Saturday, April 21, 2012

Can Byliner save writers?

Los Angeles Book Fest, Day One: A great start from the beginning, running into some of our favorite writers, M.G. Lord and Dana Gioia. Didn't get to see as many panels as I would have liked, but did get over to one that had the words "digital" and "narrative" in the title. At first, it was a letdown that most of the panel was about the writing business -- namely, can the digital landscape save (rather than obliterate) magazine, short story, and novel writers. But panelist Mark Bryant, co-founder and editor at Byliner, gave me hope that the state of online reading was on an upswing.

Anyone who's ever tried and failed to find a magazine or newspaper article by a certain writer within a site's clunky search engine should be pretty excited about Byliner. The site features original content but it also collects and, hooray!, CURATES excellent articles. I keep hearing that curation and editing will characterize Web 3.0, and here we go...

Another discovery from this panel is Atavist, a site that specializes in the kind of literary, lengthy magazine story that is becoming extinct. As the front section of the New York Times Magazine mimics a web-surfing 15-year-old buzzed on Arizona Iced Tea, web sites are stretching out and allowing us to luxuriate with a 25,000 word article. A positive trend.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Kid in a candy store

I just got back from Montrose, where I was able to spend some time with my favorite YA book expert, Kris Vreeland. Kris used to be at Vroman's but she now sells books at Once Upon a Time Books. Spending time with Kris is pretty dangerous, and she's inspired me to clear aside huge chunks of time to dig into these awesome-sounding books.
Here's a sampling (click on the title to see the Goodreads page for the book):

Wonder by Ed Palacio: The story of a misfit who now has to go to school. Goodreads readers give this one an excellent rating.

Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick: Crazy, apocalyptic horror.

 Starters by Lissa Price: In this dystopia, the old can rent out youthful bodies until this perfect set-up goes horribly awry.

 Other books I can't wait to read:

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore. I loved Graceling so much, I was actually afraid to read the follow-up, Fire. Got to bite that bullet now; am hearing that the third in the series is amazing.

My big victory of this year has been in FINALLY convincing one student to read Green's Looking for Alaska. That student told another, and now they keep coming for it. This new one is getting raves.