>Still Baking

>I know I promised another post re chicklit earlier today, but my thoughts never got quite where I wanted them. I was pushing an enormous book-truck’s worth of the stuff back to the Guide after rejecting it for review in the Magazine and I found myself thinking, I bet old Michiko never has to do this. That the grown-up book world recognizes distinctions between literary, commercial, and genre fiction that we barely observe in children’s book publishing. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Or is it a bad thing for Literature, but a good thing for Children? But my thinking is still half-baked so I’m not ready to offer any conclusions. Feel free to draw yours, however. I would appreciate being beaten to the punch.

Posting sporadically until Wednesday as my beloved Limoliner is taking me and a bagful and an earful of unread adult books to New York, where I’ll be attending the Scott O’Dell Awarding to Ellen Klages for The Green Glass Sea, interviewing Ellen for the Horn Book podcast which is to debut in May, I think, and hanging out with Elizabeth. We’re seeing Company, and she is going to explain to me the mystery of Sanjaya, and I also hope she–or someone here–can point my in the direction of a good classical cd store, as we have lost all of ours in Boston–you can get El Divo and Andrea Bocelli at Borders, but that’s about it. But E and I also hope to send some posts your way. I hope you all have swell weekends, too.

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Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.

Comments

  1. Emily P. says:

    >Stephen King has an interesting (and naturally biased) opinion on this subject in his column in the April 5th issue of EW, accusing publishers of disguising good reads as literature and thus deliberately obscuring their appeal from the masses.

  2. Roger Sutton says:

    >That’s interesting, as you would think it would work the other way around. If they are disguising my icebergs-and-Nazis books as something else I am going to be upset. I’ll check out the article; thanks.

  3. >This surprises me, because I see plenty of distinctions in how children’s books are treated. Certain kinds of books, usually paperback originals, are rarely reviewed; when they make it into libraries, they’re often uncatalogued. Admittedly, genres like mystery and science fiction aren’t stigmatized the way they are in adult fiction, but the distinction between commerical and “respectable” children’s book is certainly apparent.

  4. Anonymous says:

    >If your urge to shop for classical CDs is not completely quenched in NY, try shopping at the Syphony Store when you’re in Chicago for the Sutherland Lecture (storefront just south of the symphony).
    IF

  5. rindawriter says:

    >Hope you’ve had an opportunity to take a listen to Anonymous 4, my fav classic gropu right now, a women’s acapella group. Basically, they do old works, REALLY old works, like medieval music but with the occasional stunning new piece here and there. They just released “Gloryland” a recording of old southern songs–beautiful, gorgeous work. Stick the name in Google for a nice website with a listing of all their recordings. THEY don’t seem to care much about genres or origins! Only if the piece is worth singing…something to consider…

  6. Roger Sutton says:

    >As it happens, Rinda, I did acquire an Anonymous Four recording of some John Tavener music, at the Virgin store in Times Square; their classical music space is even smaller than it was when I was there a year ago.

    I also read the Stephen King piece in EW, and I thought he was making a different point, and one rather less interesting than Emily P.’s, that exciting books should not get boring covers.

    Wendy, I think both children’s and adult original paperbacks both get short shrift from reviewers, but there is still a difference between the ways we look at market-driven hardcovers for adults and children. I would argue that children’s (hardcover) commercial fiction gets far more attention from reviewers than its grownup equivalent does, and I wonder if a big part of that is because children’s book reviewers are expected to be predictors of popularity, since the audience for the review is different from the audience for the book.

  7. >Roger – How was Company? I’m heading up to NY for a show at the end of the month and this is in contention.

  8. Roger Sutton says:

    >I liked it a lot. The performances were terrific and while I missed the big brassy sound of the original orchestration, the conceit of having actors playing instruments was effective more often than not. I do think the production was sometimes perversely chilly and self-conscious and might not be comprehensible to someone who didn’t already know the show–but if you DO know the show, it’s a thoughtful analysis (academic overtones intended).

  9. >Excellent – thanks for the review, Roger.

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