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  • I read a lot, and I have a lot of opinions, so I can't believe I haven't made a list like this before. If you are even a little bit like me or you want to get a peek into my psyche (you probs don't), these are the books to read.

Posts Tagged ‘Blogs’

Cover story

Posted on March 4th, 2010 by annakjarzab

You guys know Melissa Walker, right? Author of the Violet series (Violet on the Runway, Violet in Private, Violet by Design) and Lovestruck Summer? Of course you do, duh, no offense. So because you follow Melissa on Twitter and read her blog incessantly, you’re familiar with her Cover Stories feature. I love that feature. Whenever I’m scrolling through my Google Reader, I immediately stop to read it. Anyway, Melissa was kind enough to host me on her blog this week, talking about AUT’s cover, which we all know is the best cover to ever grace the face of this earth. I know I’m biased, but even when I attempt to be objective, I still feel that way. Anyway! I’ll shut up now and let you head over to Melissa’s blog to read all about it.

Brightly Woven + Interview

Posted on August 22nd, 2009 by annakjarzab

Okay, first off, the lovely folks at Teens Writing for Teens saw fit to interview me, and so of course I took this opportunity to talk shit about creative writing classes. Go ahead and dissent if you must.

Second of all, I got to read Brightly Woven by my friend Alexandra Bracken. JEALOUS?! I know. Alex and I live in the same city, which is awesome and allows us to get to goss about publishing and writing and the whole nine, plus exchange ARCs because we are just that impatient!

Can I tell you how much I hearted Brightly Woven? I have to say, I’ve been raving about Tenner books, and yes, these people are my friends, but also I am critical so when I say I love something I mean it! Brightly Woven is wonderful. I’m not just saying that because Alex is wonderful, which she is. I’m saying it because I truly loved the book, loved every second of reading it, loved North and Syd and the world she created. I’m not a high fantasy person, not going to lie, but when I picked up BW I knew I was going to enjoy each line and I did.

Because you know what? Syd is no wallflower. I love a good, headstrong, stubborn main character who makes decision based on gut instinct. Sometimes they screw up. That’s the best part! Syd is amazing–she is never once unsure of who she is, even when she’s unsure of everything around her. She knows what she wants and has from the beginning. She also has a huge heart and great reserves of sympathy, which is really important, because being headstrong and stubborn is all well and good, but if you don’t use that for good you’re just kind of a jerk.

I know I’ve been kind of MIA recently, and I know I said I was going to try to update more, and I realize I’ve been largely absent from Twitter as well, but a new era is being ushered in–I’m getting an iPhone! Probably. So I can Twitter from ANYWHERE I WANT soon. The tweets won’t stop. I want to blog more, too, but there’s not a whole lot going on with me at the moment. I’m just working and writing. I really need to find a name (or at least an acroynym) for the family drama (which has taken on some mysterious elements, because I JUST CAN’T HELP MYSELF) so I can talk about it without writing a huge sentence like I just did, but basically that book is going well. Almost 150 pgs, and I can tell this book will be smaller than AUT and MB, so that’s probably 2/3 done. GR is stalled, but I figure I’ll go back to it once I’m done with…the family drama with mysterious elements. It’s more of a dramedy, really. Dramedy/romance/coming-of-age/mystery. Shoot me.

Still waiting on an editorial for MB so that I can start revisions on that, and that’s pretty much all the news there is to use on the publishing front. Oh, and I visited the Listening Library offices the other day to drop off my audio contracts, where I met the lovely Rebecca Waugh, who acquired the AUT audio rights. She took me to the audio closet, where they keep all of their extra copies of the audio books, and I got to wander through and pick out a couple. I got Feed by M.T. Anderson and Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You by Peter Cameron, and Rebecca and I had a talk about how I really love YA novels that deal with the issue of spirituality in a smart but not evangelical way. This discussion was sparked by Madeleine L’Engle, whose audio they do.

So I think that’s it for me. Oh, and because I have them up in my browser right now, here are some things that are inspiring me currently. Random, huh? I promise, someday it will all be very clear.

