Jul 26, 2009

The Sunday Salon - Liar Cover Fiasco and Looking for a Book

The Sunday Salon.com

There isn't much I can say at this point that hasn't already been said, but I still wanted to add my voice to those protesting Bloomsbury's decision to use a white cover model for a book about a black teen girl. If you missed the controversy, start by reading Justine Larbalastier's original post. Make sure you also read the link round-up at Chasing Ray, Tarie's letter to Bloomsbury, and Renay's very wise post explaining why calling people out for racist behaviour is not the same as saying they're horrible human beings. And just so we don't forget that what we're talking about here is making real human beings feel like they don't matter because they're not white, I wanted to highlight Tarie's comment:
When I first heard about a publisher using a White girl on the cover of a book with a Black main character, for a minute I felt small, very small, because I am not White.
Liar CoverfailThis matters. We're not talking about some abstract decision with no real impact; we're talking about telling non-white teens (and adults) they're not good enough to be on the cover of a book. I have always believed that books are important, and this goes hand in hand with believing that publishing decisions should be socially responsible. Stories have consequences, and so do book covers. Heather, Vasilly, me, and a couple of other bloggers were campaigning on Twitter to get The Book Depository to order the Australian edition of Liar; hopefully they will and we'll all be able to protest the cover and still support the author and read what sounds like an amazing book.

Have you ever wanted to find a book that conveyed a particular feeling? Finding books with certain settings, either historical or geographical, is easy enough. If you're in the mood for fantasy, realistic fiction, children's literature, you name it, you can easily decide what to read too. But what if you're in the mood for nostalgic? Bittersweet? This makes me want to get a few bloggers together and organize an Emotional Reading Index. Of course, what's bittersweet for some won't necessarily be so for others, which makes the whole thing difficult.

Anyway, the reason why I'm bringing this up is that reading Slow Storm recently put me in the mood to read more books full of quiet intimacy and longing and loss; books about meaningful but not exactly romantic relationships. If you haven't read Slow Storm you probably don't quite know what I'm talking about, but think of the movie Lost in Translation, for example. Or What I Was by Meg Rosoff. Can you think of any books like that, about two people who, while not necessarily being in love, change each other in crucial ways? If so, I would love to hear about them.

Also, do you ever feel like reading books that conveys certain feelings or I am all alone in my weirdness?

I leave you with two links: First, a fantastic post about why rape "jokes" are not funny in the least. And secondly, I wrote a guest post for Jo's Sex in Teen Lit month about why I'm perfectly okay with teens reading about sex. Not everyone will agree, of course, but know you're welcome to join the conversation anyway. Have a great Sunday, everyone.


  1. You know, I was going to write about Bloomsbury too. But I get so furious every time I think about it, I was afraid of the rant that would pour forth! It just makes me sick when I read about stuff like this. For the love of God, it's the 21st century folks. Damn. Still makes me mad.

    Thanks for posting this Ana!

    An emotional reading index, huh? Interesting idea. I'm going to have to think about what you wrote. See if I can come up with some books! I haven't read Slow Storm, but it sounds really good!

  2. Ana, forgive me if this has been covered in the links provided but I am writing a quick response whilst it is in my mind. I have heard about the Bloomsbury controversy this week (via Twitter mostly) and was outraged but had a crazy week so only read the surrounding furore. Anyway, a few things occur to me:

    1. What were Bloomsbury thinking and were they thinking at all.
    2. Is it perhaps central to the plot that the protagonist is black but has thoughts of being white?
    2. The author would HAVE TO authorise the UK cover.
    3. The cynic in me suggests that this is all a publicity stunt as any publicity is free publicity and controversy, whatever its nature, always boost sales.

    Cannot think off top of head presently about intimacy, longing, loss books although I know I should.
    However, I do have another WW2 book for you: Henrietta's War by Joyce Dennys. Look out for my review of it later today (I'm going to try something a little different so it may be worth reading anyway).

