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A TV adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire was never a sure thing. While Martin stated in an interview that thanks to his television experience he could envision the lighting and blocking in his head when he was writing a scene, adapting a fantasy franchise to film or television can be risky, and while he’d received some expressions of interest from producers, nobody seemed quite sure of what they wanted to do with it. That is until novelists/screenwriters David Benioff and DB Weiss approached Martin and correctly answered a challenging trivia question from the book. Even then, there were still no guarantees that it would ever see a screen.

 

game of thrones by george rr martin / the hilt of a sword against a blue fieldHBO, the network that eventually aired the adaptation wasn’t sure if a fantasy series would fit with their typical fair of prestige drama, and although the books had a following, they weren’t sure if anybody would watch it. The Peter Jackson film adaptations of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings  proved that it could work as films, but would the same principle work on television?

 

Fast forward 10 years later, to 2011. By then HBO had signed on, and the pilot had been shot and re-shot, and something else occurred that led HBO to believe that they had made the right choice - the passion of Martin’s online fandom. Fans of the series loved to talk about every little detail of the books in online forums, and the network was smart enough to market the show directly to those fans in their space.

 

One year later, Vulture Magazine declared the series fan base one of the most devoted fan bases of all time, and by 2013, the books and the show could boast 5.5 million registered fans on social media from all around the world. The show ran for 8 seasons, and while there have been other adaptations of popular fantasy series, such as Outlander and The Witcher, no other epic fantasy series has been able to match the success or popularity that GoT experienced. Even HBO has faulted in trying to repeat their success, having announced multiple Game of Thrones spin-offs only to most of them fall apart before production. 

 

Amazon Prime is hoping to catch lightning in their streaming bottle again, not once but twice. In 2017, they bought the rights to the remainder to the Tolkien estate, and commissioned what was then called a Lord of the Rings TV series. It is now know that the series will be set in the Second Age of Middle Earth, before the One Ring was forged, before wizards roamed the wilds, and when Hobbits were just starting to peak out of their hills. Peter Jackson is not involved. Written by J. D. Payne and Patrick McKay, whose credits include Star Trek Beyond, Godzilla vs King Kong, and Jungle Cruise, Amazon will be bringing the New Zealand-shot, billion dollar series to the platform in September of 2022. 

 

eye of the world by robert jordan / a cloaked figure stands between two pillars, before a sunrise, with a large stone clock floating above themMiddle Earth though is well known to audiences. Less well known to the general population is Amazon Prime's next venture: a highly anticipated forthcoming adaptation of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. If you aren’t familiar with it, Wheel of Time is a high fantasy series that spans 14 books, plus a prequel and a couple of companion novels. The first book was published in January 1990, and the final three books were completed by fantasy author Brandon Sanderson after Jordan’s death in 2007. Luckily, the author had enough time to prepare detailed notes about how he wanted it finished, and there ended up being enough material for 3 more books instead of one.

 

Unlike Game of Thrones which draws inspiration from European history and politics, Wheel of Time was inspired more by European and Asian mythology - a "wheel of time" as a concept is present in Hinduism, Sikhism, and Buddhism. The books have sold more than 90 million copies worldwide, making it one of the most popular fantasy series of all time. Since each paperback averages 800+ pages and is far too complex to explain in any detail, I’ll try giving you the Coles Notes version of the series.

 

The core premise is that the story has happened over and over again. The wheel of time turns, ages pass, memories become legend, and legend becomes myth, and eventually the myth is forgotten when a new age dawns. An easter egg in both the books and TV show of Game of Thrones referenced an Archmaester who believed that history is a wheel, Martin's friendly tribute to his friend and fellow writer. Martin also included in his genealogies a "Trebor Jordayne, Lord of Tor", referencing both the author and his publisher, Tor Books. 

 

Like so much fantasy, the series is incredibly lore-dense. Much like Game of Thrones, the world is not officially named in the books, but fans like to call it Randland after the hero of the series, Rand al'Thor. There are though 14 nations in this world, so it’s good to have a map handy to keep track. In total, the books actually contain 100,000 characters, and fans recommend using the glossary at the back to keep track of who everybody is.

 

wheel of time companion by robert jordan and harriet mcdougal / three interlinked circled, two of gold and one of stone, against a black field

Because of the repetition inherent to the series, there are a lot of prophecies in this series, the most important of which are the "Prophecies of the Dragon".  The Dragon Reborn will be the champion of the Light in the battle against the Dark One - isn't that always the way? - and Rand al’Thor is prophesied to be that guy. Much like the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind, Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, and most "Chosen One" narratives, Rand has grown up as a shepherd in a village and has very little knowledge about his destiny.

 

The first season of the TV show will reportedly air 8 episodes, but whether the entire season focuses on one book or a few books hasn’t been confirmed. As we all know, adapting fantasy, especially one that’s as intricate and complex as this one is a challenge, and it would be unreasonable to expect that it will be word-for-word faithful to the source material.

 

Regardless of which plot elements and characters make it into the TV show, one thing that is guaranteed is that Wheel of Time will be visually stunning, full of action, magic, and contains strong male and female characters. Whether or not it will reach the levels of popularity that Game of Thrones did remains to be seen, but judging by the advance buzz, it certainly has a chance. It premieres on November 22nd, 2021.

