Welcome to this week’s Buzz Worthy News! Whoa, this one’s a long one, folks! Penguin Random House is being watched by the Department of Justice, even more Twilight fan fiction to tear your hair out, the Vatican reviews The Casual Vacancy (surprise, they didn’t like it!) and controversies on boys in YA lit round out our week! All this and much, much more. Read on to find out everything that’s been happening in the book world this week.
Buzz Worthy News is Cuddlebuggery’s weekly Monday news post. Bringing you all the most interesting, relevant and fun news from the publishing and book blogging world.
Careful, Penguin House. They are watching you.
After the world was informed that publishing house giants, Penguin and Random House were teaming up to take over the publishing world, red flags shot up. Not only from authors and the publishers’ employees, but also the Author’s Guild. They’ve reportedly asked the Department of Justice or FTC to keep a close eye on this before they completely merge.
Frankly, I saw this coming from a mile away. It reminds me of when the phone company, AT&T tried to buy T-Mobile out and the Department of Justice stepped in with a, “Oh, no you di’n’t!” in the form of a law suit. Together, Random House and Penguin would control a lot of the fiction and narrative fiction market, 35 percent. Yikes! President of the Author’s Guild, Scott Turow, had this to say:
Survival of the largest appears to be the message here … Penguin Random House, our first mega-publisher, would have additional negotiating leverage with the bookselling giants, but that leverage would come at a high cost for the literary market and therefore for readers. There are already far too few publishers willing to invest in nonfiction authors, who may require years to research and write histories, biographies, and other works, and in novelists, who may need the help of a substantial publisher to effectively market their books to readers.
Another Twilight Fan Fiction Gets a Deal
We knew this day was coming. Again. A Twilight fan fiction originally titled The Office, now re-titled as Beautiful Bastard has received a two book deal from Simon and Schuster.
The Office, which reimagined the Edward Cullen-Bella Swan relationship as a steamy love/hate romance between a boss and his assistant, was one of the pioneers of the Twilight fanfic genre, generating more than two million downloads, before being taken offline by the author in 2009.
The Office was originally written by Christina Hobbs, but was later revisited and re-written by her and Lauren Billings. They both say that they’ve stayed true to the original story, but that only 20 percent of the original remains. I’m not sure how that works out. Sounds like an oxymoron to be, but then again I didn’t read the original.
Beautiful Bastard tells the story of the whip-smart Chloe Mills, an intern at a company who is about to earn her MBA and embark on successful career, but finds her herself caught up in a steamy love/hate relationship with her “exacting, blunt inconsiderate” boss Bennett Ryan.
So… basically, another Fifty Shades of Grey? Gotcha.
Avon Impulse Looking for NaNoWriMo Novels
Avon Impulse, an imprint of HarperCollins, is looking for romance novels written during this year’s NaNoWriMo.
Avon editors will make themselves available to the author community via online forums at www.nanowrimo.org, and by sponsoring “NaRoWriMo,” the publisher hopes to acquire original works of romantic fiction, to be released in 2013 by Avon Impulse. ”NaRoWriMo” romance fiction submissions should be submitted by December 10, 2012 to Avon Romance’s online submission portal (www.avonimpulse.com), and tagged “NaRoWriMo.” All novel and novella-length submissions (50,000 words and above) will be reviewed, and will be considered for publication through Avon Impulse, the publisher’s digital-first arm.
Publisher’s Weekly Best Books of 2012
Publisher’s Weekly has released its list for the top 10 best books of 2012.
Building Stories by Chris Ware
Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
The Round House by Louise Erdrich
Happiness Is a Chemical in the Brain by Lucia Petrillo
The Devil in Silver by Victor LaValle
Detroit Is the Place to Be: The Afterlife of an American Metropolis by Mark Binelli
All We Know: Three Lives by Lisa Cohen
The People Who Eat Darkness: The True Story of a Young Woman Who Vanished from the Streets of Tokyo by Richard Lloyd Parry
The Barbarous Years: The Peopling of British North America: The Conflict of Civilizations, 1600–1675 by Bernard Bailyn
Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1945–1956 by Anne Applebaum
The Vatican Dislikes Our Queen (So What Else is New?)
Okay, so every time I think about the Vatican’s newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, reviewing Rowling’s Casual Vacancy, I can’t help but giggle. Honestly, it’s not surprising that they disliked it, only that they read it at all considering I’ve heard it does contain strong language and sexual scenes.