  3. Stephanie: Rants can be good! But yeah, even in the 21st century, things like this are still far from being rare occurrences :(

    Claire: Justine Larbalastier addresses some of those questions in her post. The protagonist of the book, Micah, is a compulsive liar, and an unreliable narrator. The publisher's explanation for picking that cover was that being black was just another one of her lies. But the author herself has said that this is not the case. In fact, she makes a point of always making her protagonists non-white, and that alone makes the publisher's explanation sound unconvincing. In her post she also talks about how little control she had over the final cover. I understand your cynicism, but in this case, I don't think it's a publicity stunt. Someone said that the book had a fairly large first print run, and so they wanted to play safe and pick a cover they assumed would sell better. But the assumption that readers prefer covers with white people on them is of course problematic.

    Thank you for the recommendation! I look forward to your review :)

  4. I completely agree with you over the Bloomsbury book. I think it is absolutely disgraceful that they have put a white girl on the cover. I must admit I did not know about it until I read Debi's post yesterday. So I did spend some reading the other posts too. It makes you wonder how many people were involved in reaching this decision and had they actually read the book before the decision was made.

  5. there are more factors than i know about to comment (and actually seem like I know what I am talking about).. however... lets face it..descrimination won't go away.. we judge people all the time on their looks.. are they black or white? are they fat or thin? are they dressed nice or old clothes? Do they look like someone who will attack me?
    There is no getting away from it. It is FAR FAR FAR from just a black and white issue..it's in just about everything.

    if I read more I may be able to comment later on this actual book cover.. and yes, book covers add or subtract from the sale of books. and is most infurating if it doesnt' have something "real" about what is inside the book~

  6. Hope you never get tired of me telling you how awesome you are, because you just keep doing such awesome things, so I must continue telling you. :D

    I so hope your efforts with The Book Depository work!!! It feels horrible to have to boycott an author's book, which sounds fantastic, due to something that wasn't her fault. And yet there's NO WAY IN HELL that I'll support Bloomsbury in their racist decision by buying the book with that cover.

    And as for those two links at the end of your post, well, I already told you how totally and completely incredible those posts were. And I'm sincerely hoping that everyone will go read them both!

    As for books about relationships that change people in crucial ways...I'll have to think about that. Actually, you probably already know this since you saw the movie, but in some ways, I think One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest is very much about this. And a lot of other things, too, of course.

  7. Ana,

    This is about a lot of things and put on the top of the list, making real people feel small.

    I run Color Online. I have three very real mentees. All of them spoke out. Ari, in particular talked about the hurt and in another piece she writes about wanting to be white when she was younger. So let's keep it real. Socially and morally, this is WRONG.

    We at Color Online are doing more than calling Bloomsbury on the carpet. We will not purchase their edition. We will get an Aussie one. We are actively encouraging all readers to do the same.

    We blog while brown everyday. Any reader who is truly offended needs step up and blog brown, too. The publisher needs to see all readers in fact will read books with poc characters on the cover. Well that means buying books, reviewing books, prominently displaying books with poc on the cover on your blogs.

    Ask yourself what's the last poc book you read. Reading poc doesn't have to be chore. The other misconception we must dismantle is the idea that all poc books are about race, they are historical, they're street lit, they are about oppression. They are not. We live all the world. We write sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, romance, armchair travel, YA, chick lit and everything else you already read.

    Please support our new mentees, young women committed to adding color to the blogosphere:

    Ari at Reading In Color

    Tashi & Kiki at Taste of Life

    Looking for a fun opportunity to blog brown? Join us for our August Color Me Brown Challenge. You can win a free book.

    Don't know what to read? Check out Susan's Unofficial List of Great YA By and About Women of Color.

    We recently had a great response to our Diversity Roll Call meme. Our theme was sci-fi/fantasy. Check Color Online on Monday for a round up list of authors and titles.

  8. This is the first I've heard of the 'cover controversy'. The US cover is totally outrageous - good luck with your efforts at The Book Depository!

  9. I hadn't heard about this at all! Wow, that's just opening up a huge can of worms.
    Does Bloomsbury perhaps think that putting an African-American on the cover would then delegate it to the "Black Fiction" section of bookstores and pigeon-hole its audience? I do sometimes feel like bookstores do that. Still, that is a horribly way for a publishing company to act :-(

  10. Vivienne: Sadly, I think there's no way the people making the decision didn't read the book - they are the publishers, after all. The author explains on her blog that she questioned their decision, but they went ahead with it anyway :/ The book hasn't been published in the US yet, though, so maybe there's still time for the cover to be changed. The more they see how much they've upset people, the better.

