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Top 5 Publishing News Stories 5/28-6/1

number_5_orangeEvery week we recommend 5 publishing news stories that young book professionals should read to feel more connected to what’s going on in the industry. There are only 5, so even if you weren’t able to read a thing all week, these should help keep you in the know.

Donadio & Olson‘s accountant embezzled over $3.4 million.

Edwards Brothers Malloy is shutting down its printing business.

The Nobel Prize may not be awarded in 2019, either.

Netflix released a trailer for its first comic book.

Copper Canyon launched a fundraiser to publish Ursula K. Le Guin’s last book of poetry.

Diversity in Literature from the Standpoint of a Biracial Latina Woman

Growing up with a Dominican mother and an Ashkenazi father, I never saw books about myself. Because my father was never particularly religious and my sisters and I were raised Catholic, it was natural for me to feel more connected to my Dominican side. Even from my earliest memory, little four-year-old me knew who she was: she was Dominican. Every night she ate rice and beans and maduros and tried to understand what her abuela and mother were saying. But she also knew that she was biracial and was always proud of that.

In 8th grade English class, though, I had an epiphany. We were reading a collection of short stories (I forget what it was called) about immigration and culture in Latino families. I’ll be honest, I hated this book.  The story I remember most vividly was about a group of preteen girls who decided to wear heels despite their mothers’ warnings about the negative attention this would bring. The heels “allowed” them to be harassed by old men – and they enjoyed it, to the point where things got touchy and one of the old men offered them a dollar for a kiss. I believe one of the girls reciprocated, but after that they stopped wearing the heels. Because of this they magically stopped being harassed and all the old men ignored them again.

See, ridiculous and creepy. I think this story was the end of me dealing with that book. But reading this short story collection made me realize something instrumental. I had only found my culture in books specifically about my culture. Why were we only written about here, in these books? And why weren’t we found elsewhere?

I voiced my frustrations. For some reason I expected my classmates to agree, or if not, to acknowledge my point, but it turned out to be quite the opposite: I was scoffed at. It wasn’t a big deal and I was making something out of nothing. I was surprised and decided to push. It seemed so obvious to me, and I wasn’t someone who was about to back down. My classmates responded with irritation and eye rolls. So I went to talk to my teacher; maybe she’d listen to me. But while she wasn’t harsh, she was annoyed and told me something along the lines of that there was nothing there and I was making up this whole idea. Even my friends agreed.

It hurt: the only Latina in that class was being told her feelings were wrong. My voice about my culture didn’t have any weight. Seething, I decided to not bring it up again. And this rejection caused me to shove my feelings into the back of my mind.

My feelings didn’t disappear completely, you see, but I didn’t bring them up again. Instead, I rolled my eyes at certain titles because, yes, I had gained an animosity for cultural books. I wanted not only Latinos, but all minorities, to not be trapped in one genre; to be characters in any other type of books.

 What Counts as Representation?

Books about cultural identity, in which the plot is centered on the experience of being a POC, are extremely important, and we need more of them. But why should we stop there? Do culture and race have to be the focus of a plot to write about minority characters? Of course not.

We need way more stories about, let’s say, a CIA agent who just happens to be Latino, or stories starring POC working as monster slayers or struggling with first love in high school. Their culture is represented, but it’s not the entire plot of the book. Why can’t people of color be their own stars in a narrative of infinite possibilities? Anyone, including a white audience, can read these books, and POC (especially younger people who probably aren’t going to search for book about their culture identity) can find representation in genres they already love.

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Top 5 Publishing News Stories 5/21-5/25

number_5_orangeEvery week we recommend 5 publishing news stories that young book professionals should read to feel more connected to what’s going on in the industry. There are only 5, so even if you weren’t able to read a thing all week, these should help keep you in the know.

Author Philip Roth died this week at 85.

Quarto‘s boardroom takeover led to the CEO’s resignation.

This year’s Man Booker International Prize winner is Olga Tokarczuk.

Amazon launched a new Merch Collab platform.

The National Book Foundation is adding new literary programming.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 5/15-5/18

number_5_orangeEvery week we recommend 5 publishing news stories that young book professionals should read to feel more connected to what’s going on in the industry. There are only 5, so even if you weren’t able to read a thing all week, these should help keep you in the know.

