Monday, August 22, 2011

Cover issues

Found this article; thought of Alissa.

I don't know that I have much to add to the conversation, besides agreement that, yes, it's creepy to look at a display of books and see only torsos, or feet. Lately, when we do get a face, there's a good chance that it's the same face on a different book. Book covers are supposed to be dynamic marketing tools, pulling potential readers in with an interesting image that will set that book apart from all the others.

(The reused-images things isn't limited to teen books, nor to covers of faces. But you knew that.)

So how do you get a teen interested in a book that looks just like all the other books? How do you convince someone that Sarah Dessen's books aren't as fluffy as the covers suggest? Or that House Of Stairs is still a creepy read and holds up well, even though the only in-print version hasn't had a cover re-design since 1991? It's easy when it's a teen who trusts your judgement--one you've recommended books to before--but when it's a teen who hasn't been in before, or hasn't spoken to you before, it can be hard to overcome the decisions of the publisher's art department.

And this isn't even getting into proper representation--the great Whitewashing debates, or the unwillingness to show overweight or unattractive girls, even on books about ugly and/or fat girls. That's a whole other issue that's been covered elsewhere.

So maybe this is more of a link round-up than any commentary on trends, or on the original article. But the fact that I can do such a link round-up--without much effort, even--says we have a number of problems that need solving.

Friday, August 12, 2011

some decent audio book selections

Let's start with my least favorite, shall we?

I didn't expect much from this story but it was such a mess of pop culture madness that I could barely finish it. I didn't find the narrator particularly engaging but the story read like a bad screenplay.

Maybe they'll make another mediocre movie out of it.

This one was awesome. I didn't know what to expect but what unfolded was a creepy ghost story. The audio book really emphasized the creep factor.

It reminded me of an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer -- ever see the one with the haunted frat house?

What would you do if people kept disappearing from your school? What if you realized that the people who disappeared all used the same desk. And now that desk has messages carved in it...

Add to it the fact that Cryer's Cross is in the middle of nowhere. And the new guy in town doesn't speak. Good stuff.

This was the funniest thing I've listened to in a LONG time. Not since Catch the Fly have I laughed this hard.

The book starts off with a bang. Seth gets dumped in the middle of Applebees. Of course, while he's being dumped he notices that his father is with a strange woman. Eeek.

He tries to work through all of this in a "secret" podcast. Of course, it quickly becomes the hottest download at school. Whoops.

Seth is hilarious and his friends are an awesome collection of characters.

A must listen!

I expected this one to be another flimsy dystopian romance, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Cassia lives in a world perfectly crafted for everyone. The society has matched her with her best friend and they are slated to be married. Everything is planned for her... but one day there is a glitch. Could she be matched with an aberration instead of her best friend? Why are her food portions getting smaller? And what exactly is she being trained to do at work? Will Cassia trade her safe, perfect world for the possibility of freedom?

It all comes together beautifully in a creepy, futuristic way reminiscent of Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series.

The author has clearly created a very complete and detailed world. I can't wait for the sequel.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Revolution? Not so much.

Ok, so the cover of the hardcover wasn't thrilling, but the paperback is ridiculous! Is she going to eat the key? Is she smelling it? Is she using it as some kind of medium? Maybe they're trying to embody that wackadoodle time travel part of the book... personally I'm trying to forget that section so that I can love the rest.

Ok, rant over.