    Deslily: Though I agree with you that we judge people for many reasons, I'm actually optimistic when it comes to ending discrimination. There's a long way to go still, but the 20th century saw a lot of progress when it comes to gender and race discrimination, for example, and hopefully the 21st will see even more.

    Debi, you're too sweet <3 I hope The Book Depository listens too. Heather was talking about organizing a Book Dive if they get the Australian edition, which would be awesome! And thanks for the tip about One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest! It's been too long since I watched the movie for me to remember. I need to read it asap, though! Actually, I need to read all my Debi books :P

    Susan: You're absolutely right, of course. Books by poc are about everything that is a part of being human, just like any other books. I have some more Angela Johnson and some Jacqueline Woodson lined up for the challenge. And I will visit Ari and Tashi and Kiki.

    JoAnn: Fingers crossed that they listen!

    Aarti: Yes, that does happen at bookstores, and maybe they were worried it would. Still, someone has to take the first step to end this type of literary segregation!

  11. The cover controversy frustrates me on two levels.

    First, the abstract personal belief in the situation that gives me that gut feeling that this is wrong.

    Secondly, and what reels me the most, is what this says to the children of races different to caucausion. I've mentioned this on my blog many times that I'm a teacher. I love what I do and I don't feel that it is separate from what defines *me* as me. Rather "teacher" is very much like a personal extension, or extremity such as my arm.

    I teach at a school that is predominantly hispanic. The left over small percentage is then divided between blacks, whites, asians, and multi-defined. As an English teacher, one of the best ways to get my students to read (even my students that proudly boast that they've made it to the 7th grade without having read a book) is finding characters that they can relate to. And yet, the majority of the book covers show white girls or boys.

    OK. So, similar to that fact that we don't have enough characters that are gay, bi, transgender, we also lack characters of different race. So why...I mean, really, why when we HAVE a character that's black would we put yet another shiny white girl on the cover? This is a question that I would not be able to comfortably answer if my students were to ask. Really. What do I say, "Your race is not important. It doesn't sell like a pretty white girl?"

    Self-esteem issues are already prevalent in middle school. They are already insecure about their weight, their height, their skin blemishes, their ranking in the social sphere, hell, their shoe size! Let's know send a scorching flood light on their race and point out its inferiority?

    *sigh* I'm turning red I'm so appalled.


    Moving on to the emotional index - I think that is a fabulous idea. I agree that we all have different shades of bittersweet, but would cool would it be.

  12. I was out of town, so I missed all the news about the Liar cover. I can't understand why they made a decision like that. It makes me wonder if they person who chose the cover even read the book.

  13. I think that Liar cover thing is really unfair to the author or to every non-white teen out there. I've read that black covers don't sell much. I don't see how if major publishers don't back such covers the situation is going to change. Very unfortunate indeed.

  14. I feel bad. I got the ARC of Liar at ALA in complete ignorance. I haven't read it, and had no idea until this last week about this cover thing. So now, I have this book sitting on my shelf with the screwed-up cover. All I can hope is that Bloomsbury realizes their idiocy and fixes their mistake before the book goes to final printing. This was a major fail in their part, and there is no excuse for it, and ESPECIALLY no excuse for why they claimed to have put the white girl on the front. That was, I think, the worst part about all this.

    I'm off to read your sex post, but before i go, I wanted to say Jason often gets into those moods where he wants to read something the way you described. I don't, but he does a lot, and I never know how to help him.

  15. Hi, Nymeth! You are absolutely right. Publishers have a social responsibility. They are often brave when it comes to publishing books on controversial topics. Why can't they be brave about using the RIGHT book covers?

  16. I briefly heard about the Liar cover but I didn't actually realize the whole controversy was for putting a white girl on a cover of a book about a black girl. Despite the obviously implications of racism and such, it is also misleading for purchasers of the book. Bad choice Bloomsbury!

