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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: And that’s not even counting the kids named Renesmee

I know you probably don’t notice, but it always bugs me when my blog does a standard review / Fusenews / review / Fusenews pattern all week.  I feel it’s a lack of creativity on my part.  I can promise you, though, that next week will prove to be far more interesting. That’s when the SBBT or Summer Blog Blast Tour begins.  Each day my fellow handy bloggers and I will link to one another’s interviews with some of the hot folks in the field.  I think you’ll like my own line-up of authors too.  They’re all fantastic.

  • In sad news, The Huffington Post reports that The New York Public Library: Library Faces Harshest Budget Cut in History.  As our President LeClerc writes, "If this cut becomes reality when the final City budget is adopted next month, we will be forced to drastically reduce programming, service hours, and staffing. Libraries would be open on average just four days a week; more than one in four library jobs would be eliminated. Almost six million fewer items would be circulated. Most impacting to New Yorkers would be the need to close ten libraries."  Ten closed branches.  Go to our Don’t Close the Book on Libraries website to learn how you can help out.

  • Where do you shelve your Toon Books?  Toon Books wants to know.  As easy reading comic titles, they sort of fall between two categories.  Here at NYPL we put ours in the graphic novel section, but that’s a bit unfortunate.  As Toon Books points out, novels these ain’t.  Perhaps it would be better to put them in the easy book section, but the funny thing about that is their size.  All our easy books are roughly the same length and width (around 9.6" x 5.9").  Toon Books, in contrast, are long and skinny.  That’s fine for the tall ones like Luke on the Loose but it’s much tougher with something like Little Mouse Gets Ready.  Unless you don’t find that to be much of a problem.  Most don’t.  It’s a shelving issue for other folks, though.

  • Hwaa?  Editorial Anonymous is interviewing folks now?  Most interesting.  Right now she’s taken on Shannon Hale, discussing the newest graphic novel Calamity Jack with her.  Calamity Jack otherwise known as The Book I Cannot Keep On My Shelves for Three Seconds.  Those covers, man.  Kids (boys AND girls) grab at ’em like they was candy.

  • Sing with me!  Oh, a Special Markets Sales Assistant is a person in your neighborhood.  He’s in your neighborhood.  He’s in your neigh-bor-hoo-ood . . .  I was just reading the post by Dustin Ross, the Special Markets Sales Assistant over at Macmillan’s MacKids Blog.  He explains what it means to sell books to "non-traditional outfits".  That is magnificently fascinating to me.  Perhaps I should do a Literary Cafe about such folks.  Worth speculating over, anyway.

  • Huh.  Well, it’s been an interesting year for Mary Downing Hahn, I’ll give her that.  First she wins an Edgar Award for Closed for the Season .  Then her book Wait Till Helen Comes is challenged in a school.  That’s almost quaint.  I mean, the book originally came out in 1986.  I suspect that new cool looking covers they’ve republished the book with went far to catch the parent’s eye.  I mean, think about it.  Which is a parent more likely to challenge:


Or this?

Yeah.  I prefer the second one too.  Thanks to AL Direct for the link.

  • Speaking of outdated books being challenged, bookshelves of doom drew my attention to, of all things, a challenge made to Go Ask Alice .  To quote Leila, "I find myself in the annoying position of having to defend a book that I think is crappy and lame, but hey.  Them’s the breaks."  *sigh*  I’m with her on this one.  Go Ask Alice is just awful, but you can’t ban it, for crying out loud.  Read the comments on Leila’s post to see recommendations for books better than that one on similar topics.