Things I found that I love

Posted on May 20th, 2009 by annakjarzab

It wasn’t very long ago that I found out Mindy Kaling, writer/star of The Office, has a blog called Things I Bought That I Love. The title is, um, pretty self-explanatory. She doesn’t post very often, but when she does she’s hilarious, which makes sense. I don’t totally understand why the blog is such a huge mess, layout-wise, but who cares! Anyway, you should check it out. Also, her Twitter, for good measure. I liked how she basically guilted Jimmy Fallon on live (not live) television about not following her on Twitter. And then he dropped his iPhone and the screen smashed. Coincidence? No. DO NOT THUMB YOUR NOSE AT THE KELLY, James. You learned your lesson.

Thing the second, this New Moon poster:


Now, AS I THINK WE ALL KNOW, I am not a huge fan of Jacob Black, but I do have to say that Taylor Lautner, despite being 17, maybe 16, I don’t know, my math skills aren’t great (b. Feb 11th, 1992, you figure it out), and thus jailbait for me, is looking pretty fine. Although I suspect he still doesn’t clear 6’7″ and I DEMAND VERSIMILITUDE from my hastily-made low-budget teen vampire/werewolf romance films. Also, much as I love RPATTZ, I think Jacob wins this poster with his good haircut!

Thing the third, Tap & Gown, the latest book in Diana Peterfreund‘s Secret Society Girl series, which I read without pausing from 7:00 last night until 11:30 when I closed the book and sighed and *slight spoiler alert* swooned over Poe. Yeah, that’s right, I SWOONED. And as you may or may not know, I don’t swoon.


Okay, being the savvy, in-the-know book person that I am, I’m aware that sometimes books get put on store shelves before their release date, because the bookstore employees just kind of clear out the back room all at once and, unless there’s some crazy Harry Potter-type do-it-and-we’ll-kill-you ban on letting anyone get even a little peek before midnight on release day, you might be able to get it a little ahead of time. I’m super impatient, so this weekend I went to three bookstores over three days to look for Tap & Gown. Last year, this method worked for me–I got Rites of Spring (Break) two days early and scarfed it down in one night. This year, not so much. ALTHOUGH, as I would find out, it might be because I am blind.

Yesterday, Tap & Gown‘s official release date, I went to the Borders near my work and looked for it on the Fiction shelf. Diana’s books are pretty easy to spot, being candy-colored, and I found a copy of Under the Rose and a copy of Secret Society Girl. Frustrated, I went over to the customer service desk and asked a guy for help. He said they should have copies in the store, looked through all the paperback tables for me, did a little rain dance to see if he could conjure it up from the sky, and then was like, “Well, let’s check the Fiction section again, just to see if it’s been misshelved.”

So I follow him over to the Fiction section, under P, and on the shelf RIGHT BELOW the one where I’d found copies of UtR and SSG were, like, eight copies of T&G and about three of RoS(B). RIGHT BELOW the shelf I’d been looking at. Now, okay, in my defense, I expect all books by a single author to be shelved together alphabetically, so this was technically someone else’s bad, but seriously, Anna? You can’t check the other shelves? It’s not like you’ve never been in a bookstore before. Anyway, I bought my copy and got out of there before people could laugh at me for not using the eyes God gave me.

Now I’m wondering if those copies were there all weekend, and I am a dumbass. The answer on that one is probably YES.

Anyway, Tap & Gown was the best book of the series, hands down. It took me a while to get into the Secret Society Girl series, but Under the Rose hooked me (not coincidentally, there’s a lot of Poe in that book). You know, I read about Amy and the Diggers and I look at all the nonsense they put each other through, or are put through by the patriarchs, and I think, “Why do they put up with this? Why stick around?” And then I remember every other day in my sorority, all the bullshit we had to deal with from each other and nationals and the alumnae. I actually have to work to recall that stuff, because what remains of my fraternal experience is the fun and the love, so I get it. I know, as Diana points out in UtR, Greek life and society life aren’t the same, but there’s enough similarities to make me miss my Theta days.