    Emotional Reading Index?? Oh my goodness, Nymeth. I think you know I'm a pretty emtional reader and thrive on these types of books. The problem for me, though, is I don't always know what emotion I am getting or why. For example, what emotion is evoked when I read The Remains of the Day or Atonement? Both books that really shook me up, but I'm not exactly sure what they made me feel. Guess I should get more in touch with my emotions! But what a fantastic idea!! This desires an entire post of it's own!

  17. The cover controversy makes me both angry and sad, and it's all the worse because it's not an uncommon occurrence. Whitewashed cover art is everywhere. I see it a lot with genre stuff, but I'm sure it's also an issue in mainstream lit.

    This trend is one of my biggest concerns as a writer, too. My protagonists are brown-skinned, and I'm really worried that my publisher will portray them as white (when and if I find a publisher, and when and if they decide to give me a character-centric cover).

    I'm glad to see so many people speaking out about the issue. I really hope Bloomsbury listens and corrects their mistake.

  18. I was shocked to discover this too. I can't believe this happens in 2009. Good luck with the campaign - I hope those publishers back down on this soon.

  19. Wow. I had not heard of this.It is mind-boggling in its insensitivity and stupidity. And that is being charitable. Good luck with your campaign. I hope the publishers correct their error. Now.

  20. I first read about the cover fiasco on Chasing Ray and just couldn't believe it. I really feel for the author because people don't want to read the book to protest Bloomsbury and it's not her fault. This cover in no way matches the content of the book and I agree it's sending out the wrong message to teens and adults alike. The world should have progressed much further than this in realizing all people are equal and supporting that. Uggggh, this just irks me.

  21. Thank you for the link. I'm still really appalled, I don't know how it's okay for this to happen anymore. KDFJDLKg.

    In other news: Have you read the Implacable Order of Things by José Luís Peixoto? I ask you this realizing fully that it's kind of a silly question because I, obviously, have not read every book by a US author. ;)

  22. I've chimed in too about the Liar cover!! Outrageous is what I call it. I hope the Australian cover is the one that gets mass-marketed!!

    I think teens SHOULD read about sex too. It's a way to know that they're not weird, everyone feels this way, that happened to someone I know, or that happened to me too!! I'll have to check out that link!

  23. Yeah, I do read to fulfill a certain mood too. That's part of the reason why I hoard so many books, because then, I can look around and think, "hmm, I feel like reading something adventurish, but not quite too apocalyptic or epic, with a dash or romance and mystery" and I can probably find a specific book that fulfills that craving! It's awesome...

    And, about Liar, I can't believe they could get a cover so wrong, and not fix it as soon as possible!


  24. Ana - I've been following the "Liar" controversy and think you are all doing an amazing job of speaking out. I will write to Bloombury and if I see the book in bookstores will make sure to mention the problematic cover.

    As for your book search, I'd like to suggest "The Summer Book" by Tove Jansson. It is the story of an artist and her granddaughter spending the summer on an island and I found it absolutely lovely. You mentioned "As I Was". I just picked it up from the library:)

  25. I'm glad you, too, spoke up about this, and I agree that more than anything else it's about real people feeling pushed aside. The author included.

    I saw this on Twitter: Everyone has said what needs to be said. Do we really need another "this is racist and it sucks" post? Um, yes, we do. If a handful of people say "This is racist and it sucks!" it's just a bunch of blog posts. If we all say it, somebody might pay attention besides ourselves. On that note: feel free to link to this post on the Diversity Roll Call linky.

    Regarding your book request, did you read Sara Zarr's Sweethearts? I loved it for that reason.

  26. Pardon my ignorance, but what's a book dive?
    And Ana, please, please, please(!!!!) don't think I mentioned Cuckoos Nest to try to get you to read it! It honestly just popped to mind when you mentioned relationships that have an affect. Never, never, never feel like you have to read a book just because I sent it to you! And I'm pretty sure you already know that.

  27. Thanks for posting this, Nymeth! I didn't know about this until I first read Debi's post earlier. I can't believe Bloomsbury did this to a great book and I hope they will rectify the error.