 

To keep up to date with all of LSC’s latest offerings, please follow LSC on Facebook, on Instagram, on Twitter, our YouTube Channel, and now on Issuu. We also encourage you to subscribe to the LSC Weekly Update, and we hope you check back each and every week on this site for our latest musings on the publishing world.

 

Happy Reading!

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In light of the many industry-wide supply chain issues impacting publishing and libraries, both LSC and the publishers are advocating for early ordering as much as possible. We thought it made sense to give a bit of space to why early ordering is important, and how LSC's catalogue and ARPs make it easy.

 

Early Ordering refers to ordering books before they are published. LSC considers anything ordered more than three weeks before publication an Early Order. Once we know an item will be published, sometimes up to 18 months in advance, it is available to order. This includes DVDs, which are available to order the day the movie is released in theaters.

 

For many collections, a fair amount of the materials your patrons will want won’t depend on what they are about, but who they are by. As an example: we know that James Patterson will release many new books this year. Often the items will be known by a placeholder title, like James Patterson Chef Detective #5. This item will go into our ordering catalogue, at which point you can pre-order it straight away, and get that On-Order MARC into your system and generating holds. If you have an ARP, the Selectors will be aware of the item and might order it for your account immediately, depending on the instructions in your ARP profile. 

 

A few months before publication, the publisher officially updates the title to James Patterson’s Five Star Murder. We update the title information in the record, and include the item in selection lists, catalogues, etc. which are available digitally via Issuu and within the ordering catalogue. For Best and Solid Seller titles, these will be listed in our Notables catalogues, which list all the items that will be published in the coming quarter, not the previous. Meaning, anything ordered from these lists when they are released will be an Early Order.

 

Part of the process of ordering books from vendors is shipping time from the publisher. This is because library vendors, unlike commercial vendors, do not keep a standing inventory of items in house. Items post-publication are shipped to us as they are ordered. This adds time to when a library will receive an item. If everyone orders James Patterson’s Five Star Murder in advance, we know that we need to bring in x number of copies straight away. With the industry delays affecting shipping times, both from manufacturing centers overseas, and from distribution centers once they have arrived, publishers are already seeing delays by weeks or months past the initial street date, and are warning buyers that reprints will be effectively non-existent for the next while. Meaning, once the original print run is gone, it's gone. They have said that they will increase initial print runs based on pre-orders.

 

Normally, LSC would receive pre-pub items a few weeks before the street date. Our cataloguers and processors then set to work on the copies that need such things (taking a couple days for priority items), and the item moves to shipping, where it awaits each library's shipping day, to arrive before street date. If you wait to order the book until the date you could also buy it at Chapters or Costco, we have to wait for the item to come from publisher, then also go through our processes. Time that was saved by other libraries pre-ordering the item.

 

In the midst of these delays, we receive items when the publisher is able to get them to us. We push the items through our internal processes at the same rate as before (due to our internal efficiencies, we're largely moving as fast as we can already). And the items arrive at the library with their next shipment. As of the date of this publication, publisher's haven't officially moved any pub dates, which means the majority of items won't be meeting street date. This is a reality for everyone. If publisher's start moving street dates, we'll keep you updated via our Weekly Newsletter

 

Delays or not, by taking advantage of early ordering, you guarantee your number of copies for your patrons, and save yourself weeks or months of additional delays, or worse, the announcement that the title has already gone out of print.

 

Finding items available for early ordering is easy. Aside from the ones listed in the Bestseller Catalogues, you can search for items via the Advanced Search Screen within the catalogue. Searching Author is the best way to find materials pre-publication, then limit your search via "publication date" to either “Next 30 Days”, “Next 90 days”, or choose a date range in the future. Ordering is otherwise normal. Additionally, our Selection Lists allow you to access specific content relevant to you and order directly from the list.

 

Unique to LSC is our Budget Management system, which allows you to identify your annual budget by collection type, track what you’ve spent and are committed to spend within the calendar year. The remainder that you are committed to within this report would fall into a future budget, and therefore if you are doing early ordering well in advance, you are able to simply and accurately track that budget. And you’ll always know exactly how much you have left to spend.

 

LSC's Selectors are here to help with any Ordering assistance they can provide. All our Selection Services come without charge. You don't have to be on an ARP to have our Selector build your library lists or even carts. They are also happy to work with you to identify specific authors that are high interest that you should keep a regular eye out for. And those libraries that are on ARP, if you want to change any instructions in your profile to promote early ordering, you can do so at any time. Please contact Jamie Quinn for all your Selection assistance.

 

To keep up to date with all of LSC’s latest offerings, please follow LSC on Facebook, on Instagram, on Twitter, our YouTube Channel, and now on Issuu. We also encourage you to subscribe to the LSC Weekly Update, and we hope you check back each and every week on this site for our latest musings on the publishing world.

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When I was a kid, I loved Choose Your Own Adventure books. I loved being able to shape my story with my choices, and I confess to cheating a little by flipping ahead to see if the choice I made would result in my death or the end of the story.

