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.
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 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.