Thursday, June 28, 2012

#ALA12 #ARCgate #BunheadGate

OK all of the drama on twitter is ruining my day. So I have to jump in as the voice of reason because I want all of you to shut up so that I can get my sports news and find some, one-liner witticisms and jokes to enjoy. So here we go:

1.       You are not a book blogger or a librarian how are we ruining your twitter?
I work in a library as a computer technician. My wife is a librarian and a blogger. My world overlaps with you people. Frankly, I enjoy many of your thoughts throughout the year but whenever there is this drama after library conferences I want to unfollow all of you. But as some of you are friends and others of you are interesting I don’t want to have to make that choice.

2.       Why should I give a flying ducky about what you have to say?
Good question. There really is no good reason to care about what I say other than I have experienced a few ALA conferences and I don’t really have a dog in the fight, so I can offer an outsider’s perspective.

3.       So who is right, bloggers or librarians?
The short answer? Neither of you. First to bloggers, I am not going to rehash the tongue-lashing that you have already gotten from librarians, but I am going to observe that in my conference experiences I have witnessed a large number of bloggers doing terrible things. I know the good bloggers out there are decrying the injustice of being grouped together with the bad ones, however, in my experience there are more bad bloggers than good ones.

But quite frankly I don’t really care about you, if you are a blogger I do not expect you to act as a professional because you aren’t one (at least not in this context of librarian vs blogger). Expecting you to act as a professional at an event that you only have to pay $25 to attend and at which there are no real professional consequences for bad behavior is like inviting a group of people into a bank vault unsupervised and saying don’t take the money. Some will obey the social conventions, most will take some of the free money, and many will pack their clothes so full of money that they will look like the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man. You may matter to publishers and to ALA, but you simply do not matter to me.
However, I would say that using any ARC that you receive at a library conference as a giveaway on your blog is unethical unless you have the written consent of the publisher. If a publisher sends you a book because they like your blog do whatever you want with it, but if you get an ARC at a library conference I would encourage you to read it and then donate it to your local library, or if your library does not want it, any other worthy charity that needs books.

Now to the Librarians, God knows I love you all, and as my marriage can attest I think that everyone should have an intimate relationship with a librarian somewhere in their lives. This does not mean that I believe you are entitled to the ARCs any more than the bloggers are. Sure, having them is a wonderful advantage and is an excellent tool for readers advisory and materials ordering, but the only reason that you have them is because you are relatively low cost mass marketing, plus you make up a significant segment of the profits that publisher’s make when you buy materials for your library. A business exists to make money, lest we forget, and so publishers are not at these conferences because they think librarians are wonderful people who help people of all ages become exposed to information. They are there to make money. The ARCs are a part of that strategy, but if ARCs continue to be a problem you may find that publishers will stop providing them. Also, I know that you feel that as librarians you deserve the books, it is your conference after all, but I am sure the publishers want to get as much mileage out of each ARC as possible. It is in the publisher’s best interest to put a hot book into the hands of a blogger with 5000 readers a day vs a librarian who might order 10 copies for their library and then give that ARC to 2-3 teens to read.

As I see it the problem with bloggers versus librarians is not an issue with the bloggers or the publishers. The issue is between the librarians and your own professional organization.  Just as the publishers see you and your organization as walking dollar signs, so your organization sees the bloggers. Every blogger who pays to get into the conference is probably $20 worth of profit to ALA. That money most likely goes into helping offset the costs associated with the conference as well as getting better or at least more well-known presenters for future conferences. Also higher attendance numbers will in turn entice more ARC offerings from publishers. In a way, the bloggers may end up being a necessary evil. They may be taking your ARCs but they are also providing you better conference opportunities as well. If you don’t want bloggers at your conference, or you want them to pay higher costs or only be limited to one day, fine. Take it up with your professional organization, not your blog or the twitterverse. However, be prepared that your membership fees or conference fees may go up or the quality of available offerings may go down because of that decision. (P.S. I don’t want to hear about the risings costs or decreased opportunities on twitter either, you are making this bed so you sleep in it)

Oh and librarians with a blog I think this statement applies to you as well: I would say that using any ARC that you receive at a library conference as a giveaway on your blog is unethical unless you have the written consent of the publisher. If a publisher sends you a book because they like your blog do whatever you want with it, but if you get an ARC at a library conference I would encourage you to read it and then donate it to your library, give it to a patron who would enjoy it, or donate it to some other worthy charity that needs books.

So what do you think? Am I right? Am I wrong? Am I being unfair to bloggers? Librarians? Publishers? Let me know in the comments and on twitter.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Most Hated Chracters

I feel a little bad about this post. I realize that I am going to be attacking people's work and so I feel some guilt. However, bad or disliked characters are going to pop up from time to time and if you create one of these monstrosities you just have to grin and bare it. You guys just might have to remind me of this if someone names one of my characters on a list like this. But without further ado here are my most hated characters (TV, Books, Video Games, and Movies are included):

10 Katniss Everdeen (Hunger Games Trilogy, Books and in March a movie)

So much whining, and she can never remain conscious during any climatic moment

9 Delores Umbridge (Harry Potter series, Books and Movies)

Flat, annoying, and one sided. Not nearly the quality of Rowling's other characters

8 Wesley Crusher (Star Trek The Next Generation, TV)

Know it all Mary Sue.

