Random House/Penguin Merge

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Today I learned that Random House and Penguin Group may merge. Soon the “big six” in the publishing world may only be those five book publishers that used to rule the industry before nook and Kindle. How long will it be until there is only one major traditional publishing company?

I have heard that the traditional publishing industry is becoming a thing of the past, but I didn’t want to believe it. E-books are becoming increasingly popular, despite my stubbornness. I bought a nook a few years ago, but after a few months I stopped using it. I couldn’t feel the pages underneath my fingertips. The pages didn’t look the same as a book page, despite the modern technology that went into making the screen look like paper. I couldn’t feel the weight of a thick book or see cracks develop in the spine.

I take pride in my bookshelves. Once a year I completely reorganize them to accommodate the books I have acquired that cannot possibly fit on my crammed shelves. For many, running out of room would make an electronic book tablet more desirable, but I love being able to look, touch, and smell all of my books.

When I officially ran out of space and had to move books into a closet, I was ecstatic. That sounds nerdy, but it’s true. One of the “selling points” for e-readers is that it is nearly impossible to run out of room. There is no fun in deciding which books to have on display because they can’t be displayed at all.

The Random House and Penguin merge may only be the first step to the end of traditional book publishing. I feel like this is much like when Borders announced that their problems were minor, and only a few low profit stores would be shut down. Now the Borders where I spent countless hours is an organic grocery store.

As a writer, I should be happy with this change. However, as a reader I am deeply saddened. I don’t want traditional publishing to die.

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I planned to post about the successes and failures of  YA books made into film. However, as I Google searched these books, agitation changed the topic of this blog post.

A library website appeared to have a list of Young Adult books that have been made into movies, but that wasn’t what the list was at all. The list was composed of classics! Moby Dick was on the list. It was not practical.

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I was then reminded of the classics in the YA section of Barnes & Noble with covers that try to lure in teenagers who apparently have never heard of Jane Austen.

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I mean, I understand the importance of encouraging teens to read classic literature, but why do young people need to be tricked into reading the Bronte sisters? If they like reading enough to enter a bookstore, they are surely smart enough to wander over to the shelves that contain classics. I somehow managed to find Jane Eyre and Romeo & Juliet in the proper place when I was in high school.

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Not only are the books covertly placed in YA, but the covers are ridiculous! They don’t match the story line. Instead, they have a color scheme of black, red, and white. I don’t think I have to point out which bestselling series these classics mirror. The similarities are kind of disgusting. It’s like the publishers are trying to say the series is of the same quality as classics that have been loved by many for centuries.

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Others aren’t as annoying, such as this copy of Emma. The green is pretty hideous, but at least it’s more original.

So  to all the teenagers out there who want to read a classics, please wander over to the adult literature section. In five years you will be glad you didn’t buy the classic with the YA cover.

Classics as YA

An Abundance of Katherines

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green is a young adult novel about Colin Singleton and his best friend Hassan’s road trip after high school graduation. Colin likes girls named Katherine with a “K”. In fact, he likes Katherines so much that he has dated Katherines 19 times, and each time, Katherine dumped him. As a child prodigy, Colin believes he can create a theorem to predict the outcome of relationships and find out why he is always dumped.

The best thing about this book is the footnotes. These aren’t typical footnotes like those found in classics or complicated non-fiction books. The footnotes in this novel completely changed my opinion of footnotes because they are undeniably hilarious. I laughed out loud during most of the novel, and I am not one to vocally express myself when I find something funny.

There was only one thing I did not like about An Abundance of Katherines. The main character, Colin, is incredibly annoying. He is smart, but he doesn’t believe he is a genius, which he points out throughout the novel. He is also selfish and whiny. However, after a few chapters, I forgot about all of this. Somehow, John Green was able to keep my attention despite keeping me in the head of such an aggravating character.

Katherines has won many awards including the Michael L. Printz award for excellence in young adult literature.

Green’s other novels are Looking For Alaska, Paper Towns, and The Fault in our Stars. He co-wrote Will Grayson, Will Grayson with David Levithan, and wrote the anthology Let It Snow with Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle.

John Green, as well as being one of the most well-known YA authors today, founded Nerdfighters with his brother, Hank Green. Check out their YouTube channel here.

