“Crummy Pap” or Classic Prose?

Technology can make a person feel like they just got pushed in the deep end of the pool.  Every new software release or “cutting-edge” gadget screams for attention – but is it the wave of the future, or just a shallow puddle?

E-books and Self-publishing get a lot of press today.  And when I see that much buzz about a game-changer in a field I love, I have one response – Scepticism.  (Should I fork over the dough for a Kindle, or a Nook, or wait or the next great thing?  I don’t know!)  But, I’m an open-minded gal, so I do a little research, a bit of querying friends, and then I remember my favorite barometer…history itself.  I came across this little nugget via Writer’s Almanac:

Sir Allen Lane, (born 1902), managing editor of London’s The Bodley Head, and later creator of Penguin Books, didn’t have anything to read on the train.  He had a long ride back from visiting one of his author’s – Agatha Christie – and refused the magazines and cheap literary fare available at the depot.  He thought, “Why isn’t there something good to read for sale, that people can afford?”  Penguin Pocket Books was born, making the hardbound publications accessible to everyone.

Writer’s Almanac reports,  “Lane was determined that paperbacks, then mostly low-quality products of low-quality writing, could be the vehicles of great, contemporary fiction… Like most innovations, Lane’s idea — and his success — was initially regarded as a cause for concern by many other publishers and writers. It lowered the aesthetic value of great works of literature — a book like The Grapes of Wrath, for example, needn’t be a beautifully bound hardcover to last a lifetime, but could instead exist as a nearly disposable pocket-sized tome in bright orange, adorned with a funny little bird in mid-waddle. But Lane claimed paperbacks would effectively democratize literature, converting frequent library users to book buyers and readers of crummy pap into readers of classic prose.”

Sounds a little like the furor over E-Readers, doesn’t it? 

How about the uproar about self-publishing?

As Steven Anderson (of GoldMinds Publishing) stated recently in a presentation (read more here), the publishing world has a history of trends – the era of hardbacks was replaced by the era of dime novels, then mass market paperbacks (thanks Sir Allen!).  Now we are faced with a new epoch in the life of literature – digital access, for both readers and writers.

Where do you stand on the issue of digital publishing?  Love e-readers, but hate self-publishers?  Devoted to paper books no matter who writes them?  Has history proven that changes in format and accessibility eventually find a balance

– and does quality rise to the top?

  Leave your comments below and give us YOUR perspective on publishing!

Friday Flash – “Autumn Return”

Welcome to this week’s Friday Flash Fiction

– photo inspiration provided by Madison Woods (thanks!)

Autumn Return

The boy and girl linked arms around the massive trunk of the oak. A bronzed September day filtered through the leaves and cast sighing shadow patterns on their arms, stretched to their limit.

“I see Mama’s initials carved, right by Dad’s,” said the boy.

The girl leaned her head back until she spied the scarred bark.  “Do you think they remember being here?”  She resisted the urge to let go of the boy’s hand to trace the “A” and “M”.

“It doesn’t matter,” he said.  “We’re here for them now, and we will remember.”

They pressed their arms harder against the familiar wood, rivulets reddening the tender forearms.  They hugged the tree, and so each other.

Leave your comments below, and remember to link to your site so we can visit!


In other news, this week was full of highs and lows, sun and shadows.  I think the Fall Equinox may have played a part in that, but I’m grateful that I was able to get a lot of work done, and spend some perfect moments with the family.

We put the good-weather days to best use by biking on the local trails, and trying some more geocaching.  Rainy days caught me up on writing, schooling, and backlogged mystery show recordings. (Midsomer Murders, how I love thee…)

Super-exciting was my curriculum review of Math-U-See being accepted and posted on Homeschool.org – with its own page, no less!

I want to share some of the genius I stumbled over this week, so here we go…

Worth the Click

a mash-up of the week’s noteworthy sites

Blackberry Lane Farms -The absolute cutest collection of Persian kittens anywhere!  (I should know – they’re my mom’s)

The Bookaholic – a fun and informative blog with great book info and commentary.

Eileen Granfors – the Word Nerd pieces are great!

The Homeschool Truth – a humorous and well-written article from a homeschooling expert – a freshman!

Related articles

Friday Flash – “Crossing”

Today is the anniversary of the Mayflower setting sail from England for the New World.  This haunting picture got my historical flash fiction wheels turning…

Mayflower II masts in the fog

Mayflower masts in the fog

Just a boy, out for adventure and a new life. Crossing the sea, what could go wrong?  Rats and moldy hardtack and brackish water didn’t phase him.  The unwashed and unkind couldn’t crush his dream of freedom.

  It had only been a little thing.  A fresh orange, the drops still fresh on his lips.  Now the ropes bit into his wrists, his skull drummed a rhythm against the mast in a syncopation with the waves.

 He wedged his foot against the crow’s nest and stared into the grey void of his future.


In other news, this week has been a marathon of work!  I cranked out several pages for a literature unit on Crystal Brave, taught a fantastic group of new knitters at Yarn Diva, jumped into Geocaching, and waded deeper into social media as a business tool (thanks Kristen!).

Super-exciting was finding that I’d been mentioned in VampLit Twitter Daily’s Thursday, Sep. 15 issue for my flash fiction blog post from last Friday.

I want to share some of the genius I stumbled over this week, so here we go…

Worth the Click – a mash-up of the week’s noteworthy sites

Rebel Chick’s Journey – She’s made a decision to be happy, and movin’ on!

Writers In The Storm – Great observation on the pressure of social media

The Bloggess – Fall-down funny (language alert for some posts)