 

As an adult, I realize how much life is like a Choose Your Own Adventure. There are multiple points in life where we are faced with an uncertain or difficult choice. Perhaps one of those choices leads you to the exciting life you always dreamt of. Another choice leaves you alone and sad. Which choice will give you your happy ending? Unlike books, you can’t hold the page while you flip ahead and see which choice is better, so you go with what you think is the best choice at the time and hope for the best. But what if you could “flash forward” so to speak? Would making different choices drastically change the future, or is the future fixed?

 

This is the question that Oona, the titular character in the novel Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore grapples with. When readers meet Oona,  it’s 1982, she’s celebrating New Year’s Eve and her birthday (at midnight, she’ll turn 19) with her boyfriend and friends. Oona is also faced with a choice. Put off University and go on tour with her band or stay behind in London and finish school.

 

When the clock strikes midnight, something strange happens. Oona passes out and wakes up as her 50 something self. Luckily, her confidant Kenzie (who she hasn’t met yet at 18) and her mom know exactly what’s going on and are there to help her navigate this strange new reality. Equally fortunate is that her future self was considerate enough to write her a note of explanation giving her just enough information about her life to catch her up.

 

As the title suggests, Oona is somehow living her life out of order. Every year at midnight she leaps into her life at a different point in time and lives that life for exactly one year before leaping again. The catch is that  not only does Oona have no idea what year she’ll leap into next, but for the most part, it’s out of sequence. She also doesn’t know if she’ll ever get back to her own time and have the chance to live her life properly. She has to rely on the previous year’s Oona leaving her a catch-up letter, and some years are more helpful than others.

 

In this life, Oona is alone, and not a rock star, but thanks to some careful financial decisions informed by information about stocks and sports scores that she picked up in the future, she’s extremely wealthy. Ignoring the warning issued by early Oona not to spend too much time investigating the past, she promptly asks Kenzie to help her look up all of her friends on the Internet and figure out what happened to each of them and why they are no longer in her life.

 

Each chapter chronicles one year in Oona’s life, and readers follow along as she lives multiple lives, and experiences moments of pain and joy as she tries to hold onto human connections even knowing that she’ll be gone from that life in a year.

 

After one particularly painful year of disappointment and heartbreak, Oona wakes up to find herself exactly one year earlier, and in the year that caused her so much pain the previous (next) year. Like most people probably would in her circumstances, she wonders if she can change her future and spare her future self. Despite her efforts to make completely different choices and shake things up, she’s unable to change things, leading her to wonder if the future is fixed.

 

This is an interesting question, and one I’m still pondering. Most time travel stories adopt the theory that by changing the past we can change the future. Life is full of significant moments we would love to change if we could. What if instead of turning to page 23 in our Choose Your Own Adventure story we turn to page 55? Sometimes it takes your story in a different direction, but sometimes, all the choices end up leading to the same place.

 

Oona doesn’t try to change any history but her own and so we’ll never know if she could have significantly changed the course of the world, but still, her experiences suggest that our destiny is pre-written and while we may take different paths to get there, all roads lead to the same place.

 

While Oona is never able to make any significant changes to how her life turns out, she does learn to live in the now, and not to keep her finger on the page while she tries to figure out if making a different choice would change the outcome of her future.

 

If you’re looking for a fun and thoughtful read for your next book club, don’t keep your finger on the page while you try to figure out what choice is best. Just pick this one up and enjoy the ride, and I hope you’ll get as much out of it as I did.

 

To keep up to date with all of LSC’s latest offerings, please follow LSC on Facebook, on Instagram, on Twitter, our YouTube Channel, and now on Issuu. We also encourage you to subscribe to the LSC Weekly Update, and we hope you check back each and every week on this site for our latest musings on the publishing world.

 

Happy Reading!

 

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LSC wraps up its year tomorrow, and we decided to look back at a messy, unpredictable year that was and present the second annual LSC Awards for Performance. The following items were compiled using our internal sales data based on number of units purchased collectively by our client libraries between July 2020 and June 2021. All the material listed here is available for your convenience in Slist 45438, in case you missed any of these hits.

 

a time for mercy by john grisham / space and a sunrise at the end of a long country road with a large tree at the end.The first award is for Adult Fiction. John Grisham’s Time for Mercy topped our charts this year. This is a sequel to both his first novel, A Time to Kill, published 32 years ago, as well as 2013’s Sycamore Row. It appears that his return to southern courtrooms was well anticipated. Don’t worry though, he released another two novels this past year. He’s not going anywhere.

 

The top selling Adult Non-Fiction was the memoir of former US President Barack Obama, Promised Land. I can’t possibly think why in 2020 there would have been such an interest and nostalgia for Obama’s hopeful terms of office. Must have been a coincidence.

 

salma the syrian chef by ahmad danny ramadan and illustrated by Anna Bron / an illustration of a young girl holding a bowl and wearing a chef's hat, with nine people of various ethnicities behind herThe prize for Picture Book is the delightful Salma the Syrian Chef, by Ahmad Danny Ramadan, illustrated by Anna Bron. This delightful book follows a recent newcomer and refugee to Canada as she tries to cheer up her mother by making food from home. A wonderful message of community and hope, and a subject that is seemingly evergreen.

