Thursday, September 22, 2011

Goodbye, Fellow Bookworms

As much as I love this blog, I’m putting SLB to bed. I always saw this space as a diversion from real life, a way for me to indulge in a particular passion of mine. Now my passion is my real life. Exactly nine months after I began, and 99 posts later, I’m doing exactly what I want to be doing.  (Yes, I planned the nine-month anniversary, but the nice number of 99 posts was a pleasant surprise.)

It’s a little bittersweet shutting down SLB, as we’ve had a great run together. So many memories! It all started over Thai food. During my first “business lunch,” my inbound-marketing officemates asked me where I was planning to go in my life. I, still slightly demoralized from my summer-long job hunt, truly wasn’t hoping for much. I didn’t have plans beyond staying in Boston with my friends (thank goodness for these lovely people!) and continuing to receive a paycheck. I mean, publishing sounded great, but I wasn’t qualified. I hadn’t read enough books. I didn’t know anyone in the industry. Sure, I may have been a little sad, but wasn’t that what being an adult was about?

Thank you, thank you, Sam and Justin, for suggesting I write a blog. When I said I didn’t have anything to write about, they asked me what I loved. I said I love to read, and I love stories about and for young people. I thought other people gave these books, near and dear to my heart, short shrift because they weren’t “literature.” Eventually, I decided to apply my mind to these books, to consider them seriously. The rest is history.

I fell into the online YA/children’s lit community, and I learned so, so much. I tweeted with some authors who I crazy-admire, and some of them thanked me for my reviews. I reviewed one book that I adored and used a modified version of it as my entrance essay to the Columbia Publishing Course. (I have since met this author in a bar, blushing as he introduced me to people as the girl who wrote that great review.) I blogged the Course from June to August and maybe even blogged my way into a job. (My editor said she checked out SLB before hiring me!) I moved from Boston to New York, and though I miss my Boston friends, I’m constantly surprised at how much I LOVE my job. (Being an adult does not mean being unhappy.)

I’ll always be grateful for this space. My sixteen-year-old self had no idea I’d be here someday, with a blog that’s the highest search ranking on Google for “Simple Little Bookworm.” (It’s higher than results showing the song I named it for!) I've hosted two different giveaways, listened to music, posted a guest-blog, celebrated a birthday, uncovered some concept art, read a ton of excellent poetry, showed off my bedroom, received a blogger award, colored a princess picture, and won a Twitter contest. I've had an opportunity to be serious, to be sweet, and to be silly. Mostly though, SLB got me to realize what I should be doing with my life.

Thank you to any readers I’ve had, and thank you especially to the blog friends who made recommendations and made posting my thoughts a two-way conversation. Hopefully, I’ll be able give back by supplying other book bloggers with great titles to review. (Check out my Twitter @simplebookworm for real-time recs. Keep up the conversation! I'd love to hear from you.)

I’ve read a lot of good books, and I’m going to keep on reading. As I sign off, I hope to remain, now and forever, a

Simple Little Bookworm <3

Goodnight, blog.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Reading Roundup!

You might have noticed that SLB simply ain’t what it used to be. With all that’s going on in my life, blogging has fallen by the wayside. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still reading up a storm! If I may make a few recommendations:

---UNWIND by Neal Shusterman (A concept that blew my mind and twists that made me actually yell “NO WAY!” to my empty apartment. Intelligent and eerie dystopia at its best.)

---BEHEMOTH by Scott Westerfeld (The second in a trilogy, this alternate history of World War I is chock full of steampunk goodness. His imagination is a thing of beauty. I also can’t say enough about Keith Thompson’s illustrations.)

---The SONG OF THE LIONESS quartet by Tamora Pierce (A fiercely stubborn female protagonist, a lot of swordfighting, some magic, believable romance, a dash of political intrigue…Ingredients for an epic tale well told.)

---SAY HELLO TO ZORRO! by Carter Goodrich (Can you say cutest picture book ever? My heart melted in a puddle over Mr. Bud and Zorro. I gave a copy to my best friend, my little sister.)
How adorable are these two? (Click to see it bigger.)
I’ve also finished some incredible stuff from the authors on my editor’s list. You have no idea the awesome that’s coming your way…Emotion, suspense, humor, and, of course, kissing! You’ll definitely be hearing more about these books on Twitter as their release dates come closer. (I’m @simplebookworm, remember?)

