookExpo America last week, the American Booksellers Association announced that for the seventh year in a row, its bookstore membership has gone up, to 1,775 members operating in 2,311 locations, up from 1,401 members operating in 1,651 locations in 2009. The lions share of these are independents, says the ABA: in 2015, sales for independent booksellers were up just over 10%, and are remaining strong in 2016. In the UK by contrast, the Booksellers Association recorded 894 independent bookshops in 2015, a decrease of 3% from 2014. A decade ago, there were more than 1,500.

Independent bookselling in the US is continuing not just to grow, but to thrive, says ABA chief executive Oren Teicher, who attributes the growth to various factors: the localism movement, which is exploding, and we are benefiting from that; booksellers getting smarter at using technology; publishers increasing acknowledgment that customers discover books in bricks and mortar locations [so] our colleagues in publishing have figured out that they need bricks and mortar stores as much as we need their books; and the growing role of the bookseller as curator, in a world flooded with new titles.

The resurgence of print has also helped, says Teicher. A recent report in the UK revealed that in 2015, sales of printed books were up by 0.4% to 2.76bn, while ebook sales fell for the first time in the seven years the Publishers Association has tracked them, down 1.6% to 554m in 2015. In the US, the Association of American Publishers reported last month that while overall sales for consumer books were up 0.8% to $7.2bn (4.9bn) in 2015, ebook sales declined, down 9.5% in adult books and 43.3% in children and young adult titles.

Five years ago in the American book business, there was a widespread panic that somehow digital reading was going to replace physical books and they would be a relic of some other time and place. Fast forward to today, and I think digital reading has levelled off and calmed down slightly. Its going to be a piece of our business, but print books arent going away. Were living in a hybrid world, says Teicher.

Added together, these ingredients make the recipe for our success, says Teicher. But there is still a very modest margin in books, and people have to work really hard. We have significant challenges before us, clouds on the horizon that could interfere with our success.

These range from pressure on wages and rents, he says, to the 1,000lb gorilla the continued growth of online shopping. But independents are extraordinarily resilient, he says. If I had a penny for every time weve been counted out, Id be a pretty rich guy today.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/may/20/people-are-hungry-for-real-bookstores-judy-blume-on-why-us-indie-booksellers-are-thriving