Pioneering author Tom Wolfe died this week.

Cengage faces a lawsuit from textbook authors over its new subscription service.

Ronan Farrow‘s next book will address his experience of the Harvey Weinstein investigation

Stan Lee is suing his former company over rights to his name and likeness.

Otto Penzler’s new imprint will republish American mystery classics.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 5/7-5/11

number_5_orangeEvery week we recommend 5 publishing news stories that young book professionals should read to feel more connected to what’s going on in the industry. There are only 5, so even if you weren’t able to read a thing all week, these should help keep you in the know.

Former Penguin CEO Peter Mayer has died.

The Center for Fiction is moving to Brooklyn

Junot Díaz has stepped down as Pulitzer chairman following misconduct allegations.

The legal battle over a Broadway production of To Kill a Mockingbird was settled. 

A romance author tried to copyright the word “cocky,” and chaos ensued. 

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 4/30-5/4

number_5_orangeEvery week we recommend 5 publishing news stories that young book professionals should read to feel more connected to what’s going on in the industry. There are only 5, so even if you weren’t able to read a thing all week, these should help keep you in the know.

The Obama Presidential Library will contain a public library branch.

Amazon is launching its first Prime-based physical book service.

Due to an ongoing sex-abuse scandal, the Nobel Prize will not be awarded in 2018.

A long-running case about compensation for freelancers was settled.

Jennifer Egan’s Manhattan Beach won the One Book, One New York vote.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 4/23-4/27

number_5_orangeEvery week we recommend 5 publishing news stories that young book professionals should read to feel more connected to what’s going on in the industry. There are only 5, so even if you weren’t able to read a thing all week, these should help keep you in the know.

The Orange Prize shortlist is out.

First-week sales for A Higher Loyalty outpaced other political bestsellers.

George R.R. Martin will release a new book this year…just not The Winds of Winter.

A suspect was arrested in the Golden State Killer case just months after the release of the late Michelle McNamara‘s I’ll Be Gone in the Dark.

Bill Hybels‘s publisher is suspending his front- and backlist following sexual misconduct allegations.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 4/16-4/20

number_5_orangeEvery week we recommend 5 publishing news stories that young book professionals should read to feel more connected to what’s going on in the industry. There are only 5, so even if you weren’t able to read a thing all week, these should help keep you in the know.

W.W. Norton will launch a children’s imprint.

The Center for Ray Bradbury Studies won a grant to preserve the late author’s papers.

The 2018 Pulitzer Prize winners were announced Tuesday. 

Two Parkland shooting survivors are publishing a book.

The head of the Swedish Academy stepped down over the handling of a sex abuse scandal.

Bonus: Superman turned 80 this week.

The YA Formula for Female Protagonists

When you think of Young Adult Literature, what pops into your head? Every Jesse Green book? Cheesy first love stories? Sad first love stories? Twilight?

Over the last decade YA has evolved. You don’t see many books like Sweet Valley High anymore or Gossip Girl—two book series based off a pair of perfect blonde rich girls. Instead we’re seeing more diversity, both ethnically and politically. If a character is LGBTQ, their sexuality doesn’t have to be the plot, as author Bill Konigsberg describes in his blog. But even though YA is progressing, female protagonists still frequently fall into one of the damaging types that represents women and girls negatively. And as someone who’s read a lot of Young Adult Literature, the representation and personification of woman and girls, and the negative effects that can have on the reader, is something I’ve always been bothered by.

I’ve dubbed two of the typical protagonists “The Heroine” and “Miss Perfect” (also known as a “Mary Sue”). Why are these two types so prevalent in this genre, and what makes them popular?

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Top 5 Publishing News Stories 4/9-4/13

number_5_orangeEvery week we recommend 5 publishing news stories that young book professionals should read to feel more connected to what’s going on in the industry. There are only 5, so even if you weren’t able to read a thing all week, these should help keep you in the know.

New releases are coming from Malala Yousafzai’s father and J.R.R. Tolkien.

Skyhorse underwent a major reorganization this week. 

The ALA released its annual list of most-banned books.

Our Bodies, Ourselves will cease publication after fifty years.

The Nobel Prize committee for literature is facing a resignation crisis.