  • Remember when The Matrix movies were all the rage and suddenly there was a huge spike in the number of kids named Trinity?  Well, Twilight has had much the same effect.  According to a recent New York Times article this year, "Cullen materialized at 485, leaping almost 300 spots from 2008 for the biggest increase of any boy’s name; it wedged firmly between Braiden and Kason. But the nation’s fascination with the undead may not end there. The most popular boy’s name was Jacob, an eternal favorite that happens to be the name of the buff rival of paler-than-thou Edward: Jacob Black. The most popular name for girls was Isabella, the progenitor of Bella, the love interest of both Edward the vampire and Jacob the werewolf. Just plain Bella logs in at 58."  I don’t think we’re giving enough thanks here for the fact that Meyer didn’t name her characters anything weirder than Edward, Jacob, and Bella (though the "Cullen" thing is unfortunate).  I mean, what if she’d given them names like Banquo or Byron?  I’m thinking we got off pretty easy on this one.  Come to think of it, was there an increase in the name "Hermione" when Harry Potter was at its peak?  Apparently not.  According to Baby Name Wizard, it’s never cracked the top 1000.  Thanks to bookshelves of doom for the link.

  • The best children’s books ever, proclaims The Guardian headline.  When the results were in on my Top 100 Children’s Novels Poll, I took particular pleasure in reading the blogs of Brits and Aussies who would find the list and marvel over things like how high Charlotte’s Web was, or the utter lack of Blyton.  Now it’s our turn to goggle at what children’s author Lucy Mangan deems "the best".  Here too Blyton is nowhere in sight (correct me if I’m wrong).  And there are plenty of books on there that I’d wager we Yanks have never even heard of.  Very fun reading.  Thanks to @PWKidsBookshelf for the link.

  • Speaking of Brits, how ’bout that Neil Gaiman, eh?  I’ll confess to you that when I heard that he’d charged $40,000 for a library visit I had the knee-jerk reaction of, "Oh, come ON, Neil!"  Then I actually sat down and read his take on it.  Ah.  The $40,000 goes to charity?  It was a legacy fund?  You went to cute little Stillwater, MN to do it?  Well . . . yeah okay.  That sounds fine.  But Neil, baby, why you gotta be so loved/hated all the time?  Low-profile it, sweet.  You’re too exciting for the news hounds. 

  • You know who’s not exciting?  Me.  I’m about as thrilling as a bog in winter.  However, I did get a chance to do a booktalk review of Philip Reeve’s Fever Crumb on the Katie Davis web radio show Brain Burps About Books. That was fun.

  • I reviewed, The Clock Without a Face and its real world treasure hunt about a month ago.  Now that it’s been officially released, folks are writing in with their tales of treasure hunting.  There are anagrams in the book?  Avast!  I must find them forthwith!

  • Daily Image:

Oh bother.  I got this from someone on Twitter and then, like the kook I am, totally lost my reference to who it was.  Well thank you, stranger of the ether, in any case!  This is mad brilliant.  A woman created a tiny Bag End:

But really you need to see the exteriors (as well as the scale) to truly appreciate how brilliant this was.  I love that she used Warhammer supplies to help her out.  A buddy of mine used to be a Warhammer manager. 
This kind of thing could be good press for them.  And the sheer level of detail will kill you.  There are even portraits of  paintings of Belladonna Took and Bungo Baggins hanging in the living room.

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. david e says:

    i’m not surprised to see toon books pushing the question of where to shelve their books, given that art spiegelman doesn’t accept the term “graphic novel” to describe any book. i can sort of understand why it might chuff, because far too often i’ve seen publishers call things a graphic novel as a way of elevating them beyond weak cartoons, which many of them are. as for where they get shelved, i suppose the answer should be “wherever people expect to find them.”

  2. “Kason” is a name?

  3. rockinlibrarian says:

    Oh my gosh, I’m actually getting teary-eyed with longing to shrink myself down and go live in that Bag End!

    If I had my say, I’d shelve all the Toon books with easy readers, but the people who do our cataloging put some in easy reader and some in picture books. Confusing I think. My theory is I like to point people to picture books for read-together-and-share type needs, and to easy readers for kids actually reading on their own, and the Toon books are much more useful as the latter, so that would be less confusing. We don’t have a juvenile graphic novels section– everything is mixed in. For some reason the director is dead set against putting them in their own section.

