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Three rules for successful book reviewing

Wait 'til you've refined it

The other day, I was tasked with delivering a PowerPoint about the Horn Book to our Media Source colleagues in Ohio and New York. Unfortunately for them, I had just watched the Imelda Staunton Gypsy on PBS this past weekend, and thus I had my gimmick, provided by the leading ladies of Wichita burlesque. Rule #1: […]

Hbook Podcast 1.27 – Spoilery Spoils

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Podcast the 27th in which Siân and Roger talk about (and engage in) “spoiling.” BGHB Awards Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium Books we talk about Laura Amy Schlitz, Hired Girl J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series Jennifer Mathieu, Afterward Laurie Halse Anderson, Speak E. Lockhart, We Were Liars Anne Nesbet, Cloud and Wallfish Louisa May […]

HBook Podcast 1.13 – Special Guest Vicky Smith

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Podcast the thirteenth in which Siân and Roger chat with Vicky Smith, Children’s and Teen Editor at Kirkus Reviews, about Unmaking the White Default, ALA awards, and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Books we talk about Kenneth Oppel and Jon Klassen, The Nest John Bellairs, The House with the Clock in Its Walls Steve […]

Hbook Podcast 1.7 – Special Guest Hannah Gómez

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Podcast the seventh, in which Siân and Roger talk with Hannah Gómez–Horn Book reviewer, member of the WNDB staff, and all around awesome person–about racial coding in books and identifying race in book reviews. Also, cats. We also talk about cats. And dogs. Those too. Books we talk about Joshua Khan, Shadow Magic Virginia Euwer Wolff, Make Lemonade Toni Morrison, […]

News from the North

VCFA

Please forgive my long absence here; between Christmas and some family stuff I’ve been mostly out of the office for almost a month. And how things DO pile up: I am heartened by the advice of the late Booklist editor Edna Vanek, passed down to me by Betsy Hearne: “one book at a time.” That […]

Reviewing from under a rock

RodneyDangerfield

I loved Michel Faber’s The Crimson Petal and the White (try the audiobook if you want something immersive and long) and am looking forward to his Book of Strange New Things. But there was a passage in Marcel Theroux’s extremely laudatory NYT review last week  that’s driving me crazy: “Since the critical and commercial triumph […]

An open letter to the self-published author feeling dissed.

image courtesy thesamerowdycrowd.wordpress.com

Dear self-published author: I can imagine how frustrating it is to have your book refused possible review coverage by the Horn Book simply because it is self-published. But here is why that situation is unlikely to change anytime soon. If we met at a party or something, I, and I think my colleagues at the […]

Why The Face? I’ll tell you.

ending

I just finished David Shafer’s thriller Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, which I read because of Dwight Garner’s NYT review. The book is everything Garner says it is–bright, popping, funny, suspenseful. And it has all the things I love: complicated heroes and heroines, smart riffs on contemporary memes, and–best of all–a global conspiracy that really is out to […]

Small world, isn’t it?

GypsyandJune

My old Chicago pal Ilene Cooper and I are interviewed by my other old Chicago pal Elizabeth Law at Elizabeth’s new blog, Into the Words.

Priests in Space

Sparrow

For my reviewing class at Simmons, I’m having the students read and review an adult book chosen by their classmates after each made a dark confession: Student: I hate chicklit! Class: you’re reading Sophie Kinsella! A bit sadistic, I guess, but the idea was to get us all out of our comfort zones and also […]