So back to Poe. Poe is pretty much the Chuck Bass of this series, and you know how much I love Chuck Bass. And by “is the Chuck Bass of this series” I mean that he’s the dark horse romantic interest, the person you never saw coming but the chemistry was too strong to ignore. Not that he’s a rich playboy who can’t engage emotionally, because none of that is true of Poe. I can’t really get enough of him, so I’m glad he was plenty around in this, the final book of the series. I’m going to miss those two crazy kids and their exploits (and I wish there was more than one love scene, but, you know, it was special this way). Now the plan is to spread the love.


Posted on April 9th, 2009 by annakjarzab

Even though I said I probably wouldn’t set up Google Alerts for myself or my book, I totally did, which I then regretted, because I would always get emails about blog posts I’d put up myself and, like, every use of the word “unquiet” on the Internet, which is not that many.

BUT! That changed yesterday. First, Kelsey at Reading Keeps You Sane named All Unquiet Things as her “Waiting on Wednesday” pick this week, which was so flattering. I actually just found out about Kelsey and her site a couple of days ago while perusing Gayle Foreman’s blog (I’m reading If I Stay right now and even though I’m only in the beginning, I can already tell it’s going to be very good) and added it to my Google Reader, only to click on it yesterday afternoon and see my cover (which is pretty much a hit with everyone, great news for me because I love it) front and center. Thanks Kelsey!

Also, an interview I did with fellow Tenner Christy Raedeke‘s blog went up last night. It’s my first official interview, which is terribly exciting, and Christy is hilarious and awesome, so I was really excited to be featured on Juvenescence. Christy’s done a lot of interviews with other Tenners, all of which are different and interesting, so I suggest heading over there and checking them out.

Futhermore, you’ll see that Eric fixed the comments problem. Things are going to be changing a little bit on this site for a few weeks–including the most important thing, which is the adding of the HIDDEN! CONTENT!–so don’t be alarmed if you see something new or weird or out-of-place, although if you notice a bug or catch a problem feel free to email me. Also, my blog roll was lost in transit from WordPress to…this thing that looks like WordPress but isn’t exactly that I use to update the site, but I plan to have that back up. I think I have to manually put all the links in again; it might take me some time to complete but I really want a comprehensive blog roll, so that’s coming.

Update: I just put up a post about the website (and my plans for HIDDEN! CONTENT!) on The A Team. Checkitowt! Also, if you have any ideas for what sort of hidden content you might want to see (so far I have some stuff, including a map for All Unquiet Things and scans of some of my handwritten character manifestos, but I can probably do a lot of different stuff–puzzles and playlists and secret contests and sneak peeks of material-in-progress. I’m totally open to suggestions) then comment here or at The A Team or email me.

The new critics

Posted on April 17th, 2008 by Anna Jarzab

Emily Gould posted a woefully short item on Galleycat yesterday about the labyrinth that is the Amazon customer review system, pointing out something that I just learned this week: there is a woman named Harriet Klausner who has posted 16,191 reviews on Amazon to date. Apparently, she’s a retired librarian and, most importantly, a speed reader who reads four to six books a day and reviews every single one of them on Amazon. Now, that’s a talent. Publishers treat her like a professional reviewer–they send her books for free in the hopes that she’ll read them (unlike most book bloggers, she probably does get through most of what she’s sent because she’s such a freaky fast reader!). One of the best things (for publishers and authors, at least) about Harriet? She hardly ever gives a bad review. Seriously, do a scroll down her Amazon reviews page. Go ahead, I’ll wait. You see? Four or five stars, no less, and everything is excellent, poignant, or insightful, amongst other laudative adjectives.

