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Tag: christopher paolini

“Grown-Up” Books (For the Kid in You)


When did you start to love reading? Can you remember the first book that did it for you?

Why, yes I do remember–so glad you asked! I was in third grade at my local public library with my friend Margaret (a bookworm and savvy reader a few years older than me). She thrust Lois Lowry’s Anastasia, Again at me so I shrugged and checked it out. I spent the rest of that afternoon on my front porch for hours happily lost in the book. I was a reader. And I haven’t looked back since.

Over the years, I have found that the phase of life in which you read a book affects your outlook on it. Have you ever re-read a beloved book only to find you now despise it? Have you discovered that you still love that same book but notice a lot of different stuff now? If you’ve grown up reading chances are you have many fond memories of the greats you read as a kid. In this line of thinking my colleague Meaghan Darling and I put together some recommendations of titles to try now based on what you liked when you were younger.




* The Witches by Roald Dahl –Beautiful Creatures (2010 Morris Finalist) by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Some witches are good, some are bad—but all are powerful!


Celebrate Vegetarian Awareness Month with Vegetarian Characters in YA Lit

photo by flickr user David Saddler

October is Vegetarian Awareness Month, beginning with World Vegetarian Day on October 1 and ending just before World Vegan Day on November 1.  Teens are no strangers to vegetarianism.  In 2007, three percent of teenagers considered themselves vegetarians, this is triple the amount that self-identified at such in 1997, according to a Harris Interactive poll as reported on the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

In honor of this month-long celebration, here are five characters from YA that identify as vegetarian.

Hazel Grace Lancaster

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (2012 Teens’ Top Ten Winner2013 Odyssey Award WinnerAmazing Audiobook for Young Adults 20132013 Readers’ Choice Winner2013 Best Fiction for Young Adults)

The Fault in Our StarsHazel is a sixteen-year-old, terminally-ill cancer patient.  Hazel is the voice of the first-person narration in this book, giving the reader a very personal account of her logic and thoughts as she deals with her feelings regarding cancer and her death sentence.  She is a vegetarian and when questioned about her dietary choice, specifically if it is because animals are too cute, she responds, “I want to minimize the number of deaths I am responsible for.”  I suspect that no one would further question Hazel’s choice after that declaration.

2013 Audie Awards Winners

Photo Jun 01, 11 56 16 PMThe 2013 Audio Publishers Association’s Audie Awards were announced to a very appreciative audience of publishers, narrators, book sellers, and judges (many of them librarians) at its annual gala on Thursday, May 30 at the beautiful New York Historical Society. As one of the many judges lucky enough to be invited, I was thoroughly entertained by emcee Daniel Handler, author of the Lemony Snicket series, not to mention the wonderful YA book Why We Broke Up.

Discovering Your “Brand” of Fantasy

fantasyHave you ever picked up a fantasy book and loved it, then tried to follow-up with another, only to find that it’s just not working for you? Have your friends ever complained that they just couldn’t get into fantasy, but when you ask, they’ve only tried one or two books before giving up on the whole genre? If you answered yes to either question, you or someone you know may need to discover their “brand” of fantasy!

Fantasy is a huge genre, divided into many distinct and varied sub-genres. While some readers may love to delve into any type of fantasy, others may find themselves loving one book, then being utterly bored or bewildered by the next. Some readers may even be amazed to discover that they are reading a fantasy because the fantastic elements might be so subtle within the novel.

For example, one reader could love Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones but be unable to finish Christopher Paolini’s Eragon. Another could love Eragon but immediately dislike Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. Yet another could love Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, but be put off by Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus.

So how would a reader discover what fantasies they do like?

Write Now! Young Adults Penning Books for Teens

Sometimes it’s hard to imagine that adult authors can even begin to fathom what young adults’ lives are really like. After all, weren’t all those adults all young back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth? Having just watched the Summer Olympics in London, it seemed even the youngest competitors like 15-year-old British gymnast Rebecca Tunney brought their game faces. It’s no surprise that with children earning college degrees (like Micheal Kearney did at age 10), some inspired teens would turn their talents to the world of fiction. A lot of readers may be familiar with more famous teen authors like S.E. Hinton, who wrote The Outsiders at age 18, and Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, who published her first book In the Forests of the Night (2001 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults) in 1999 when she was just 14. Here some more current authors who were all still in high school or college when they got their start in publishing.

Could Self-Published Ebooks Be The Next Big Thing?

In just a few weeks we will all celebrate the publication of the last book in the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini. This series has been a long time in the making and has taken more than a little elbow grease from the author, who wrote the first draft of Eragon at the ambitious age of fifteen. What some may not remember about the illustrious history of this series is that it began as a small homegrown project from a family publishing house.

Image courtesy of thekellyscope on Flickr

Paolini took several years to plan and write what would finally become Eragon with the support of his parents. When most people would be finishing high school, Paolini was finishing his final draft, which his parents read and agreed to publish through their small family press, Paolini International. After 135 visits to schools, libraries and bookstores around the county with little success, Eragon came to the attention of Carl Hiaasen who, in turn, introduced it to the publishing house Alfred A. Knopf. After another round of editing and new cover, Eragon was rereleased in 2003 to quickly move onto the New York Times Children’s Books Best Sellers list and stay there for 121 weeks!

A decade later, readers are drawn to another self-published author, Amanda Hocking.