 

Marking our first repeat winner at the LSC Awards, following a similar performance in the category of Juvenile Fiction is Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Deep End by Jeff Kinney. Yes, the adventures of Greg continue in the 15th(!) installment of the series. This one follows directly on from last year’s winner Wrecking Ball, and will continue in Big Shot, coming in October of 2021.

 

Best Young Adult Fiction goes to Cousins by Karen M. McManus. This mystery thriller following three cousins as they unravel the web of family secrets left behind by their mysterious grandmother was a hit, perhaps reminding people of the twists and dark turns of VC Andrews.

 

This Place: 150 years told / an illustrated half face of a young indigenous child standing before the world, with north america centredTop selling Adult Graphic Novel this year was the exquisite This Place: 150 Years Retold, an anthology of stories by 11 Indigenous authors and illustrators, telling diverse stories of Indigenous peoples across Canada, and what they have experienced in the time since Contact. An essential component of any library collection.

 

Our second repeat winner runs the table yet again in Juvenile Graphic Novel, as Dav Pilkey defends the title with Dog-man: Grime and Punishment. The ninth in the series, though far from the last as a tenth book has also been released and an eleventh is on the way. Will Pilkey retain this position for a third year? Only you can determine that.

 

With this past year being one of the stranger for the film industry, with no master blockbusters having been released, it is nice to see that the top selling DVD this year was the winner of Best Picture at the Academy Awards, Nomadland. Directed by Chloe Zhao and starring Frances McDormand, this quiet film about the modern nomads of America stuck a cord in a year where there were fewer CGI explosions to drown it out.

 

super mario 3d world plus bowser's fury / a busy picture centred on the title, with mario, luigi, princess peach, mario in a cat suit, princess in a cat suit, and mario and bowser junior staring at a giant volcano BowserTop Selling Video Game was a wider field this year, as there were two generations of Playstation and two generations of Xbox on the market. And yet, winner of this category goes to Super Mario: 3D World and Bowser's Fury on the Nintendo Switch. Yes, everyone’s favourite plumber – who turned 35th this year – jumped over the turtles and mushrooms of the competition and landed on the flag pole at the top of the charts.

 

To keep up to date with all of LSC’s latest offerings, please follow LSC on Facebook, on Instagram, on Twitter, our YouTube Channel, and now on Issuu. We also encourage you to subscribe to the LSC Weekly Update, and we hope you check back each and every week on this site for our latest musings on the publishing world.

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June is National Indigenous Peoples History month and today, June 21st, is National Indigenous Peoples History Day. As Settlers, we are educating ourselves on the history and heritage of Indigenous Peoples, and reflecting on how we can contribute to the ongoing process of reconciliation. Today, we present without commentary several resources that can be used to aid others in their journeys of education and reflection.

 

LSC operates on the traditional territory of ‎the Haudenosaunee, Anishinaabe, and Attawandaron, on the Haldimand Tract. On October 25, 1784, Sir Frederick Haldimand, the governor of Québec, “granted” this tract of 950,000 acres, - of which only 5% remains - to the Haudenosaunee, also known as the Six Nations, for their service during the American Revolution. The Haldimand Tract extends 10 kilometers on both sides of the Grand River, from Dundalk Township to Lake Erie.

 

To find out whose land you are located on, the interactive map Native-Land.ca allows you to search by address and see who called this home first. It also allows you to toggle between territories, languages, and treaties. The map’s creators are quick to point out that this map is not meant to be definitive, but an educational tool that is meant to start how we think about where we live. They also provide a quick form to be alerted of errors or required updates.

 

The Residential School System in Canada is a long-standing tragedy that many Canadians are only just discovering. The CBC has developed a map that allows you to enter an address and identify the nearest residential school to that location. It also provides the years the school was operational , and can be a good starting point in your research and learning. Additionally, the Government of Canada has set up a 24-hour National Indian Residential School Crisis Line, for those experiencing trauma from the Residential School system. Callers can access emotional and crisis referral services at 1-866-925-4419. 

 

Critical resources in our reconciliation journey are the reports and materials generated by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. These reports include the 94 Calls to Action that were delivered in 2015, but include a wide array of valuable, educational, historical materials that uncover the full scope and impact of colonization on the Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island.

 

For some library focused material, the Canadian Federation of Library Associations has its own report, delivered in February 2017 and endorsed by 33 library associations and organizations across Canada. This report contains 10 calls to actions for libraries to aid in decolonization and indigenization efforts.

 

Looking to add some educational credentials to your experience? The University of Alberta offers both a credited and an audited primer course in Indigenous Canada through their Faculty of Native Studies. This 12-week beginner course is a primer for any stage of your journey. 

 

If you are looking for book and film recommendations for either your own learning, or to aid in your educating of children, teens, and other adults, educator Megan Tipler has compiled a massive list of materials across all ages and collection types, all of which are by Indigenous authors. She also has a small list of works by non-Indigenous authors that are of particular note and value. She makes notes where some works may be problematic and includes a short list of authors to actively avoid. You can follow her on Instagram @tiplerteaches where she has links to her resources, including book displays and posters.

 

IMBD has a list of films on the subject of Residential Schools for your reference, and NFB has curated a collection of shorts by Indigenous filmmakers and allies on the impact of the Residential School System. CBC Gem also has a selection of documentaries, including Inendi and We Were Children, to watch.

