Your Bookish Fall Wardrobe

The leaves are already starting to turn in my neck of the woods, so (after bemoaning the loss of summer) I opted to browse this season’s literary outfits.

Below you’ll find some of the best wardrobe pieces for your inner word nerd, and I’ve put a * next to the companies that are associated with book-related charities or literacy organizations. What better way to shop than that?

ModCloth: Oh My Gosh A-Line Dress in Library

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ModCloth: Style Study A-Line Skirt in Scholarly Kitties

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BookRiot*: Always Be Closing T-Shirt

BookRiot*: I Lift Hardcovers Hoodie

Out of Print*: Romeo and Juliet T-Shirt

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Out of Print*: The Queen of Mystery T-Shirt (Agatha Christie)

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Harry Potter Alliance*: Books Turn Muggles Into Wizards Sweatshirt

Harry Potter Alliance*: Granger/Lovegood 2020

Litographs*: The Maze Runner T-Shirt

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Threadless: The Thesaurus Sweatshirt

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Threadless: How to Kill a Mockingbird T-Shirt

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Society6/Evie Seo: Books Fall Open T-Shirt

Society6/Evie Seo: Dream Up Something Wild and Improbable T-Shirt

Need more inspiration? Check out this round-up of awesome literary gear: Your Bookish Shopping Guide

What the World Needs Now Is Reading Without Walls

I will start this post by saying I am a white, cishet woman. For better or for worse, my world has been defined by those qualities, just like all of us are influenced by our geography, upbringing, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, gender, and a million other factors. There is literally no other person on the planet who has experienced the exact same things you have experienced, or who sees the world exactly as you do.

But while each of our individual POVs are unique, that does not make them more compelling, more important, or more valuable than someone else’s. We are not the only characters in this book—everyone you meet is the hero of their own story, and those stories are interwoven with millions and billions of others.

Last year, Gene Luen Yang, rock star author/illustrator and National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, started a campaign called Reading Without Walls. The concept is simple: read books that take you outside your own experiences, and maybe even outside your comfort zone. A book meets the Reading Without Walls challenge if it:

1. Is about a character who doesn’t look like you or live like you.

2. Is about a topic you don’t know much about.

3. Is in a format that you don’t normally read for fun. This might be a chapter book, a graphic novel, a book in verse, a picture book, or a hybrid book.

I’m lucky enough to work in the publishing industry, which means I can get my hands on a lot of books. So this year, I wanted to take this challenge very seriously. For every book I read that felt familiar to me, I wanted to read at least one that showed me something new. The beautiful thing about books is that we readers get the chance to inhabit another character’s story, if only for a little while. We get to see the world through different eyes and have thoughts that are not our own. Books will never replace real human interaction or experience, but they open doors to stories we may never get to know otherwise.

What I’ve found through this challenge, 8 months in, is that I know very little. My tiny bubble of a universe has been expanding, but it is still just that—a tiny little bubble. That’s humbling and horrifying at the same time, and yet I find it strangely comforting that there are hundreds more books out there that can help me overcome my lack of knowledge bit by bit.

We all need to work on closing the ignorance gap so that in a generation, we won’t have people in this country who believe it’s okay to embrace hatred and racism. There is no excuse for ignorance, and there should be no tolerance for lack of respect or kindness. Reading has actually been proven to increase our empathy, so there has really never been a more important time for people to pick up a book and learn.

Of course, books can’t teach us everything—we still need to go out into the world and physically stand up for what’s right, take time to try new things, and find small, daily ways to spread love. But when you have a spare moment, take the Reading Without Walls challenge. Actively seek out new characters, new topics, and new forms of storytelling. Now, more than ever, we must get to know the other heroes around us, to learn about our differences, and to celebrate what brings us together.

 


*Post Image by Gene Luen Yang

Not Your Average Jane: 7 Ways “Jane the Virgin” Nails Storytelling

*Includes some spoilers*

I spend most of my day evaluating the merits of a story. Are the characters experiencing enough change, does the plot move at the right pace, does the key conflict cause too little tension…that kind of thing. This means that sometimes, when I’m relaxing with a TV show, I find myself looking for those elements running through each episode. And when I found Jane the Virgin, I found the show my storytelling heart had been looking for.

