A Note from Me (Sep 11, 2020)

Dear friends:

This has happened to all of you. You save up a book for a holiday weekend and it just isn’t working for you. That Denise Mina I told you about, The Less Dead, keeps (I mean, I’ll finish it) testing my willing suspension of disbelief. Maybe I could buy a library’s microfilm copy of a thirty-year-old newspaper, but I’m bugged by the narrator’s labored description of how a microfilm reader works and her subsequent discovery of a photograph in that newspaper that is reproduced in full color. It’s possible, sure, and I’m being really picky, but if you are going to rely on technology to move your plot along you need to use it right. And consistently (he said, moving on from The Less Dead to Holding Forth in General): don’t invent a cell tower outage or power-drained/forgotten phone just so your story won’t end two hundred pages sooner than you wanted it to. We see what you’re doing, and the whole point of novels is that we shouldn’t. In the meantime, can anyone recommend novels in which technology is grappled with more cunningly?

Back at work this week, we’re re-upping Calling Caldecott, and I’m busy chatting for Talks with Roger, finishing up #editingreviews, and sluggishly getting my own reviews written*. I usually hesitate to announce an opinion before I’ve written the review, because writing about a book changes what I think of it (this is the most fun thing about book reviewing), but Mike Curato’s graphic novel Flamer really took over my weekend and my imagination, and I’m not hesitating to recommend it widely. Yes, I know, I know, you always wait for the Horn Book Magazine’s review before reading anything (in an attempt to justify what I thought, when I started this job, were insanely late reviews, Mr. Todd told me he thought the world really did work this way), but go ahead and get the Curato now. Those of you who once were anxious, pudgy, and queer Catholic children, get it right now. And I’ll get busy with the review.

Love,

Roger

*Deadlines, man. Who else here became a librarian in order to get out of overdue fines?

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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