 

This is far from an exhaustive list of resources. It does, however, provide a starting point for those seeking to learn more, re-educate themselves, and be a better - and better informed - ally moving forward.

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As part of our ARP services, we manage the holds lists for a few of our libraries, and in the last few weeks I noticed something interesting in the holds. While most are current bestselling titles or the latest celebrity book club title from Oprah or Reese, once in a while an older title pops up that gives me pause.

 

song of achilles by madeline miller / a golden Grecian helmet on a turquois fieldSong of Achilles by Madeline Miller, a nearly 10-year-old fiction book with a moderate amount of popularity suddenly spiked on three different lists, prompting me to do a bit of digging into why. My first assumption was that there was recent media surrounding the book such as a TV appearance, or a movie or TV announcement but that wasn’t the case. After a bit more investigating, I discovered that the book is very popular on “TikTok, signaling the growing influence of the book side of TikTok.

 

If you’re not familiar with TikTok, it’s a video-sharing social network used to share a variety of short-form videos ranging from 15 seconds to a minute. In recent months, the bookish community have started using the platform to post videos recommending books and about and their general love of books, now commonly referred to as BookTok.

 

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by Victoria Schwab / the title on a black field with a constellation within the word, connected with golden threadIn addition to popularizing Miller’s book, one viral video significantly increased sales in Victoria Schwab’s The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, Midnight Library by Matt Haig, and They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera, all three of which are books I highly recommend as well.

 

Now publishers are wisely recognizing the value and influence of BookTok just as they did with bloggers several years ago, and are not only creating a presence for themselves on the platform, but are reaching out to the BookTokers to send them advance reading copies of books they’d like to promote, and even paying them to make videos about them.

 

midnight library by matt haig / a white building filled with rainbow light, against a blue-black fieldRight now, the platform is primarily used by the 16-30 age range, with YA fiction being some of the most talked about books, but it has been invaluable in bringing attention to books with more diverse plots and authors, as well as introducing readers to genres and titles that they may never have discovered otherwise.

 

If you’re interested in checking out BookTok, sign up for a free TikTok account, and search the hashtag #Booktok where you’ll find a variety of creators to follow. Searching that hashtag also brought up #BookRecommendations and #bookish for some additional book-related content. I confess that I was somewhat overwhelmed when I first started looking into it, but there’s something for everybody including  dystopian, books that had the reader sobbing, heartbreaking books, if you like this Netflix show, read this, and books that the reader would “sell their soul” to read again. That last one certainly piqued my curiosity!

 

they both die at the end by adam silvera / two figures in silhouette walk along a railing with a grim reaper cast in their shadow. in the background a city scape rises, with a full moon peaking out behind a skyscraperAs for what caused the sudden explosion of BookTok? Some people attribute it to the ongoing pandemic to driving more people online, and with bookstores and libraries being closed across the U.S. and Canada, it does seem natural that people would start using social media to find like-minded people. It probably also helps that more and more authors are joining the community and discussing their writing process, which definitely appeals to the sector of their fandom who love to analyze all of the details of a favourite book.

 

If time is a at a premium (and when isn’t it to be honest), and you just want to know what books are popular, you can find a top 10 BookTok list on Indigo’s website, a slightly longer BookTok list on Barnes and Noble, or on the Goodreads BookTok shelf.

 

It’s hard to predict how BookTok will evolve over the next few years, but if Miller’s surge in popularity is any indication, I think it's safe to predict that it will become an increasingly important place for book discussion and discovery.

 

To keep up to date with all of LSC’s latest offerings, please follow LSC on Facebook, on Instagram, on Twitter, our YouTube Channel, and now on Issuu. We also encourage you to subscribe to the LSC Weekly Update, and we hope you check back each and every week on this site for our latest musings on the publishing world.

 

Happy Reading!

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In some of my previous posts I’ve talked about my effort to deliberately seek out new genres and authors to stretch myself as a reader. For every 100 books that I read, there’s hundreds more that I haven’t read, and the ever-so-helpful reading lists generated by magazines and websites remind me of that fact.

 

Let’s be honest. Humans are creatures of habit, and time is limited. When it comes to books, it’s tempting to stick to what we know we like and never take a risk on anything new. In seeking out new authors and somewhat less publicized titles, I’ve discovered a lot of really great books that I never would have guessed I’d like. Like so many readers, I always fantized about having the time to read them all. Then... the world was on lockdown. Theoritically I could concentrate on checking out of all the interesting new e-books I’d put on hold months ago. Instead, I started seeking out some of the familiar bestselling authors I know I’ve enjoyed in the past.

 

Before books became my career, I read everything by authors such as Nora Roberts, and Stephen King. If I found a new title by these authors in the bookstore I’d grab it, and probably read it right away. My not reading them in recent years wasn’t due to a loss of interest or a dislike of their books, but time. Time was a factor in losing track of many popular authors who I enjoyed, and as much as I’ve tried to keep up with their books, I realized long ago that I can’t read everything.

 

Any avid reader will admit that their To Be Read pile contains more books than they’ll read in a lifetime (I know mine does) and sometimes, my desire to read whatever catches my attention at the moment overtakes my desire to read something by someone I already like- especially when I know the author is a bestseller and will be a must-have for libraries regardless of whether I read it.

