Tag Archives: back to work you two!

A Literary Halloween

It’s nearly Halloween, and instead of bemoaning how quickly the fall has gone and the imminence of winter, I’m going to celebrate instead: Halloween’s an excuse for literary costumes!

Me as Portia from A Merchant of Venice. Or as Hero from Much Ado About Nothing. Or as... I forgot.

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Literary Incompatibility

Last month, Sonya Chung had a post at The Millions on breaking up with books: quitting a book mid-read.

Now, I’m a big fan of Nancy Pearl’s Rule of 50: if you’re under fifty years of age, read the first fifty pages of a book and, if you’re not enjoying it, stop; if you’re over fifty years of age, subtract your age from 100, read that many pages of the book, and, if you’re not enjoying it, stop. I apply this rule often—there is just not enough time, and I am blessed to live a life filled with far more free books than I can possibly read. However, some books I’ve really tried to keep reading, hoping that if I just keep slogging through it I’ll love it.

These tend to be books that were recommended by people who are important to me, whose opinions I respect, and who know me well. With those recommendations behind them, they’re books I should really love, right?

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February Break

It’s a dreary, snowy day outside the office windows—the kind of day that makes me want to curl up with a book (or two or three) and a steaming mug of hot cocoa. And is that book (or two or three) something new and provocative, something I’ll need to think about and stretch my mind around?

Nope. Not a chance.

That book (or two or three) is comfort reading. Pulled from the stack of books that I reread over and over. They are dogeared, their spines are broken, many show water damage or the covers have fallen off. They are well loved and comfortable. They are old friends.

I asked around the office; here’s what some of us at Lee & Low turn to on snowy days, sick days, and other days when comfort reading is just the right thing to do.

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Poll: MLK Day

Welcome back after the long weekend! Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. day is an important one, reminding us of this great man, how far we have come since he had a dream, and how far we still have to go. It’s also a nice opportunity to relax and, for many of us, enjoy a day off.

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Covers: The good, the bad, and the ugly

People have been talking a lot about cover art lately, what with all the Best-Of Lists floating around this time of year. When it comes to cover art, I’ve found that people are shockingly opinionated. Maybe you can’t judge a book by its cover, but you can still judge the cover. Sometimes cover controversy is about larger issues, but more often than not it’s pure aesthetics: what looks good, what looks really bad?

I can usually guess when our production and editorial departments are meeting about a cover because they stay in the conference room for a looooong time. For a couple of reasons, I think children’s and YA covers can be more challenging to design than adult covers. First off, they sometimes have to appeal to a fairly wide age range, and the difference between a 6-year-old and an 11-year old is not the same as the difference between a 35-year-old and a 40-year-old. Older kids don’t want a book that looks babyish, and younger kids don’t want a cover that looks old. Plus, boys don’t want to read “girl books” and vice versa. Not to mention teenagers, who–as usual–have their own set of demands.

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Our Favorite Punctuation

Today is National Punctuation Day. Today, a day for celebrating the marks that make our writing readable, is a good day for grammar nerds. Because we are, in fact, grammar nerds, we bring you our two favorite punctuation marks.

The Semicolon
by Miriam

I love the semicolon.

It is a beautiful grammatical device, neatly linking two parts of one thought. Though a high school English teacher once accused me of using more semicolons in a single paper than he had used in his entire life, I am not a semicolon addict; I have never once given in to the urge to use a semicolon twice in a single sentence. This forbearance has not always come easily; it would be so easy to give in to the semicolon’s flow, its gentle leadership from one clause to another. The semicolon is a good dancer, leading its partner through the steps of an at times complicated dance. It is an energetic schoolchild, at the front of the line for follow the leader. It is a scout, not selling Thin Mints but looking ahead to warn us that the path does not end as soon as we think; rather, the path continues on.

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