The revered producer has been at the centre of pop since the days of Roxy Music. But dont ask him about the past hes more interested in how to reorder society
Brian Enos new album is called Reflection, and what better time to reflect on an astonishing career? Or careers. Theres the first incarnation of Eno as the leopardskin-shirted synth-twiddler who overshadowed the more obviously mannered Bryan Ferry in Roxy Music. With his shoulder-length hair and androgynous beauty, there was something otherworldly about Eno. He was as preposterous as he was cool. So cool that, back then, he didnt bother with a first name.
After two wonderfully adventurous albums he left and Roxy became more conventional. There followed a sustained solo career, starting with the more poppy Here Come the Warm Jets, progressing to the defiant obscurity of his ambient albums and on to commercial Eno, the revered producer behind many of the great Bowie, Talking Heads, U2 and Coldplay records.
There is Eno the visionary, who helped conceive a 10,000-year clock and invented an influential pack of cards called Oblique Strategies that offer creative solutions for people inapickle. There is Eno the visual artist;Eno the activist, tirelessly campaigning for a fairer world; and Eno the philosopher, endlessly thinking of ways in which to bring thisnew world about.
We meet at his studio, near Notting Hill in west London. It is a mix of the minimalist and maximalist. Minimalist in its big white empty spaces, maximalist in the numerous books carefully filed away (library-like sections for African, Asian and European art), old-fashioned hi-fi equipment, a parked bike, and his own Rothko-ish artworks.
Eno, now 68, could not look more different from the louche glamour-puss of the early 70s. As his music became more pared down, so did he. The head was shaved, the makeup washed off and the feather boa dispensed with. Nowadays, he looks like a stylish academic.
His assistant asks me to join Eno athis table. Ill just be 40 seconds, finishing off my lunch, Eno says. He takes a mouthful of fruit salad. Just 30seconds now. There has always been something fastidious about him. His interviews tend to be 45 minutes long precisely. One journalist said that Eno had interrupted their chat to play him an Elvis Presley record that lasted two minutes and seven seconds, and then added two minutes and seven seconds to the interview sothe journalist wouldnt be shortchanged. At the same time, Eno loves to embrace the random. As a producer, he encourages artists to pick up Oblique Strategies cards to alter the path they are taking. Itell him I have brought a pack with me in case we find ourselves struggling. He smiles, flashing a gold tooth. That will be just the job, I should think, he says.
Regular readers of Bored Panda will no doubt be familiar with obvious plant. Previously he’s given us hilarious self-help books, fake animal facts, and funny shopping tips. He’s also been known to troll IKEA. Now the joker is back, and this time he’s pranking holiday makers. He left a fake guest book in a Florida Airbnb asking people what brought them to the state. “Email us a picture from your vacation and we’ll add you to the book,” reads the front cover. As you can see however, this isn’t your ordinary kind of guest book! Don’t forget to vote for the funniest entry.
The author of Diary of a Wimpy Kid on long walks, hot tubs and a productive trip to Iceland
Ive got attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, which I find to be both a crippling barrier to productivity and the most essential ingredient of my creativity. Truth be told, I havent actually been diagnosed with ADHD, but whenever I take one of those self-assessments online, I check at least 18 of the 20 boxes. As a case in point: it took me half an hour to write the preceding two sentences, during which time I also read five articles about the US presidential election and transferred the contents of my old wallet into a new one. Plus, I did a lot of mugging for the mirror on the wall in front of my hotel room desk. When it comes to writing, this is how it goes for me.
As much of an impediment as my ADHD is, it allows me to jump the tracks in my thinking, which is essential in writing humour. Rather than try to correct my condition, I strive to harness it.
Anyone whos read one of my Diary of a Wimpy Kid books knows, Im not writing literature. My books are really longform comics, and comics are based on jokes. For me, writing always starts with the jokes. Now, 11 books in, I know whats required: 350 gags, minimum. Anything less than that and the book feels thin. Whats maddening to me is that I dont know where the jokes come from, or how to manufacture them. Ive tried everything under the sun to try to force the ideas to come.
I bought a bicycle and I sometimes spend hours riding in giant circles in my cul de sac, staring down at the pavement. I bought a swing, and can be seen most afternoons cutting giant arcs in my front yard, trying to lull my brain into a creative rhythm. I bought a hot tub in hopes that it would be a joke incubator, but I recently had to give it away after waking up in it after midnight too many times.
Nothing works, or at least not consistently. And the harder I work at it, the worse it is. My brain is like a teenager: it knows what I want but refuses to give it to me.
So Ive taken to going on long walks, because I get the additional benefit of exercise. Sometimes a joke or two will come, but more often, I end my walk empty-headed. What Ive found is that I cant take a round trip, because once I reach the halfway point, my mind decides its done working and shuts down. So now I walk in one direction, away from home, never taking the same path twice. I start off in the morning and walk until I cant bear to walk any further, which is usually about three or four hours. Then I call my assistant and beg her to come find me, praying my phone battery doesnt die and leave me stranded on some empty country road.
Routine can stifle creativity, so I try to jolt myself into new modes of thinking. This spring I flew 500 miles to return to my childhood neighbourhood and walked the streets I walked as a kid, in the hope it would stir up humorous memories (it didnt). A few weeks later I packed my bags for Florida, hoping the warm weather would be stimulating. But on my way to the airport I changed my mind and bought a ticket to Iceland instead. I arrived at six in the morning with a suitcase full of shorts and T-shirts with nowhere to stay, and somehow spent the next five days doing my best writing of the year.
As hard as it is for me to eke out 350 jokes, eventually, I reach my goal. Thats when the real writing starts, and heres where my ADHD becomes a formidable enemy. I do my writing on a computer, but my web browser, just a click away, is a siren song that lures me into the internets murky depths. I read somewhere between 100-150 articles a day, on subjects ranging from politics to basketball.
To try to beat back the distractions of the internet, I bought a typewriter and tried my hand at writing a book the old fashioned way. That experiment lasted approximately 20 minutes (if you know someone whos looking for a gently used Brother GX-6750, Ive got one thats looking for a good home).
Most of my latest book was written longhand, in messy handwriting and violent strike-throughs. Ive got whole pages where there are only two or three usable words. But I got the job done, and I made another deadline.
Next year, Im sure the method will be different, but the result will be the same. Frustration, self-loathing, distraction, and a few snatches of actual productivity. And at the end of it all, there will be a new book on my shelf, and the cycle will start again.
Jeff Kinneys Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Double Down is published by Puffin. To order a copy for 10.65 (RRP 12.99) go to bookshop.theguardian.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over 10, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of 1.99.
(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.
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.
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.
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.”
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?
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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.
“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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.