…as a part of their efforts to incorporate more pop culture into their weekly newspaper at the urgings of Pope Benedict XVI. The review criticized Rowling’s latest effort, claiming it “disappoints” and adding that it “needed a sprinkle of magic,” the UK’s Telegraph reports. “Fifty-six years after Peyton Place, an up to date — and British — version of that masterpiece of a social chronicle might make sense,” the review reads. “Rowling probably has all the qualifications to be the worthy successor of Grace Metaloius. But there’s something missing.” However, the newspaper did make it clear that it had “only admiration” for the Harry Potter scribe.
Wait… what?! Did they says she needed magic? Bahahahaha!! Oh, the irony.
What About the Boys?!
So, Sarah Mesle stirred up the internet this past week with her article in the Los Angeles Review of Books called YA and the End of Boys. Yeah, I’m probably sure you already know where this is going and it’s not pretty. In the article she poses this question:
Why is it that in YA literature — a genre generated entirely to describe the transition to adulthood — there is so much fear and ambivalence surrounding manhood? When I read contemporary young adult novels, I see them asking over and over again a fascinating question, a question both for boys and for the stories describing them: are there any good men? And how can a boy become a good man, if he doesn’t know what that would mean?
After reading the article several times over, I’m still scratching my head here. And I’m wondering just how familiar Mesle is with the genre. Surely, she’s heard of Harry Potter, The Pendragon series, The Percy Jackson series (yes, I realize that straddles the line of Middle Grade), Anna Dressed in Blood? Why does a book need to have a male main character for boys to know if there are any good men? Why can’t we analyze the qualities of a good man through how he treats the heroine? Are there more YA novels with female protagonists? Sure, but why does that really matter? Oh, right. Mesle tells us it’s about manhood, male privilege, male authority.
She then goes on to compare 19th century literature to modern-day literature with the portrayal of male authority and privilege. Well, of course there would be a heavier focus in that time period. (GOSH-DARN, I WONDER WHY?) But many of the YA novels today do contain a main supporting male character, sometimes two or more. Just think of the dreaded love triangle where all the main character does is analyze the men in her life.
Mesle uses the example of Shadow and Bone to prove her point of the female protagonist being ashamed of pining for the attention of a man in power.
Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone smartly emphasizes this moral pressure: the heroine’s attraction to a power-hungry suitor makes her feel actually guilty.
Umm… no. Alina feels guilty because The Darkling was evil and she fell for him. She feels guilty for being not seeing his evil before the shit hit the fan. And most of all she feels guilty for ignoring her gut about him, knowing it was all too good to be true. If Mesle is looking for a book where the heroine chooses the controlling male with money and power, then I respectfully direct her attention to Twilight or Hush, Hush. YA novels do have great male figures coming into their own authority. They exist. But as always, one cannot find them with just scratching the surface reading only the popular novels.
Being a Female is Now a Trope
No, really. It isn’t. But according to A.E. Rought, author of the up and coming YA novel Broken, it totes is.
2. The protagonist is female. Let’s face it, the majority of lead characters in YA are girls. This is one trope I actively seek the opposite. I love guy POV books.
Wait… what? This goes back to my point in the about article: What is this? Poor boys! We are forgetting about them again. After all, women have only been on the back burner for, oh, I don’t know, most of human existence. Heaven forbid you start seeing more of us in the YA genre!
We really appreciated The Book Smugglers’ take on it and completely agree:
It is heartbreaking, infuriating and frustrating to see the female gender called a trope, which basically just equates being female with being “a common or overused theme or device: cliché”.
Les Miserables Trailer Premieres
Last week, the movie trailer for the classic Les Miserables premiered. Sadly, I must admit that I have not read the lauded masterpiece. The page count of 1,463 intimidates me, but it’s on my bucket list for sure. The movie has an all-star line up from Hugh Jackman to Anne Hathaway, to Amanda Seyfried, Russell Crowe, and Eddie Redmayne.
President Obama’s YA Economic Solution
Okay, this has to be the funniest thing we’ve seen all week. Are you an American feeling the pinch of the rough economic times? Never fear! Obama (sort of) is here with his Young Adult Economic Solution! It comes complete with a YA novel starter kit and former CIA agents turned graphic designers to design you a kick-ass cover that screams, “LOOK AT ME NOW!” Be sure to check out his very own YA novel at the end of the video. 😉
*Big thanks to one of our readers that sent us the link!
Fifty Shades of… Chicken? Of Course.
