Friday, April 1, 2022

Apparently, nothing is inconceivable!

Update, April 2: I suppose this is conceivable, and if this book were unearthed, I'd love to read it...but for now, it exists only in my April 1 imagination.

For more silliness (for a cause even better than fooling people), check out Parodies for Charities

For immediate release

New York, NY – Guilder Press has uncovered a previously unknown manuscript by “S. Morgenstern,” the penname used by the late author William Goldman for the wildly popular The Princess Bride (1973) and the lesser-known cult classic The Silent Gondoliers (1983). The manuscript was among the papers of Goldman’s editor. “He must’ve been planning to read it, but you know how busy publishing gets,” said a staff member who’d been helping to clear out the office as the company returns to in-person work.

The manuscript, titled THE SPINLESS WHEELS, tells the story of Moe, the greatest driver since the invention of the automobile, who is denied the opportunity to use his talents by a traffic jam on I-95 in New Jersey, and his quest along with the other stopped drivers around him to pass the time and, eventually, to get things moving again. Guilder Press offers a sneak peek at the opening:

Traffic scientists disagree as to which was the worst traffic jam in history. After all, how does one define worst? General consensus is that duration and number of vehicles are the most important elements, but should they be the only ones considered? Do weather conditions or overall misery count, and if so, how much? Those in the duration camp cite the ten-day China National Highway 110 traffic jam, while for weather-watchers, the August Florida Foul-Up wins hands down. For misery, you can’t beat the Wine Country Wind-Up, given the state of the passengers’ collective bladders.

But whatever their metrics, all agree on this: they would not have wanted to be on I-95 in New Jersey on the day Moe Torist set out.

The release date is yet to be determined, said the staffer, citing a paper supplier stuck in traffic.

P.S. See the Horn Book's Out of the Box blog for another piece of exciting literary news!


Sunday, November 14, 2021

Miracle Max, Jellicle Cats, Hadestown, The Good Place, and Parodies for Charities

A few reminders that I hope you'll find useful:

Hanukkah is two seconds after Thanksgiving this year.

Christmas isn't far off, either.

That means that, in exchange for donating to help end homelessness, you can give a gift like this Miracle Max/Jellicle Cats nonsense. Or this Good Place/Hadestown nonsense. Or some other nonsense, custom-written for your friends, your family, and your in-jokes.

Happy holidays, and I hope to write you some nonsense!

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Recommendations, nine of which are books

It was, of course, a weird year (or so) for virtually anything--but I'm happy to say that my weird year's activities included serving on the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award committee with Luann Toth (chair) and Nicholl Denice Montgomery. Just as I grew sick of the sight of my own walls, those walls became lined with ever-shifting piles of books, culminating in this pile of winners and honor books, which were announced Wednesday:

From top: Fiction and Poetry winner and honor books; Nonfiction winner and honor books; Picture Book winner and honor books.

I'm thrilled with the choices we ended up with, and highly recommend every one of these books. 

This was my second award committee (and not my first set of Zoom deliberations--the Sydney Taylor Book Award was chosen remotely before it was cool). Though the two experiences were different, each one showed me new things about what I value in books; paradoxically, I've found that committee work teaches you about yourself as an individual. I highly recommend that, too.

(Also, bookshelves. I recommend bookshelves.)

Sunday, January 10, 2021

A fantasy for 2022

(I started a post about the new year. It came out weird. Instead, here is a very short story set in the fairly near future.)

I'm sitting on a bus, on my way to visit loved ones. I check the news on my phone; the news is boring, so I go back to the physical book on the seat next to me. (As this is a fantasy, I have excellent habits and am not even tempted to scroll a whole bunch of social media. Also, I have a row to myself.) 

I flip to check something in the back matter. I flip back and read on.

Happy New Year. Let's keep turning pages.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Still here, still reading, still thankful

How's everyone doing? I'm still reading (mostly e-books), still writing, still offering parodies for charities (and now feeling one of this song coming on, in which "here" refers specifically to my living room. I'm sure you can relate). Still healthy and (always, but it's especially in season) still thankful.

A few updates:

I got to participate in the Post-Publication Panel, and talk about how book reviews and awards work, at the Jewish Book Council's Children's Book Writers & Illustrators seminar last weekend. Recap here.

I'm excited to serve on the 2021 Boston GlobeHorn Book Award committee. Chair Luann and fellow judge Nicholl and I will be selecting winners and honor books in the Picture Book, Fiction and Poetry, and Nonfiction categories from books published from June 2020 through May 2021. 

Like I said, still reading. And still thankful.

Have a happy, healthy, safe Thanksgiving!

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Bye-Bye, Waiting for Action: a Parks & Rec-inspired song about voting

Parodies for Charities proceeds are now going to When We All Vote. Many thanks to those who responded to this poll with the more challenging, more interesting option for P4C to commission from itself. You too could have a ridiculously specific song of your very own; commission away!

To the tune of "Bye-Bye, Li'l Sebastian," a.k.a. "5,000 Candles in the Wind"

Yelling? Caring loudly? Here’s the thing:
there’s hope and change your words can bring.
But once—that’s the whole amount—
you get to mark a choice that you know will count.
Bye-bye, waiting for action.
We needn’t be the saddest faction.
Bye-bye, waiting for action.
You might be the one to change the wind.
Up and down your ballot, have your say.
Who’s all done, and who should stay?
Wear your mask, or be remote.
Somehow, cast your stinkin’ vote!
Bye-bye, waiting for action.
(‘Cause last time needs a full retraction.)
Bye-bye, waiting for action.
You might be the one to change the wind.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Bookstores, libraries, and All This

Before All This, my dear Horn Book colleague Cindy and I went on a field trip to a number of bookstores and libraries and took pictures for a planned article about, in short, creative shelving; we also put out a call to booksellers and librarians for their own photos. The exact purpose of the article morphed, because All This came and everything morphed. But we're proud of what it morphed into: Books beyond buildings, about the why and how of supporting bookstores and libraries these days, with resources gathered by intern Mikayla.

The photos we took show how, within their buildings, booksellers and librarians help readers find their way to information, education, entertainment, and comfort. Over the past few months, as pretty much everyone needs at least some of those things, they've found ways to do that beyond their buildings.

A lot of what I know about books, the book industry, and readers comes from my years at Brookline Booksmith. When it became clear this year that I wasn't going home for Passover, my Haggadah came from there, too.

Support bookstores and libraries, booksellers and librarians. See here for some ideas.