Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Less is More

In Bologna, Italy, the annual Children’s Book Fair is going on. (Okay, am I the only one who thinks it’s odd that the fair is being held in a city with the name of a hideous lunch meat foisted upon unsuspecting children? And what does this mean for children’s literature?)

Anyway, writers, editors, and agents are all schmoozing—maybe there’s less schmoozing given the world economic climate. They’re deciding which books to buy and translate into German, French, Polish, etc. And vice versa. Though not too many books make the transition from a “foreign language” to English. About the only children’s book I know that has made the move is Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart series.

But there’s lots of talk about the recent books and what’s successful. I don’t know this personally, of course, I’m still waiting for my invitation to arrive. But, I am following an attendee’s blog. The scuttlebutt is about the success of an American book series, which shall remain nameless, but is about vampires and teenage girls falling in love. It’s like Harlequin meets paranormal. Imagine Lizzie Bennett (Pride and Prejudice) saying, “I really like Mr. Darcy—in fact, I really love him even though he wants to suck my blood and turn me into the undead. But then again, maybe he doesn’t. Or maybe I really I love someone else. Yeah, that could be it.” You can’t imagine that? Neither can I. This is why P & P is classic literature, and the other book, well, isn’t.

One literary agent is quoted as saying, "Sometimes I wonder if something is bad enough to be successful." Maybe this is my problem—my book is too good. Maybe I should stop editing. No more hammer blows on the finger. Yeah, I could get into this. Less is more.


  1. Bad enough to be good...? How... counter-intuitive...

  2. Ha. I'm pretty sure I know what book you're talking about. Have you read it or do you just hate it on principle?

    P.S. Children's literature is all bologna. That's why the festival is held there.

  3. Well, I guess a book is defined by its characters. So, maybe that's why Twilight "sucks."

  4. Saying that the Twilight books are not great liturature is an understatement if what I've heard about them is true. If it is, then they are total crap.