I am late to the Jane the Virgin party, but I have now joined in and cannot rave enough about it. Why, you ask? If the idea of a humorous, poignant, and totally self-aware spin on a telenovela doesn’t appeal to you, well, you should reevaluate your outlook on life. Rarely do I fall in love with a show so quickly or deeply as I have with Jane the Virgin, which has made me laugh and cry and scream…sometimes all in one episode. And, while there are so many things this show does well, I chose the seven things I love best about its storytelling. Because what the writers and cast of Jane the Virgin have done best is tell a remarkable story. Continue reading

Favorite Books of 2017…So Far

As we are now a little over midway through the year, I thought it was about time I made a list of my favorite books I’ve read in 2017 so far. There are, of course, some important caveats:

  • Not all of these came out in 2017. Some came out a while ago and I am just behind on my TBR pile! *Shame*
  • There are seven books on this list, but they are listed in alphabetical order and not ranked order. Choosing favorites of the favorites is too hard!
  • None of these are books I have edited, since obviously I love my babies the most.
  • And finally, these are all YA novels because, well, I’m a YA editor. (And Peter Pan. Who needs grown-up books? Okay, maybe grown-ups.)

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins Continue reading

I Want a Book Heroine Like Wonder Woman

I watched the new Wonder Woman movie a few weekends ago and fell completely in love. Not just with Chris Pine (our love story began long ago), but with Wonder Woman herself and what she means as a heroine. Gal Gadot plays a character who is filled with optimism, strength, and kindness, without ever seeming cheesy or “too perfect.” In fact, some of Diana’s flaws are her best characteristics, and only serve to make us love and relate to her more. I love her so much that I’ve found myself scrolling through my submissions desperately seeking the next Diana Prince. So, with *some* spoilers, I will try to put into words why I want a book heroine like Wonder Woman.

(P.S. If you have a character like this, have your people call my people.)

(P.P.S Yes, I know the amazing Leigh Bardugo is publishing a Wonder Woman YA novel. Wonder Woman: Warbringer!!!!!! I have obviously already preordered it and routinely stalk her social media for updates. You should do the same, because preordering and social media stalking are cool.)

(P.P.P.S. Also, please consider this list of other mega-awesome novels that can help cure your Wonder Woman hangover. But now, let’s get back to the post.) Continue reading

5 YA Authors Whose Writing Inspires

As an editor, reader, and writer, I deal with a lot of words on a daily basis. To quote Friends (as we all should), sometimes my life feels like this:

Dr. Franzblau: I try not to let my work affect my personal life, but it’s hard, when you… do what I do. It’s like uh…Well, for instance, what do you do?

Rachel: I’m a waitress.

Dr. Franzblau: Ok, all right, well aren’t there times when you come home at the end of the day, and you’re just like, “if I see one more cup of coffee…”

(Bonus points to anyone who can name that episode.)

Sometimes I am just sick and tired of WORDS, especially the boring, ugly, or hateful ones that may surround us in everyday life. And yet, my livelihood and my favorite pastime both depend on letters on a page. So when I’m feeling uninspired as an editor, reader, writer, or even as a human being, I turn to some of my favorite authors, authors who I know will bring back the wonder of the English language to my word-weary mind. Below are five of the authors who inspire me to keep doing what I do, even when it means upping my eyeglass prescription to stare at yet more words. Continue reading

Your Bookish Shopping Guide

Holiday gift cards burning a hole in your pocket? Already bought as many books as your shelves can hold? (That’s okay…buy more books!) Check out 7 of my favorite bookish shops and sites for your closet, home, and office.

1. Litographs

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Get the text of your favorite book on all kinds of amazing swag. And I mean a lot of text…up to 40,000 words…and a lot of swag…shirts, scarves, tote bags, posters, and more. (So, you know, if you’re stranded on a desert island you’ll have your book and your clothes.) I’m the proud owner of a Pride and Prejudice scarf, a Throne of Glass T-shirt, and a super cool Secret Garden poster. Continue reading

Thanksreading: 2016

At my house, before Thanksgiving dinner we all go around the table and say what we’re thankful for. Health, happiness, friends, family, food…the list goes on. Given the turmoil of the past few weeks, I wanted to do a post on all the things I’m thankful for in the literary world. I’m bad with titles and good with portmanteaus, so let’s just call this Thanksreading.

  • First, I’m obviously thankful for J.K. Rowling because she is an international treasure. And a genius, because she said she wouldn’t write any more Harry Potter books and yet I bought two new ones this year. Hmm…

Continue reading