People in the book industry decry the decline of the print book review daily, but I can’t help but wonder whether we even need professional book critics anymore?* Lookit, I read the New York Times Sunday book reviews, but I don’t really care about them. I read them out of professional interest only, in a sort of “Oh, let’s see what books the Times and every other ‘literary’ book outlet will be wanking about for the next ten months” way. Also because I find Michiko Kakutani mildly entertaining at times. But the truth is, I don’t buy books that I read about in the Times, even if they get a rave–maybe even especially. Because I don’t trust professional reviewers. I don’t feel like they’re at all interested in telling me anything about a book, whether or not it’s worth reading or buying; they don’t have me, the buyer, the reader, in mind when they’re writing their reviews. They have themselves in mind. And not themselves as readers–themselves as critics. Because this is their profession, and so every piece they write contributes to an overall collection of work that represents them, as writers. Their thoughts about a given book are actually quite a small concern in comparison.

To tell the truth, I don’t hold much truck with Amazon reviews, either, at least not when it comes to entertainment. I love them when I’m looking to buy a DVD player–they tell me what to avoid because of XY&Z problems, what is specifically wrong with an item and whether it lives up to its promises–but let’s be honest, when it comes to books and movies and music the opinions of some anonymous Amazon reviewer who I don’t know are just as useless to me as Michiko Kakutani’s opinions. Items of entertainment are so highly subjective, and anyway I feel like most Amazon reviewers review books because they either hate them or love them, like our friend Harriet Klausner–there’s no perspective in such extremity.

This is why everybody needs a good book blogger they can trust. Even if they’re anonymous, if you read enough of the book blogger’s reviews (which are often much better written, thought out, and more even-tempered than Amazon reviews) you can get a sense for what they like and don’t like, what they tend to read and what they tend to avoid, and as you keep reading the blog and perhaps trying out some of their more highly recommended suggestions you can start to see whether or not they align with your tastes. These aren’t professionals; sometimes they’re getting the books comped from the publishers, but often they’re buying them themselves, like you do. That’s what’s so great about book bloggers–they’re not critics, they’re readers. This is important, because readers read for vastly different reasons than critics read, and they often come to different conclusions about a book. A novel full of pretentious bullshit might appeal to a critic because then they can say all kinds of pretentious bullshit about it, but a reader can see through all that BS right quick and come to their own readerly conclusion, which is a far more trustworthy opinion.

This is not to say that I agree with all book bloggers, but I just think they’re part of the new revolution of reviewers. Maybe people don’t read the books section because we’re beyond critics. Now we just want to know what books are loved by people like us.

*Wow, reading over this post I think I was coming across as someone who thinks print book reviews should die. No! Not me. I think whenever people talk about books, it’s a good thing, whatever they’re saying (unless they’re trying to censor people or talk about burning books). And there are a lot of newspapers with great review sections and great reviewers. I personally dislike the New York Times in reference to almost everything and I get really frustrated that the “paper of record” is in so many ways so irrelevant to the lives of so many people. But that’s another post. I don’t want book reviews in newspapers and magazines to go away. I just think that book bloggers are the wave of the future, that’s all, and that I personally prefer them over print reviews. Although I really like the reviews in Publishers Weekly…I’ve gotten a lot of great book recommendations from them.

Welcome to the blogpacalypse

Posted on March 26th, 2008 by Anna Jarzab

Well, it’s happened. Incredibly true and funny (and funny ’cause it’s true!) blogsite Stuff White People Like is being turned into a book. Like, of course it is. And I’m sure it’ll be a really funny book. But here’s the thing: blogs are blogs because they’re not books, or anything else, really. They’re blogs. Blogs based on books are just risky, because it’s not a given that the material contained within a blog will be either funny or interesting in book form. I think it’s great that publishers are taking bloggers seriously and trolling the ‘sphere to find promising new writing talent, for sure, but lots of web traffic does not necessarily equal lots of book sales. Why? Because you can read blogs for free! I think the best (and most successful, although I can’t back that up) blogs-to-books stories are where the blog is a jumping off point for the book–the inspiration, the foundation, maybe a few especially favorite entries are edited/rewritten into essays–but, in the end, the book is an entirely new entity. Or so I think. I’m really not an expert. But it just seems like publishers are just optioning blogs as books nowadays because it seems like the work is already done, or nearly done, but I can’t imagine that it’s any easier to wrangle a blog between a cover than it is an unwieldy but promising manuscript. If you know better, please school me (and I mean that).