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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: Chiggers, Papercuts, and a Size Four That Shouldn’t Be

  • Do not adjust your set.  You’re seeing correctly.  You now live in a world where there are Tetris bookshelves.  Oh, sweet mystery of life at last I’ve found you!  I am mildly worried that every time I saw these in my home the ubiquitous Tetris music (you know the tune I mean) would start to play in my head.  A small price to pay for such modular nuttiness, though.  Thanks to Bookninja for the link.

  • I’m doing two Goosebumps posts in two days and YES I know that according to the official Kidlit Blogosphere Playbook (copyright 2008) you can now whack me with a haddock whenever you next cross my path.  Sorry if it’s in the news all the time, but according to the the New York Times there is a question regarding R.L. Stine’s series:  "Can he resuscitate the dormant brand?"  Mmmhmm.  And which dormant brand would that be, exactly?  I know you’re not talking about Goosebumps, right?  The series that never dies, that one.  Do you know what we did for Banned Books Week one year?  We filled our book bins with Goosebump books and within two days they were picked clean.  And three years ago I went to the New York Is Book Country shindig (now, sadly defunct) and saw the author in question with a line that would make Lemony Snicket sob.  Perhaps the article is referring instead to the author’s delightful Fear Street series (or, as I always liked to call them, Christopher Pike Lite).  Fortunately Walter Minkel agrees with me that this piece is a whole lotta nuthin’.  After all, if Goosebumps is so "dormant" how come the Scholastic imprint Graphix has been releasing them in graphic novel form to a mighty profitable end? Thanks to Big A little a for the link.

  • Speaking of series making a relaunch, Gwenda Bond did a magnificent round-up of links regarding the upcoming Sweet Valley High rerelease.  Like a lot of girls of my generation, I refused to read this series since they looked like the dumbest dreck possible when I was a kid.  Plus I had this bias against any cover with a blond girl on it.  Two blond girls together?  Count me out.  Author Jenny Han, however, had no such bias and recently she reported on the fact that the book has been "updated".  The twins are now skinnier than they were in the past.  Yep.  Instead of a size six they’re now both fours.  Wow.  Could the publisher have possibly have made a worse p.r. move?  I might have dug the books, maybe even read them at long last, but if I have to go about thinking that four is the new six, I ain’t touching these puppies with a ten-foot pole.  Seriously, guys, who was the marketing genius who suggested that modern teens wouldn’t dig the series if the heroines weren’t waifs?

  • I like making lists.  Lists make me happy.  But as peculiar lists go, the Weird Tales magazine’s 85 Weirdest Storytellers of the Past 85 Years kind of takes the cake.  It has the wherewithal to mention people like Dr. Seuss alongside the requisite Steve Ditko (no objections here), but it is particularly odd to see a list where it goes from Lon Chaney Jr. to Cirque du Soleil to Joel & Ethan Coen.  Hm.  No Shel Silverstein either, which means they weren’t entirely committed to delving into the brain of children’s literature. Found via bookshelves of doom.

  • Along the same lines, the ballot for the Hugo Awards just came out.  Educating Alice was kind enough to point out the moments where children’s literature got a nod here and there.  Shaun Tan and his The Arrival got much of the love they deserve (and didn’t receive from other spheres) while Philip Pullman and Ms. Rowling received requisite nods of the head.

  • Maybe I should read the New York Times blog Papercuts more often.  Recently they had a post describing the Seven Deadly Words of Book Reviewing, that was particularly choice.  In case you’re curious, the words are poignant, compelling, intriguing, eschew, craft, muse, and lyrical.  I think I’ve done "eschew" more than once.  My person favorite, though?  "Text".  Or, even better "the text".  If you read the article for nothing else, check out the suggestions of other horrid terms, words, and phrases that many of us are guilty of.  I totally say "that said" more than I should.  And I was very fond of a Dana Jennings who wrote, "The word ‘famously’ should be drawn & quartered, burned at the stake, then fed to the pigs. Famously, as in: Thomas Pynchon, who famously shuns the media, etc. etc. The word provides neither light nor heat."

  • I have this fantasy.  It’s not particularly complicated, but it is a tad odd.  I like to pretend that Queens Children’s Materials Specialist Laura Lutz comes over to my house and makes me a fabulous dinner.  I came to this fantasy after reading her recent recap of the Union Square Farmer’s Market, to say nothing of her interest in getting a Masters in Food Studies.  And to think I lived this long without knowing that olive rosemary walnut bread even existed.  Laura also has a summary of the most recent Simon & Schuster librarian preview, which I was unable to attend due to the fact that all the SLJ bloggers had a teleconference scheduled for that day.  But sign me up for Chiggers and Boogie Knights!  Both look entirely awesome.

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. Actually, NYIBC gets new life this year. Nielsen and Kirkus Reviews are reviving it. September 21, Central Park. Mark your calendar!

  2. LAURA LUTZ says:

    You’d be even more amazed when you saw the crappy kitchen I create all this stuff in. But doesn’t every NYC home cook work in less-than-stellar conditions? And, oh dear, I use “intriguing” and “compelling” and “poignant” constantly. Crap. I’m bad at reviewing. But this isn’t news to me. Next thing they’re going to say is that I can’t use “brilliant” anymore. If that happens, I’m bowing out of this game.

  3. Jennifer Schultz says:

    “Engaging” isn’t there? OK.