  28. I'm really glad that Justine Larbalastier finally posted about the cover. I'm sure that took a lot of courage to speak up about your own publisher, even though it needed to be said. I had seen the cover, although I have not read the book and did not know the race of the narrator. It is pretty crazy the world we live in, that things like this still fly.

  29. wow. I am also shocked and astonished. I'll have to read the author's comments, b/c I am really surprised she would approve this cover. Thanks for sharing.

  30. I really enjoyed the author's post on the cover, what an outrage it is and how it confuses her readers to the point that she's gotten mail asking if the protagonist is really black.

    But, I'm seeing the problem as more of an industry fault, here. I've been on the author end of a publication and I know how it works in the U.S. The author can make suggestions with certain publishers, but truly has no control whatsoever over the final choice of artwork. That's why I sometimes post "cover thoughts" -- particularly when a cover either is perfect or totally wrong for the book. My hope is that those who are involved in the process will happen across our thoughts about book covers.

    It really boils down to marketing. Bloomsbury obviously has the stats. I read somewhere that someone from Bloomsbury said cover photos with faces of girls sell well. They didn't say "white girls," as I recall, but they must know black girls don't sell covers as well. If that's the case and they felt they couldn't use a black face (wrong, wrong, wrong, I agree!!!) then why not go with something like the Australian cover? I don't know why the author liked it, but my impression is that it shows how the lines blur for the protagonist. She can't necessarily tell the truth from lies, anymore. At least, that's how it appears to me.

    Either way, there needs to be a shake-up in how artwork is chosen in America and maybe the controversy will help push that issue.

  31. I, too, am so upset about the cover of Liar. I am white and that is just absolutely ridiculous, prejudice, embarrassing, and just makes no sense. I can't imagine how this happened or why it was allowed to happen. I feel so sorry for the author, who, no doubt, is going to lose book sales due to her publisher's cover art selection for her book.

    On your second topic, I think that an Emotional Reads Index is a FANTASTIC idea.

  32. You always put things so elegantly Ana! Very well said on the cover fail topic.

    As for emotional reads..I LOVE the idea of having an index of emotions :) That is such a cool idea. As for suggestions you're looking for, you may want to try At the Firefly Gate. It's a short book about a relationship between a young boy and an older lady and I loved it! Very quiet little tale. It's by Linda Newberry.

  33. Oh, and I forgot to tell you how awesome I think you are for writing such an amazing post on sex in teen lit! Really great post Ana!!

  34. I didn't know about this until after I read your post. I really hope Bloomsbury will redeem themselves. This is bad.

  35. I totally missed the controversy and am totally with you - I hope that they (the publishers who chose the cover) still change their minds... Have they responded to all this anywhere?

    An Emotional Reading Index is a great idea! :-) It's sublective though, so maybe there could be room for reasons why we think a book has this or this tone. I remember at the beginning of the year I was looking for books that were happy, uplifting and someone recommended Zadie Smith's On Beauty... I was so disappointed! To me they were all so incredibly miserable, but to my friend it was uplifting because they get through all their misery. :-)

  36. Christina: I don't think there's any way a teacher, parents or librarian can answer that question comfortably...there's just NO justification. I think it's awesome that you try to find books for your students with characters they identify with, though!

    bermudaonion: To be honest I can't bring myself to believe they haven't. I guess money was the main motivator here. Which is a pity.

    Violet: Yes, exactly! It has to start somewhere.

    Amanda: Don't feel bad! At least you didn't pay for that cover. And the books definitely sounds like one that deserves to be read. And yeah, the way they handled it was the most disappointing thing of all.

    Tarie: Hopefully they'll start being brave about it before too long. Call me optimistic, but I think they'd be surprised with the effect it had on sales.

    Trish: For me, the most disturbing thing of all is the implicit believe that readers need to be mislead into reading a book about a black teen girl. Is that really where we are? Anyway, I love your examples! I know The Remains of the Day made me feel, but it wasn't a simple emotion that can be categorized. Same with The God of Small Things. Which is what makes this so hard :P

    Memory: Yeah, it does happen in genre stuff a lot :/ I think it's awesome you're writing non-white characters, though! Fantasy could do with more of them.

