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>"Green" or just l-a-z-y?

>I discovered this loathsome new invention in some anti-Canadian snarking on Gawker. Atwood et al are pretty nervy promoting this higher-tech autopen as anything more than an excuse to multitask watching Canadian Idol and promoting your book at the same time.

I’m not an autograph collector, so I’m not sure I understand the appeal, but isn’t part of getting a book signed the commemoration of meeting an author you like? That whole Patricia Polacco “hand that touched the hand that touched the hand” connection? I don’t care how Long your LongPen(tm) is, Ms. Atwood, I’m not letting it near me.

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.



  1. Anonymous says:

    >the long pen was actually invented by those who have met ms atwood. The pen, they declared, inventing at the speed of light, could not be long enough.

  2. Roger Sutton says:

    >Man, you’re as mean as the Gawker commenters on Alice Munro! (Sample: “Alice Munro has really only written 2 stories her entire life. But she’s written them 4 million fucking times each.”)

    I have heard that Atwood can be more than a handful, but I’m crazy about some of her books, notably The Robber Bride. The children’s books are better left unmentioned.

  3. >I also really like many of Atwood’s books–her last one, Moral Disorder and Other Stories was particularly good, as was “Cat’s Eye.” I’m not Munro’s biggest fan, but I know plenty of reasonable people who love her stories.

    But the long pen? Weirdest invention ever. I just don’t get the point at all. Are people that interested in having an author’s autograph? If they really are, can’t they just buy an autographed copy somewhere? Don’t writers autograph boxes of books you can purchase via the publisher from time to time?

    Then again, as much as I love to read and as much as I’ve read, I’ve never had a book fetish. The first thing that goes when I have a new book? The book jacket. They drive me crazy when reading. Not cool, I know, but there it is. My collection, when I go, will be worth approximately 3 dollars.

  4. shahairyzad says:

    >Margaret Atwood is definitely the kind of writer that should be read, not seen. Anything that keeps her home is fine by me.

  5. Anonymous says:

    >I like how the long pen promo material refers to celebrities, not authors. They know their audience!

  6. Anonymous says:

    >A few years back I was attending the Caldecott Newbery Award Banquet and was waiting to go in when Patricia Polacco and Tomie dePaola and a young Peggy Rathman struck up a conversation with me! I did get to shake the hand that shook the hand. Sometimes no pen or fancy camera are needed-Just a good memory made!! Today the autograph seekers really just want the books signed to sell on ebay!! Ha!!

  7. rindawriter says:

    >Ah….and now we all can hope that those authenticated-with-a-real history/story-behind-them autographed items are just going to go up and up and up in prices in all those future Antique Road Shows….although I will say the pen DOES sound like a boon for all those author/artists with carpal tunnel syndrome and hand arthritis and rheumatism…

    I THINK I’d rather read the books. Meeting authors for non-automatic pen autographs might destroy some of my my dearest illusions…

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