Friday, January 27, 2006

A Million Little Pieces (pt 4) (The last one, I swear)

So Oprah took back her defense of James Frey. Sigh. This whole thing has made me really sad - sad for the author, sad for the publishing world - and the fact that it's so concerned with finding the next bestseller that crap like this happens. So my final thoughts on the matter are this:

1- I still like James Frey and I still feel that he has accomplished a great deal with his recovery. It was not okay to completely embellish large parts of the story - but I can't say I blame him for taking the opportunity to get published when it came along.
2- This is still largely the publisher's fault. Again, they acquired this manuscript, edited it, published it, and marketed it as they chose. They could have done a lot of things differently here.
3- Stupid people like the ones in Seattle that I heard about yesterday - who are suing the publisher over "Lost time" spent reading the book, need to get a fucking life. Stop making our already complicated and over selfish world even worse with your trivial lawsuit. This is not the first or the last time that you will be lied to. It happens. Get over it.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Children's Book Awards 2006

I normally try to keep work off of this blog - since I keep hearing about people getting fired and having their entire lives ruined because of stuff that they write on their blog, but my company has had a very good day today, and I figure that the successes are an okay thing to share.

Therefore, I am pleased to announce that two LEE & LOW titles were chosen as Honor books in the 2006 book award announcements, which were announced today. The first, "Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan" was chosen as an Honor for the Coretta Scott King Award (for African American children's literature). The second, "Arrorro mi nino: Latino Lullabies and Gentle Games" was chosen as an Honor for the Pura Belpre Award (for Latino children's literature).

It's not easy to win these awards - and while we have gotten Honor books before for both of these awards, it's actually our third time winning each. And it's been seven or eight years since we last won the CSK. So three cheers for LEE & LOW BOOKS today!

Friday, January 20, 2006

This is awesome

To quell some late afternoon boredom, I was just looking through this again:

which Drapo forwarded me a few weeks ago. God people were cracked out in the seventies. Yikes.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

A Million Little Pieces (pt 3)

This controversy continues to fascinate me, and here's today's take on the whole situation.

Even though a part of this can be attributed to James Frey - if he embellished parts of this book and submitted it - the fault still largely lies with Random House. They either a) encouraged him to embellish b) allowed it to go through to publication or c) published the work without completely checking the facts which is sloppy and irresponsible of them. So in a lot of ways, this mishap can be attributed to the publisher.

And the other thing I'm wondering is - how did this even come up? The Smoking Gun web site - I'm not familiar with it - but apparently they go digging for information to discredit people? Why would you want to do that? James Frey was an addict and an alcholic - he went to rehab, got clean and stayed clean. He started writing screenplays, he wrote a book that became a best seller. He battled his demons and won and has to keep winning every day. Why not let him enjoy the success he's found with "A Million Little Pieces"?

And the fact of the matter is - all memoirs have pieces of them that are embellished. No person can remember the exact details of every day - especially years after the fact. I keep a journal that I write in every day. I have documented the last twelve years of my life in it - but it sure as hell doesn't have every detail of every day. If I ever decide to write a memoir, I'd sure as hell have to make a few things up.

I don't like it when people go digging for information to discredit others, just for the sake of discrediting others. It seems petty and stupid and these are the kinds of people I try to steer clear of my whole life. I don't like critics, I think it's a waste of time to bash a piece of work that might speak to somebody else. I know this makes me naive and innocent and sentimental, but that's just how I am. Screw you Smoking gun website. Try and find something better to do with your time, eh?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

A Million Little Pieces (pt 2)

So today there's some controversy about one of my latest book recommendations "A Million Little Pieces" There are some allegations that parts of this story may have been fabricated and/or embellished in the book. The author is sticking by his original story, Oprah hasn't commented so far. So here's what I have to say on the matter:

1 - According to the book, the rehabilitation center that James Frey went to had a success rate of 17% - meaning that is the percentage of people who never relapse back into their addictions. So since he has worked so hard to turn his life around (because even without the crime - his life was no picnic) I still find his story to be inspirational. Kicking drugs and drink and going on to become a bestselling author? Good enough for me.

2 - If parts of the book are embellished, I'm willing to bet that the publisher suggested it. Publishers are the ones who are all about selling and pushing the right angle, and getting books noticed. I doubt that James Frey thought it was a good idea to write all kinds of negative things about himself and his past.

3 - The book has already sold about a bajillion copies, so I'm pretty convinced that this won't kill the book. In fact, controversy (good or bad) almost always spikes book sales - so I'm willing to bet that the book and his new one "My Friend Leonard" will only sell more copies now.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Snowboarding in Vermont

I have to say - this New Year's was quite awesome. I like getting out of New York on New Year's because everything is expensive and swanky and overrated. So when my friends decided that a snowboarding weekend was in order - even though I'm not a snowboarder - I decided that their company, a condo in Vermont, hot chocolate, a fireplace and a jacuzzi sounded pretty good to me. Off we went.

I promised to try snowboarding at least one day, but when we rented our stuff said 'to hell with it" and got a two day lift ticket. And at first, snowboarding was as difficult as I remembered. I'd tried once before in Stratton, and hadn't had much success. I spent the first morning falling and sliding and not being able to stand up without someone pulling me up.

But then a funny thing happened. In the afternoon - somehow I started to get control of the board. (Sometimes). I figured out a way to stand up - rolling over and getting up on my knees. Not sexy, but hey, desperate times, right? By the end of day one I could stand up and go a tiny bit. Day two was much better. I could stand, balance, and actually started doing runs halfway down the bunny slope alone and without falling - until I reached the end anyway and couldn't stop. The last run I did - I did manage to make it down and stop. And I felt really good - on the first day of the year, I felt like I had accomplished something I hadn't thought I could.

Snowboarding wasn't the only thing that made the weekend awesome. Here are some quotes and bits from the weekend that remind me of it's funnier moments:

-The kid's table is right over there. Right over there!

-That was the gayest fight I've ever seen in my life.

-And I'm back!

-Just give me a little push!

-What else can you guys give me to burn?

-Do you think that anyone's ever gone down a hill with one foot in one snowboard, and one in another? -Yeah, it's called skiing!

-Did you see the bowling strike at the bottom of the mountain this morning?

-We went so far off course I had to take the bus back!

-78 yard touchdown! Why is no one else watching this???

-Shut up you lactating bitch.

Thanks to Matt, Roy, Pat, Michelle, Drapo, Brian and Christy for such a fun weekend. And special thanks to Matt, Pat, Michelle, Roy and Brian for the snowboarding instruction!