What better way is there to start off your week than with a hearty serving of WTFery with a side order of LOLZ? And what a coincidence, because yet again it’s Fifty Shades related. Obviously, the world just can’t get enough of the original story – Twilight or Fifty Shades, take your pick. This time it’s in the form of a cookbook, Fifty Shades of Chicken. A few of the recipes includes gem like, Mustard Spanked Chicken and… wait for it… Dripping Thighs. Great. Now not only will I never look at bacon the same way, but chicken too?
“The recipe and headnotes follow a chef and his chicken on an emotional journey very much like the original trilogy,” adds the author. “You start with an overbearing cook and a pigheaded chicken but by the end they’re spanking and tying each other up like soul mates. There’s a bit of Christian and Anastasia Steele in every dish.” –SOURCE
*facepalm* Last week, the book’s trailer premiered on EW’s Shelf Life and left me rather disturbed. But whatevs. Far be it from me to tell people they can’t get off to tying up their chicken.
Oh boy. I had someone come in and have me order the 50 Shades of Chicken for them. I managed to keep my mouth shut but I’m sure the woman saw the look on my face when I was taking her name and phone number.
Being a female equates to being a trope? Wow, talk about the feminine mystique. These people need to read that book(The Feminine Mystique). Ding-dongs.
I’m still a little stunned over the Vatican reviewing J.K.’s new book- don’t they have more pressing matters to attend to? One would think…..
That’s it, I got nothing on the end of YA Men or the YA Obamacare plan for YA… speechless I am. Thanks for another great blog, have a great week!
@Georgette LOL, and that’s the thing that gets me… it will totally sell!
More Twilight fanfiction getting published? Well it can’t be worse than 50 shades of Grey…
THAT WAS NOT A CHALLENGE!
I think the pope sells advertising. Pay him enough and he will loudly condemn you – nothing gets publicity like a good catholic condemnation
Someone might want to get Sarah Mesle a compass, map and GPS. She can’t find the point and needs some help, I think it may be back where she lost the plot. Frankly, so much of the media is entirely dominated by straight, cis, white male protagonists that I think I’ll worry about them before worrying that there’s the odd small genre that isn’t.
And proving her point is routh who thinks having a female protagonist is so odd it’s not just a character – it’s a TROPE!
That video… disturbes me mightily. I don’t think I can eat chicken the same way again. But I forgive a lot for that naked torso.
@Fangs4Fantasy LOL! Now, just because you challenged the Twilight universe…
That article by Mesle was a huge mess. She started off questioning one thing, but it turned out being a big old tangled lint ball by the end.
The naked torso was very nice. Best part of the video. LOL.
I hate it when non readers of YA write idiotic articles about things they know nothing about. Their lack of critical knowlege comes off in the articles, but unfortunately a lot of people who read them aren`t familiar with the genre, either. They come away with the wrong impression.
We do, though, need more YA books from a guy pov. Those are the ones my teenage son prefers to read. He is resistant when it comes to female POVs, with a few exceptions. Fortunately he does read dual pov stories.
@stinalindenblatt Try the Maze Runner series by James Dashner. Also The Enemy by Charlie Higson. Insignia by S.J. Kincaid. A lot of John Green’s books. There are a ton of male POV books. You just need to take the time to look.
@Kara_M We know about those books, and he loved Insignia. But he turns 13 next month, so a lot of those other books have no appeal to him (and he prefers fantasy). I read a lot of YA books from male pov’s, but they are too old for him. It wouldn’t be a problem if he was a slow reader. But he’s a speed reader. A fussy speed reader. 🙂
@stinalindenblatt Yeah, that might be a problem. I don’t know if this is too old for him but I am currently enjoying The Relic Master series by Catherine Fisher. That’s high fantasy. It’s sort of between middle grade and YA. But I love it.
@Kara_M Thanks, Kara, I’ll let him know. 😀
@stinalindenblatt Sorry, LOL. I am totally a book pusher. Hahaha. 😉
@Kara_M LOL I’m no better. When I love a book, I let people know.
@stinalindenblatt I completely agree about them not knowing what they are talking about. It’s frustrating to say the least. *sigh*
Has he tried the Pendragon series? This is the first book: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/833710.The_Merchant_of_Death I believe it has 10 long books total.
Also, I’d highly recommend Daughter of Smoke and Bone series to both boys and girls. The POV flips (even more in the sequel, which heavily focuses on Akiva’s storyline) in the way I think both guys and girls would enjoy it.