 

Coming back to these authors felt like a comfortable old piece of clothing for my brain when the daily news was too bleak to follow and my stress-levels were at their max. They’ve been around for years, they’re familiar, and other than briefly wondering if they were still a good fit after so many years, there wasn’t a lot of risk involved in reading them. I knew I’d enjoyed them in the past, and I knew exactly what I could expect from their books.

 

Under Currents by Nora Roberts / a dock on a lake, shrouded in purple lightAs it turned out, I enjoyed the books very much, and I felt a teeny pang of remorse that it took me so long to get to them. Under Currents by Nora Roberts 3889630 was a good blend of romance and suspense, and I was so invested in the characters that I was physically worried for them whenever they were in peril. The romance was predictable, but Roberts writes well, and predictable fit the bill of what I was looking for. A little bit of substance, a little bit of sweet, and happily ever after.

 

The Institute by Stephen King /  a boy sitting on a bed in a bedroom that is inside a train car on a trackThe Institute by Stephen King 3629240 was every bit as creepy and disturbing as I’d remembered his books being, and it was a good thrill. The premise was original, the bad guys were really bad, and naturally, everything boiled down to good-versus-evil. While it’s not the same kind of happy ending that you get from a romance novel or a fairy tale, it was a satisfying ending, and it felt good to see good triumph.

 

In the end, going back to these old favourites turned out to be a great thing because I realized something important. As important as it is to read broadly and diversely, it’s also important to read what and who you like, and in my efforts to stretch, I lost sight of the importance of comfort reading. Not everything I read has to a well-reviewed title or by someone I’ve never read before. Discovering new authors is great, but sometimes you just need those comfy old sweats to feel comfortable.

 

The Return by Nicholas Sparks / a flower framed porch and doorNow that a year has passed and the world might start to go back to normal, I took some time to review my holds list at the library. I added some new books to the list by more of my favourites, and am really excited to rediscover some of the books I’ve missed by Barbara Taylor Bradford, Nicholas Sparks, and more. Hopefully reading them will make me happy, and the best part is that I won’t feel guilty at all if and when they do.

 

To keep up to date with all of LSC’s latest offerings, please follow LSC on Facebook, on Instagram, on Twitter, our YouTube Channel, and now on Issuu. We also encourage you to subscribe to the LSC Weekly Update, and we hope you check back each and every week on this site for our latest musings on the publishing world.

 

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This summer I’ll have been working in the book industry for 22 years, first as a bookseller and then for library wholesalers. Over that time I’ve seen many short-shelf life titles. These are the books that either get returned to the publisher at first opportunity, or titles that are popular for a brief burst and then fade into oblivion. With the recent deaths of Clive Cussler, Mary Higgins Clark, Joanna Lindsey and M.C. Beaton (all of whom were still publishing before their deaths), I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what gives these or any authors staying power.

 

I first discovered Mary Higgins Clark’s mysteries through my mom, and continued to enjoy her books for many years. Believe it or not, she published her first novel Where Are The Children in 1975, and since then, most or all of her 38 solo suspense novels (not counting those she co-authored with son Alafair Burke and daughter Carol Higgins Clark) have become bestsellers and have perpetually stayed in print.

 

In an age where up to 1 million books are being published annually in the United States alone, shrinking attention spans, and limited shelf space, the fact that an author can still get new titles on the bestseller list is quite a feat. Digging deeper, when I examined a top 100 list of most popular fiction authors, I discovered some pretty interesting facts about authors that I either used to read or currently read who have been around for decades.

 

wedding dress by danielle steel / a bride in a tapered dress against an purple fieldPopular romance author Danielle Steel is the fourth bestselling fiction author of all time, and has sold over 800 million copies of her books since her first the publication of her first novel in 1973. She even set a Guinness World Record in 1989 for spending the most consecutive weeks on a bestseller list- 390 weeks or 7.5 years in total, which rarely happens. To put it in perspective, only about 37% of fiction titles stay on the list more than 4 weeks, and the longest number of weeks of any title currently on the New York Times Bestseller list is 74. These days, she can be counted on to release around 6 books a year, and while they may not be reaching Guinness levels, they are consistently in demand.

 

hideaway by nora roberts / a flower garden on a cliff over looking the ocean

Nora Roberts, who does double duty writing as herself and under the pen name J.D. Robb published her first novel in 1981, and has more than 400 million copies of her books in print. 59 of her books have debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list, and she’s been dubbed America’s favourite novelist by The New Yorker. She’s been a favourite of mine for several years, and the million copy print runs of her recent releases suggests that the title is accurate.

 

devoted by dean koontz / a tree in silhouetted against a sky on fireSuspense novelist Dean Koontz, whom I also discovered through my mom, has been around since 1968 when he published the sci-fi novel Star Quest, but he really gained notoriety when he started writing suspense/horror fiction. At least 14 of his books have hit #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. These are just a few examples, but authors such as Sandra Brown, Stephen King, Fern Michaels, and Stuart Woods have also been publishing since the 70s or 80s, and are still consistently popular with readers.

