Posted by: Kathy Temean | August 23, 2010

Keeping Up With The Book Industry

While checking out Tricia Fressola Idrobo’s blog, I found a post where she talks about keeping up with the writing profession.  She laments, “I’m supposed to read the children’s best sellers, the award winners, the novels by the agents I’m researching. I’m supposed to read any book mentioned in a blog or by a fellow writer because it’s a good example of voice, or plot, or dialogue. And, as if that’s not unpleasant enough, I encumber myself with the additional requirement to read one adult novel a month too.”  That got me thinking about the books I have been reading.

Of course with all the buzz, I picked up, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo written by Steig Larrson.  Like Tricia said, you have to keep up with all the books being written, not just the children’s book.  So even though I had four to be released books sitting on my nightstand that were given to me by Regina Griffin from EgmontUSA’s fall catalog, I opened up the book and started to read. 

 The prologue was great!  It completely pulled me in, making me want to read more.  Once I got into the book, my second impression was the editor should have made him tighten the text.  The next 100 pages were very dense, no white space with lots of characters and family tree stuff, which was hard to remember.  I found myself forcing myself to read further.  If the underlying story had not been so intriguing, I would have put it down and picked up another book.    The text was extremely small, it even fell into the gutters.  I wonder whether the hardcover would have had larger text, more white space and maybe easier to read.  Anyway, I bring this up in case you have bought the book and having a hard time getting through the beginning. 

I have run into people who mentioned it was taking so long for them to read it.  If you find yourself in this situation, push through and you will be rewarded.  It is a real page turner once you get passed the high 100’s.  With 644 pages, you can see why I was concerned about ever getting through the book, when I had to force myself to read through over the first 150 pages.  Once passed that, I now join the rest of the reading public giving The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo a resounding thumbs up.

One of my friends gave me When You Reach Me written by Rebecca Stead.  Since it won the Newbery this year, I definitely wanted to read it.  Another Newbery winning book, A Winkle In Time, is woven into the storyline, so I was glad that I finally read that one this year.  It tied historical fiction (takes place in New York City in the ’70’s) with time travel and who doesn’t like time travel?  But like every time travel story, there are lots of questions you want answered after you put the book down.  I may not have chosen it for the Newbery, but it is an interesting book.

What are you reading? 

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Hey, Kathy 🙂

    I read When You Reach Me and enjoyed it enough to make me curious about Stead’s first novel. It was an enjoyable read, I thought.

    I’m bouncing around a lot and am having trouble finishing any one book ’cause nothing’s grabbing me enough lately. Since I’ve gotten into chess and absolutely adore the movie Searching for Bobby Fischer, I’m now reading the book and love it. I have lots to still read, including your (and others’) recommendation of The Hunger Games, which I bought the paperback. I’m surrounded by books I’ll never have time to read—all different genres, subjects, lengths, etc.
    P.S. Is all well with your mouth?


    • Donna,

      My mouth is coming along (fingers crossed). I was away on vacation and I am having a hard time getting back in the groove. I wanted to write yesterday, but had to finish, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Now I have a long, “to do” list.



  2. I had a similar experience with The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo, lol!

    I think it was like, page 172 where it finally started to move along.

    At the same time I was doing a revision of the first 100 pages of my manuscripts (not quite as long as Stieg Larsson’s book but close) and I worked like a dog trying to cut 25%.
    I managed to cut 18 pages, it took forever. I snipped out lots of little details and bits of backstory.
    Clearly, no one asked Larsson to do that! (-;

    Anyway, I read the second book but have been waiting on the third. I got a little tired of reading some of the violent scenes. Was Dragon originally called The Men Who Hate Women or something like that?

    These books may create a heroine from a strong, dysfunctional slip of a girl who’s a brilliant hacker, but they sure make her pay for her new gig.


    • Mimi,

      I’m glad I am not the only one and I am glad it made you think about your beginning of your book. It always is nice when that happens.



  3. I was got Dragon Tatoo in my book club holiday grab bag. I read the description, reviews on Amazon, some random pages, and took it back to the store for an exchange. I’m not a fan of mystery/murder/thriller books. Plus when I read so much about the violence against women in this book, that sealed the deal.

    I did enjoy When I Reach You, since I’m writing a MG historical novel set in the sixties. I have stacks of MG novels I’m reading and am especially fond of Sharon Creech.


    • Mary,

      I guess, like any other book, it is not for everyone. I like thrillers as long as it is not too violent. Not into horror, but I can see why Hollywood is making it into a movie.



  4. I just finished Gordon Korman’s Schooled, the premise of which is similar to an idea I have for a book, so it was interesting to see how it was handled.

    And I recently finished, and enjoyed, Leaving the Bellweathers, by Kristin Venuti, who was at the NJ SCBWI conference.

    And I’m just finishing up The Survivor’s Club, which is a book about people who survive all sorts of awful things, what traits they have in common, etc. It gave me an idea of something to slip into the book I’m working on currently.

    I always have about 4 books laying around that I’m reading, so I don’t get through them too quickly.


  5. I feel lots of peer pressure to read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. So far, I am resisting, and the posts above are helping me to continue to resist. I am reading Jennifer Weiner’s Fly Away Home. It’s excellent summer reading – not mindless, but not taxing. I also have free samples (I am a Kindle reader) of The Hunger Games and The Space Between the Trees waiting for me when I’m through.


  6. Hi Kathy, Interesting article — THANKS!
    I’m reading “Margaret Wise Brown – Awakened by the Moon” by Leonard Marcus. She’s one of my favorites and the book goes in depth about the early dawnings of the children’s book industry. Just finished “The Secret Life of the Lonely Doll,” Jean Nathan’s biography of children’s book author and photographer Dare Wright. Her books really intrigued me as a child. I listen to a lot of books on tape downloaded for free from and am currently listening to “How Do I Love Thee”, by Nancy Moser — a story based on the love story between poets Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning. Cool stuff!!


  7. I really enjoyed When You Reach Me. Sometimes I too feel a lot of pressure to read certain books. Once in awhile, I have to remind myself that reading is supposed to be fun!


  8. Kathleen, thanks for the link to 🙂

    And just as an aside: I used to push myself through books at one time. Now I’m less likely to do so unless the recommendation is high. I have too many books I want to read, and spending (wasting) time reading something that feels torturous is simply not how I want to spend my time. Life’s too short and I don’t read fast enough to feel like I should’ve been reading something else, you know?

    I find that if I have to push myself through, like pulling teeth (sorry, Kathy!), I must recognize what’s lacking to make it feel that way and try not to do it in my own work. If it takes more than 50 pages for me to really get into a book, I’m much more likely to NOT give it a chance.


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