A Note from Me (August 14, 2020)

Dear friends:

Do you wonder at the plethora of tactile adult toys (shut up, pervs) being advertised on Facebook and Instagram? The art kits (I enjoy thinking what Himself is saying right now in response to The Sendak Artist Roll), jigsaw puzzles, telescopes…. I’m so old that I remember when all we had to play with was Newton’s balls. It does suggest a nation (the weller-heeled among it, anyway) of slackers. OR MAYBE, in the COVID-19 world, people just need more good things to touch. Anyway, I am about to start my first jigsaw puzzle in at least fifty years thanks to a gift from baby brother Rand. It’s that one with all the musicals. Don’t people worry that they’ll get near the end of a puzzle only to discover that a piece is missing? Does that ever happen?

This week over on our Family Reading blog and in the August Back-to-School edition of Notes from the Horn Book, Kate Messner has some tips about getting kids writing. Her suggestions are inviting and doable (the ugliest word in the English language, BTW), but let’s also honor the Grand Plans for novels, nay, trilogies, launched from summer boredom and frequently running aground somewhere in chapter two. That doesn’t matter; the dream counts, too. It’s still summer.

What about running aground in chapter thirty-five? Which is how far I got in Rebecca Makkai’s The Great Believers, a book that came to mind as I’m reading Ripley Under Ground, which shares a major plot device. What about those books you manage to get yourself three-quarters of the way through happily enough but fail to keep you for the finish? It’s not that you (me. I’m talking about me.) decide not to finish it so much as you just never get around to it, and you eventually forget you were reading it. I can’t decide if this is more or less of a literary sin than giving up on a book fifty pages in.

Our September/October issue of the Magazine is done and will soon be yours. In my editorial, I tackle a problem I first brought up with you all, namely, how difficult and compromised reviewing books from PDFs is. It’s getting (largely thanks to Shoshana) easier and more efficient, but ain’t nothing like the real thing, baby, and I hope we get back there soon. Stick with us.



P.S. The announcement of Kamala Harris as Joe Biden’s VP choice made my week. And they tell me there are THREE picture books by/about her already.

Roger Sutton
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.

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