 

So what does give all of these authors their amazing staying power? Mass appeal is one reason. All of these authors managed to find a mass audience for their books, and they retain their audience because they tell good stories and the books are extremely readable. Calling a book addictive is high praise because it means you can’t put it down. If an author is successful in giving you that experience, naturally you’d want to read another of their titles. There’s also comfort in familiarity, and it’s a lot easier to stick with what you know than to break away and try something new.

 

Compelling characters would be another reason. There is something about their characters that draws us in, makes us care about them to the point that we become invested in their lives. We laugh with them, cry for them, wish we could be them, and want to continually read more about them. Pride and Prejudice was published over 200 years ago, and yet Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy still resonate with modern audiences. To Kill a Mockingbird is over 60-years-old, and Atticus Finch is one of the most beloved characters in literature.

 

the return by nicholas sparks / a garden gate door covered in vinesThe third commonality is that they have universal themes that readers relate to. Whether it’s the struggle to reach a personal goal, a struggle with humanity, life and death, good and evil, and the ever-popular love, the most famous novels address some or all of these themes. Nicholas Sparks who is best known for his tragic love story The Notebook has a huge following, and he’s widely considered the standard for modern romance. He writes about ordinary people who find love and often lose love through tragedy. While some people may criticize the author for his saccharinity and sappiness, there is something about these stories that draws readers and keeps them coming back for each new book.

 

Obviously these aren’t the only reasons that keep us sticking with our favourite authors, but it’s a pretty safe bet that the popular authors of today who are still hitting bestseller lists in 10, 20 or 30 years, all of their books will have these things in common.

 

To keep up to date with all of LSC’s latest offerings, please follow LSC on Facebook, on Instagram, on Twitter, our YouTube Channel, and now on Issuu. We also encourage you to subscribe to the LSC Weekly Update, and we hope you check back each and every week on this site for our latest musings on the publishing world.

 

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There is something comforting about reading a series. They afford us the opportunity to constantly revisit familiar characters and locations. Through our favourite characters we solve mysteries, travel through time, discover lost relics, etc... without ever leaving our homes, and there are seemingly endless stories to enjoy.

 

The Sentinel by Lee Child and Andrew Child / two highways crossing in an x.

Characters such as Jack Reacher, Alex Cross, Stephanie Plum or Stone Barrington continue to be popular with readers, and the authors dutifully come up with new stories to tell about them. So what actually constitutes a series? In broad strokes, it’s any sequence of books with characteristics in common that link them together. Where series become complicated is the different ways that they are organized.

 

A novel sequence set is a series that has themes, characters, or settings in common, but each book has its own title and can stand alone or as part of a series. All of the characters I referred to above are an example of this. Books may make reference to something that happened in a past book, but for the most part, the character changes very little. These can be numbered, or just grouped together like the Harlequin Romances. These make a great casual read because you can pick it up from anywhere and not have missed much. I like to start with the first book because it introduces the character, but it's not necessary.

 

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon / a golden crown on a red field.The other type of series is a chronological series such as Song of Ice and Fire or Outlander where the characters go through changes and the books build on past events. A series like this needs to be read in order, and if you miss one, it can be very difficult to catch up.

 

Aside from these traditional series, there are trilogies (three books), books that are one novel split into multiple volumes such as Lord of the Rings, prequels and sequels.

 

The release of the next book in a beloved series is a big deal, especially in the JUV/YA market where the recent Hunger Games prequel and the forthcoming Twilight novel are big news. And should George R.R. Martin ever get around to finishing the next novel in the Game of Thrones series¸ you can only imagine the celebrations that will happen virtually or in person should that be a possibility by the time the book releases.

 

I have a love hate relationship with series. I love them for a few reasons. When an author creates a character or characters I really like, I love having a chance to revisit them in additional books. While there aren’t a lot of novel sequences that I currently follow in print, I do enjoy dipping back into the world of David Baldacci’s Amos Decker or Jude Deveraux’s Montgomery family when I get a chance. In the case of Deveraux, the stories span multiple time periods and generations, and I love reading about the Montgomery family past and present.

 

Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory / a black woman and a white man hiding behind a menu sitting at a table while fireworks occur behind them I've also really enjoyed the romance novels of Jasmine Guillory who has written several loosley linked books featuring the same characters. Each book tells a different character's story, and only lightly reference events from the other books so they don't have to be read in order. 

 

My love for chronological series is less about the characters and more about the ongoing story. Sometimes there’s just too much story to tell in just one book, and the series format allows the author to tell a more detailed story from beginning to end. On the other hand, novel sequences can continue for as long as the author feels like writing about them which could be 10 books, 50, or 100. One such author has openly admitted his wish to kill off his character and end the series, but don’t worry—he’s not actually going to do it.

 

Chronological series are not without their frustrations, and this is where the hate part comes in. There can be long waits in between books (again, George R.R. Martin we’re looking at you), and unless you have the memory of an elephant, if too much time passes, you run the risk of forgetting what was going on unless you reread the previous books. Finding time to read the entire series can also be difficult, and in the case of both types of series, keeping track of all of the titles in a long-running series requires time and organization. 

 

When I was a kid, my grandmother lived around the corner from a Coles and she would keep a list in her purse of the next title in whatever series I was reading so she could pick it up when it came out. This was a great pre-tech way to keep up, but if she lost the paper, she’d have to wait until we were both at home so I could check my shelves and help her start the list over again.