    Jackie: What saddens me is that I bet it happens more than we realize. We heard about it in this case, but how many others go unnoticed?

    ds: It IS extremely insensitive. And irresponsible, and everything else. I hope they change the cover too. The book's only out in October...there's still time.

    Dar: Yeah, it's not her fault. That's why it would be great if we had easy access to the Australian edition. Fingers crossed!

    Lu: KDFJDLKg about sums it up, yes. And it's not a silly question! I read his first novel (which...I have no idea what the title in English would be, or if it has been translated), and to be honest I have been avoiding him ever since because that one really didn't work for me. I felt terrible, because I read it after he gave a lecture at my university, and he seemed like a really cool guy. So I wanted to like his books. Plus the friend who lent me the book was a huge fan, and I dreaded answering the "so, what did you think?" question when I gave it back :P

    Staci: I hope so too. And once again, we are of one mind!

    Sharry: The thing is, it's hard to guess before I read the books :P Well, sometimes I can guess, but a lot of the time I turn out to be completely off too.

    Gavin: I wrote them an e-mail too. I hope they're getting thousands of them a day. Thank you for the recommendation! And I look forward to your thoughts on Meg Rosoff :)

    Ali: That's sad that people are saying that :/ Yes, we need to keep saying this is racist and it sucks. Again and again and again, until somebody listens. Sweethearts does git the bill perfectly, but sadly I read it only a few months ago. Well, not sadly, but you know :P Also, sorry to hear blogger was giving you trouble commenting!

    Debi: It's what Amy did for Nothing but Ghosts recently...a campaign to get as many people as possible to buy the book. And Debi, I know you weren't saying that because you think I "owe it" to you to read it or any other such silly thing! But you SHOULD tell me to read great books! Did I not pester you to read Nation? :P

    Melody: I hope so too. I really do.

    Kim: I bet it did too, and I really loved her post.

    Tamara: She says in her post that she protested, but she had no say in the final decision :/

  37. Nancy: I agree that it's an industry problem, yes. Jodie at Book Gazing works in marketing, and I really loved her post on the subject. She says these assumptions are often made in advertising too, and that one of the problems is that they aren't actually that well researched. They're just taken for granted. But even if they do have numbers showing that books with black faces on the cover sell less, the poll is so small when compared to books with white faces that I wonder if they can really draw any valid conclusions. And then there's the whole issue of social responsibility. It's a complicated subject for sure, but yes, I hope this controversy will help some.

    Rebecca: As the book is only out in October, I hope they still change the cover. And I hope this whole thing doesn't hurt the author.

    Chris: Ooooh, I think I remember your review of that! Thanks for reminding me of it! And thanks for the kind words!

    Alice: I really hope so too. It's very bad indeed :/

    Joanna: They have: “The entire premise of this book is about a compulsive liar,” said Melanie Cecka, publishing director of Bloomsbury Children’s Books USA and Walker Books for Young Readers, who worked on Liar. “Of all the things you’re going to choose to believe of her, you’re going to choose to believe she was telling the truth about race?” This when the author specifically said the character WAS black, and when she makes a point of making all her protagonists non-white. It only makes matters worse, really :/
    And you know, I actually agree more with your friend about On Beauty! It's not happy-bouncy, but I did find it hopeful.

  38. *belief
    *any other typos

    I'm tired :(

  39. Important discussion - I always appreciate your viewpoints on such weighty topics.
    LOVE the Emotional Reading Index - great idea.
    Off to click those links now. Happy Monday!

  40. I agree that using a white girl when the main character is black is racist. People do judge books by their covers and it is very important to send the right message. Their response is a load of bull.

  41. I got a "pamphlet" (not sure what to call it) from Bloomsbury that had the cover of Liar and an excerpt from the first chapter. I just skimmed it and didn't read carefully, but based on the cover, I totally assumed the main character was white. When I heard about all of the uproar, I was shocked both by Bloomsbury's original decision and by their reaction to the backlash. I think the idea of ordering the Australian edition is a great one.