ImageTuesday night, I went to the gym at 9pm, because that is when Parenthood comes on television. I like to sync my workout schedule with my TV schedule. This way, I can trick myself into wanting to walk miles without actually going anywhere. Reading is my favorite means of escape, but reading on a treadmill is impossible, right?

I tried it a few weeks ago, and failed miserably. I couldn’t walk in a straight line, I had trouble keeping the book open, and I felt like I was reading in a car that was going 90 mph. I looked like an idiot and thought I was going to be sick.

ImageThat is why I was completely amazed when I looked over to the girl next to me Tuesday night. She was reading Night by Elie Wiesel, and she didn’t fall off the treadmill. She may have even been walking faster than me. I was amazed.

Sadly, I did not ask her how she didn’t get nauseous or fall off, because that would have been awkward.

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As of now, I have given up on reading at the gym. However, if this is possible, time spent working out would be much more enjoyable. Maybe someday in the future, I will have enough talent and coordination to read a book while walking. Tonight I will leave my books at home and watch Grey’s Anatomy.

If anyone knows how to read at the gym without potentially falling off the equipment, please let me know how this is done.

Book Nerd at the Gym

“Books are the perfect entertainment: no commercials, no batteries, hours of enjoyment for each dollar spent. What I wonder is why everybody doesn’t carry a book around for those inevitable dead spots in life.”

                                                                                                   – Stephen King

Quote of the Day

How To Procrastinate

Everyone procrastinates to a certain degree, no matter who they are. I have found that it is possible to procrastinate in any situation, no matter what types of distractions I have around me.

Option 1:

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Everyone knows that it is nearly impossible to get anything done on a laptop. Laptops are the main source of procrastination in today’s world. Instead of working, the cursor hovers over the Internet browser key. Without even realizing it, the Internet has become the center of attention.

  • Any website will do, but I would suggest catching up on twitter before doing anything else.

  • Then, maybe go to TV Tropes. This site can distract anyone for quite a while, but a website appears to be more productive than having a television episode playing on Netflix.

  • Pinterest has become pretty popular, and content is divided into categories matching your personal interests. However, I will admit the site is primarily used by women.

  • Arguably, tumblr is the most used procrastination site today, and, like Pinterest, users can find everything. Just beware of porn popping up every now and then.

  • For anyone who likes books and quotes, goodreads is perfect. I think I have “liked” over a hundred quotes, and I love rating books on the site.

  • Basically, any site will do.

 

Option 2: Somehow, while sitting at home, the Internet has been turned off. It has been decided that technology will not be used to procrastinate. Good job on trying to be productive, but it’s not going to work. Houses are full of so many distractions, it is a wonder how anyone is able to work at home. There are so many possibilities.

  • Get a drink.

  • Eat a snack.

  • Wake the dog up from its nap and make it play.

  • Paint a masterpiece.

  • Read a book.

  • Clean out the refrigerator.

  • Lay down and “accidentally” fall asleep.

  • Change clothes.

  • Take a shower.

  • Make a pie.

  • Knit a scarf.

  • Make pro/con lists on every single topic imaginable.

  • If all else fails, clean EVERYTHING.

  • I think I’ve made my point. Possibilities are endless.

     

Option 3: Okay, so the laptop is at home, and Starbucks is as good of a place to get work done as any, right? Everything needed to complete the task at hand is there, but… of course that won’t happen.

  • Of course, the first step would be to get a coffee. And it would be stupid not to get food with the coffee. After all, it’s somewhat hard to eat and be productive at the same time.

  • People watching is the easiest(and laziest) form of stalling when you happen to be in a room full of people who are too involved in their own lives to know that anyone else exists.

  • While people watching, listen to the music. Or pretend to listen to music. I’ve heard soundproof earphones are perfect for listening in on people’s conversations, because they only block busy noise.

  • If people notice the staring, buy a newspaper. Pretend to read the newspaper so that people stop staring back.

  • Then, when that gets boring, actually read the paper.

  • By then, the coffee is gone. Go to the bathroom, then get more coffee.

  • Either repeat the steps above or actually do the work. Either way is fine. After all, nobody can make someone anything.

Congratulations! Time has successfully been wasted. Now get off the Internet! The procrastination must stop, because there is work to be done… eventually.