    I’ve always liked the name Jacob, and had to throw it out as an option for my son’s name just because it was already Too Freakin’ Popular for my taste (I have the second most common girl’s name of my generation, and it’s annoying), and that was BEFORE the Twilight thing took off, so I wonder how much of that can really be attributed to it…

  4. scaredycat says:

    I read Wait Till Helen Comes when I was about 8, and I don’t think I slept for three days! But everytime I tell kids that when they want a really scary book, their eyes light up! I still can’t read Hahn’s books at night, but I recommend them like crazy-kids love to be scared.

  5. your neighborhood librarian says:

    I would really have preferred a spike in the number of children named Banquo. I would giggle about that for decades!

  6. Ceci Miller says:

    Thanks, Betsy, for helping Toon Books (of which I’m an enormous grandmotherly-type fan) find out how librarians handle them shelf-wise. So witty are they and cool of illustration as to render any early reader uber cool in a single reading.

  7. Carl in Charlotte says:

    Of course, “Kason” is a name. The Army’s been singing about it for years–“the Kasons go rolling along.” All right, you may groan now.

  8. Betsy, I’m sooooo sorry to hear that New York is threatening the same idiotic budget cuts to libraries as Fairfax County has put in effect. How are you situated? Is your job in danger? I hope people will speak up and this will not happen!
    I did get my RIF letter this week, as feared. As I said before, I’m as sorry for the county as for myself.
    Speaking of library cuts, did you know that David Solis made the Eleanor Crumblehulme quotation (that I saw on your site) into a t-shirt via Cafe Press? I think you can get to it via the Flickr link. I have ordered one and am planning to wear it to work! It doesn’t mention Fairfax County, so I’m thinking they can’t really accuse me of being political.

  9. I went to college with a Cullen, so…

    Our Toon books are in graphic novels – it’s a huge mishmash, but we’ve gotten several compliments on how many GNs we have for the younger set, so people are finding them.

  10. Editorialanonymous says:

    Next month’s interview is Adam Rex! any suggestions for who else?

  11. Fuse #8 says:

    The most enjoyable interviews I ever did were with James Kennedy and Dan Santat. But I say go for the gold. Frances Hardinge.

  12. TOON Books says:

    It’s such a delight not only to see your thoughtful and comprehensive coverage of our shelving questions but also read your commenters’ insights into the process. Thank you so much for posing this question to your readers!

    It’s really interesting to read your comments on the TOON books’ size. All our titles share uniform 9” x 6” dimensions, in order to fit well with the standard “easy reader” book size that you point out, but our Level One readers (like “Little Mouse Gets Ready”) have sideways orientation. When designing the series, we found that this orientation for our titles geared toward the youngest readers was the best format for introducing kids to the basic mechanics of a book (moving from left to tight, discovering the surprise of turning each page…)

    You’re right to say, though, that this 6”x9” layout can create a problem when shelving the line. I guess we’re hoping that librarians will solve that by putting the books face out every time 😉

    Julia (Editorial Associate, TOON BOOKS)

  13. cotonmom says:

    I put the Toon books as Easy Readers, it does cause heartburn in the branches but I think it is important folks know Easy Reader is not a size. Our J Graphic novel collection is from 2nd to 5th grade so they could go there. I am often influenced by how the books is BISACed in Ingram and B&T.

  14. David Ziegler says:

    Library cuts come in all shapes and sizes. Here in Illinois, it was recently announced that the North Suburban Library System would mostly shut down as of May 30 due to lack of budgeted money being passed on by the state. North Suburban System is one of 10 library systems that have for 45 yers linked public, school, university and corporate libraries across the state. Continuing education, cooperative purchasing agreements for lower costs, and especially van delivery service to allow people across the state to obtain materials are among their many contributions. Other than van delivery, most of these services are about to be cut for North Suburban libraries, with local libraries probably having to kick in more money just to keep van delivery operating. The other library systems will soon face the same problem when their new budget year arrives.