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One of my favorite parts of my job is conducting interviews for REAL TALK: Publishing. I get to meet people with the most interesting jobs, and, like our readers, get a sneak peek into a side of the book industry that I likely know little about. Preparing for our upcoming REAL TALK interview with audiobook producer/director May Wuthrich was no exception, and actually, it was extra special, because it came with a field trip! May invited me to watch an hour of her recording session with Mozhan Marnò (“House of Cards” fans will recognize her as reporter Ayla Sayyad), who was narrating READING LOLITA IN TEHRAN author Azar Nafisi’s newest book, THE REPUBLIC OF IMAGINATION: America in Three Books. Here are a few of the most interesting things I discovered:
It’s been a week and winter is no longer coming. Whether you are a fan of “Game of Thrones” or are sick of hearing everyone talk about it, the fact remains that the ubiquitous cultural phenomenon is going dormant for the next 10 months.
For those of us who aren’t Stephen King or Donna Tartt, which should be everyone --- unless you are reading this, Stephen or Donna, in which case, hello! --- writing a novel is a strange, complicated and occasionally ridiculous undertaking. Writing time has to be balanced with other obligations. There is no certainty that there will be some kind of payoff in the end. And, when you are between the ages of 18 and 22, there is the added complication of Not Sounding Like a Douchebag when you tell people you are writing a novel.
I’ve always been interested in what classifies a book as “highbrow” or “lowbrow.” What elusive factors --- aside from the basic quality of the writing --- make some books more valued than others? And readers have different tastes; so who gets to decide these things, anyway? But our culture seems to have an invisible yet ever-present value system; a mutual agreement of which books we would most proudly display of if we ever met an alien who asked to see examples of our art.
Veronica Roth's bestselling YA Divergent series made its long-awaited theatrical debut last Friday. I was lucky enough (thanks to HarperCollins!) to catch an advanced screening on Thursday afternoon at one of the best theaters (and a personal fave!) in town. Just like any other Superfan (or diehard movie enthusiast), I would have willingly waited in line for a good seat at midnight as the flick delivered a star-studded cast, great music and the best part of all, a compelling story. But it was all made so much more enjoyable with a courtesy small popcorn and soda in hand. And I can't forget to mention the brief, but very heartfelt speech Roth gave as an introduction to the movie (yes, she was present in flesh and blood) --- she has a way of making each and every one of her readers feel like a special part of her book's growing success. I'll give you some highlights of the movie that are sure to make you more pumped about your planned viewing for this upcoming weekend...in case you haven't seen it yet. (But, seriously...have you been living under a rock?!)
February 13, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Books We LOVE

Posted by emily
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Welcome back, readers! What better way to celebrate the return of Throwback Thursday than with the books we love that are all about LOVE? In honor of Valentine's Day, Nikki, Emily and Meghan reminisce about the love stories --- conventional or otherwise ---  that got their minds racing and their hearts pounding. So whether you're single, in a relationship or undecided, throwback with us this pre-V Day, because S.O.s come and go, but book-love is forever.
These days, it seems like every time you go to a movie theater, there are always a couple posters for films that have been adapted from books. [Editorial note: No one’s surprised that Emily {enthusiastically!} keeps track of stuff like that. Check out 20SomethingReads special monthly Books on Screen feature here.]
Let’s be honest: There are far too many classics for anyone to realistically read them all. Many of them are long and depressing, or about subject matter that isn’t the most appealing (like miserable people making each other miserable. Or Puritans. Or miserable Puritans making each other miserable). However, the status of classic lends a books a certain gravity that makes it awkward to admit you haven’t read it --- much more awkward than it is for other books. If you haven’t read that one book everyone is talking about this year, there may be raised eyebrows in some circles, but generally that can be forgiven. But admitting that you haven’t read a classic may threaten to destroy your credibility.
Why should we care about zombies? They eat brains. They aren’t very socially aware. They don’t contribute much to a conversation --- if you talk to one, you have to do all the work. So why are they worth talking about at all? In the land of pop culture, most films or TV shows with monsters in them are not held up as high art. No zombie movie has ever won any Oscars. If you suggest seeing one as a first date, your date might think your taste is a bit questionable (not that I know from experience…).