In non-S&S news, I devoured FOREVER and THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater (Scholastic) and I’m starting in on DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth (HarperCollins) next.

I’m busy and happy. What more could I ask for?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Stuck in Brooklyn, Weekend Edition

Hope everyone weathered the weather! As for me, I have some entirely unnecessary liters of water to drink. Thanks for keeping me hydrated, Irene!

I honestly can’t believe I’m going into my fourth week of work. Fourth! I planned to post about my first week, but alas. It’s been busy. Though I’ve learned so much already, I have a while before all of these tasks become second nature. Metaphorically speaking, I can navigate the maze of my floor, but I’m still figuring out the best way to get where I need to go.

My apartment’s looking more and more like a home every day. Slow but steady progress is the key. The biggest victory was scoring the very comfy couch I’m currently sitting on, an L-shaped brown corduroy monster, off of Craigslist. It fits both my tall gentleman roomie and me in full lounge mode. Next nest project: art!

When not working or unpacking, I’ve been exploring around the Montrose neighborhood. Best discovery? My local watering hole. I’ve frequented Duck Duck several times since moving, and it’s perfect for launching or ending an evening. I had a tasty tuna melt at Boulevard CafĂ© and some yummy bagel sandwiches at Lula Bean. (The iced tea at LB is die for!) Great tacos have also been found but only serviceable Thai food. Recommendations, either in Brooklyn or in the city?

I had the pleasure of taking in an Otsego show at Halyards this past Friday. (Went with a good friend of mine from college, who went to high school with the drummer.) A talented ensemble that plays bluegrass-y good time music, Otsego does originals and covers with unassuming charm. I’ll be keeping an eye on these fellows.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Boston to Brooklyn Playlist

One of the things that really tickled me about Amy and Roger's Epic Detour was the formatting. Interspersed with the text were photos, scribbled notes, and haikus (my favorite). It totally immersed me in Amy and Roger's world, providing a winking window into the characters beyond the excellent prose. Let me show you what I mean:

Click to see it bigger!
Cute, no? The highlight for me though was Roger's playlists. There was a new one for every state, themed around the scenery and the mood. Take Kansas, for example:

Just a small typo with the quotes! Want to fix.
Morgan Matson--I mean, Roger--has excellent taste in music. (I have 11 of these 17 artists in my music library, so I might be biased.) Thusly inspired, I wanted to share a portion of my five hour long playlist with you all. (Yes, I made sure my laptop wore her seat belt.) Enjoy!

MY TOP 25 27 ROAD TRIP TUNES (aka Boston2Brooklyn)

The Arcade Fire: No Cars Go/Ready to Start
Bombay Bicycle Club: Always Like This/Ghost
Broken Bells: The High Road
Camera Obscura: Let’s Get Out of This Country
Chromeo: Night by Night
The Cure: Mint Car
Darwin Deez: Radar Detector
The Decemberists: Sons and Daughters
Devendra Banhart: Lover
Diane Birch: Valentino
The Dirty Projectors: Cannibal Resource
Ezra Furman and the Harpoons: Take Off Your Sunglasses
A Fine Frenzy: Electric Twist
Florence and the Machine: Dog Days Are Over
The Go! Team: Bottle Rocket
Hellogoodbye: When We First Met
Hot Chip: The Warning
Minus the Bear: Absinthe Party at the Fly Honey Warehouse
Neko Case: This Tornado Loves You
The New Pornographers: The Electric Version
Robyn: Cobrastyle
Roisin Murphy: Ruby Blue
Thao with the Get Down Stay Down: Bag of Hammers
YACHT: Psychic City
Yeasayer: O.N.E.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Amy and Gracie's Epic Detour

Moving to Brooklyn and starting a new job within one weekend was pretty intense, but here I am two weeks later. I'm alive! I have a couch and a cubicle, a new city to explore and a whole bunch of acronyms to learn. (CRF, P&L/PPE, TMM, T&E, OOP, OTS...)

Before all that though was Amy and Gracie's Epic Detour. (A nod to Amy and Roger's Epic Detour, which I read right before I left and LOVED.) I took Roger's road trip advice and procured both snacks and tunes for my drive from Boston to Brooklyn. I'll let the pictures do the talking.