    As for the book request, I haven't read either of the books you mentioned, but "full of quiet intimacy and longing and loss" made me think about Angels of Destruction by Keith Donohue. It's pretty new, but if you're able to find it, it sounds like it would fit the bill.

  42. An emotional index to reading is a fantastic idea! Have you heard of the book: "Bibliotherapy: The Girl's Guide to Books for Every Phase of Our Lives"? It has lists of books for things like: hearing-your-inner-voice books, the-personal-is-political books, mid-life-crisis books, embracing-your-inner-light books, etc.

  43. Regarding the emotional reading index, there's a library service called Readers' Advisory (RA) that serves this very need. The premise is that most people don't love a book because of its plot, and the purpose is to recommend books to readers based on what they find appealing about a book they love (e.g., tone, pacing, characterization, language, setting, detail). I keep a blog devoted to learning and expanding the uses of RA, http://lay-RA.blogspot.com.

    I'm going to write a response to this post there, so please stop by later this evening. Thanks for the inspiration!

  44. John Green (sparksflyup) has a good author reaction to the Liar cover controversy today.

    An emotional index could be just for books that produce an extreme reaction--the dreamiest ones, the saddest ones, etc.

  45. Nymeth,

    Thanks for sharing the comments from an industry insider. I let Bloomsbury suck me in on that one -- that there are actual stats (when their aren't). John Green has written an excellent post saying the book cover should reflect the content accurately so it can reach the right audience, regardless of sales. Have you read that one? I don't think anyone can beat John Green when it comes to climbing onto a soap box (probably because I think he's all kinds of awesome writing books that treat teens with intelligence).

  46. Thank you for this wonderful blog!

    My first book, JOHNNY VOODOO, featured a white
    model and the character was not white.

    My last book, GOTHIC LOLITA, featured a non-Japanese model who was harsh, when my character was soft. You asked for a book about two characters who change each o and have a deep conenction, exploring subtle emotions without being a romantic love story..and I hope you can find GOTHIC LOLITA in the library or online for only a nickel because the cover did not sell the book after all!!! Do i sound bitter? Just mad at publishers for second-guessing their authors. White is not right!

  47. Care: It is now Wednesday, but Happy Monday to you too anyway :P

    Rhinoa: I really think it's a crap excuse too.

    Fyrefly: Their reaction really made things worse. Keith Donohue is also the author of The Stolen Child, right? I remember your review of Angels of Destruction and I definitely want to read it.

    Terri B: I hadn't heard of it, but now I want it!

    Anna Katter John: Awesome! Thank you so much for the link!

    Jeanne and Nancy: I read John Green's blog (and watch his videos) religiously, and as always, I loved what he had to say. He's so right about finding the right audience for a book being important.

    Dakota: It's definitely not right. I actually heard of Gothic Lolita for the first time here just the other day, and it caught my eye. I will keep it mind! Thanks for stopping by!

  48. Hi Ana, wow, I'm so late for the discussion! Don't know why this post didn't show up on my Google Reader. Good thing I checked your site.

    First, I'll just echo everyone's thoughts on the Liar fiasco. It's horrible. I feel so bad for myself and others like me who aren't white. I'm joining Susan at Color Online for the Color Me Brown Reading Challenge the whole of August.

    Anyway, no, you aren't alone in your weirdness. I'm like that, too, a lot of the time.

    Though I haven't read Slow Storm or What I Was, I did get to see (and love) Lost in Translation. Here are a few titles that might be of interest to you (some are weird, like the DeLillo, but I know you're not one to back off weird reads.) :D

    On Chesil Beach, Ian McEwan
    The Body Artist, Don DeLillo
    Green Mountain, White Cloud, Francois Cheng
    Snow Country, Yasunari Kawabata
    Strangers, Anita Brookner
    The Samurai's Garden, Gail Tsukiyama
    A Pale View of Hills, Kazuo Ishiguro
    Goodbye Tsugumi, Banana Yoshimoto

    Whew. Hope you find at least one thing there. :D

  49. Claire: Thank you so much for the recommendation! The only one I've read is Goodbye Tsugumi and it definitely has the feeling I'm looking for. I'll have to look for the others! And I see that many would fit the Japanese Literature challenge, which is awesome :D


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