Melina Marchetta’s high fantasy trilogy has flip flopping POVs, but two of the books focus mainly on male characters. It’s called The Lumatere Chronicles. I can’t recommend that one highly enough! Nice and thick books too. 🙂
There’s also Ashfall that is told from a male POV. I really enjoyed that one and it’s a trilogy.
And finally, any book by Hannah Moskowitz. She writes FANTASTIC books from male POVs.
@Stephanie Sinclair I’m not a fan of Hannah’s books and I know my son wouldn’t be either. They’re too old, even if he does swear as much as the characters. Anything that deals with girls and hard ons are way over his head. He’s at that phase where girls are not appealing. Give him another year or two, then I have tons of books I’m insisting he reads (Like 13 Reasons Why. Love that book). Fortunately I love guy pov stories, so I know what’s great for upper YA.
I’ll look into Ashfall. Anything that’s a trilogy is great. Thanks!
@stinalindenblatt Ah, okay! I see. I loved 13 Reasons Why too! Awesome book!
Kat keeps making you write these. :-p
Penguin House: Really? Some people DIDN’T see this coming. One way or another, this can’t be a good thing. It just can’t.
Twilight FF: Really? AGAIN? Beautiful Bastard? http://mlkshk.com/r/JJ0 As for that 20% original but true to it thing, I’m pretty sure that means that only 20% was taken verbatim from Twilight. What I don’t know is whether that’s more or less than Carrier of the Mark.
Publisher’s Weekly: I want to read some of these things. I have read none of them. Oops.
The Vatican: OMG, hear that Christians who refuse to read HP because of the demon magic? The Pope approves! Also, totally didn’t know they released book reviews. O_O
Boys: Nice use of Inigo Montoya. Honestly, I think the douchey guys that we wouldn’t want boys to emulate and learn about manhood from are mostly in the really girly books most guys wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole, unless the pole were on fire and they could burn the book. She may not have finished Shadow and Bone.
Female Trope: Lol whut. You don’t really have that many options for main characters gender-wise. David Levithan ought to be her god, since he’s trying to remove gender from the equation with Every Day. WEIRD.
Les Miserables: If a movie has Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried and musical numbers, I’m watching it. Fuck Russell Crowe though.
LOLs: I can’t. There’s no way I’m touching that Fifty Shades of Chicken video right now. At work.
Great job, Steph!
@cynicalsapphire She does! I’m trying to give her plenty of writing time for NaNoWriMo.
Can’t be a good thing that they are merging? Yeah, I was wondering when the DoJ were going to step in since people were complaining about them controlling too much of the market. It could create too much of a monopoly and cause other publishers to go out of business.
Twilight FF: LOL!! Your words, not mine. I’m just going to sit back and nod my head on that. Also, I’m reminded of Beautiful Disaster every time I hear about that title. That can’t be good.
Yeah! Total shock that they review books! That’s pretty cool tho.
Boys: Exactly! And I think she did finish the book because I understand she is a good friend of Bardugo. Awkward.
Female Trope: I can understand her wanting to read from more male POV for YA, but calling female characters a trope is so insulting. Like it’s a trend or fad that will hopefully die in a fire and return to be all male POV (or mostly) like it used to be.
LOL: Yup, probably not safe for work unless your boss doesn’t mind images of hot, shirtless men on employees computers. Ha!
@Stephanie Sinclair Oh, that makes perfect sense. She’s busy doing nasty things to her characters.
Or the other publishers would need to merge. I propose Little Brown Hachette and Simon Harlequin Harper.
Yup, it can’t be good. Maybe that’s where another 20% came from?
Oooh, yikes. Someone’s getting a shitty present this year.
Female Trope: Well, it just doesn’t make any sense, really. This is like that time an English professor put culture on our list of literary terms. It’s just not.
Um, okay I’m not getting all the humour in the Vatican reviewing a JK Rowling book. You’ guys are all book critics – and yet what sounds by all accounts to be a respectfully-worded and thoughtful negative review is seen as Papal condemnation? They said the book was “disappointing” and missing a certain something but that they admired the author – they were hardly saying it was the work of the devil.
I dunno, as a Catholic I’m actually really glad that it looks like the Vatican’s trying to involve themselves more in pop culture. It will help their understanding of the world and society and help them adapt the Church through that understanding as well. Isn’t this review a good sign? Yes, Benny 16 condemned Harry Potter when it first came out, but now that he understands it better he’s changed his mind and is now urging the Vatican papers to read more of those books and review them – isn’t that a GOOD thing?
