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Archives for September 2006

>Now you see her . . .

> Now you don’t! So what do you think was the reasoning behind the cover change of The Green Glass Sea (published this fall by Viking), an excellent historical novel set at Los Alamos, and what it was like for the children there, during WWII? My first thought was that the photo of the girl […]

>No news isn’t good news, it’s actionable.

>The Beverly Hills boutique Kitson’s is suing US Weekly, for not mentioning its name. I do hope there’s more to the story than this or I’m going to be getting papers from T.A. Barron. Or Billy Crystal.

>Do Drugs Really Rot the Mind?

>Although it was fun finding out, in Judith and Dennis Bradin’s Jane Addams: Champion of Democracy (Clarion, November) that Jane experimented with opium in college, perhaps more pertinent to this anniversary day is their inclusion of an excerpt of an article Jane Addams wrote for Ladies’ Home Journal in 1913, imagining that men rather than […]

>Sex Panic

>So the fuss (discussion starts about halfway down the page) about The Rainbow Party might have been, uh, overblown.

>Caveat Empty-headed

>I can’t decide who is more embarrassed by the tentative settlement of the James Frey case: the readers, for thinking they deserved a refund, or Random House, for caving in. Personally, I think $23.95 is dirt cheap for a lesson in skepticism. And now I want a refund for those Sea Monkeys.

>Vengeful Tigress or Screeching Harpie?

>You decide. But I like “Anonymous”s take-no-prisoners style in this attack on chicklit. The argument, though, is familiar to anyone who’s been through the Nancy Drew/Wildfire Romance/Goosebumps wars: bad writing (and reading of said) drives out good. But junk has always been with us, and the audience for literary fiction has always been small. And […]

Special Effects: What Makes a Good Fantasy?

“Fantasy is our imaginary life’s blood,” Tamora Pierce told me recently. “It is simply an extension of our myths and legends, our fairy tales and our folktales. It is the stories we tell ourselves to give shape to our dreams and desires, and the forces that we suspect are working beyond where we can see […]

Working with Fear: What Makes a Good Thriller?

For years, while my publisher tried to call my books mysteries, I’ve insisted that no, they’re thrillers. It’s a lowbrow term, connoting blood, guns, and nefarious activities. Basically, thrillers tend to be about nasty people doing bad, illegal, and/or unethical things, although usually there’s also a blameless individual around as protagonist who is endangered body […]

It Takes a Multicultural Village: What Makes a Good Translated Book?

What makes a good translated book? When Roger Sutton asked this question of me and Cheryl Klein, the editor with whom I work on our imprint’s translation efforts, it seemed that our answer might possibly be unacceptably short: it’s the writing that makes a good translated book. What more could we say? What more is […]

In the Beginning: What Makes a Good Beginning?

Before the War . . . … the evenings lingered longer, and it was always summer when it wasn’t Halloween, or Christmas. Long, lazy light reached between the houses, and the whole street played hide-and-seek, called only by olly-olly-oxen-in-free and supper time. Before I could keep up, I rode my brother’s shoulders, hung in the […]