Here's my route!

Here's my trusty steed...

(which was immaculately packed)

...And my copilot.

(Yes, that is iTunes up on Gracie's beautiful screen. My abbreviated playlist is to come.)

I had a couple of detours, more or less epic. I had enough money for the tolls, I relied on some very friendly people when I got lost, I never ran out of gas, and I surprised myself. It was actually a lot of fun, just me and some music out on the open road. Still, thank goodness I'm here. I'm ready to stick around for a while.

A hint of things to come: 
My coworkers are pretty great. <3

Thursday, August 4, 2011


So, I was holding out on you in my last post. Why? Because this news deserves its own!

I GOT A JOB. (Yes, a real one!)

I'll be joining Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers as an Editorial Assistant/Assistant to the Deputy Publisher. I could not be more excited. I loved everyone I met while I was interviewing, and I'll be doing what I love. How can I possibly improve on that?

Moving forward, SLB will be evolving as I figure out where to go from here. Of course, I'll still be talking about books, but I want to figure out how to do that in a way that's responsible and professional.

In other news, Gracie the MacBook and I are having a blast together. Anybody have app suggestions for me?

CPC: Weeks Five and Six (Plus)

I promised a doozy of a recap, and I always deliver on my promises. (It's really not my fault though. So many cool things were squeezed into the last few weeks!)

---Saw HP7.5 with a gaggle of CPCers. Though I missed certain scenes, I think the creative team did a great job distilling the essential magic of the book. I may have bawled like a baby, but I can partly blame it on the snifflers/wailers around me. I couldn't have picked better people to say goodbye to Harry with me. It does feel like a part of my childhood has ended.

---The "magazine" workshop was much less stressful than the book workshop for me, but my team and I still did plenty of work. We created a website this time around, a community/resource site for parents of teenagers. We called it "GROUNDED: A Parent's Guide to the Rocky Teenage Years." I served as the Information Architect, which meant I got to create the wireframes for the website's design. (Basically, telling the designer where to put what to give our users the best browsing experience.) I had a ton of fun with the girls in my group, and we all were invested in our concept. A silly yet serious good time.

---We had some more excellent speakers come share their lives' work with us. Choire Sicha (previously of Gawker, currently of The Awl and my super-fav forever The Hairpin) is a funny fella. Chris Kimball of America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Illustrated magazine is just as dapper and bow-tied in real life. Christopher Cerf (known for his musical contributions to Sesame Street and for co-creating the children's literacy show Between the Lions) was such a sweetheart. I still can't believe I shook the hand of the man who wrote "Put Down the Duckie." (I am personally tickled by his "Furry Happy Monsters," but you should check out his impressive list of accomplishments for yourself.) One of my favorite people to chat with was Jennifer Romolini. She's the editor-in-chief of Shine, a comprehensive community site that celebrates woman-centric topics, and she knows her stuff. Such a cool lady.

---I was one of the lucky few that got to attend the CPC field trip to Scholastic. For those of us who love children's books, visiting the building was like stepping into a sacred temple, and meeting Arthur A. Levine (better known as the US publisher of HP) was like meeting the guru.

---The last night of classes, about a third of the program went out on a massive karaoke night. The room wasn't that big, but the fun was. I had a bit of a moment when everyone sang the Frank Sinatra version of "New York, New York."

---At the final banquet, the food was delicious, but the company was even better. The wine also flowed freely, so our table got a little sappy speaking about our dreams for the future. (I was sitting with the next Martha Stewart, obviously.) My favorite part of the meal was when anyone who wanted to could stand up and make toasts. (Yes, I gave a toast. Yes, I got a little teary afterward.) I am so, so impressed by my 100 incredibly funny, warm, and talented fellow graduates.

---In our downtime, a group of post-program dorm stragglers ventured to Brooklyn for pizza. We braved an hour-and-a-half-long line for Grimaldi's, but it was all kinds of worth it.

---The career fair and the alumni reception (generously hosted by Christopher Cerf in his gorgeous home) wrapped up the last week. The same sentiments go for both events: I met such nice people from a multitude of different publishing outfits and generally had a grand old time schmoozing.

I can't believe it's over, but something new is about to begin. More details soon...