@AnimeJune Sorry! I didn’t mean to offend you or anyone else. I don’t think they condemned her, I was just surprised they reviewed books and pleasantly surprised that they mentioned admiring her. But you are right, it is a good thing that they are getting more involved.
wow – the controversies this week are crazy. I read a blog entry I can’t find that had a really interesting point about boys and YA fiction. The gist of it was that girls read books with a male protagonist all the time and are able to relate to the main character. Why do boys need a male protagonists to be able to relate to the main character.
Granted that doesn’t help Mesle’s point about the journey specifically from boy to manhood, but it’s a tangentially related point I wanted to say anyway 🙂
Also because I thought your point about all the YA books out there that do look at what it means to be a man was probably the best rebuttal there is.
oh, but wait?! being female is a trope! There are no words for how mortifyingly stupid that is.
@Annie J The interesting thing is that when you think about it the most popular books of the genre ARE from male POVs and here is the kicker: They are all GOOD books. Then again, the world has had hundreds of years to write the male character and “get it right” so to speak. We are used to male characters rising above, taking charge of their future. And that’s awesome.
Now if you think about the most popular books in the YA that are from a female POV, we have The Hunger Games (which is awesome), but then we also have one of the worst protagonists: Bella from Twilight. And that’s a shame and it’s *why* we need more examples of strong, female characters. Our world readily accepts the “damsel” and expects it. That’s a problem. So if it takes hundreds of YA in the female POV to start showing off girls becoming strong women, regardless of various circumstances, then, hell yes, let’s write them over and over again.
ok, that chicken video was so weird I forgot what the other news were.
I will admit here and now that I was a fan of THE OFFICE when it was Twi-fic. I was. *hangs head in somewhat shame* Ehh, what can I say but that it was hot and the writing as good. My only issue with it is not the story, per see. It’s the fact that Christina and Lauren actually re-wrote it to have it sold. I was under the impression they were writing a YA novel. *side eye*
But it seems that these days it’s the easiest thing ever to get published by the big 6. Meh.
50 and chickens?! Whert the hell. Salmonella roll, anyone? 😛
@Lisa FicTalk Everyone wants to make money, I guess. Looks like we should start co-writting fan fiction, Lisa! It’s the way to go! *sarcasm, because clearly I can’t be serious*
And HAHAHAHAHA! Right?!
Also, I guess I’ll be re-reading TO before the big release day of BB. Lol forever.
haha fifty shades lol
sad to hear about the boy drama
I think they mean that TCV needed magic so they could have something to feel like they could ligitimately criticise 😀
Ahahaha! Oh, The news this week makes me giggle 😀
WTF? Fifty Shades of Chicken cookbook? And the video? If it didn’t make me want to puke, I might actually have laughed. Really loudly.
Is it bitchy of me to point out a typo? I think your hands flew too fast, Stephanie! 😉 In “What About the Boys?!” you spelled “Anila” instead of “Alina.” I’M SORRY. It just really stuck out to me and I had to let you know because I suck.
On another note, I don’t understand AE Rought. She shouldn’t be criticizing the female POV, because she wrote it. How hypocritical is that? If you want things to be different, you have to begin the change, not wait for others to do so. GAH. Plus, the male POV is growing more and more common lately and there have been some major hits with it. BLARGH.
And I’m really disappointed in S&S. Another p-t-p piece? MAKE IT STOP. I didn’t read the original of it, but I still am internally screaming, “WHAT THE EFF.”
The 50 shades chicken thing? …Yeah, I’m becoming a vegetarian.
Thanks for the news! 🙂
@theladyreads Gah! OMG! I can’t believe I totally didn’t pick that up. *shame* THANK YOU for telling me! I don’t mind being corrected on typos. Fixed it! 😀
About AE Rought: I thought that was strange. I was like, “But isn’t your books from a female POV?” *scratches head* Why complain? I don’t get it.
I suppose from a $$ standpoint, it’s what’s selling these days. People are still obsessed with Twilight and Steph Meyer is not writing anymore Twilight books (knock on wood), so they are seeking other means to see the characters in different light.
A FSoG cookbook is just a….disgusting use of marketing. That’s it, I’m moving to a new planet.
I wish I had kept up with my NaNoWriMo…..school, once again, my greatest foe.