 

Thanks to book tracking apps such as Goodreads and My Book Pledge, it’s a lot easier to keep track of which series titles I have or haven’t read, but it’s still something I have to check.

 

When it comes to chronological series, my preference is to binge read the whole series once all of the books are released. This is definitely easier to do when there aren’t ten 500 page books, but if I’m enjoying it and want to read the next book, I love being able to pick up the next one and continue without interruption. It’s torturous enough waiting a few months for the next season of an ongoing TV drama after a cliff-hanger ending, let alone waiting a year or two for the next book.

 

If a new series is generating a lot of buzz I might be compelled to pick it up and start it, but I’ve left a lot of series unfinished because I never get back to it after the second or third book. I always intend to, but there are just so many other books to read!

 

Whether you read them slowly and one at a time, or quickly and all at once, series get us excited and keep us engaged with reading, and what more can you ask for from a book?

 

To keep up to date with all of LSC’s latest offerings, please follow LSC on Facebook, on Instagram, on Twitter, our YouTube Channel, and now on Issuu. We also encourage you to subscribe to the LSC Weekly Update, and we hope you check back each and every week on this site for our latest musings on the publishing world.

 

Happy Reading!

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In recent years, the lines between young adult and adult fiction have grown increasingly blurry, and are growing blurrier still thanks to a number of bestselling adult authors such as Kelley Armstrong, Victoria Schwab, Meg Cabot, James Patterson, and Carl Hiaasen who successfully cross back and forth between categories.

 

In 2019/2020, a number of YA authors released their first adult books, hoping that their existing and maturing audience would follow them into the adult space, or better yet, that they’d find a new audience with adults who are unfamiliar with their YA works. But how much of a gamble is it? Judging by the estimated print runs for these new novels, their publishers believed it was a solid one.  

 

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo / a snake slithering through the titleLeigh Bardugo, a wildly successful YA author delivered her first adult novel Ninth House  to much excitement.  Bardugo is no stranger to success. Her books have collectively sold more than 3 million copies in English, have been translated into 41 languages, and are being made into a Netflix series. Ninth House opeed with a 350,000 copy print run, and a ton of marketing behind it.

 

To put it in perspective, other than high performing established authors such as J.D. Robb who see 750,000 copy print runs for their works, a popular author with this publisher might receive a 100,000-150,000 copy print run, while a debut or midlist author would be substantially less. Bardugo’s novel has received 4 starred reviews from prestigious book review journals such as Booklist, and Kirkus, and Stephen King has blurbed the book calling it the “best fantasy novel” he’s read in years. The title also received tremendous buzz on social media, and has appeared on a number of must-read lists.

 

Also from this past year was Stephen Chbosky’s first book since he published the highly Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky / a figure in the far distance walking into a beam of lightacclaimed young adult novel Perks of Being a Wallflower twenty years ago. Imaginary Friend is a horror novel with a child protagonist, and has been dubbed an homage to Stephen King. The book was chosen as one of 2019 best books by People, EW, LitHub, and more, and had blurbs from Emma Watson, Joe Hill, and John Green to boot.

 

2020 saw two even more highly anticipated adult debuts from Divergent author Veronica Roth, and Throne of Glass author Sarah Maas.

 

Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth / vines twisted around the letters of the titleRoth’s novel The Chosen Ones released in April 2020, and of course, her fans were excited. While YA tends to examine what happens when teens take on adult burdens, Roth’s adult novel examines what happens to those teens once they become adults. The novel follows a group of twenty somethings ten years after saving the world in their teens who are pulled into a brand new quest when they discover the defeated Dark One was never really defeated at all, and still exists. 

 

Mass’s novel House of Earth and Blood is the first book in her new “Crescent City” trilogy, and is another superlead title for Raincoast with a 250,000 copy print run. Unlike her previous works, the novel is set in a modern world with technology similar to ours, but with all of the fantasy and romance elements thatreaders love about her other books. Since Maas’s YA novels already tend to feature more adult characters, writing an actual adult book isn’t a huge stretch, and her audience is sure to follow.

 

Crescent City by Sarah J. Maas / a young woman's face framed by a crescent moon, while a crow takes flight in the foregroundSo why are so many of these YA authors crossing over into the adult space? Partly because young adults aren’t the only ones who read them.  An estimated 55% of YA readers are adults, so it’s not a leap to think that they would get excited about an adult book written by one of these authors. YA has also become increasingly dark and sophisticated, and there is a lot more crossover than there used to be.

 

From the author perspective, writing for an adult audience isn’t that different than the YA stories they already tell. Yes, it does allow them a bit more freedom in terms of themes, but they are still telling a story that they want to tell with their own voices. As Maas explained in an interview with PW, writing an adult book wasn’t a conscious choice. It was simply a case of certain characters and ideas popping into her head, and her own realization that the characters were in their twenties and not teenagers.

 

Being one of those adults who still unashamedly enjoys YA novels, all four of these books were definitely in my reading pile last year, and as a trend I look forward to waht comes next!

 

To keep up to date with all of LSC’s latest offerings, please follow LSC on Facebook, on Instagram, on Twitter, on YouTube Channel, and now on Issuu.

 

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Happy Reading!

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