2009 Recs from the Twitterverse

Hubby and I caught up on 30 Rock last night, and we saw the recent episode where Jack meets his old high school crush over “YouFace.” Hilarious! As hubby said, “This show just keeps giving.”

But as much as I laughed while they made fun of social networking sites, I have to say that I’ve been loving the internet scene the past six months. I had no idea what I was missing out on before. Some writers I met at BYU’s Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers (WIFYR) conference in June suggested that we should all be on Twitter, so I joined at their suggestion. And thanks to that, I’ve felt so much more connected to the world of YA lit.

Allow me to gush for a moment — in a helpful way, I hope, since it includes books and insights!

Take Wednesday night, for example. By a happy coincidence, an email from a friend reminded me about #yalitchat right at 7pm. I’ve been terrible about remembering, or else I’m usually teaching right then. This time, thanks to the email and the end of the semester, I spent the whole hour chatting with readers, writers, editors, and agents on there, and it was great to discuss opinions on the best books of 2009.

I kept Goodreads open in another tab so I could add to my TBR pile as we went. Just check out the gold mine of recommendations from last night:

And those are just the ones I haven’t read yet. There was also a ton of enthusiasm for ones I’ve already pictured on my blog and loved, like Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver, Laini Taylor’s Lips Touch Three Times, Sara Zarr’s Once Was Lost, Kristin Cashore’s Fire, Suzanne Collins’s Catching Fire, and bunches from past years like The Adoration of Jenna Fox, Octavian Nothing, Feed, etc. Plus Hush, Hush, which I’m reading right now.

[Update: I forgot to include If I Stay, which also got mentioned a lot and which I have in my nightstand TBR pile right now.]

My 2009 recommendation: join Twitter if you haven’t yet.

It sounds like #yalitchat isn’t happening next week, but normally it’s Wednesday nights, 9–10pm EST, and #kidlitchat is the same time on Tuesdays. The moderator chooses the topic, and plenty of writers, agents, and editors chime in.

Here are my favorite insights from last night, too:

On top of meeting and chatting with cool people in the book world, the other bonus with Twitter is simply hearing the latest word. Sometimes it’s a link to an awesome article in WSJ or NYT or wherever that I might not have read otherwise. Sometimes it’s a blog post with the latest news about the publishing world.

And back in September, I’m sorry to say I wouldn’t have known about Banned Books Week if not for Twitter. Even my library and local indie bookstore, which I visited that week, had displays so small I wouldn’t have noticed if book lovers on Twitter hadn’t already made me aware of it. And thanks to that, I wrote an anti-censorship post that has been the most visited spot on my blog ever since, hopefully spreading the word about why “freadom” is so important.

So hooray for Twitter, and for people who love YA books, and for the books themselves and for more recommendations to look forward to! I don’t know anything about the eight books above except that people who like the same books I’ve liked recommended them. How fantastic!

What do you think of Twitter? What’s on your TBR pile for Christmas and into the new year? Where do you get your recommendations? Which ones are you most excited about?

Leave a comment!


First Comes Twitter, Then Comes Blog

It’s time.  I started tweeting once I discovered the networking possibilities with other writers, and now I need a hub from which to reach out, whether to other writers trying to publish or to my students learning to write.  Today is not the greatest timing, since I’m very stressed about getting everything ready for the start of fall semester tomorrow (sure, you don’t HAVE to have the syllabus ready the first day, but I do), but part of what I’m contemplating for the syllabus in my 2010 class (Intermediate Writing) is having the students put all their work this semester onto a website like wordpress, and as well as being the sort of teacher who has to have a syllabus ready the first day, I’m also the sort of teacher who has to read everything and try everything that I want to have my students read and do.  Thus the creation of this site.

Ironically, the novel that I’m writing now includes a blog, so my characters have been blogging much longer than I have.  That’s another reason that it’s time to do this.  If I’m going to write about blogging, it helps if I’ve had experience with it.  Plus I intend to add an “about” page for the manuscript that will give me practice answering that hellish question: “So what’s your book about?”  You know.  Stuff.  Teens.  Growing up.  All that.

Yep.  Definitely need practice.  Especially since I intend to start shopping the MS to agents within the next few months.  Maybe six months.  We’ll see how much longer it takes to get the whole thing in decent shape.  I’m meeting with a writing group at the end of September, so their opinion of it might determine how much more work it needs.

In the mean time, back to prepping for the semester.  My Intro to Writing class is pretty much ready to go, but I’ve got a lot of tweaking left to do with the Intermediate course.  And then MAYBE (fingers crossed) there will be time for working on the novel.

p.s. while deciding on supplementary readings for 2010 (textbooks are never as good as you want them to be) I came across this satire about punctuation and spelling in today’s blogging, texting, and twittering world; funny stuff (at least to a writer and writing teacher)!