7 Doctor Octopus (Spiderman 2, Movie)

I knew he was a good guy the whole time which made it hard to cheer against him.

6 John Mandrake (Bartimaeus Trilogy, Books)

Could have been one of the best characters in YA lit, but I felt like he was underdeveloped compared to Bartimaeus.

5 Navi (The Legend of Zelda, Video Games)

Annoying voice and popped up all the time with useless information

4 Bella Swan and Edward Cullen (Twilight, Books and Movies)

Shallow, angsty, and oblivious.

3 Jar Jar Binks (Star Wars, Movies)

Not sure why he even exists. Maybe George Lucas owed someone a favor?

2 Jon and Kate Goslin (TV)

I know these are real people, but if you don't realize that people are portrayed as characters in a reality show then I pity you.

1 Holden Caulfield (Catcher in the Rye, Book)

Reading Catcher in the Rye made me want to claw my eyes out. I found Holden and his slow decent into insanity to be as uninspiring as anything that I have ever read.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Favorite Characters

Who are your favorite characters of all time?
Mine include are not limited too:
Zeddicus Zul'Zorander
Jimmy the Hand
Tyrion Lannister
I would love to  hear some of yours

#NaNoWriMo Day 1 #amwriting

Day 1 was a smashing success with over 2000 words. I am at a strange spot in the story where it is revolving around three characters at once. Sort of a Harry, Hermione, and Ron sort of thing. Except the Hermione of my story keeps getting lost in the shuffle. She has to be there, and her presence is important, but her minute to minute activities are getting lost in the story of the two guys.

It is appropriate for the scene, but not much like her character who is very boisterous. Do you think this is a problem? Have you noticed things like the before when there are multiple characters all traveling together in what you are reading or writing?

I only ask because they are about to take a journey together. Now I can write the story of the journey and throw in some mini adventure involving the magical horse they have with them, or I can skip the deals and get them to thier destination when the Hermione character is really going to take off.

What do you think?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Warming up for #NaNoWriMo 2011 #amwriting

I am back to blogging this month!

Since NaNoWriMo is just around the corner I am starting to get myself ready for the event. I am going to be continuing my work on last year's project so if everything goes well I will have 76000 words done by the end of November. You can look forward to daily updates as I blog to clear my head before writing.

So for the people who are doing NaNoWriMo this year: Are you doing a new project or are you working on something old?

I have not read nor edited anything from last year's project, but I am going to have to go back and reread it to get the thread of where I was in the story and to remember some of the nuance. Should I do any editing or should I just cringe my way through and edit when it is over? I would love your thoughts!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Adult Fantasy: The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

About the Book: What happens to legendary heroes when they grow tired of saving everyone? How do you motivate a hero? How does someone go from being an ordinary, albeit talented child to being the greatest hero in a generation? The Wise Man's Fear is Day Two of the back story of the legendary hero Kvothe.

My Thoughts: Again relayed mostly through a series of flashbacks, this story continues to be fun fast paced and exciting. Rothfuss reclaimed his wonderful writing style and again the voice clearly changes when he is writing in the past versus writing in the present. Kvothe is flushed out much more as a character, but his story takes a darker and more dangerous turn. Adult relationships flourish in all of their complexity. While there were a couple breaks in voice as the book went on, for the most part Rothfuss quickly brought the story back to where I expected it to be. My biggest problems are that the middle of the book is a sexual romp in a fairy realm and the story seems to be progressing too slowly. I can handle sex in a book, but it seemed like 200 pages of the book was devoted to sex, it just kind of dragged on and on. The other problem with progressing too slowly is this. In the present, Kvothe is around 30 years old. By the end of the second book, he is not even twenty in his flashbacks. That means in the next book he has to cover 10 years worth of back story and I am not sure how he is going to do it.
Since this series is called The KingKiller Chronicle, I am hoping that the series will be longer than a trilogy. I have not heard how many books this series is scheduled for, but I image it will take at least 2 more.
Overall this book was very good and had a much better ending. Rothfuss has won me back and I well be impatiently awaiting the next book. I give it a 7 out of 10.

Friday, March 4, 2011

An "Appropriate" Ending *SPOILER ALERT*

I don't care if the ending is happy or tragic. All I care about is an appropriate ending. I can't stand when everything changes at the end of the book. I don't like when the solution comes out of the blue without any foreshadowing, or when we find out the whole conflict really was no danger after all.

An inappropriate ending ruins books for me.

I have known where my ending was going to end up since the beginning, but I am wondering how to execute that ending.


It comes down to this question: How bothered would you be as a reader if the book ended on a very public murder, but you as the reader never knew which of the characters was killed?